Snowboard Review: 11-12 Arbor Draft

30 Jul, 2011

Location: Mammoth, CA

Snow Conditions: Hardpacked groomers to softpacked slush.

Setup: I rode the Arbor Draft with Union Team bindings and Vans Veil Boots size 8.

Size: 155cm.

First Impression: Ideal for spring park laps.

Weight: Average

Flex: Definitely the softest men’s board in the Arbor line, it’s overall a soft jib board.  The nose and tail are softer making for easy presses and just under the bindings you have a stiffer flex to help absorb jump landings.  Torsionally, softer flex for quick edge to edge turning.  In one of the photos below, you can see the flex of the board during a turn.  The draft features the jib system which has parabolic rocker which has more rocker in the center of the board and decreases the rocker to the tip and tail of the board.

Turning: A very forgiving easy to ride board from Arbor.  It holds an edge very good despite the softer flex and the grip tech does help in those cases.  The tri-radial sidecut helps on both long or short radius turns, making both types easy.  The longer turns you had to work harder to hold the board to remain stable.  The Draft got some time on hardpacked conditions where the grip tech helps hold an edge.

Stable: When the conditions were soft slushfest, the Draft can make it a lot more playful riding.  It doesn’t cut through, it more absorbs the terrain with the flex of the board and just rides through with some bounciness involved.  For speeds, it’s a softer park board so it won’t handle speeds as well as a freeride board in the line but for jumps and cruising through parks, it is fine without any speed wobbles.  I rode the board most of the spring and late season conditions where the board just loved park laps all day.

Pop: A truly easy board to play around with pop and butter on.  Just a very friendly to ride in the park, good pop board that was very forgiving and playful.

Switch: The draft is a true twin so the shape and sidecut are the exact same as they are regular or switch.  It was really comfortable both ways.

Overall Impression: The Draft is Arbor’s jib/street/park board, super soft flex and easy to ride forgiveness that’s perfect for park laps to your hearts content.  The blunt nose/tail makes you feel locked in on presses and good pop for playful park laps.  Some stability underfoot on the board despite being a softer park board.

Shay’s Honesty Box: If there is one board meant for spring park laps, the Draft definitely is one of those perfect for spring park fun and fun the rest of the year.  When the spring park was perfect this year, I took out the Draft and rode everything from jumps, jibs, bonks to boxes.  The board’s a bit too soft for me during the rest of the year riding but for park, it’s ideal.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for the Arbor Draft or shop their full line of Arbor snowboards

On Snow Photo

Arbor Draft description

Review Disclosure:  I borrowed this snowboard from Arbor and it’s still in my possession.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. tinyterror
    July 31, 2011

    Does the 11-12 Draft still have the bronze edges?

  2. Medeenz
    September 03, 2011

    I’m trying to decide between the 2012 Draft and Horrorscope. I ride park all day but I was wondering what you would choose yourself.

  3. September 04, 2011

    Tiny, yes the 11-12 Arbor Draft has bronze edges.

    Medeenz, tough choice, both boards are very suitable choices. I think the horrorscope is a bit softer than the Draft.

  4. Kat
    September 15, 2011

    Hi Shay,
    I love your site and stlye of reviewing! I was wondering if you knew anything about the Arbor Flight? It is a special collaboaration board with REI and is only available through REI’s website. I love the graphics and the price, and the specs sound good, but I am having a really hard time finding actual rider reviews. I currently ride the 09-10 Arbor Push 152 and I love it for steeps and powder but I am looking for a shorter, softer, rockerd board for a little more playful park action. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  5. September 15, 2011


    Definitely had a discussion on the Flight. The Flight is based off of the Cadence which means the flight has the same true rocker parabolic arc, same full wood topsheet and FSC Certified Poplar Core, same 2×4 14-Pack Inserts, Recycled Steel Edges and all the same System set of technologies that are available in the Cadence. However there are differences, most notably is the cadence comes with a sintered base and the flight’s extruded, the cadence has a deep shadow flex in the core and the flight has a medium (the shadow is a thinning of the core profile between the bindings). So the flight is going to be a touch stiffer than the cadence and more suited to all mountain performance. The graphics are a result of the REI/Arbor art contest from last year.

    Here’s the review where we discussed the flight in the comments.

  6. Medeenz
    September 17, 2011


    Thanks for the reviews and keep doing what you’re doing. It helps to get your opinion for the gear year after year.

    I was wondering what you would choose, 2012 draft vs horrorscope vs artifact rocker. Right now I’m thinking Artifact bc I heard that it is a little better for jumps than the other 2. What do you think?

    Also I’m stuck between 2012 390 bosses vs Contact Pro vs RK30. What would you choose for a park rat that rides at bear mountain?


  7. September 17, 2011

    Madeenz. Thanks! I haven’t ridden the artifact rocker so can’t give you any comparision/idea on that board. Draft and horrorscope are soft boards, I’ve ridden the draft on jumps and seen it ridden on the bigger jumps…but it’s still a softer freestyle board. Horrorscope is the same. If you want more of a jump board, then maybe the artifact or something a bit stiffer.

    For bindings, 390 bosses were a favorite this year, Rk30’s are always a comfortable binding. I’d see which one you like better and which one fits your boot better. Contact Pro’s I haven’t tried yet.

  8. trevor
    November 10, 2011

    hey so the arbor draft is not that good for speed and hard with carving because i just bought the draft black/red and i love it for park freestyle just wanted to know how it held up every ware else

  9. November 10, 2011

    Trevor, congrats on your new board, so out and ride it! You are the best judge of what boards you like.

  10. August 18, 2012

    Hey so it sounds like the Arbor Draft is the way to go for a park board no doubt. However I checked out the 152 Cadence and that board seemed almost as soft as the draft. What are the main differences between those two boards? Would the Cadence have more stability through the big jumps and hold up better for powder riding? I mostly ride at Bear and Mammoth about two or three trips where I ride consecutive days, so there’s not much powder riding for me but what board would you say is better? Also which binding is the lightest and best park binding?

    • August 20, 2012

      The Cadence is the women’s version of the Draft. So it’s going to be narrower and softer than the men’s Draft board. It’s a park board so it’ll be soft, not as stable on big jumps. For bindings, depends on your preferences, boot size and style.

  11. August 31, 2012

    What would be a good board for the big jumps and more stable at high speeds but still have that nice soft flex like the draft. I really like how it is for the park, sounds like I couldn’t go wrong with the draft there. But does the draft handle mammoth runs well from the gondola all the way through the park well? Also I was stuck on what size, I was debating on getting the 150 just to be able to throw it around a bit easier or is that not smart since its already so soft and should I get the 153? I have a size ten boot and I’m 511 165. Any recommendations?