How to select the right snowboard
It’s sometimes hard to buy the right snowboard. Even for people who have been riding for more then 10 years sometimes have trouble Choosing the right snowboard. It’s even harder when you are a beginner and you are wondering what the best board for a beginner would be. So That’s why we wrote this article.
Selecting a snowboard can be a complex process. A rider looking to purchase a board needed to decide according to the shape – freestyle, freeride, all mountain, stiffness, length, waist size – important for big feet, and graphics of course. Now brands are adding a new dimension: camber profiles!
Some brands offer up to 5 different profiles: classical positive camber, camber for powder, reverse camber only in between the feet, reverse with flat base under the feet, and some hybrid camber to round it up. It’s sometime summarized as S, V, U W camber shapes. How do I choose a board now? The simple rule with reverse camber / rocker snowboards is that they make all areas of your riding easier because the boards are more forgiving. Powder floats higher, Park less edge contact and Freestyle disengage the edges quicker. When it comes to Freeride, camber / rocker can be less stable at high speeds due to its reduced edge contact.
In 1985 boards were all rocker, but classical positive camber became the standard simply because it just works better, then the original rocker designs.
Lib and Gnu call it Banana Technology. Their boards bow from the middle to the tip (there are variations between models). One feature that Lib Tech and Gnu also offer on all their Banana Technology designs, Magnetraction which is like a serrated edge to increase its edge ability to cut though hard pack and ice.
Burton, K2 and Ride call their version Rocker, the difference being that their boards are flat between the bindings and rise from the binding to the tip (there are variations between models).
A quick starting point for board length is to have it reach somewhere between the tip of your chin and the top of your hairline when standing the board in front of you. The board you most enjoy riding, however, may not fall within that range. Typically, a jib board for rails and flatground tricks will be a little shorter. A board intended purely for powder riding or for high speed carving down groomed runs will be a little longer. Reverse camber boards in powder are easier to keep on top of the powder, so you can get away with a smaller board in powder. A heavier set person will often be better off with a little longer board, whereas a small framed person may end up happier on a shorter board.
Personal preference is a huge factor in the flex of the board you select. Stiffer boards are typically used for higher speeds, carving, or pipe riding. Softer boards are preferred for beginners. It is easier to initiate a turn with a softer board, while stiffer boards will hold an edge at a higher speed.
The width of the board should be fit to your boot size and stance angles. Typically, boots size 12 (mens) and larger should be on a board designated as wide. For maximum response, a width that allows the toe and heel of the boot to sit up to an inch over the edge of the board is ideal. The combination of the curve of the boot sole and the rise from the binding baseplate will eliminate the possibility of heel or toe drag.
Boards come in many shapes. This may not be obvious at a glance, but there are several possibilities. The most common shapes are twin and directional. A twin shaped board is one that is symmetrical tip and tail with sidecut that is the same at either end. Twin shaped boards are great for park and pipe riding, and are easier to ride switch (rear foot first). A directional board has a longer tail than nose and often has progressive sidecut, where the radius is not one consistent curve from tip to tail. Directional boards are more often used for freeriding.
There are also tapered, swallowtail, and other shapes.
Taper refers to the difference in width between tip and tail of the board. Tapered boards are ideal for powder because the narrower tail will sink more easily, allowing to nose of the board to stay at or above the surface. Tapered boards also work well for carving on groomed runs, but don’t work as well for riding switch.
If you like to ride with a really wide stance or a really narrow stance, then you will want to check the stance options on the board. All boards have inserts to attach the bindings to the board, and there will be a range of widths possible using those inserts. Besides width, there is also setback to consider. Many boards come with the inserts set back 1? or more from a centered stance, but the bindings can still be mounted on center. Conversely, for boards with the inserts centered on a board, bindings can still be mounted off center.