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New Board - Big Problems - Setup Help Needed

1072 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  charliefreeman
I just did my first day on my new Capita Navigator 147. It was a total disaster, I literally washed out on my heel side at least once every run, often multiple times. The conditions were some loose snow over hardpack, meaning I'd hit that hard stuff and down I'd go. While I've been boarding close to 25 years I felt like a beginner all over again.

I'm wondering if maybe all the ways I learned to ride, and the gear and setup I learned on - angles in particular - don't work on newer boards. Said differently, does the newer construction and technology of the current crop of boards require a different approach than the longer, stiffer boards I used in the past?

Back in the day we used longer, stiffer boards, the original Burton Custom, 156 for me, and, more recently a Rossignol Jibsaw 155. For the most part my angles have been in the +15/+3 range. The Capita is much shorter, lighter and more flexible. I wonder if a different setup might suit this board better.

For reference, I'm an old guy (72), 5'7", 130 pounds and just ride for fun. I like lots of fast, quick turns, never ride switch, stay on the groomers. I try to do some carving when conditions allow, but where I ride things tend to be mostly some loose snow with hard pack hiding underneath.

I know everyone has different opinions and preferences on binding angles, and I continue to try different settings, but the options are endless and I don't have the patience to try every single possibility. What I'd like is some recommendations on a good starting point from which I can then tweak.

For instance, would a more duck stance give me more stability and control with this new board, say something like +15/-6? Any and all recommendations are welcome!
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You should be able to ride the same type of setup you were previously. New boards should not make a difference in binding angles or the like. What does need to change is HOW you ride. So couple things

A 147 is on the small end for you. Small board, small effective edge, less hold, easier washout.

Centering on camber profiles. Old boards with traditional camber were just put bidnings centered between tip and tail and push it as hard as you wanted. New multi camber mean boards like to be driven from different sections of the board. Try moving your bindings forward or back to center them more along the effective edge than the board itself

Riding style. The Navigator is more of a pow deck, designed for float. If you try to ride aggressively forward on it and use it as a hard pack carver you're gonna be trying to get the board to ride different than it was designed to.Basically you need to listen and feel what the board want's where its hold is and match that rather than just hope on and expect it to just listen to you.
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I've never ridden a Navigator, but it's marketed as a softer freeride powder board. As mentioned above, the board might be a bit on the small side for you. As a fellow old guy with a history of riding longer, more traditional width (ie. narrower) boards, maybe take a look at something like the Jones Flagship. Jones makes it in both men's and women's versions, so the you can dial in the sizing exactly for your weight and boot size. The edgehold in firm conditions is outstanding.

Regarding stance angles... Since I only ride directional and not switch, I've embrace double positive binding angles and a slightly narrower stance width. I ride my board like a surf/skate board, driving with my knees carving smooth turns on edge, on both groomers and in powder. I've settled on +30/+12, with a 21-21.5' stance width on both my solid and splitboard.

While riding the resort, pay attention to if you feel it's more intuitive to want to move your feet closer together or further apart? Do you want to turn your front and rear feet in one direction or the other? Spend ONE DAY at the resort with a #3 Phillips screwdriver dialing in your stance width and angles, and you'll NEVER have to worry about this again.

I'll also add that heelside skidding out of turns could also be the result of poor technique.

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Yep with how you ride and looking at the specs the Navigator it should not be a problem for you.
# You like a turny board and the Navigator is running with that variable shorter "Parabolic Sidecut" radius 7.3/6.2/7.3 @147.
# 25 yrs riding experience and you are riding it on the shorter length of the suggested range.
# You're riding double ++ angles.
# Its got "Alpine V1 Profile" camber through the middle but rocker/flat outside bindings so is not going to be a precise catchy hard charger by any means.
# Its a medium soft predominately freeride to powder board.

I know what @lab49232 said is right..., I jump around from a few different boards a little from season to season and you can feel internal love for some and not so much for others but the riding response isn't really overly changed that much.

I always say, the number 1 thing to do when buying a board is making sure it works within the parameters of how you ride ie if you mainly ride park buy a park board, if you mainly ride in powdery conditions buy a powder board, If you are an AM high speed charger buy a stiffer full cambered board. You look like you have grabbed a board that should not be an issue with you.

You don't ride switch so keep double ++. You're rear foot is only +3 which isn't that forwardly aggressive at all.
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The effective edge is only 1110, while the tail tapers down to 278. Plus it's softer (5.5) and doesn't have a lot of camber. It's just not going to have the edge hold that you're use to.

A 155 would've been much closer to what you're used to, but still softer and more maneuverable than the big old boards.
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Regarding the board length, 147, I too thought it seemed on the short side, particularly coming from the 155 Rossi Jibsaw I'm replacing. But, since I didn't have the chance to demo different lengths or other boards, I relied on the advice of my local shop. They seem pretty knowledgeable, took the time to talk with me, are familiar with my local mountain and so on. They recommended 147 so I took that advice. Too late now to go back.

Stance width and binding angles are the main variables I can - and will - play with. What a can of worms! Some "experts" advise a slightly wider stance than reference, others somewhat narrower. Angle recommendations are all over the place from aggressive +/+ to full duck, and everything in between. When I initially set up the Navigator I went with the reference stance width and +15/+3. These settings worked pretty well with the Jibsaw and I guess I assumed that this setup would work for me on my new board. Now I'm starting to see than perhaps what worked well on one board doesn't necessarily work on a very different model.

Time to get that screwdriver out and put to work!

Here's where maybe some guidance would be useful. As noted, the combinations of stance and angles is almost infinite, so finding a good starting place and then where and how to modify from there would help. I think it might be easiest to start with stance. Keeping the angles untouched to start, I think my preferred stance width can be found relatively quickly, maybe only 2 or 3 options. From there angles becomes the rabbit hole. Super aggressive positive, less aggressive positive, positive front, neutral or negative heel. When you get a new board what's your starting setup and how then do you modify from there?
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For me, I usually just start with reference stance and ducked +12/-12. I personally don't make much adjustments to my stance or angles when riding different boards, but I don't ride super directional / powder boards since there is never any powder where I am. I also love to ride some switch, and actively practicing to improve in that area. You don't need symmetrical angles for switch, but duck stance is good for switch riding.

tbh, I think reference stance is usually fine (but your board may to a bit short for you so the reference may be a bit narrow). You are usually just looking for slightly wider than shoulder width stance. For someone who is 5ft 7in, I would guess probably 20 inch width stance as a starting point. Another common way to get a starting point stance width measurement is measuring the the length from your kneecap to heel. Make sure the stance is centered off the reference stance to start with. There is no absolutely correct stance width, it's variable on personal preference, but I would try to stick closer to about slightly wider than shoulder width as a starting point rather than something really extreme. I don't think there is any need to fiddle around with stance width that much, as long as you feel comfortable and stable and balanced on your width, it's fine.

While it seems like there are infinite set-ups for angles, I think it is really just picking between a comfortable duck stance vs more positive stance to start. I wouldn't really make any adjustments until after a few days of riding, and then only a very small angle adjustment at a time to really get a sense of the differences.

For angles, I personally ride duck stance, and I think starting out somewhere in the 12-18 degree range duck stanced is a good starting stance (example +15 -15 is a common starting point). Just stand in your snowboarding stance and see how your feet are angled. You can decrease the back foot angle slightly if you like (since you don't ride any switch), but I think you should definitely try to learn to ride switch!! It will help your overall technique with regular riding as well a ton, and I found while riding switch you really focus on technique and make a lot of improvements with your riding.

A lot of people ride with both positive angles & only in one direction, but I think that is a bit of a different riding style and it limits your progression if you don't do any switch at all. I think it is helpful to ride some type of duck stance for a little bit and get comfortable with switch riding on greens at least before switching over to full positive one directional riding. Full positive angles you can leverage your back knee a lot more inward/outward for your turns, but when ducked you are usually relying more on your front knee and pedaling with your feet for torsional twist and I think it is really helpful to develop the habit of using your ankles and torsional flex of the board for fast turning. I think riding a bit of duck stance does help with technique prior to switching over to full positive angles. For example, I recently saw someone riding a narrow board with a narrow dual positive stance with really straight legs, and I think his technique would have benefited from riding a bit more duck stance and switch. But end of the day, mostly personal preference and what you want out of your snowboarding experience.

Finally, I think it is best to stick to one set-up to practice with rather than constantly adjusting stances/angles too much. If you are switching set-ups too frequently, it is hard to improve as a bunch of other variables are changing. While stance angles / width can impact your riding, as long as you are not in a weird set-up, you can learn and progress on a wide range on set-ups, a lot of it is more personal preference. I wouldn't worry about it too much after you found something comfortable. If you switch set-ups, ride a few days on the new set-up because it takes your body some time to adjust. Usually, it is more fundamental technique issues rather than stance width/angles that are hampering riding and progression.

Getting the Burton EST tool (EST® Tool | Winter 2023) or a similar pocketable screwdriver is helpful if you are playing around a lot with adjustments while on the hill. I always carry one in case my bindings need adjustments.

Hope this helps and good luck finding your set-up!

edit: also, another important factor that wasn't mentioned is forward lean! I personally think a good amount of forward lean is very helpful in keeping your knees bent and shins forward in proper snowboarding posture (also really helps with carving keeping hips forward on toeside turns and getting more leverage onto the heels for heelside turns). Extra forward lean usually helps most people's riding (only exception is if doing a lot of park stuff, may prefer to have less forward lean).

edit2: another thing I thought of. if you are on an unfamiliar board that is a bit short for you, you may be compensating or riding slightly differently than normal without noticing. it may be helpful to do one quick group lesson to see if an instructor can spot something that can help or can ask someone to film you, and post on these forums.
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I’m 5’8”.… the top of my knee cap is about 54cm (21.25”) from the floor at my heel. Back in the 90’s I rode with a crazy 23“ stance and a lot of forward lean. When I moved out west 12 years ago and really started riding I went to a 22” (56cm) stance (standard on most boards in my length). I’ve since dropped that to 54 cm, which means I usually start with the front binding one set back from the reference insert. On my 148cm K2 Special effects I’m actually riding the narrowest stance at 52cm, which just feels more natural on the shorter board and gives it a little more tail.

I don’t know what the ref width is, but 50-52cm is probably about right for you. It’ll be a zippy little tree run board for you to slash around on, but you might want to pull out your longer board to carve.

On edit, it looks like the ref stance is 50.8cm (counting back from the max), which should be a good place to start.
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I understand dealing with the board you bought and finding a way to make it work. And playing with stance angles and width can be fun, or it can be a can of worms. But I PROMISE you, neither of those will suddenly and magically change how the board rides. You can

1: Change your riding style
2: Get a new board

That's it. There's no magic binding angle that suddenly makes a board hold an edge. I also don't know why your local shop would set you up on a tiny pow board for your daily driver on groomers, especially when you're coming from longer stiffer boards and a more forward charging type, especially if they knew you were coming off a Jibsaw.

At your age I'd say F it, get yourself a board to match your riding style. You can't take your money with you, and you're still shredding at over 70! That's incredible. Doesn't make sense wasting time and energy to make something work that isn't at all designed for you.
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Going up again tomorrow. It's supposed to be warm-ish, so I expect the snow will be softer and more forgiving. But, going forward my plan is to use the Navigator as a fun, fast turning easy ride when conditions are good, then switch back to the Rossi Jibsaw when things turn hard and icy. I love the Navigator because it suits my fast turning, happy feet, playful riding. The Jibsaw is much more a faster, less easy to turn (relatively speaking), stable machine. It doesn't turn as quickly, isn't nearly as playful, but it's a great choice for hard, icy runs.

I'll likely measure and check my stance width, but doubt it will change from where I have it set. I'll also likely start with +15/-3, something of a safe middle ground - and where I've had it set in the past. IF changes or tweaking is needed, I'll do it judiciously and slowly.

Thanks all for the advice.
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