2017 Core Choice 137 x 41.5 review

KW reviews a serious freestyle offering from Core

 

 

This test first appeared in Issue #86 in March 2017

 

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

The detailing, the finish, the channels, the careful use of carbon, the Choice looks like an absolute weapon and you’d be proud to own it. There are nine different stance settings and three pad insert options, so you can tell this is a serious board rider’s set-up and the inserts are also heavily reinforced for boots. We had the top-of-the-range Union Pro pad and strap combo with a faux leather feel on top of the strap and EVA footpads; the design is impeccably well manufactured with lots of grip feature detail, including a very effective toe-bar grip. Two Velcro pads close across the top of each foot strap with two further Velcro pads underneath those, allowing you to tighten in two positions over your instep and two positions over the outside of your foot. The set-up is quite stiff to begin with, but even after a few sessions the rubber starts to soften up nicely. Once you’ve got these worn in they’re going bed your foot in nicely and feel awesome.

 

 

The 42mm fins are drawn back and relatively flat; a good compromise between a deep freeride fin and a low profile freestyle fin shape. Core say that thanks to the detailed channelling in the bottom of the board for lateral resistance, if you want to ride the board finless with boots, there’s enough added grip there to do so. Riding with the fins in, the board also breaks loose easily enough, but usefully finds its grip easily again after landing, though a much looser grip than you’ll be used to coming off a dedicated freeride board. Once you start trying to land more tricks with your weight over the board, the Choice 2 will make more and more sense.

There’s an obvious stiffness through the middle that provides speed, but you do feel all the bumps in the road compared to the softer more freeride focused boards. This model feels big as a 137 in straps and that comes from the physical ride, but also thanks to the board’s natural drive and the momentum that it carries through chop and lulls.

 

 

The high end elements of the performance are exemplary, starting with the way the Choice 2 shoots up onto the plane and then when you get the right bit of rail in the water it rockets upwind. You don’t need loads of work on the legs when moderately powered to go upwind either; that heel channel seems to grip and then you can point and fly upwind with great efficiency for a board that has a generous rocker like this. This is a real asset for strapped riders. Many boards that are set up for boots are difficult to get this sort of rail purchase in straps, but that illustrates the balance of the Choice 2’s cross-over potential.

 

 

If you are wanting to step up in performance in everyday conditions, the Choice 2 will allow you to still cruise around, slash waves and enjoy a light weight board underfoot that’s easy on your abs for rotations grabs etc. but will be a more relevant choice than most other offerings for more dedicated freestyle / wakestyle progression.

Although it is more freestyle based, and more of a rough ride, there is still a freeride quality. The thicker rail works in combination with the fast, fairly stiff centred board as the gentle rail through the middle offers a smooth, progressive bite. It’s not as snappy as you might otherwise find in sharper freestyle boards. The Choice 2 is more of a step up in stiffness than the Apex and Ronson, but not quite as much as the Monarch. The impressive pop is easily accessed and controlled through the tips as long as you’re not too powered, at which point the Choice starts to get harder work on your legs, demanding more from you as a rider and this is where you’ll feel the strain the more inexperienced you are. Boots helps good riders become a more dominating influence over the board as conditions pick up.  

As a final fourish towards freeride, the pulled-in tips also mean that for a board that maintains width towards the tips, there’s no face spray at all and the Choice 2 is very easy to switch from heel to toe-side.

 

 

SUMMARY:

The Choice 2 is ideal for those seriously looking to step into freestyle, but don’t want to go all the way towards a heavy wakestyle load and pop machine. Offering good performance in either straps or boots, there’s still adequate freeride handling here, from carving to comfort within its range and easy amounts of grip. It’s got a softer feel than some more out-and-out freestyle machines, is playful, quick and with good flat grip it’s forgiving on landings when you get them a bit off centre.

 

KW LIKED:

Strong performance with enough softness to maintain some freeride comfort if you don’t want to be trying tricks on every run. This is a good example of a serious freestyle board that works well in straps and boots.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

The size is a bit misleading for a freerider. Be aware of how powered you like to ride with your kite and choose the size accordingly.

 

CHOICE BALANCE POINTS:

Build quality: 8.5

Fixtures and fitting: 7.5

Speed: 7

Pop: 8

Drive: 7

Flex: 6 (Flexi in the tips, stiff in the centre)

Comfort: 6.5

Looseness: 6

Grip: 7.5

Upwind: 6.5

Slider proof: (No slider proof base, which is why it’s still nice and light)

Boots applicable: Yes, very

Freeriding: 7

Freestyle: 8

Ease of use: 6 – for the average freerider. For a progressive rider who wants to ride ‘over the board’ – 8.5

 

SIZES: 142 x 42.5, 139 x 42, 137 x 41.5 and 134 x 41cm

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