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Trying to get a demo of a rocker board proved impossible around here so after much research and talk with the guys at the Burton store I bought The Hero. I got a 158 with the idea of using it strictly as a powder board for out west. I took it out on a powder day with 12" of fresh that fell the night before and yes this baby rides right up on top immediately after you start off without any pumping or other shenanigans. This is how a snowboard was meant to be ridden- you think go there and you go there- think jump, land, turn- everything felt automatic even though I was working it at full out speed. The board turns on a dime so it rode awesome in the trees and I could get going at a much faster clip than on my cambered board. I had ridden my Rome Anthem the day before which is a real stiff and heavily cambered board so the difference in board types could not have been more extreme but the whole rocker thing is really easy to transition to if you've been boarding for a while. Basically, you just use the middle of your board to initiate everything. It comes naturally and you really don't even have to think about it after long. I like it a lot better because I can feel the board and control it directly without having to drive the nose and tail edges forward all the time- it takes a lot less effort and you turn quicker although you don't get the same after-burner effect you do on a cambered board as you pump out of a turn.
After everything was tracked out I was amazed at how fast this board took off. Maybe it was the factory wax job but I think it's more due to the design. I was flying as fast as I could go on some runs and the Hero held together solidly- no chatter and no bucking. I will say I needed to allow for an extra few feet when stopping at full speed on the hard-hard pack with this board but that's hardly ever an issue anyway. The board turns just as good as any cambered board I've ridden on hard conditions. Icy conditions not so much but theres nothing it can't handle that you shouldn't be doing on ice in any case.
Jumps. The board airs out beautifully due to the flex in the tail it's really easy to load up. There's not as much pop as in really stiff boards but you don't need it when coming rollers and kickers anyway. I was really impressed at how the board soaked up the landings. I hit a bunch jumps and rollers in all kinds of beat up snow and pretty much tracked out straight as an arrow on all of them except one which I paid for miserably but that was more due to me being lazy tired than the board's fault. It's the smoothest land board I've ridden.
I hit some boxes and rails but I didn't feel a huge improvement in this area over my Rome Graft park board. It was easy as hell to pop on but other than that it felt pretty much the same. Buttering 360's is totally fun on this board and risk-free unless you TRY to catch an edge. Without a doubt I will bring this board with me everywhere I go except maybe the backcountry when there's no new snow. I'm not convinced this board could get me down a 70 degree ice covered headwall but I haven't tried it yet either.
I'm going to rate this right in the middle because I know a lot of people like them. I just found them ridiculously stiff. I've been wearing Ions for front and back country and thought I'd get the Drivers strictly for the bc and save the Ions for lift service. But these boots were like having 2x4's jammed in your liner. I like to draw out my turns and feel the board under my feet. These boots deadened all the feel and limited all moves to tiny little tilts. I didn't like it. And my shins ached like hell after wearing them.