Whether you're considering buying your first snowboard or are an experienced rider, finding the right board for you will make all the difference in how you perform and, most importantly, enjoy yourself.
To make the task a bit easier for you, we'll examine the different types of snowboards you can get - and, most importantly, how to figure out which is the perfect board for you.
Understanding how different board types suit different terrain or riding styles is essential when you're in the market for a snowboard. It's vital that you do a bit of homework, so you can narrow down your search to the most suitable board for you.
Choosing a suitable board will often depend on your riding style. You might not have settled on one yet if you are starting out, but this guide will take you through some of the options.
A freestyle snowboard is ideal for beginners as they are short, light, and flexible. They are also suited to snowboard parks, pipes, and rails thanks to their shorter size and softer flex that are great for quick maneuvering.
All-mountain boards are the most versatile option that can perform in any terrain or style. These boards are great for beginners who want to try a bit of everything before deciding on what they want to focus on.
Freeride snowboards tend to be on the longer side and are usually a directionally shaped board (built for riding in one direction) and are perfect for downhill riding.
They can handle high speeds and are better for intermediate to expert-level riders.
Long, narrow stiff boards provide the edge holding ability and stability needed for freecarve snowboarding.
Freecarving involves maneuvering between gates and poles - it's a popular sport at the Winter Olympics.
If you're lucky enough to live somewhere that enjoys regular, heavy snowfall, powder snowboards could be for you.
They are built for deep snow and keep the rider from sinking and losing speed or control.
Splitboards are snowboards that split into two to become skis. This gives the rider more maneuverability, and the ability to walk uphill.
The shape and flex of your board will determine what you will be able to do on it, so it's important to choose carefully.
True twin boards have the same shape and flex in both the nose and the tail end - this gives you the opportunity to have an equal amount of nose and tail with the centered mounting inserts.
This also has an identical shape and flex in nose and tail, a cantered stance, and taper from tip to tail. It is possible that you will find more camber under the back binding and more rocker under the front.
You will find the tip and tail are the same shapes, but they will have an improved edge hold thanks to the deeper sidecut on the heel edge.
Bindings can be mounted on centered mounting inserts, offering an equal amount of nose and tail flex.
Directional boards give the rider a more set back stance with a longer nose that has a softer flex than the stiffer tail.
Snowboard flex ratings go from soft flex, medium to soft, medium, medium to stiff, and stiffer flex. Different flex options favor certain styles as shown below;
The profile of a board takes into account how it appears when you view it side-on. Here are the profile options that you will come across when searching for a new snowboard;
A camber profile is where the tip and tail are upturned, and the center of the board is slightly raised, so it does not make contact with the ground. This helps with speed and stability on packed snow or trails.
The name rocker comes from its similarity in appearance to rocking chair rails as it curves at nose and tail with the center point in contact with the ground. This is great for park experience and use on rails and gives the rider greater maneuverability. It is also best for staying on top of fresh, soft snow.
A flatbase profile is best for carving. As you might imagine, this board has a completely flat base giving the rider one long point of contact with the ground.
Rocker camber combo boards attempt to take the best of both worlds - this does give the rider some advantages, but they can be difficult to master.
We recommend: Camber vs Rocker Snowboards - Which is best?
Now that we've gone through riding style and board types, let's look at the next most important factor in choosing the best snowboard for you- size. Here are the most important things you will have to consider when selecting your snowboard size.
Weight is a big factor in the performance of a board. If you're too heavy or too light for a particular board, you won't get the best performance from it, so it's important to do your research.
The good thing about this is that the majority of snowboard manufacturers now publish the advised weight range for their boards. This will allow you to check whether it will be suitable while browsing.
Snowboard companies tend to consider the weight of your gear separately, as boots, helmets, and clothing can be quite heavy. The weight advised will be your normal weight.
It is a popular misconception among people new to snowboarding that there is a direct correlation between the size of the person and the size of the snowboard. Though this is a factor, it's definitely not as straightforward as that.
Depending on your ability level, you should be looking at different sized boards within the options available to you based on weight, height, and boot size.
The height of the rider will make a difference to the size of the board needed as they are likely (but not guaranteed) to weigh more and have a wider stance. Your stance will have a big part to play in how comfortable you are on the board, as well as your balance.
Similar issues will be found for shorter riders as they try to find a snowboard that suits them. Here's the snowboard size chart that you'll need to determine the best size snowboard for you.
|Rider Height (Imperial)||Rider Height (Metric)||Snowboard Length (cm)|
|>4'11"||>150 cm||140 cm|
|5'0"||152 cm||143 cm|
|5'1"||155 cm||145 cm|
|5'2"||157 cm||146 cm|
|5'3"||160 cm||147 cm|
|5'4"||163 cm||149 cm|
|5'5"||165 cm||150 cm|
|5'6"||168 cm||151 cm|
|5'7"||170 cm||152 cm|
|5'8"||173 cm||153 cm|
|5'9"||175 cm||154 cm|
|5'10"||178 cm||155 cm|
|5'11"||180 cm||156 cm|
|6'0"||183 cm||157 cm|
|6'1"||185 cm||158 cm|
|6'2"||188 cm||159 cm|
|6'3"||191 cm||160 cm|
|6'4"||193 cm||161 cm|
|6'5"+||196 cm+||162 cm+|
Finding the right board length requires taking information about your height and weight and checking the charts below. These estimates provide you with the length of board that is, on average, best for someone of your size that is at an intermediate level or above.
From here, you will be able to make adjustments depending on your ability and the riding style you prefer, so you'll be able to search for the right size for the type of board you are interested in.
Beginners will be better opting for a shorter board within their size range, as would park or freestyle riders, whereas all-mountain, free-riders, and powder snowboarders would be better with a longer board, as would someone above average weight.
The boot size will determine the waist width of your board. You will want a very slight overhang from your toes and heels, but not enough that they would hit the snow causing toe and heel drag.
Your boots hanging slightly over the edges of the board helps with leverage and modulate the pressure you apply with your ankles.
It can be difficult to judge this with manufacturers having slightly different sizing or styles which could make a difference to the overhang.
Generally speaking, you might find that the guide below gives you a fair idea of what to expect;
|Boot Size (US Men)||N/A||5.0-7.5||7.5-9.0||9.0-10.0||10.0-11.0||11+|
|Boot Size (US Women)||>6.0||6.0-8.5||8.5-10.0||10.0+||N/A||N/A|
|Boot Size (EU Men)||N/A||38-40.5||40.5-42.0||42.0-43.0||43.0-44.0||44.0+|
|Boot Size (EU Women)||>35.5||35.5-38.0||38.0-39.5||39.5+||N/A||N/A|
|Boot Size (UK Men)||N/A||4.5-7.0||7.0-8.5||8.5-9.5||9.5-10.5||10.5+|
|Boot Size (UK Women)||>4.0||4.0-6.5||6.5-8.0||8.0+||N/A||N/A|
|Board Width (mm)||225-235||236-245||246-250||251-254||255-259||260+|
|Width Group||Narrow / Women's||Regular||Mid-Wide||Wide|
There are five materials boards are made from- each offers something different that needs to be considered when shopping for snowboards.
Your stance may impact what size of board you need - taller riders tend to have a wider stance width, whilst shorter riders are more narrow.
Your stance will be determined by how you feel most comfortable, and you will naturally feel more comfortable leading with one foot or another.
Leading with your left foot forward is known as a regular stance, whereas leading with your right foot is called a goofy stance.
Depending on your favored riding style, different binding options include;
This again will come down to your preferred style of riding as well as what you find most comfortable.
Stiff snowboard boots offer the wearer more stability and are suited to freeriding, while softer booters are more flexible and suit freestyle.