Last updated on March 2nd, 2021 at 11:35 am
Whether you plan to go snowboarding in the backcountry, at a resort, or in your back yard, having the right gear is crucial.
Below are the sizes and specs that are ideal for you to have an excellent time on the snow.
There are a few factors that can help you choose the best snowboard size for you.
The Snowboard Size Calculator Tool: Find The Right Snowboard Length
Use our snowboard size calculator to help find the right snowboard length and size for your riding style. This calculator will help you narrow down your search for the finding the right snowboard for you.
The instructions to use the snowboard size calculator are simple.
Fill out each option to get the specs and snowboard length that will be right for you.
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There are some additional things to consider in addition to using the snowboard size calculator.
Considerations for Finding The Right Snowboard
Consider the Type of Riding Will You Be Doing
Will you be riding all conditions on the mountain (including the park)?
You would get an All-Mountain snowboard. When getting an all-mountain snowboard there is a rough gauge to find the right size for you. Find a snowboard that makes it up to your chin and check the weight recommendations on the back of the board. If you are within the recommended weight range, you got it right. Check our guide on the 2021 best all mountain snowboards.
Prefer Carving Around Over Hitting Jumps and Rails?
If you stick to the groomed resort terrain and generally like to carve your turns aggressively, then you generally want a snowboard length that will make it up to your mouth. It is a rough calculation to say, “for more stability riding, you want a longer board.” A longer snowboard will give you more control at higher speeds and help you glide easier over deeper snow.
Will you be primarily doing tricks on rails and jumps?
If you are going to be doing tricks more than riding the entire mountain, you will want a freestyle snowboard.
A rough calculation to find the right size of a freestyle board is to get a board that is as high as your Adam’s Apple. In other words, if you like going into the terrain park, then go with a shorter, more flexible freestyle snowboard. In addition to using the snowboard size calculator above, please also check the weight range that is written on the back of your potential new snowboard.
Freestyle snowboards. Are shorter boards that offer the ability to ride switch stance, adjust your stance to be wider, and make it easier to spin off jumps, butter on flat ground, and hit rails easily. Additionally, you should also check out our guide to freestyle snowboard bindings. Just like boards, bindings have a flex rating. The more flexible the binding is, the easier it will be to land your tricks in the park.
How to choose the best snowboard length for you?
Get the right board for your weight.
Most riders should try to match the middle of the weight range suggestion written on the back of the snowboard. Different styles of snowboards might be intended to flex differently. Depending on how much you weigh, you want to make sure you wind up with a board that has the proper flex and specs for you. So remember to take any recommendation written online as a guideline to know where to begin while making sure to consult the specification requirements written on the snowboard itself. All of snowboards are going to be slightly different, so consult with the weight chart stickers on the base of the snowboard to make sure you get it right.
Longer snowboards can be stiffer.
The larger / longer the snowboard size, the stiffer the flex will be. For boards that are longer than 163cm, they are intended for taller riders and naturally will have a stiffer flex rating. If you are on the taller side and want a freestyle board, consider your weight, the style of board, and the manufacturer’s specs to get everything right for you. Basically, if you’re tall and need flex for doing nose presses and butters, you will want to do a little research before buying a board that is technically 10cms too short for you.
Not all snowboards are a smooth ride.
Consider the “dampness of the board” (the vibration and chatter you will feel while riding it). One note here is that the longer the snowboard size is, the more stiff it will be. Additionally, longer snowboards can have a wider wood core; not all of these longer boards handle chatter as well. You want to find a longer board that is a damp ride, so you don’t feel every little bump at high speeds. The heavier you are, you will want a longer (and naturally stiffer) snowboard. Consult the specs if you want a longer freestyle board. Be careful before getting a snowboard that is longer than 168cm and not testing it as it can have the potential to really send vibrations up your legs at high speeds.
You may need a wide snowboard.
If your snowboard boots are larger than a size 10 in US men’s sizes, you might want to consider a wide snowboard. A wider snowboard will help you decrease toe or heel drag while carving down the mountain. If you have a larger foot size, pay attention to the snowboard’s waist width. A snowboard’s waist width is the width of the point where the snowboard is its most narrow. Usually waist width is measure in millimeters.
You may be wondering why not get a wide snowboard anyway? Well, you could. The benefit to having a width that is right for you is because the more narrow the waist width, the quicker the snowboard can be rolled from edge to edge while carving. The end goal is to get a width that works for your size without going wider than you need for the style of snowboarding you like to do most often.
Shorter snowboards help with tricks and longer snowboards help with stability.
Freestyle and park snowboarding generally is better on a shorter board. Carving on deep snow will generally require a longer (and sometimes wider) more stable board. If you are looking to carve, check out our list of best snowboards for carving.
Are you still growing?
If you are buying a snowboard for a kid or teenager, they are probably still growing. Consider buying a snowboard with their growth in mind. You won’t want to buy a snowboard that is too short if they can hit a growth spurt over the next season. Generally, try to keep it within 10cm to hedge your bet without getting them a board that is too difficult for them to maneuver. It is better to buy a snowboard they can ride and then sell it one season later than it is to buy a board they are not able to learn on.
Consider how much money you want to spend
Just like with cars, snowboards come in various pricing categories. You have generic board companies that are perfectly fine competing against more luxury, established brands that charged more. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you have to spend, finding the right size and flex pattern for you. I recommend reading reviews, demo boards when you can, and keep an eye on the various snowboard deals.
Sometimes if you’re patient, you can find your dream board at a closeout dream price.
In Conclusion: Focus on weight not height.
Again, weight is by far, the most important rider characteristic in determining board size, so consult the back of the board to get the proper specs. When a heavy rider buys a snowboard that is too short, the board will tend to wash out while carving down the mountain. The board will perform poorly at higher speeds, and that can get dangerous. Additionally, a lighter person on a longer board (that is rated for a heavier rider) can have problems controlling their board and initiating turns. It can be equally as dangerous.
Height is no longer the most critical factor in determining the size of your snowboard. There is so much technology built into each snowboard deck that it is more important to purchase a deck based on your weight while using height as a general guideline. There is still a misconception in the general public that height will be the single most crucial element in determining board size. However, height usually comes into play once the rider’s weight and height are not proportional.
An unusually tall rider that is lightweight may opt for a longer snowboard. The leverage they profit from the extra height can help offset any loss of control they may encounter. While the same is true for a heavier rider, who is on the shorter side. They might take advantage of a bit shorter of a snowboard on account of reducing leverage from their height.
Now use the calculator above and get to the board shop, find the right board for you, and get on the snow!