How To Choose Your Board
Want to feel comfortable walking into your local shop and picking out the perfect board? Arm yourself with knowledge. Read on, and you'll know exactly how even the most experienced riders choose their sticks.
Just like your average supermodel, snowboarders are always concerned about their waist width. Only in this case, waist width (WW) refers to the skinniest part of the board, right between the bindings. Pick a board with the narrowest WW you can get away with for your boot size, as a board that is too wide is harder to get on edge and initiate turns-resulting in a slow, sluggish ride-and a board that is too narrow creates toe and heel drag, which slows you down and makes it difficult to carve turns.
As a general rule, standing on end, your board should come somewhere between your chest and your eyes (Fig. 1), although weight is the most accurate way to determine board size. But board length is more a matter of personal preference, so take a look at how you want your board to perform. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the park and pipe, a shorter board will allow for increased maneuverability and a lower swing weight resulting in faster, easier spins. If riding the entire mountain sounds like your thing, a longer board will provide the stability you'll need to rip at high speeds over varied terrain. We've also provided suggested weight ranges for each board that give you a general idea of what size board you could ride.
Mix up a little core profile, flex and torsion, and you get the overall feel of the board.
Core Profile: The core profile is basically the side view of the snowboard that determines where the board's core is thicker and thinner. Each board has a different core shape, or profile, that helps determine its flex and ride characteristics.
Flex: The core profile in combination with the fiberglass laminate creates the overall flex of the board. Flex isn't very important. Just kidding. Flex affects super-important things like turning, edge hold and ollies. (Fig. 2)
Torsion: This refers to how a board twists along the center axis. A board with a softer torsion will be more forgiving for landing tricks and buttering, but a stiffer torsion will provide a more responsive ride and help your edge hold through a fast turn. (Fig. 3)
1) Your board should be as narrow as you can get away with for your boot size.
2) Standing on end, your board should come somewhere between your chest and your eyes, depending on your riding style.
3) You should flex the board, eyeball the core profile and keep in mind how the stiffness affects the overall ride.
4) Ok, NOW you can look at the graphics, because we spend a lot of time working on those, too.
A snowboard, boots and bindings are typically referred to as a "setup." The purpose of this section is to provide you with the information you need to find your setup, and have a good time riding it.
1) Try before you buy. Snowboarding is all about feel. It'll take you a while to figure out your personal style, so rent, demo product and see what works for you.
2) Find a balance of quality and what you can afford, and you'll be riding all season, skipping work and considering moving to the mountains for the winter. Go too cheap, and you might actually convince yourself skiing is more fun.
3) It's ok to strap into your new setup and jump around the living room. We've all done it.