When choosing a snowboard, you need to consider your riding style, favorite terrain and skill level to determine length, width, stiffness and other board characteristics. One of the easiest ways to measure your ideal board length is by using your height. Once your length is decided, match width with foot size and stiffness with weight to get the perfect board for you.
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Board length is measured in centimeters, from the tail to the nose of the board, or from end to end. There is no regulation on measurement which stipulates that companies must measure along the curvature of the boards nose and tail. However, discrepancies due to different measurement styles are not significant. Often, a board's length is abbreviated, using only the last two numbers. For example a 58 Burton would refer to a snowboard that is 158 cm long.
A basic technique for determining what length snowboard is for you is based on your height. Stand the snowboard on its end in front of you. Where the tip of the snowboard aligns on your body can help you decide if the size is right. Boards that reach a height between your shoulders and chin are short, and they are best for beginner rides and trick riders who need extra control. Medium-length boards fall between your chin and forehead and are best for all-terrain riders. Long boards that reach your forehead and above are for riders who want speed and optimal performance in deep powder.
Width is another important size consideration when choosing a snowboard. In general, taller people have larger feet. However, you should choose a board specifically sized for you individual boot size. A board that is too wide or too narrow will not allow you to efficiently display power to the edges of your board, resulting in lack of turning power. Your boot toes and heels should align with the edge of your board for the perfect size.
A board's stiffness refers to its ability to flex while you are riding. A board that is too stiff will not give you adequate control and a board that is not stiff enough may snap or break under pressure. Your stiffness choice is partly related to your height. Riders who are heavy for their height should choose a stiffer board. Light riders should choose a more flexible board. However, if you want to stick with a particular stiffness, you can make the adjustment by choosing a smaller or larger board instead: larger for heavy riders, shorter for lighter riders.