There’s a bit of debate around what the best snowboard binding angles for beginners are.
In this article I will:
- show all of the beginner binding angle setup options
- outline why each is advocated
- give my opinion as to which I believe is the best way to start out
What Are Binding Angles?
Let’s start out by defining binding angles in case you’re not sure what we’re talking about here.
Your bindings attach to your board at certain angles – they’re never both just perpendicular to the board. What angle you choose to put your bindings on will often depend on:
- The style of riding you do
- Your ability level; and
- What feels good to you (most importantly)
Bindings can be adjusted in 3 degree movements.
Beginner binding angle options
O.k. so there are 2 schools of thought on beginner binding angles.
Beginner Binding Angles School of Thought 1
Some people think that you should start out riding with a duck stance.
A duck stance essentially means that you front foot is on a positive angle and your back foot is on a negative angle.
A mirrored duck stance is when your back foot is the same angle (but negative i.e. mirrored) as your front foot. The example below is +15/-15 degrees.
The reason why the duck stance is advocated as a good beginner stance is that it means that you can ride in both directions as easy as the other.
There are two reasons for the theory.
- If you aren’t sure whether you are goofy or regular then you can ride both ways for a while and see which is more comfortable
- When you are starting out it is easier to “snowflake” down the mountain and this is easier to do if you are in a duck stance. “Snowflaking means that you stay on your heel edge the whole time.
Beginner Binding Angles School of Thought 2
The second school of thought thinks that you should start out riding with some kind of forward stance.
A forward stance is essentially any stance that has a positive angle on both feet. For example +18/+3 (see diagram below).
Note: All of the stances in this post use the left binding as the front binding. If you ride goofy this will look the opposite.
The reason for this is that:
- It sets you up to ride in one direction easier
- It makes it easier to start performing your first proper turns (transitioning from heel edge to toe edge)
But you shouldn’t be in too “aggressive” a forward stance. Something like a +21/+9 is not going to make it easy for a beginner.
One of the most recommended stances is the +15/+0 stance (see diagram below).
What I think is the Best Way to Start Out
I lean more towards the second school of thought here. This is for a couple of reasons.
- You can easily figure out if you are regular or goofy by performing some simple tests
- If you are set up in a way where it is easy to snowflake then you are prone to stay with that and you want to be linking turns as early on as possible. Snowflaking is ok for a very brief time while you are still getting a feel but you should progress past this quickly
However, I do think it’s important that you aren’t in too much of an aggressive forward stance.
By aggressive I mean having both feet on a large positive angle.
My Recommended Stances
So I would recommend something like the +15/+0 mentioned above or something close to that. It’s also really important to find something that feels comfortable for you.
The following are all good options in my opinion depending on what feels best for you. The only rules I would go by are:
- Don’ use a mirrored duck stance; and
- Don’t use a forward stance that is too aggressive
Slight Forward +15/+0
Slight Forward +15/+3
Slight Forward +12/+0
Slight Duck +15/-3
Slight Duck +12/-3
Slight Duck +15/-6
Verdict – The Best Stance for a Beginner?
You’ll notice above that none of the angles are too extreme. This is to make for a mellower ride for the beginner.
These are by no means the only options but if it was up to me I’d recommend starting with no more than +15 degrees on the front foot and no more than -6 degrees on the back (and no more than +3 on the back foot).
The most commonly recommended beginner stance is +15/+0 so this might be a good place to start and experiment from there.
There are however plenty of people who think that a duck stance of some sort is the way to start out and a lot of hire shops will set up their boards with a slight duck stance. It varies from hire shop to hire shop but I usually see hire shops using +15/-9 or +15/-6 or +12/-9 or something like that.
Finding the best stance for you is a matter of doing a bit of experimenting. What feels best for you will be slightly different to what feels best for others so I do encourage you to experiment with this.
Start out with a +15/+0 or a +12/+0 and then try some others that are close to that. Remember that if you are a beginner nothing is going to feel completely comfortable yet.
Thanks for reading and I hope this post has helped you to find a starting point for your binding angles.