Snowboards. They are awesome. And sexy as hell. You see that nice, curvy waist? oh yeah…
OK I don’t have a snowboard fetish. Swear I don’t. But they ARE pretty damn good looking things.
There are so many different types of snowboards these days in comparison to when the sport started off a few decades ago, its almost impossible to not make a mistake when you’re getting your first board without doing some study.
To make your riding much more enjoyable and progressive, you need the right board for you, and to find the right board you need to learn the following.
- board size
- camber type
- board flex
- base material
Lets start with board size.
Getting a right sized board for you is probably the most important part of choosing your board.
Boards should be approximately 20-15cm shorter than you, so around the height of between your chin and nose when you have the board standing in front of you.
Longer boards provide more stability at higher speeds, shorter boards are easier to maneuver.
Beginners will find it easier to learn on a shorter board because it gives you better control. This is different to surfing, larger and longer boards only give more stability to the rider at higher speeds. Therefore to have beginners on longer boards… they will find it hard to control the board and will end up hating snowboarding.
Board size also generally affects the type of snowboarding you are doing- freeriders will benefit from longer boards and park riders will benefit more from shorter boards. Its not the rule though, in the case of riders who like to hit large kickers, a longer board will help with stable landing.
The world of choosing your gear can be complex.. so you need to evaluate the your own style of riding to choose your gear accordingly.
Camber in a snowboard is the shape of the snowboard when seen from the side. Normal, standard camber has a bow shape where the middle of the snowboard is lifted from the ground with the areas close to the tail and nose touching the ground.
Recently, a whole load of new types of cambers were introduced by many companies. Below are just a few of those new camber types.
All these different types of cambers give you a different ‘feel’ when you ride and each of them can be suitable for certain style of riding.
For beginners, the reverse camber is probably the best since it is more forgiving (1 less contact point, less faceplants) and its easier to initiate turns.
Here is a breakdown of the pros/cons of each camber type (Im gonna put this on a separate page because this page is already gonna be loooong…).
CAMBER TYPES <- click me
Most boards have a flex rating of 1-10. It shows the hardness/softness of the board which is another important thing to consider when choosing a board. Soft boards are better for beginners because they are easier to control as they easily flex in response to the bindings. In contrast hard boards are better for advanced freeriders because they shake less under high speeds.
Most snowboard company websites should show each board’s flex rating. If you’re in a shop and the board does’nt have all the technical info on it or if you are getting a second hand board, you can test the flex of the board by holding the nose with one hand with the tail firmly planted by your foot on the ground and using the other hand to press the center of the board.
One last thing. There are two base materials; sintered and extruded.
Sintered bases are higher quality and more expensive. They’re also more expensive to fix but much faster than extruded boards when waxed, because sintered bases absorb more wax.
Extruded bases are cheaper and easier to fix but slower than waxed sintered bases. (Waxed extruded bases are faster than unwaxed sintered bases however).
Most boards these days seem to use sintered bases. Extruded bases can also be frequently seen but mostly in low-end boards or jib- focused boards as jibbing can damage or wear out the base much faster.
If you’re a beginner, the base material does’nt really matter that much in my opinion. I would recommend sintered though, if you’re practicing on a mountain with a few flat areas then nicely waxed sintered boards will get you through those flats way easier than extruded bases.
I can see how a beginner could think oh, but I’m only a beginner, I’d rather not slide too fast when I’m only trying to learn…
Nope, still recommend sintered. If you go too slow, it would be hard to learn linking turns.
(Also, on a relatively related note, when I was young I bought some rollerblades. I got the ones with plastic wheels cause someone said that rubber wheels were faster and I was scared that Id get out of control and go too fast on the rubber ones. After I went for a ride with them on though, I wished that I got the rubber ones… because the plastic one was so freaking loud on the concrete!
Lesson was learned. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SPEED).
If you’re a speed junkie go with sintered and make sure you keep your board nicely waxed at all times. Its worth it.