Guide to buying the right snowboard

Having your own snowboard that you love and can ride effortlessly is a dream. However, choosing the one that’s right for you in the first place can be a bit of a nightmare. There is so much conflicting information out there and what you’re told in one shop can be completely different to what you’re told in another. Here at SDUK we are completely impartial and just want you to find the perfect board for you, and at at the best price. We’ve therefore put together this guide to help you make sense of the jargon, and enable you to make an informed choice about the best board for you…

Profiles

Camber: Board arches upwards between the bindings making the main contact points near the tip and tail. This type of profile makes boards really springy and great for popping ollies, but it can be easy to catch an edge.

Men’s: Burton – Custom X       Women’s: DC – Women’s Ply

Rocker/Reverse Camber: Opposite to camber. Board curves upwards making it float better in powder and harder to catch an edge. Rocker profile boards are great for jibbing and make buttering and pressing easy. Not so great for ollies though and they don’t tend to be very steady at speed.

Men’s: Salomon – Drift       Women’s: Roxy – Ally

Salomon Sabotage

Combi: Combination of camber and rocker. Different manufacturers distribute them differently, for example, Ride put camber between the bindings whereas Lib Tech and Burton put rocker there.

Men’s: Salomon – The Man’s Board       Women’s: Burton – Lipstick

Flat/Zero Camber: Keeps your entire effective edge on the snow making them really stable and super responsive. When combined with a relatively stiff flex, these boards are great for ripping up hard packed slopes.

Men’s: K2 – Lifelike       Women’s: K2 – Fling

Shapes

Directional: Stance is set back giving these boards a longer nose which makes them float better in powder. Best for freeriding.

Men’s: K2 – Peacekeeper       Women’s: K2 – High Lite (directional twin)

True Twin: Same length nose and tip which makes it easier to ride switch. Best for freestyle.

Men’s: Salomon – Sabotage       Women’s: Ride – Compact

Roxy Ally

Bases

There are two types of snowboard base: extruded and sintered. The difference between them comes down to the way the polyethylene pellets are fused together (they are melted together for an extruded base and fused together using high pressure for a sintered base). Sintered bases tend to be more desirable, but there are pros and cons for both:

Extruded base: Cheaper and more durable than a sintered base, but slower than a properly maintained sintered base, and doesn’t hold wax as well.

Sintered base: Holds wax much better than an extruded base and, if maintained properly, is much faster. They are, however, more expensive, and harder to repair.

Flex

Stiffer boards are more stable at speed and hold an edge better when making a turn. They are harder to ollie, but if you get it right, they actually pop higher. Softer boards are easier to turn and press, but they’re less stable at speed. Stiffer boards are therefore better for charging hard, and for more experienced riders looking to get some serious air! Softer boards are great for jibbing and are easier for less experienced riders to handle.

Brand specific technology

Magne-traction: Technology developed by Mervin Manufacturing (makers of Lib Tech, Gnu and Roxy boards) where the edges of the board are serrated like a bread knife. This makes them grip better on hard-packed snow and compensates for reduced contact points in camber, rocker or combo boards.

Other brands have developed their own versions of Magne-traction. It all comes down to ‘contact points’. The more of these that a board has, the more grip it will have on hard-packed snow.

What size of snowboard?

The length of snowboard that you should go for depends on your height, weight and boot size. The size chart below will give you an idea of the length of snowboard you should go for.

Snowboard Size Chart
Rider Height (in) Rider Height (cm) Rider Weight (lb) Snowboard Size (cm)
4’10” 147 110 – 120 128 – 136
5′ 152 115-130 133 – 141
5’2″ 158 125-135 139 – 147
5’4″ 163 135-145 144 -152
5’6″ 168 140-155 149 -157
5’8″ 173 150-165 154 -162
5’10” 178 160-175 159 -167
6′ 183 170-185 160+
6’2″ 188 180-195 160+
6’4″ 193 190-205 160+
Other factors to take into account:
– If you’re going to be using the board primarily for freestyle, opt for a board at the lower end of your recommended size range.
– If you’re going to be using the board primarily for freeriding, opt for a board at the upper end of your recommended size range.
– If you’re above average weight, opt for a slightly longer board.
– If you’re a beginner, opt for a board at the lower end of your recommended size range.
The best way to see if a board is right for you, is to try it out. Read our article on testing out a board, to see just how easy it is to do.

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