Choosing the right snowboard requires you to go through certain aspects. The main factors you should consider before buying a new board is your ability, riding style and desired terrain.
It is also important to understand the different properties of a board and apply these to the different riding style you are looking for. The different properties of a board are:
We will take you through these different properties now:
Choosing the length of a board depends on your height, style of riding, weight and ability. The length of your snowboard will dictate what you can use the board for and how easy it will be to perform a certain aspect of your riding. Traditionally the length of a board was to touch your chin. This is a good starting point however other factors are now hugely important.
The heavier you are, the longer board you are going to want to have. If you are a beginner then you would get along better with a shorter board. This will make turning easier and more fun.
How do you choose the correct snowboard width you may ask..? The snowboards width is dependent on your shoe size. Ideally, when you clip in to your bindings your toes and heels should be just over each rail, this allows you to apply pressure to each edge. It is very important not to have to much overhang on your edges as you will drag while turning.
Snowboards can be split into 3 width categories, these are narrow/women’s, regular and mid-wide/wide. Narrow boards generally fit boots sizes up to a UK 6.5, regular boards fit boots between UK 6 to 10, Wide boards fit boots from UK 9.5 and above.
Generally snowboards are split into four different shapes. True Twin, Directional, Directional Twin and Asymmetric.
True twin snowboards are symmetrical, the nose and the tail have identical measurements and flex patterns. These boards generally have the rider centred between the nose and tail.
Directional snowboards have different nose and tail profiles and are meant to be ridden in one direction. The nose is generally wider and longer than the tail. The flex patterns are also different, the tail is stiffer than the nose to assist in float in powder. The binding insets are usually set back towards the tail of the board. Directional boards are more focused on free ride and all mountain riding.
Directional Twins are a combination of the last two shapes, with attributes of both designs. They can have similar nose and tail shapes but have different flex, like directional boards, the tail is stiffer than the nose. Similarly they can have the same core flex but have a directional shape. These boards can be used all over the mountain.
Asymmetric boards are boards that have different side cut profiles and or asymmetric core profiles. Boards with shorter heel edges and longer toe edges are becoming increasingly popular to make riding easier.
A snowboards profile is the base contour, the profile is an important feature of a snowboard and it helps determine what the board is used for. There are several different type of profile these are: camber, rocker, flat and various combinations of these 3.
Camber is the most traditional type of base profile. The base is a concave shape along the whole board apart from the tip and tail which rise up. When a camber board has weight on it, it provides a long and even edge. These boards have a strong edge hold and a very popular with many riders. Camber also provides a lot of pop when hitting jumps or side hits.
Rocker is the opposite of camber. The base is a convex shape. This enables faster turning at lower speeds and makes it harder to catch an edge. It performs well in powder due to less pressure on the nose and tail.
A flat base profile is the mid road between a camber and rocker profile, the base is a flat surface and it has attributes from both the curved bases. It has a better edge hold than a rockered board but is also more forgiving than camber board. Flat bases are a good place for beginners to start.
There are many types of hybrid base profiles which incorporate the above profiles to make a base that can specialise in different type of riding. These are: Camber between the binding with early rise rocker (rocker/camber/rocker), flat between the bindings with early rise rocker (rocker/flat/rocker), camber under both bindings with a section of rocker in the middle (camber/rocker/camber).
Terrain and Riding style
It is also very important to consider what terrain you will be riding and your style. Many snowboards are specialised to a certain terrain and it is important to pick the correct board to match what you want to ride.
All mountain snowboards are, as the name suggests, designed to work well all over the mountain in all snow conditions. These are the most versatile type of snowboard and are used by many riders.
Freestyle snowboards are made for park, jibbing and urban riding. They are generally slightly shorter and normally a true twin shape.
All mountain freestyle boards are a combination of the prior two board types and a very good option for riders who love to ride park but also want the versatility of an all mountain board.
Freeride snowboards are boards that are more specialised to riding off piste in varied terrain. They normally have a stiffer flex pattern and are a directional shape.
Powder snowboards are made for riding soft snow (powder) and are similar to freeride boards but have different shapes and profiles that make them better in deep snow.
Splitboards are boards made for back country touring. This type of board separates into 2 skis and skins are put on the base which allows you to walk up a mountain in the backcountry.