Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Boston, MA
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’s 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.
Therefore, a good place to start when determining your board size is to start with your weight, not by how tall you are. To assist with sizing, many board companies publish a “recommended rider weight” with the specs of each board.
You should find where you fit in the specs and choose the size accordingly. If you want the “optimal size”, which will give you the feel that is closet to what the manufacture intends for you to feel when you ride it, you can find the size where you are closest to the middle of the recommended range. When board manufacturers build a board, they intend for it to have a certain feel and response on the snow. These recommended weights are essentially what the manufacturer recommends as the size that will give you the “optimal feel”, closest to what they intended.
Sometimes people will opt for boards that are outside of the weight range that the manufacturer recommends, however. Experienced riders who know how to handle and compensate for the differences they might encounter will often choose larger or smaller boards for different reasons. Remember: Choosing a smaller size will give more flex and less stiffness, while going with a larger size will generally give a bit less flex/more stiffness.
There are certain cases where boarders may choose snowboard sizes that seem atypical. Two examples of this are when choosing a specialized Jib board and when choosing dedicated freeride or powder boards.
Over the last three seasons, several manufactures have marketed boards that are intended solely for jib parks or off-mountain jibbing. Most of these boards are intended to be used only within the confines of the terrain park and are severely lacking of some of the fundamental tech required for regular riding – some of these boards even lack parts of their metal edges. These jib boards are intended to be nimble and agile and, thus, are intended to be small in size. A rider who typically rides a 159 might choose a 152 jib board, for example. In general, those, these boards are “novelty” boards that you are not going to choose as your everyday ride.
Pure freeriding and powder riding can be different, however. Riders who spend most of their days in deep powder and never go into the park will want a board that can easily “float” in powder and give them the control they need when riding big mountain. Because of this, “powder” boards are longer in length. For powder riding, many riders often choose boards that are significantly larger than typical “do-it-all” boards intended for all terrain. It would not be unusual to see someone who typically rides a 159 to choose a 160 for their powder board. You might even find some riders who ride, say, a 162 do-it-all board, choosing a 172 powder board if they ride a lot of deep powder.
(1) figure out how much you weigh
(2) figure out your boot size
(3) figure out what kind of riding you want to do
(4) look at manufactors web sites, and see where your specs fit compared to a given board's specs.
(5) Out those boards, pick one you like.
(6) "add to cart"
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