Riding a halfpipe on a snowboard and adding some creative flair isn’t an easy accomplishment.
I mean, speeding along a flat bottom of a pipe, gripping up the walls, managing lightning-quick responses, and weightless airtime are just but some of the qualities you need if you want to push your abilities in the pipe.
But with a decent halfpipe snowboard, half of the task is already done.
See, the best halfpipe snowboards can effectively hold their edge on the wall while maintaining stability when pumping from one side to another.
Pipe-specific snowboards are also designed to gain and maintain speed, allowing you to boost into the air at the top vertical pipe.
This is not to mention the best halfpipe snowboards are stiffer, with a more technical flex rating, and will allow you to pick a line and commit while protecting your ankle.
But with so many options in the market, choosing the best halfpipe snowboard can be intimidating. The good news is we’re here to help.
In the text below, we’ll review the best halfpipe snowboards that will help you hold a line. I’ll also share with you a comprehensive buying guide outlining everything to consider in your next purchase.
Table of Contents
The Best Halfpipe Snowboards For The Money
#1 Yes. Basic Snowboard - EDITOR'S CHOICE
Our top pick, the Yes Basic ensures you enjoy your pipe from one pipe wall to the other.
It’s a great pick for the intermediates to advanced pipe riders looking to gain confidence on a slightly more forgiving board.
And as its name suggests, the Basic sticks to its humble origins and adopts a “less is more” approach that encourages the riders to do the talking.
However, it’s an all-mountain quiver killer and has some unique tech going on here.
But how does it perform as a pipe board?
Features and Benefits
One of the things I love with the Yes. Basic is the construction.
The energetic, full Poplar wood strikes a balance between lightness, durability, and flex.
Riders say the board’s composition allows them to enjoy jumping and sliding on the vertical slide of the pipe with the trust of sticking heavier landings.
Basic’s lightness also means it’s easier to pack the snowboard in your snowboarding gear.
Yes. Basic’s flex is a little too soft for my taste in the tip/tail when it comes to buttering. But the flex between the feet is fine.
It has an upper-medium flex rating of 6/10, which many riders feel is stiff enough for a stable snowboarding experience, and predictable on hard snow in the pipe.
Yet, it doesn’t sacrifice the board’s playfulness in other parts of the park.
It holds its line well, and you’ll love how stable it feels even at speed.
And one thing to remember with all Yes boards is the flex rating is a bit stiffer than it actually is. So, it’s always a good idea to take on a board and bump them down 1-2 notches flex-wise.
Shape and Camber Profile
Yes. Boards sport a true twin shape with a centred stance and hybrid camber profile.
How is the shape helpful in pipe snowboarding?
First, the camber acts as a shock absorber from the edges, loading up energy for later release. It’s a helpful feature for the halfpipe, where momentum is necessary for carrying you from one wall to the next.
On the other hand, the CamRock profile delivers sufficient grip and pop. Alongside the pockets of early rise in the nose and tail, the Yes. Basic provides both lifts in powder and some freestyle forgiveness around the contact points.
Finally, Yes. Basic’s base is sintered and damp, making it easy to maintain momentum from one side of the pipe to the other.
But from our experience, the pretty mellow snowboard doesn’t like to bomb. You’ll feel the board start to chatter underfoot when picking up speed. Nevertheless, it has a much better fit for our half pipe needs.
A basic feature on the Basic’s edges is a slight underbite, which increases grip on the snow without creating wavy, bread knife effects seen on some snowboard side cuts.
The indentions near the bindings are the exact opposite of the extensions to the sidecut, common with Magnatraction.
The technology makes it easy to slide along the halfpipe carves while eliminating the chances of losing an edge or even sliding out.
#2 Proto Ultra - Best for Big Air Prowess
Never Summer was designed for team rider Chris Corning’s powerful slopestyle and big air prowess.
It’s a unique freestyle powerhouse of a board, tailored for the freestyle riders that like to take the backcountry or the big air pipe moves.
Proto snowboard lets you dominate the park, halfpipe to groomers in your local mountain, and will also transform into a floater in the park or powder.
But we’re here to see how well it excels on the half-pipe, and one thing you can be sure of is it’s going to put a smile on your face every day of the season.
Features and Benefits
Our first impression was Proto Ultra was built with power and strength in mind.
The choice of material is nice and will push the board’s performance to new levels.
A mix of WooBoo core and Carbon Max Laminates equals more power and performance.
The advanced top and bottom matrix maximizes response and strength where it’s needed most. This result is a lightweight yet powerful configuration that promotes torsional rigidity and energy transfer without sacrificing the control a rider needs, especially when performing tricks.
Never Summer rates the flex of Proto Ultra at 8/10 and 6/10 for damping.
It’s a stiff freestyle snowboard, but even at the highest rating, you’ll be surprised at how the board flexes.
The extra carbon X core with harmonic dampeners is critical at balancing the flex while enhancing the overall stability during halfpipe sliding and jumps.
The snowboard doesn’t feel that stiff; instead, it delivers a great balance between durable, stiff, and poppy.
It’ll, however, stand up to the riders that prefer a stiffer flex when snowboarding.
Shape and Camber Profile
The Proto Ultra is a true twin, and as with Yes Basic, it has a hybrid rocker.
The rockered profile, labelled as the Shock Wave Rocker, gives you the shock of explosive power and the fluid feel of riding a wave.
When riding a wave, the profile makes you feel as if you’re surfing the wave, and it cuts through hard snow with precision while holding a strong edge.
Another distinctive feature of the Pro Ultra’s shape is the extended transition area.
The snowboard has a distinct look with a much wider waist width, at 26.0cm than most freestyle boards in this category.
The added flat section feels well balanced, which improves both turn initiation and powder floatation.
Vario Power Grip Sidecut
Pro Ultra’s Vario Power Grip Sidecut grippy mechanisms utilize multiple radii to create extra contact points for enhanced edge hold.
A flat section in the rocker area between the feet provides a broad contact point when flexed while allowing the board to track straight and not catch when unbent.
The Durasurf XT Base is an exclusive, super-fast, and durable sintered base. It sports just the right amount of graphite to make your halfpipe slides even more explosive and powered.
#3 Salomon Assassin Snowboard - Best for Spin and Hops
The Salomon Assassin, with a world cup base material, hand-selected wood core, and more dampening material, is a top-of-the-line ride.
Its smaller size and super-light materials make it a great pick for snowboarders who love to spin and land switch in the halfpipe.
Features and Benefits
The first thing I noticed and liked was the flex.
While it’s hard to describe, it’s just above the middle of the road flex and smooth, with no major points in the flex that the board kicks and snaps back sharply.
Salomon’s rating puts the flex at 8/10, and this makes for a technical ride and provides stability when pumping from one side of the pipe to the other.
While a bit stiffer than other options on our list of the best halfpipe snowboards, it has a decent amount of pop, so you don’t need much work to get a solid twist and drive from it.
The Assassin rails are nimble, with tons of better ability.
Running and picking speeds when going downhill, the pipe feels right at home.
The handling also improves the overall versatility of the snowboard. Apart from halfpipes, it can also handle the handrails like a champ.
Shape and Camber Profile
Salomon freestyle is shaped to meet the demands of halfpipe snowboarding.
First, it’s twin-shaped with a hybrid camber profile.
I’m a big fan of this design as it works to enhance stability and load up some pop.
It also has a stiffer flex, and alongside the board’s shape, it helps to maintain nimbleness on icy snow, making it an ideal pick for approaching the lip of a pipe. It’s equally wide to offer a solid landing platform.
Salomon is also unique in that it has a directional flex. It’s an important characteristic as it offers maximum power at high speeds. Yet, it maintains easy controllability and allows for an easy ride and switch.
I had no problems with the hold of the Assassin, and even at high speeds, it feels solid throughout the whole turn.
Assassin’s sidecut mechanism offers an ultra-strong edge hold and controlled high-speed turning.
Even on the icy and hard snow, it still manages to avoid grabbing onto snow when you don’t want it to.
It’s pretty easy to ride fast on the Assassin.
First, the base feels nice and fast on the cold, dry snow.
And more importantly, swapping edges is fine at high speed and allows you to jam along without getting too chattery for what it is.
#4 GNU Pro Choice - Best for Women
Gnu Pro choice is a freestyle board designed for snowboarding fast off bigger pipes than simply messing around on jibs and side hits.
It’s the number one choice for women’s pipe snowboard and is tailored for hard packs and icy snow. It also holds an edge like no other.
Features and Benefits
The Pro Choice has a medium-stiff flex of 7/10, and it feels exactly how a step up should feel; it gives a dynamic and more aggressive feel to the snow.
At the same time, it feels lively and poppy, especially in the softened snow.
During the in-runs, you’ll appreciate its stability and solidness as you’re landing.
While I wouldn’t recommend it for an all-out jib board, but for everything else, this freestyle board would be my number one choice.
Shape and camber profile
I’ve always been wary of hybrid profiles, but this ladies choice changed my mind as it knocks everything out of the park.
The Pro-Choice asymmetrical twin profile with a hybrid rocker profile is unique for pipe snowboarding. It gives the rider extra contact on the heel edge when riding up the backside of the halfpipe.
It feels easier to press onto the board and popping into a jump as the Pro-Choice gives you a lower activation angle and a better balance on your heelside.
Another awesome feature is what GNU calls the C3 profile.
It’s a hybrid rocker with a mild rocker between the feet but with a more pronounced camber section on either side of the feet.
It rides closer to a traditional cambered snowboard in terms of grip, stability, and pop. These key elements are essential for reducing the loose feeling common to the rockered board and important if you’re hurtling towards a jump at high speeds.
GNU Pro Choice is a twin shape with a centred stance, so it’s automatically easy to ride switch.
Combined with the asymmetrical profile, the GNU makes the toe and heel side feel more natural, and more importantly, allows you to snowboard the board in all directions.
Based on the specifications and customer reviews, GNU is an ideal board for the halfpipe.
The proprietary Magna Traction Edges in the form of serrated edges cut well into the hard snow and will keep you well in control of the pipe.
The serrated edges also have great hold, important for climbing the icy halfpipe.
GNU isn’t fast but not slow either.
It has a nice base, allowing it to glide well through flats, and it’s easy to snowboard reasonably fast before it starts to chatter or gets wobbly.
#5 Emsco Group – Supra Hero Snowboard - Great for Beginners
For entry-level riders aged 5 to 15 expressing great interest in halfpipe snowboarding, the Supra Hero from the Emsco Group is one of the best boards to help them progress through their desired level.
But how does it fair on big air and as a halfpipe snowboard?
Features and Benefits
Solid Core Construction
What makes the Supra Hero a great choice for kids practising their basics are the excellent beginner-friendly features it comes with.
They enhance the comfort for the young learners and greatly assist them through the beginner stages as they warm-up for the challenging big-mountain terrains and the park conditions.
One of the reasons we recommend it for beginners is the ergonomic design.
Supra’s construction not only suits kids but it enhances their comfort when sliding the sides on the halfpipe and makes the learning process easier and fun.
Generally, a board’s flex determines how forgiving and manoeuvrable a board is while snowboarding.
While stiffer, less flexible boards are excellent for halfpipe use and picking up momentum, it’s better to opt for flexible boards for kids.
The Supra has a low flex, which helps for a more forgiving experience on big air, even when mistakes are made.
It’s also lighter and makes it easier for the kids to control and manoeuvre the board.
But make no mistake, the Supra doesn’t sacrifice the piping performance.
Rather, it has a decent sliding experience and is more forgiving when landing on the flat.
Shape and Profile
As with most snowboards on our list, the best snowboards for halfpipe, Supra, have a hybrid, cambered deck.
It’s a useful design for the halfpipe, especially where momentum is needed to carry you from one wall to the next.
The hybrid profile also delivers sufficient grip and pop and has some awesome lifts in powder and freestyle forgiveness on the contact points.
Adjustable Step-in Bindings
We can’t talk about the good things that come with Supra without mentioning its adjustable step-in bindings.
These bindings can be adjusted to fit kids of all ages for better comfort and greater usability.
Comfort aside, these bindings are greatly helpful at enhancing the safety of your kids as it ensures their feet are always attached to the board as they descend the slopes.
Best Halfpipe Snowboards Buying Guide
Before you start, keep in mind that a halfpipe isn’t beginner’s terrain.
You’ll need an excellent edge and turning control before trying your first turn.
Ensure you can snowboard fakies since you’ll probably do it a lot of the time; it helps with the transitions between the flats and the walls.
Finally, to make your runs less trying, start a bit further down the pipe.
Before we look at what to consider on a halfpipe board, let’s see another common style of snowboarding, closely related to halfpipe; the slopestyle.
What is a Slopestyle?
Slopestyle snowboarding is a winter sport and a freestyle form of snowboarding.
This style involves an athlete on a snowboard riding on a course with different obstacles.
Unlike the regular snowboarding style, slopestyle is focused more on the technical elements instead of on speed.
Difference between Halfpipe and Slopestyle
Slopestyle is more popular than any other snowboarding style, including the halfpipe.
Mainly, this style is popular over the halfpipe because of two main reasons, easier accessibility and more features to train on.
While the halfpipe is a great snowboard style, it’s expensive to build and maintain any other winter board style.
The halfpipe style also focuses on a limited range of techniques.
On the other hand, slopestyle is easy to build and has plenty of techniques to practice.
Features of Good Pipe Boards
Pipe riders looking for reliable edge hold and technical controls should look for a board with these elements.
Board length depends on the rider’s preferences, but generally, the regular or slightly shorter boards than backcountry snowboards work best.
I’m a big fan of the regular boards because they’ve better stability, especially at speed when pumping up the walls or approaching and landing jumps.
On the other hand, the slightly shorter boards make swinging the back of the board around easier, especially when spinning above the lip and maintaining the line. These boards are best suited for the advanced riders switching in the halfpipe.
Stiff Flex Rating
Generally, pipers love boards with stiffer flex between the feet, transitioning into a softer flex towards the tips and tails.
Stiffer boards (6/10) feature a more technical and energetic core for better edge control and pop for approaching and landing pops airs at vertical angles and speed.
Shape and Camber Profile
Halfpipe snowboards are generally symmetrically, and this allows for easy switch riding.
The best pipe boards are true twins with a symmetrical nose and tail.
But the best profile for optimal edge hold is the hybrid camber. With a great edge hold, your board will benefit from extra pop in big air, which is essential for carving off the halfpipe lip and taking on the fast and powerful spins.
The heavier and more powerful riders may prefer hybrid profile boards as they allow pressing into the board’s base to achieve incredible edge hold and precise riding.
Additionally, the ideal halfpipe board should sport a medium-shaped sidecut arc with a deep radius to easily initiate the sharper turns and spin in big air.
But keep in mind that progressive sidecuts let the board respond differently depending on the turning stage and are typically not desirable for halfpipe boards.
Boots and Bindings for the Halfpipe
Similar to how stiffer boards offer more edge control, stiffer bots also help with the precise edge across the walls while providing safe support for big landings.
Stiff boots are critical as they help you commit to spins and jumps without the worry of washing out landings while offering a support mechanism for your ankles and feet.
I prefer matching my stiff boots with stiff binding with a solid highback to make my riding experience more technical and responsive.
The binding highbacks should sit flush against your ankles and are vital in transmitting power and maintaining control on your heel and toe edges, even in big air.
Also, boots with an adjustable forward lean angle of the bindings make it easier to hold a stiff edge line while improving the overall responsiveness of your heel edge.
Riding a Halfpipe on Your Snowboard
Halfpipe snowboarding isn’t an easy accomplishment, but possible if you put in the hard work, determination, and patience.
However, it’s best to take it slow when learning to process the steps and avoid injuries.
And in the section below, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on riding a halfpipe on a snowboard safely and with more confidence.
When going up the backside wall, we recommend staying perpendicular to maintain a smooth riding experience.
Additionally, maintain a low and centred stance while always anticipating the hop turn in big air.
Maintaining a proper position helps keep your knees relaxed, preventing you from getting caught up in triangle knees.
The drop-in is one of the essential elements of riding a halfpipe on a snowboard.
When executed correctly, a drop-in guides your run.
Ideally, your drop should come in from the air as opposed to the outside of your pipe. Riding parallel to the wall could increase your speed due to the height.
You must also avoid touching the wall when you’re flat.
When going up the wall, avoid looking at the coping.
Many snowboarders give in to this fear, and the distractions push them off the wall and lead to a fall.
Looking up at the sky can prevent a rider from focusing on coping.
Ideally, you should trust your pipe as it’ll carry you and reduce your risk of landing in the flat after a jump.
By allowing it to carry you naturally, you don’t have to push off the wall.
What works well for one rider may not necessarily work for you.
Therefore, it’s always good to know your limits when riding a halfpipe.
There’re numerous factors to consider such as the type of boards and type of slope.’
For example, flexible boards are better at absorbing impact, especially when the snow is soft.
Also, consider getting comfortable and safe body armour, especially if you’re a beginner.
Snowboarding Gold Medal Olympic Winners
Shaun White leads the packs for the male athletes with the most gold medals at Winter Ski Olympics with three gold medals.
Other successful snowboarders of all time at the Winter Olympics as of 2018 by the number of gold medals are:
- Vic Wild (Rus)-2 gold medals
- Seth Wescott (USA)- 2 gold medals
- Pierre Vaultier (Fran) – 2 gold medals
- Phillip Schoch (SUI) – 2 gold medals
Best Halfpipe Snowboard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who is the number 1 snowboard rider?
A: Shaun White.
Born on September 3, 1968, White has been skateboarding since he was 17 years old, and became an Olympic Champion and won a Winter X Games gold medal when he was only 19 years old.
Shaun is a decorated athlete, with 18 medals, 13 gold of them gold; 8 gold, 2 silver in SuperPipe, 5 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze in Slopestyle.
He also holds the record for the most X Games gold medal holders.
Q: Who is the best snowboard rider right now?
A: According to ranker, the best snowboarders are those that make a mark in the halfpipe contest, and they include:
1) Mark McMorris
2) Shaun White
3) Maxence Parrot
4) Ståle Sandbech
5) Torstein Horgmo
6) Scotty James
7) Chloe Kim
Anna Gasser and Chloe Kim are the most decorated women, athletes competing in snowboarding and big air events.
Q: Does Shaun White still snowboard?
A: Yes, according to NBC Sports, Shaun White returned to the snowboarding competition in March 2021 in preparation for the 2020 Olympic qualifying events.
Q: What snowboard is best for tricks?
A: The best snowboard for tricks isn’t any different from a longboard or skateboard for tricks. A snowboard for tricks should be short, snappy, and with a solid flex.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Yes, Basic is our winner for the best half-pipe snowboards.
We choose this option because it has plenty of features to support halfpipe sliding.
It’s also a performance-oriented solution that will also fulfil the needs of seasoned snowboarders.
It can maintain speed for long, has great edge control, and will keep you stable even when sliding down the pipe.
This is not to mention it comes at a budget-friendly price and within reach of most snowboarders.