2013 Arbor Blacklist Snowboard Review

I’ve been hearing a lot about Arbor snowboards lately and although they’ve always appealed to me aesthetically with a lot of sexy woodgrain topsheets, I’ve never had a chance to ride one. This year at Test Fest I finally got a chance and started out with the Blacklist, a midwide true twin park-flexing all-mountain do-it-all board.

2013 Arbor Blacklist
2013 Arbor Blacklist with Flux TT30 bindings

Board: 2013 Arbor Blacklist 157cm
Shape:  Arbor’s “Park System”, true twin, parabolic rocker with Grip Tech
Bindings: Flux TT30
My stats: 6ft, 210 lbs
Stance: 24″ wide, 15/-15 regs.

Conditions: Bluebird skies, temps in the high 20s maybe 30 degrees firm snow/hardpack getting choppier in the afternoon but not icy. Basically ideal conditions to demo a variety of boards.

Flex: Stiffer through the middle than in the tips. Arbor says “medium soft”. Maybe like a 5.5/10 firmness if I had to rate it. I’d say yeah it’s soft for all mountain but still on the firmer side for park so bigger or more aggressive riders (I am bigger, but not super aggressive in the park) can definitely benefit from some versatility.

Pop: The Blacklist had good, consistent pop but it was not an insane amount of pop.

Playfulness: It’s a full rocker with park flex. Any questions? This board felt fairly damp so maybe expect a little less “feedback” from park features but you would get used to that in a few laps.

Handling: The edgehold with Grip Tech really is superb and didn’t give me any of that unexpected “grabby” MTX sensation. It is beast enough to rail a carve if you want it to, but shorter/quicker turns like through trees or dodging gapers shouldn’t pose any difficulty.  It is nimble for a mid-wide but I also wear size 11 boots and am a bigger guy. If you’re smaller or have smaller feet, the Westmark might be a better option for you. If speed is your thing I had it up to 53MPH and I still didn’t doubt this board would eat anything I threw at it. Definitely damp enough to be stable at higher speeds or on choppy snow.

It is a true twin so switch riding is predictable (i.e., you can ride it switch as well as you can ride switch).

[buybtn brand=”Arbor” deck=”Blacklist” ptext=”MSRP of $419 but rumor has it Arbor might drop the price to around $400 for 2013.”]

Summing it up: Is this a quiver killer? Not sure if such a thing really exists but the Blacklist is damn close.

A lot of brands are now marketing “all mountain freestyle” boards. I think this one is more of an “all mountain park” board and that is really what I’ve been looking for. I hemmed and hawed over this board for the last week and finally ended up buying a 2012 since the spec didn’t change on this board. I recommend it for intermediate to advanced riders, bigger guys or those with a more aggressive skate-inspired approach to all-mountain freestyle, random laps through the park, the glades and natural features, this board will handle pretty much anything.


19 thoughts on “2013 Arbor Blacklist Snowboard Review

  1. wasnt hyped on the quality of my 2012 but with out a doubt the best jib/jump board as far as perfomance goes ive ever strapped on. and im coming from a evo which i once thought couldnt be beat. almost sure ill get a 2013 even though i could pro form a evo for more than a hundred dollars less than the blacklist. if you are really hard on your decks u may want to consider the evo….i think its built stronger

    1. I really liked the Evo too. Super fun board, nice and snappy and not too soft. As a rule yeah the NS boards are pretty strong but I have heard some people complain about decambering after only 20-30 days.

      1. Thanks Dave. Yep, I’ve read all your reviews and really enjoyed reading them. Keep up the good work :-)

        At the moment I have a 2011 evo but it just broke. I really liked it. Never been on the full rocker of the blacklist. Do you think I will have to get used to it?

        I’m probably overthinking it and will enjoy both. Maybe I should just go with the one I can get the best offer on.

        Thanks and cheers from the Netherlands!

        1. Oops forgot to mention, the Blacklist is a “mid-wide” board where the Evo is a regular width. The Arbor Westmark is the regular width version of the Blacklist, or the NS Revolver is the “wide” version of the Evo. Just something else to keep in mind!

          Arbor’s parabolic rocker probably will not be a difficult transition for you if you choose to buy that one. As it is, the NS has a VERY pronounced rocker in the middle so the biggest difference will be the lack of camber outside the binding inserts where the Arbor just mellows out the rocker towards the tips.

          I should add that Arbor’s GripTech, non-blended sidecuts create the extra contact points right where you need them, over the inserts, so it has enough bite for hardpack but it will be less likely to surprise you (like magnetraction, or even the NS rocker/hybrid which can be “grabby”).

          I think overall you would be pretty happy either way. Obviously you’re familiar with the NS Evo so that is a safe choice since it has not really changed. But if you can find a good deal on the Arbor, I don’t think you would be let down by this board either!

          1. Ok I decided to go for the blacklist. Thanks for your help! Last question, what size do you recommend for someone 185lbs and 6’2″?

          2. What size board you normally ride? Blacklist is in 154, 157 and 160 IIRC. The 157 is probably a good fit for you unless you normally ride shorter than that. If you’re only riding park you could maybe do the 154.

    1. well the Blacklist isn’t technically a “wide” so you should be OK on that, but I think you should be fine on the Westmark, too. They likely ride a bit differently since the BL is a bit wider it should be a little more stable on jumps, if nothing else.

      At 6’2″ and 185… hmmm what size? What size do you normally ride? And how do you plan to use this? If you’re looking to ride it all-mountain with only occasional park then maybe go with the 157. If you’re going to ride it mainly in the park, I’d say go with the 154.

      1. i would say 90 % park. i have a 158 custom and this year im getting a new deck, and i want something more flexible but still decent on jumps. I have already reserved a flow era but it seems the arbors are better so i might change my mind.
        thanks for the advice, very detailed and helpfull

        1. If you’re on a 58 custom then go with the 54. it should not feel “too small” because it’s a blunted shape, so it has the running length/effective edge more like a 156ish. I hear great things about the Flow Era but haven’t personally ridden one, either way I think you’ll end up with a good board. Cheers!

  2. Hi Dave, great review, like always. I am trying to decide between the blacklist and the westmark. I am 5′ 9″, 145 pounds, and a size 10.5 boot. What do you think would work better for me?

    1. probably the westmark. The Blacklist is a mid-wide so it certainly isn’t necessary for someone with a 10.5 especially being on the lighter side of things, I’m heavier and with size 11s puts me on the border for “wide” boards although I prefer normal width, so the Blacklist was a natural fit for me. if you were heavier maybe would benefit from the wider board but at your size and boot, I think the normal width Westmark is probably the one you want to go with.

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