Last year, I organized a spring break snowboarding trip. Lots of folks were new and asking questions, and thus began my research into equipment. While researching, I found that my snowboard was actually somewhat small for me. This basically means I have more control (turning, jumping around) but less stability and speed. Since then, I’ve wanted to get a new board, but I have yet to put the cash down on one.I’ve found acceptable equipment for most of the crew. We found less expensive brands such as Rage on clearance for 75% off at Academy sporting goods. One of my friends walked away with a board, bindings, boots, helmet, wrist guards, a leash, and a multi tool for about $80. I wish I would have picked up an extra board at the time, but I was beyond poor. For a beginner, I would highly recommend shopping around for a deal like this. The boards rode fine, and for the same amount they would have spent renting boards, they owned them.But deals like that aren’t common. I need… well, want… a new board, and as long as I’m putting down the cash I’ve decided I want to try to get a higher quality board. Thus, I have continued to research snowboards. I’ll tell you some of what I’ve learned.
There are two main types of boards, freestyle and freeride. Freestyle boards are more centered (front to back) and are designed for the parks. Freeride boards set the rider back and are designed for all-mountain riding and are good in powder. Beyond these two overall categories, there are many other design aspects to consider. The length of the board should match the distance from your feet to your nose (mine reaches my chin). The width of your board should be proportional to the size of your feet. The Camber (the amount of arch), spring, and flex affects the amount of “pop” your board will have. The sidecut of the board will affect how well the board turns.
While reading up on all of these will give you a better idea of what to choose, it seems like the best course of action is to just start riding different variations. Luckily, I’ve had the chance to ride several of my friends boards and get a feel for each. Since I like to ride in different places, my conclusion is that I need to buy two more boards. One average sized freestyle board with lots of pop for my jumps (and eventually rails) and one extra long freeride board for hauling ass down the mountain.
There are literally hundreds of brands of boards, and it seems that there’s actually a high percentage of good boards available. Soon I’ll post an overview of some of the most popular brands I’ve come across in stores, magazine reviews, and via word of mouth.
I will leave you with one last tip, don’t be afraid to play with the settings of your board. Foot placement and angle can greatly impact the feel of the board. I current ride at about 5/-5 degrees – my feet are almost parallel. This helps me ride switch – aka goofy foot (backwards). The only way you’ll know what feels right for you is by experimenting. (there’s a line you can use as often as you want).