Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tasmania, Australia (down-under down-under).
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My answer was not designed to tell you to suck eggs or piss you off, merely to guide you to a bunch of information that saves the gurus (not me btw) from repeating it again. That you have read the FAQ is good, you'd be surprised how many don't.
Having said that, a lot of the process of picking equipment comes down to personal preference, so don't be surprised if the answers are not as cut and dried as you would like. For example, I weigh 220lb and personally chose to go with a 161 because I wanted a "livelier," shorter board, have the intention to start working on a few tricks this season, and to some extent based it on the particular brand/model of board I chose. Was I right or stupid? I'll tell you in a week and a bit. I also know of someone who weighs 240lb and reviewed a 156 of the same board and thought it was fantastic. As you can see, 156-161-164-168 (from the guide), that's a fair size range for me to pick from.
Here's the way I would look at it: The guide says 164-180. I'd personally would say the longer lengths are for some serious pow/back country/alpine riding, and 164 is more park orientated. Beginners can benefit from starting on a softer and shorter board, but the usefulness of that board may be limited as you progress, depending on what type of riding takes your fancy.
I think Extremo has it pretty right, start with the boots. Get them fitting right and then look at bindings, and then board. I don't think there is much chance you will get away with a standard width board, so that allows you to take the next step and look for a wide board. My personal opinion is that you should be looking at a board in the 164-168 size range. Someone else might recommend longer, someone else may recommend going shorter, but if it's close to this range then I don't think you will terminally f*ck yourself over, at least until you can pick what would be better based on you own experiences.