How to Buy a Snowboard

You like the feel of surfing the powder,need some advice how to buy a snowboard,try this page .I have information which will set you well on the way to having the snowboard best suited for your style.

If you like to throw few turns whilst floating on powder,or get few aerials under your belt, our how to buy a snowboard segment will help you .

Perhaps there is a hidden desire for some need for speed, well I can help as well. I have information which will set you well on the way to having the snowboard best suited for your style.

Just starting out?

Consider only three variables. Your body weight, height and your foot size.Simple three step approach.

  • 1.Height will to some degree dictate the length of the snowboard. The length of the board generally matches your height .Standing upright, have the board reach your nose or eyebrow level.

    Children who are shorter of 90 cm height will generally select boards around 90 cm or shorter.Those a little taller of 1.2m height will select boards 100cm long. This rule holds true up to a 165 cm height. More on children's tips here.

    If your height exceeds 165 cm , you enter the race style snowboard ,which is available in lengths up to 215 cm. I would suggest however, if you are starting out and are taller than 165 cm become proficient with snowboards 165 cm long before you progress to the longer variety.

  • 2.Weight also plays a part in knowing how to buy a snowboard. A rule of thumb is,if you are of a healthy weight for your height ,you can chose a snowboard with either a soft flex, for enhanced maneuverability, or one with a stiffer flex, which is better for fast snowboarding .

    If however you are of a heavier built, I would suggest a stiffer board.In this latter way, the board will respond better to your demands. Your legs and knees will not wobble as much.

  • 3. Foot size The length of your foot should more or less match the width of the snowboard. Some overhang is allowed, but do not let them overhang too much ( 3cm acceptable) ,as this will impede your turning. To allow for some adjustment ,the foot can be slightly rotated to allow for a better fit.
If you like a schematic selection flow chart on how to buy a snowboard enter here.

how to buy a snowboard from this selection

Try not to choose a snowboard which is too wide. When standing on the snowboard the toe should be close to one edge of the board,and the heels closer to the other. Your heels and toes are the anchor points which will give you stability, and hopefully control when boarding.
The narrower boards are only 15 cm wide. The wider variety snowboards are 28 cm wide.

Getting more confident with your boarding style?

When looking further ,how to buy a snowboard, pay more attention to the snowboard’s flex , side cut ,and the shape of the nose and tail when you want to fine tune your decision on how to buy a snowboard.

Flex The flex of the board varies ,but is not standardised or indexed as I know. The softer flex will make turning easier .It will be easier to feel the contour of the terrain you are boarding on. This can be a neat feature when plowing through varied terrain ,from ice ,compacted snow through to powder. Your feet will” read” the terrain like visually impaired read brail.

Stiffer flex is nicer for faster speeds, where you cut through varied types of snow, still maintaining grip on turns. The snowboard is more stable at great speeds. Your mind concentrates more on what the center of your body’s gravity is doing rather than what your feet are reading. Your turning circle, or turning radius is however longer, compared to softer flex boards. At slower speeds it is more difficult to turn these boards.

Side Cut - edge of the board as viewed from above. This cut, or curve dictates the turning radius.The deeper the cut,or the greater the width of the board from the center to either end, the shorter the turning circle. A snowboard shaped more like a bean will be more maneuverable than one shaped like a rectangle. If you like throwing a lot of turns, chose a board with a short radius.

Turning radius can vary from 5 m ,as found in children’s snowboards, through to 8m for most of the popular boards, right to 17 m in the racing snowboard. A turning radius of around 8 m will be quite manuverable, and excellent for sharp turns.

Tail and nose- depending on what purpose you will use the board for ,the design of tail and nose will vary. Freestyler’s boards will have similar nose and tail specifications. In this case any end of the board can lead, at any given time, so they need to be similar.

Alpine snowboards are unidirectional, with the nose being wider and longer than the tail.

Boards designed for powder conditions have more exaggerated nose and tail for enhanced floatation.

A more scientific perspective on selection is provided by another party for you here.

Want to know other attributes which will help you decide,how to buy a snowboard.

Ask which type of a base does the board use? Most bases are made of polyethylene as with most skis.Some manufacturers abbreviate the name to P-tex. Where it starts to vary is in the preparation of this base before application.

*Extruded base – in their soft form are squeezed from machinery and poured over the base of the snowboard,like tooth paste . These bases do not need to be waxed much. If you like to board faster, waxing these is less effective.The benefits are these bases are easier to repair.

*Sintered base – the above polymer is ground down to fine particles then they are reformed under heat retaining a roughened surface. As the surface is rougher it responds better to wax application. The effect is a faster more smooth base better suited to racing.These bases however are more difficult to repair when damaged.

*Metal alloy compound bases- some manufacturers add on different metallic bases to polyethylene to reduce surface friction between the board and the snow ,and hence enhance its gliding feel. Recent addition are gallium and indium. At this stage they are mainly used in racing style boards.

*Graphite base-similar to metal alloy bases, can be added to polyethylene. These hold a lot of wax. A very fast base for mainly racing type boards.

In case you would like to get a feel for what different boards are out there, and what names they go by, this next how to buy a snowboard segment may help.

Racing or Alpine Snowboard-these are long up to 215 cm, pretty stiff, have a large turning radius, are unidirectional, may have a sintered base with graphite, or metal alloy make up. These boards are very fast, if you can control them, plenty of enjoyment awaits you.For another perspecive on how to buy an alpine board try this site.

These are ridden in hard boots .If you have the need for speed these are the way to go.

All Mountain Snowboards- are up to 165 cm long, have varying degrees of flex, have a medium to short turning radius, uni or bi-directional, usually extruded base make up.These are ridden in soft boots.

Freeride-up to 165cm long, varying flex usually on the stiffer side, medium to short turning radius, unidirectional, extruded base. These are ridden in soft boots.

Freestyle -these are suited for rails or pipe,or aerials. They both are in the shorter variety, although the rails board is shorter than than pipe one. They are both flexible, have short turning radii, and are bi-directional.The base is manufactured through the extruded process. These are ridden in soft boots.

I hope this provides some help for you when you want to decide on, how to buy a snowboard.

What should I expect to pay for it?
You can pick up snowboards from U.S. $100.00 up to $ 700 range. The more expensive ones may have better edge reinforcement, have a faster base , better graphics and may come from a brand named company, which in itself attracts a price tag. If you are after the signature series ,authenticated by a professional rider ,the price may climb even higher.

I believe you can start to have a lot of fun on a board for under 200 dollars. If you feel the more expensive boards are too cool to resist ,I suggest you rent them first before you buy them.Perhaps to help you with the decision on how to buy a snowboard ,try different styles of boards to see which design suits you best.

As for me ,if they are offered at great value I would buy one first,then try to master it.

How to buy a used snowboard?
Try classifieds in local newspapers, and larger state circulating papers. Previous season’s boards are a good start. Most of the boards are as good as new.

Just make sure they do not have cracks, or deep fractures. Inspect the quality of the edge for any damage. Damaged edges are expensive if not impossible to repair. If you are after a race board, there is a high chance it has a sintered base, and these bases,if damaged, remember are difficult to repair.

For a more broad perspective, from another party, try how to buy a snowboard tip here.

Following further with,how to buy a snowboard,check that the laminated layers are not splitting apart.Look for warpage between two layers. Inspect for the tale-tell signs of crazing around the bindings. When inspecting the base check for how deep the scratches are.If they penetrate deeply into the core,give the board a miss.

Finally when you come close to deciding on, how to buy a snowboard, the style you want, and whether it is within a reasonable price range, ensure the party you are buying from has a "secure site"or is linked to a verified credit provider.This is just a simple piece of mind, especially that most transactions are done using credit cards.

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