Snowboarding is an incredibly addictive sport for riders both new and experienced. Finding the perfect powder and having that first great run can be an incredible feeling. As the rider begins to progress they begin to dream of having their own snowboard rather than renting the boards at many of the mountains.
Grabbing that first board can be one of the most overwhelming aspects since the first time going down the hill. With so many different choices on boards, the process can make any beginner want to quit before they ever really get started. As long as the selection is done one step at a time much of the confusion can be eliminated and the process can become pretty enjoyable.
The obvious first step to selecting a board is sizing the board. If a rider doesn’t have the proper snowboard size board then it can have a major impact on how well they ride. It can also determine how easy it is for them to make corrections and even do things as simple as steering the board. Think of it like a bicycle. Someone that is 300 pounds isn’t going to ride on a tiny bike with training wheels. The same is true with a snowboard. It is important to have the right snowboard size board not only to support the weight of the rider but the feet of the rider as well.
How to select the length for snowboard size?
Selecting the length of the board is something that is somewhat personal. This is because there is no true method for selecting the perfect board for each and every rider. Since each rider is going to have a different stance, different level of aggression, and will even ride on different types of snow. Determining length is something that is learned over time with experience using a board. Often times the first board is about finding a board that will support the weight of the rider and gives them the ability to perform. Once a rider gets used to a board they can then make adjustments to their riding style with future boards.
Determining the snowboard size is all dependent upon what type of riding the board is going to be used for. Someone that is doing freestyle is going to want a board that is much smaller than someone that is riding free-ride. Think about it this way, someone that is going to need to move the board quickly is going to want a board that is lighter and easier to maneuver.
Those that are simply riding down the mountain are going to want a board with better snow coverage and better stability. For the typical new rider, it is probably a good idea to use a free-ride or all-mountain board and select a snowboard size that is meant to cover a little more snow. This will make staying upright much easier.
For a general snowboard size, it is a good idea to consider weight. Some like to select boards based on the height of the rider, but height doesn’t impact the ride of the board where weight can make a major difference.
FREE-RIDE: Start at 70 pounds and 134 CM, add 3 centimeters for every 10 pounds up to 160, then add 1 centimeter for every 10 pounds
FREESTYLE: Start at 70 pounds and 129 CM, add 3 centimeters for every 10 pounds up to 160, then add 1 centimeter for every 10 pounds
So, with the above model if you weigh 200 pounds then you would simply take 160 – 70 to get 90 which is 9 sets of 3 centimeters, which is 27 centimeters. You add that to the base of 134 centimeters to get 161. You then add 4 more centimeters for the additional 40 pounds to get 165 centimeters.
For a newer rider or one that wants a little more mobility, it may be a good idea to subtract a centimeter or two to give a little less weight to the board. This will still create a board long enough but will give slightly more movement to the board.
Again, this method isn’t an exact science and one that will be played with throughout a lifetime of snowboarding. In fact, many riders have numerous boards of a variety of different lengths. It is rare to find someone that sticks with the same size continually.
How to select the width for snowboard size?
When selecting a board width it is a little more cut and dry than the length of the board. For this simply look at your boot size. If you wear a boot that is 12 or higher then it is probably a good idea to use a wider board. Those that are sitting right at 11-13 have the ability to either have a wider or narrower board depending upon their own preference.
If a board is too wide for a foot carving is going to be a lot more difficult. If the board is too narrow for a foot then balance and stability are going to be difficult and toe drag could become an issue. The width of the board is all about eliminating toe drag while creating a narrower board that can be easily carved.