The size of snowboard that you need depends on a few different factors.
It’s important to note that snowboard sizing comes down to not just the length of the snowboard but also the width.
Whilst typically the width should be fine if you get the right length, this isn’t always the case so it’s something to consider to make sure you get both right.
First let’s take a look at the best length of snowboard and then we’ll take a look at width.
Your Snowboard’s Length
The best length for you will come down to a few factors.
- Ability Level
It used to be that the length of a snowboard was simply decided on your height. If the snowboard came roughly to your chin you were good to go.
These days weight is more important than height when deciding your snowboard’s length.
Heavier riders need longer snowboards, whilst lighter riders need shorter snowboards. How long or short depends partly on your height, partly on your ability level and partly on your style of snowboarding.
Height still comes into it somewhat but it’s not as important as it once was.
Generally speaking the taller you are the longer the snowboard – but just how long depends more on your weight.
Beginners should choose a shorter snowboard than they otherwise would if they were more advanced.
A shorter snowboard is easier to maneuver and easy to manage when you are just starting out.
As a rule you should take between 3cm and 5cm off of the length of your snowboard.
Different lengths suit different styles.
Freestylers tend to go with shorter boards as they are easy to swing around for spins. Depending on your own preferences and what you like to do, most freestylers will typically choose a board that is between 2cm and 6cm shorter.
Freeriders will tend to go with longer boards in order to help with speed and stability. Freeriders tend to choose a board that is between 1cm and 4cm longer.
If you like to do a bit of everything or are just a casual rider who likes to just cruise the trails, then something in between is best.
How to Figure Out Your Length from All of This?
That’s all very well but how do I know where to start? If I’m a beginner I take off 3-5cm but what’s my starting point?
That’s what I like to call the standard length.
The standard length is the length that I would recommend for anyone who is an all-mountain rider and is at an intermediate or above level. This standard length is worked out based on your weight and height.
Check out the post below which has length tables in it to help you determine your standard length plus more discussion on how to find the right length.
Once you’ve found your standard length then:
- Take off 3 to 5cm if you are a beginner
- Take off 2 to 6cm if you are a freestyler
- Add 1 to 4cm if you are a freerider
- If you are an all-mountain rider and an ability level of intermediate or above, then use your standard length
Your Snowboard’s Width
A lot of the time the right length snowboard will have an appropriate width for you. But this is certainly not always the case.
People come in all shapes and sizes and when it comes to foot size (which is a big determiner in finding the right width) the foot to height ratio, and the foot to weight ratio, isn’t the same for everyone.
How to Tell if the Snowboard is the Right Width
In an ideal world your bare-feet would run from edge to edge on the snowboard. That is to say that your toes would be right on the edge of the snowboard and your heels would be right on the edge of your snowboard.
The reason for this is, that it is your feet mostly, rather than your boots, that apply the pressure to the edges of the snowboard.
If your heels and toes are too far in from the edges then it will take a lot more effort to apply pressure to the edges.
However, you don’t want your boots to overhang too much either. If your boots overhang too much then you risk toe and/or heel drag. Naturally, if your feet are to the edges then your boots will overhang somewhat.
Boot overhang is fine, in fact it is good, if your boots didn’t overhang at all it would mean that your feet are probably too far in from the edges. So some overhang is what you want – just not too much.
Ideally you would have around 1cm (1/4 inch) to 2cm (3/4 inch) of boot overhang and you could probably get away with 2.5cm (1 inch) on both your toe and heel edge (make sure your bindings are properly centered).
This certainly doesn’t have to be exact and you can get away with it being a little bit off perfect and you won’t notice the difference.
O.k. but How on Earth Do I Figure out if a Snowboard has the Right Width for Me?
Snowboard companies publish waist widths – the snowboard’s waist is at the center of the snowboard. Unfortunately, your feet don’t go at the center of the board!
So we have to estimate based on the waist width of the board.
You can check out the post below which goes into more detail about finding the right width for you and has charts to help you to figure it out.
Just remember that you don’t have to be too exact – but if you are way off then it will affect your board’s performance when you are riding it.
Thanks for Reading
I hope this post and the relevant links help you to find the perfect size snowboard for you.
If you have anything to add to this discussion or any questions just leave a comment in the comments section below.