When it comes to park riding, having the right board can help you learn tricks and progress faster. In this buying guide, we’ll coach you through all the core considerations you’ll need to know to help you find the perfect park board for you.
Here is what to consider when buying your first park snowboard.
- Understanding How You’ll Ride the Park
- Consider the Board’s Flex Rating
- Consider Where You Live
- Select the Right Camber Profile
- Look for a Lightweight Board With a Durable Construction
- Consider How Often You Want to Wax It
- Consider the Board’s Size
- Learn How Much to Spend
- Select a Recommended Board
1) Understanding Your Riding Style & How You Will Ride the Park
The first step in finding the best park snowboard for you is understanding the type of park riding you want to do most often.
As you read these guidelines, think of which type sounds the most fun to you.
- If you’re primarily going to be hitting rails and jibbing most often, choose a softer, more flexible Park Board. This allows for better nose presses and makes it easier to balance on rails because your board’s material will conform to the feature, allowing you to feel locked-in.
- If you’re mainly going to hit jumps, go with a stiffer, less flexible board. The added stiffness provides stability for those crucial landings as well as a more pronounced pop to launch you higher and farther.
- If you’re going to be balancing both jibbing and jumping, then choosing a medium-flexing Park Board is your best bet. It offers the flexibility needed for pressing and enough stability for jumps and larger features.
Here is an infographic to help you learn what to consider when shopping for park boards.
2) Consider the Board’s Specific Flex Rating
The flex rating of a park board plays a significant role in how it performs. Flex patterns are rated on a scale of 0 through 10, with 0 being the softest or most flexible and ten being the stiffest or most rigid. Depending on your riding style, you’ll want to choose the appropriate flex rating number:
- Softer, flexible boards with a stiffness of 0 – 4 are ideal for rail and jib riders. These boards allow for stylish tricks and easy rail locks.
- Stiffer boards with a stiffness of 7 – 10 are great for hitting big jumps and larger park features, ensuring stability during landings.
- Medium flex boards with a stiffness of 5 – 6 are the perfect balance for those who enjoy both jibbing and jumping, offering versatility in the park.
3) Consider Where You Live and Ride Most Often
Parks vary across the United States based on their average snowfall. Where you live can significantly impact your park riding experience and the type of board you will have the most fun on. Your location can help you refine your board choice based on these guidelines.
- If you live on the East Coast or in the Mid West, there isn’t much snowfall. Local parks tend to have smaller to medium-sized jumps and are more focused on jibbing, so there will be lots of rails and boxes set up for you to jib. If you live in one of these areas, consider a soft to medium-flexing board designed for jibbing and hitting medium jumps. This type of board is better suited to the park conditions typically found in the East Coast or Mid West.
- If you live out West, there is often a lot of snowfall. Your local park will likely feature larger jumps and a wide variety of more advanced features. In this case, you would benefit from a medium to stiff flexing park board. A stiffer board offers more response for landing large jumps. Having a stiffer board, prevents you from washing out on higher impact landings (which makes riding larger features safer). Stiffer park boards also offer an extra level of stability for carving. Most mountains out West are larger and need some level of stability and response to carve from feature to feature in the park.
4) Select the Right Camber Profile for the Type of Park Riding You Want to Do
The camber profile of your snowboard affects your riding style as well:
- Flat or Reverse Camber: Perfect for jibbing, as it helps lock into rails and provides a skate-like board feel. These are usually easier to ride and more beginner-friendly.
- Positive Camber: Ideal for jumping and carving outside the park, offering additional power and pop. These are typically harder to get used to and better for intermediate to advanced riders. (With that said, beginners can definitely still learn to use them as it is all we had to learn on the 90s.)
Learn more about camber profiles by reading our guide to the different types of snowboards.
5) Look for a Durable and Lightweight Board
Park boards take a beating, so durability is crucial. You’ll want a board that can withstand the abuse park boards take from hitting features. Look for a board that uses urethane, carbon fiber, or cork incorporated into the board’s sidewalls to enhance their durability.
Additionally, having a lightweight board is important as it makes maneuvering the board to get on to park features much easier. Look for a board that is constructed with lightweight, durable wood like poplar and paulownia with carbon fiber added in.
6) Consider How Often You Want to Wax Your Base
In park riding, you’ll often need to hike a park feature to practice your trick on it. Having a fast base can save you energy by reducing the distance you need to hike. Consider these options:
- Sintered Base: If you’re willing to wax your board regularly for consistent speed, this is the way to go. Sintered bases maintain their speed exceptionally well when waxed every three to four days.
- Extruded Base: For a low-maintenance approach, choose an extruded base. It may not be as fast as sintered. However, it’s quicker when it’s unwaxed than an unwaxed sintered base. One additional perk to this base type is that it is easy to repair. Occasionally, rails in the park will have a metal burr sticking up from someone else’s edge digging into it; that burr can gouge your base. Extruded bases bond well with ptex, allowing you to simply fill any gouges you might get.
- Sintruded Base: If you want the best of both worlds, go with a hybrid sintruded base. These combine both material types. These offer the speed and durability of sintered bases without the need to wax them as often. Additionally, they allow you to repair gouges easily with Ptex.
7) Consider the Board’s Size
When it comes to park board sizing, consider going shorter than your regular resort board. A common recommendation is to choose a park board that is 3 to 5 centimeters shorter. This shorter length provides more flexibility for jib tricks and easier maneuverability overall.
With that said, it’s important to pay attention to the board’s “waist width” metric. This metric is the width of the board from its narrowest point.
Important note: Having a board that’s too wide can catch on features when you’re popping up and over them.
Here’s a guide to helping you find the right waist width for your park board. It’s based on your shoe size:
- US Men’s Shoe Size Under 7.5: Look for a board with a waist width of 24.0 to 24.5 centimeters or 240 to 245 millimeters. These are considered narrow park boards.
- US Men’s Shoe Size 8 through 9.5: Aim for a waist width of 24.5 to 25.5 centimeters or 245 to 255 millimeters. These are considered standard width park boards.
- US Men’s Shoe Size 10 through 11: Look for a waist width of 25.6 to 26.5 centimeters or 256 to 265 millimeters. These are considered mid wide park boards.
- US Men’s Shoe Size 11.5 and up: Choose a board with a waist width above 26.6 centimeters or 266 millimeters. These are considered wide park boards.
8)Learn What to Spend On a Park Board
Beginner park riders won’t need to buy the most expensive park board. However, you should get a board designed for a few seasons through your learning curve. I recommend looking for a freestyle board that has a medium flex and is in the $500-$650 US (€460 – 600 Euro) price range.
A mid-flexing board in this price range will be designed to last you while allowing you to figure out how you like to ride the park (i.e. if you like to jib, jump, or do both).
9) Consider Getting a Highly Recommended Board
Park boards tend to take a beating, so it is recommended you go with a highly recommended board. To kickstart your search for the perfect park board, here are some highly recommended options for the 2024 season.
- The Capita Ultrafear
- The Bataleon Evil Twin Plus
- The Burton Blossom
- The Nidecker Gamma
- The Yes Dicey
- The Jones Tweaker
Here are a few additional award winning park boards.
- Solomon Huck Knife
- Nitro T1
- Ride War Pig
- Dinosaurs Will Die Rat
- Lib Tech Off-Ramp
- GNU FB Head Space C3
Now that you know everything you need to find the perfect park snowboard for you, it’s time to hit the slopes and hit every single feature you see. Remember it all comes down to how you’ll ride the park, the board’s flex rating, camber profile, durability, and waxing preferences
I hope this helped narrow down your hunt for a park board. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below the article.
More Information to Help You Find Your Ideal Park Board Setup
Does the shape of a park board matter?
Yes, the board’s shape matters because not all snowboards are intended to be ridden in a switch stance, and when you’re riding in the park, you will often land with your opposite foot in the front. Because of this, most park riders prefer a twin or symmetrical, shaped park snowboard with a centered or slightly set-back stance. The twin shape allows the rider to have a balanced feel regardless of whether they are riding in their regular or switch stance. Having a board that is easy to ride switch is extremely beneficial for riding in the terrain park.
Unlike other types of snowboards, park snowboards come in a wide range of nose and tail shapes, too. While the specific shape of the board’s nose and tail isn’t a huge deal, it’s important to remember this tip: the more material your board has, the more effort it takes to spin and control. That’s why you’ll find lots of park boards with “cut-off” or blunted noses and tails. The blunted design helps to reduce the board’s swing weight or how much force it takes to rotate the board in the air. Having a blunted nose, removes some this excess weight since it doesn’t affect the performance of how the snowboard rides while making it easier to maneuver in the air.
What kind of bindings should I get for Park riding?
- For Jibbing (sliding on rails and boxes), get bindings with a soft flex rating (0 – 4 out of 10). These will offer the maneuverability to tweak and press your board as well as be forgiving on slightly off-axis landings.
- For jumping, get bindings that have a medium to stiff flex rating (7 – 10 out of 10). These will offer stability and precision for landings. Additionally, look for bindings that offer some shock absorption. Some binding manufacturers will share either a shock absorption or a dampness rating. The damper the binding’s rating, the more shock absorption it will offer.
- For both jibbing and jumping (slopestyle or versatile park riding), get bindings with a medium flex rating (5 or 6 out of 10). These will offer the flexibility for pressing your board as well as the energy transmission and response needed to hit jumps.
Also check out our how to buy park bindings guide to learn more.
What kind of boots should I get for Park riding?
Boots also come with various flex ratings. It is a good idea to match the flex rating of your board to your boot.
With that in mind, go with the following flex ratings for the different types of park riding.
- For Jibbing (sliding on rails and boxes), get boots with a soft flex rating (0 – 4 out of 10).
- For jumping, get boots that have a medium to stiff flex rating (7 – 10 out of 10).
- For both jibbing and jumping (slopestyle or versatile park riding), get boots with a medium flex rating (5 or 6 out of 10).
How often should I wax my park snowboard for optimal performance?
- If you have a sintered base park board, aim to wax your board every three times you ride it.
- Extruded bases can usually go five to ten days before needing wax. It varies per conditions and your specific board’s base. You will be able to tell when your board needs wax as you feel it slow down. Additionally, you will start to see a grayish faded color near the edges on your base.
How do I choose the right flex rating for my park snowboard?
Consider your riding style. Softer flex for jibbing, stiffer for jumps, and medium flex for a balance of both.
What’s the importance of a camber profile in park snowboards?
Camber profiles affect board performance. A flat or reverse camber is great for jibbing, while a positive camber is ideal for jumping.
Why is it recommended to ride a shorter park board than my regular board?
Shorter park boards provide more flexibility for tricks and easier maneuverability in the park.
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Last Updated: February 27, 2024 by Steve Weber
Steve Weber is the author and boardsport gear reviewer for Board of the World. He has been snowboarding for 26 years, skateboarding for 20, and is always looking for a new board sport gear to try out. When he is not riding or skating, he runs a marketing agency. Board of the World is Steve’s blog for skateboard and snowboard gear reviews. The blog’s goal is to help people find the right board for them and encourage people to have fun outside.