For some reason people assume if you aren’t a “pro” rider you don’t know shit about snowboards. Its almost as if you didn’t at one point in your life kill it you’re an uncredible source. Its something I’ve come across numerous times with writing reviews and when people find out I’m a product tester.
The fact of the matter is a good rider is only in how you perceive it. I hear it day in and day out from people that they’re “expert” or “great” riders. Does it necessarily mean its true? We’re all entitled to believe what we want. My typical response when someone asks me how good I am is, “I can get down the hill”. It’s a pretty open answer and leaves people to interpret it how they would like.
Pro riders make up such a small percentage of the riding populace and they aren’t the average rider. Hence why gear is more directly related to the end consumer than the pro rider. So in that respect who would you rather have giving direct feedback on a product? A pro rider that could ride a lunch tray down the hill or someone that is a solid rider and in tune with a product? My guess is you would want someone that can comprehend why a board rides a certain way and would tell a company how to fix any problems that it has.
There’s a reason companies do public demo’s besides getting the general public out on their product, its a great way to get feedback and change things. Think about that next time you’re demoing something, rather than saying yeah it was ok or eh I didn’t really like. Try to explain to the rep why it was the way it was. It puts the ball back into your court and helps get a better product out there for the masses.
When I’m out riding a product I try to see who it would appeal to and how it could be better. That’s why I put down the rider in mind its a gauge for people reading my reviews. When I’m dealing with a company I do the same thing. I also like to take a board out of what its geared for. Its interesting to see how a park stick handles pow or how a freeride board handles pipe. I think a lot of companies pigeon hole certain boards that are far more versatile. I also think that they market boards for terrain its not geared for.
What does make a good product tester? My belief is its someone that can relay why a product worked a certain way and how it felt on varying conditions. When I’m testing something I like to take the board and do a group of set things to check its consistancy against what I ride on my day to day. Everything I try to do is stuff an average rider would do.