What Size Board Should I Get (DRAFT)
I. What Size Board Should I Get?
The single-most important characteristic about a board is the way the board is designed to flex, which results in the overall stiffness of the board. The flex patter helps determine a number of different characteristics about how the board rides. Manufactures design boards to have a certain degree of flex based on the type of riding the board is intended to be used for (i.e. more flex and less stiffness for freestyle boards; less flex and greater stiffness for a freeride boards, as the rule of thumb goes).
There is a grave misconception that snowboard size should be based on your height, or that every board should fall somewhere between your chin and your nose. This is the type of logic used by kids working the rental counter on a busy Saturday afternoon - it helps do a good job at moving the rental lines quickly. But this is not the guide that you should use when choosing your snowboard size. There is a simple way to disprove this theory: Take a ruler and hold it from your nose to your chin. I’ve got a full 9-10cm between my nose and chin. Therefore, according to this false belief, I should be able to ride, say, anything from a 152 to a 162, right??…Sorry, just doesn’t make sense. At 200lbs, I would probably snap most 152s in half after landing my first kicker. Leave the nose and chin theory behind because it just doesn’t work.
The thing that determines how a board actually flexes when you’re riding is, you’re body – your bones, your head, your fat ass and all the stuff that makes up your mass. People who are lighter in weight will apply less force to a board when riding it, while those heavier will apply more force to the board. Simple concept, right? Since flex is so important and since your weight is what determines how the board flexes when you ride, your weight is actually the single most important rider characteristic when determining snowboard size. If you’re too heavy for a certain board, it will flex too much, which can result in instability, chatter on flats, lack of speed and slowness when moving from edge to edge. If you’re not heavy enough for a certain board, you won’t flex the board enough, which can essentially mean that the board will wind up controlling you more than you control the board – you will have a very difficult time turning and controlling a board that is too stiff for your weight.
So, what size board is right for you? First, determine what kind of riding your going to be doing. Second, figure out what your budget is. Third, figure out if you need a wide board or not. Forth, get you ass on a scale somewhere and figure out how much you weigh. Fifth, start looking at manufacture web sites. They often listed a “suggested weight range” for a given board. For example, Brand X may say that their 151cm freestyle board is for people 120 –150lbs. Brand X also lists their 153cm freestyle board s for people 145 – 165lbs. Thus, if you weigh 130lbs you want to buy the 151cm board, and NOT the 153cm board. Note, however, that these weight rangers are not standard across the industry. Brand Y might list a 151cm freestyle board in the 150 – 200lbs weight range. Don’t assume because a 151cm board from Brand X is in your weight range that a 151cm board from Brand Y will ALSO be in your weight range. Again, do your research.
FAQ CONTINUES AT THE "Do I Need a Wide Board?" THREAD
Much of this information was paraphrased from an article written by Chris Uriarte, Mark Helwig and David O’Malley. Some of it is even directly quoted from them. We are taking no credit for being the original authors of this work, and give credit to Chris, Mark and David. Thanks, guys.
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