Last February I got the chance to demo the 2014 Arbor Coda for about an hour and a half. I would have spent a lot more time on it if I did not have a long check- list of snowboards to demo by the end of the day. I had ridden the 2013 Coda the previous year and liked it a lot. So after reading about the changes they made to it for the 2014 season I was stoked to check it out again. Arbor is a relatively small, rider-owned company that has been making boards since 1995. They were the first company to make snowboards with ecologically sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. In recent years they have expanded their product lines to include high-end apparel and longboards.
The Coda is part of the Arbor’s System series, it has a consistent, medium flex from tip to tail. It is a twin board with zero setback and a one cm longer nose than tail making it slightly directional. It is stiff enough to go barreling down the mountain over chop and bumpy terrain without getting chattery, but it is also flexible enough to be really fun for spinning tricks and buttering around on natural features. This year Arbor relocated the carbon stringers running the effective length of the board from the rail sections, in towards the middle of the board. This allows the 2014 Coda to have more torsional flex since carbon stiffens the areas of the board where it is placed. In this case, it makes the board feel more forgiving when pressure is applied to the edges while keeping the board stable through the center. This flex pattern works really well for aggressive riders who like to take their park skills out to the mountain or for an all-mountain rider who wants a slightly looser board to play around on when they are not mobbing the hill or blasting down chutes.
After riding the Coda at the on-snow demo event I knew it was most likely going to be the board I would ride for this season. The 156 (I am 5’10” 175 lbs) is a good size for me since we do not get very much deep powder on a consistent basis here in the Northeast but we do take plenty of trips out West so it will still float well on powder days. I really like how the board lays into a turn off the back foot due to the slight directional shape but at the same time easily spins out of side hits and off of rollers. The carbon stringers running through the middle in combination with the bamboo top sheet give the Coda a lively feel with a lot of pop for snapping off ollies and posting up on water mains, stumps, ledges, etc. Let’s take a closer look at the features on this year’s Coda.
I took the Coda out last week at Okemo for some pre-season runs for two days in single digit temps with 10 to 40 mph winds- perfect east coast conditions. Arbor puts Grip-Tech on their rocker boards, which consists of four extra contact points, one at each heel and toe area of the board. This allows the rider to have the most edge hold when railing through turns and especially on hard and icy terrain. Our first ride for 2014 was the perfect testing ground for determining how well Grip-Tech works. In short, I was able rail over boilerplate without any side-washing on both heel and toe side turns. Grip-Tech is really a great feature to have on full rocker boards that can be hard to control in icy conditions. I had no problem holding steady through my turns on the ice and I will say it held an edge better than some magnetraction boards I have owned.
The rocker on the Coda has what Arbor refers to as a parabolic arc. That is, most of the rocker is located in the center region of the board and it gradually flattens out towards the tip and tail. This brings the tip and tail down closer to the snow so the outside contact points can engage more quickly as the board begins to turn. The rider benefits from the playful feel of the rocker without losing the edge hold and stability that the contact points provide. I felt really stable on this board at speed even over the highly variable conditions. Landing 180’s and 360’s in chop and ice was easy with this rocker profile and I can’t wait to ride it in powder where it will really shine.
The other feature specific to the 2014 Coda is the elongated, blunted tips. It reminds me of a spatula so that is what I call it because of how it narrows down and is squared-off at the end. The idea behind this unique shape is to allow snow to release uninhibited around the outside of the nose. This means that if you are riding through powder, especially wet powder, you will not be plowing through it and having it pile up in front of your board, which slows you down and makes over all powder riding more difficult. The other benefit of this nose is to provide a stable platform for doing tricks where you are pressing and buttering. Doing 360 butters was so easy and automatic I was making myself dizzy. A softer flexing board will be more ideal for park features but the Coda is still great for the occasional rail and box hit.
To summarize: the 2014 Arbor Coda is the perfect type of board for me for these reasons:
- It is an all-in-one board. I can take it anywhere in any type of condition or terrain and I will be stoked on it. I like riding one board for everything.
- It is stable at speed but also playful. I am basically an all-mountain freestyle guy. I like going fast as hell but I am also always popping and spinning off of whatever natural features I can find and buttering around and bonking random shit. The Coda is flexy enough and stiff enough through the middle to satisfy both styles.
- Powder is my domain of choice and the full rocker profile provides the perfect platform for pow riding, but being on the “ice” coast I need a board that can handle the worst conditions. The Coda has really great edge hold and lets me do my thing without having to worry about sketching out all the time.
Arbor has done an awesome job with their “System” series boards. If you ever want to check out the Coda get in touch with me and we can hook up at Okemo most any Sunday-Monday (contact us beforehand as we may be riding somewhere else) and I’ll let you take it for a spin. I think a lot of people will really dig this board.