Snowboard length has been a hot topic in the sport ever since Sherman Poppen built the “Snurfer” back in the mid-60s.
As snowboard styles, fashions, and technologies have adapted over the years, the length of snowboards and the way people ride them has changed massively leaving us sideways-standing types with more choices than ever. But with choice comes confusion and boarders often worry if their new board is the wrong size.
In this article, we will look deeper into snowboard length. Helping you come to the right decision when it comes to buying a board or changing out your current one.
So strap on and let’s go!
How To Tell If My Snowboard Is Too Long?
If your snowboard is too long for your height, weight, riding style, or skill level, you may experience a range of challenges and difficulties while riding. These challenges can be little annoyances that you can live with, in certain conditions, or can be serious issues, causing you to crash or lose control consistently.
It is also worth noting that no 1 snowboard can truly do everything (although some do a great job) Your short park board will probably not be great in powder and your long wide pow shredder wont be optimal for park laps.
Common Signs That Your Snowboard Is Too Long
Do any of these sound familiar?
- Difficulty Maneuvering: Longer snowboards can be harder to maneuver, especially in tight turns or confined spaces like terrain parks. You might find it more challenging to make quick and precise movements.
- Reduced Control: A longer snowboard can feel less responsive, making it harder to control, especially at slower speeds. This can be problematic for beginners who are still learning to balance and control their movements.
- Increased Instability: Longer boards can provide stability at high speeds, but they can also feel more unstable at slower speeds or when transitioning between edges. This can lead to a wobbly or shaky sensation.
- Difficulty Initiating Turns: Initiating turns, especially quick or sharp ones, might require more effort and skill on a longer board. This can impact your overall riding experience, making it less enjoyable.
- Fatigue: Trying to control a snowboard that’s too long for you can lead to increased muscle fatigue. This is because you may need to exert more energy to maintain balance and control.
- Challenging for Tricks: Longer boards can be less conducive to freestyle tricks and jumps due to their reduced maneuverability. If you’re into park riding, a longer board might hinder your ability to perform tricks.
- Awkward Feelings: Riding a snowboard that’s too long might simply feel awkward and uncomfortable, making it harder to enjoy your time on the mountain.
It´s worth noting that if you have had any of these sensations there is no need to throw out your current board. It might just be that you’re having an off day or that the conditions aren’t great for your board.
Some of these issues can also be caused by boards that need to be serviced. Wax your board, service those rails, and see if that helps.
Another great way to tell if your board is too long is to have a friend, or even better a snowboard instructor film you riding. Doing so will let you pinpoint if its the board or your technique.
How Do You Measure Snowboard Length?
Snowboard length is determined by measuring from the tip to the tail along the base’s edge curvature, known as the effective edge.
Lay the snowboard flat, align a measuring tape along the edges, and read the measurement at the tail.
Alternatively, the length is almost always written on the snowboard, check there first to save yourself some time.
Finding The Right Size Of Snowboard
The most traditional and basic way of finding the right snowboard length is to choose a snowboard that comes up to somewhere between your chin and nose. But many experienced snowboarders will tell you that this is far from accurate. Especially if you are carrying some extra weight.
Determining the correct snowboard length depends on several factors, including your height, weight, riding style, skill level, and the type of terrain you plan to ride on.
Most snowboard manufacturers will have a size guide for their recent models, allowing you to find the correct size using your weight and height and foot size. We have foud these guides to be spot on, after all who would know better than the manufacturer right!
If you are buying/renting a second-hand snowboard, an older model or pulling your old trusted shred sled out of the attic after a long hiatus. You might need to do a little further investigation to find if your snowboard is the correct length. If this sounds like you, follow the guide below…
Guidelines For Snowboard Length
- Height and Weight: Your height and weight are important factors in choosing the right snowboard length. Different snowboard lengths provide varying levels of stability and maneuverability. A heavier rider might need a slightly longer or wider board for stability, while a lighter rider might prefer a shorter board for easier control.
- Riding Style: Consider your riding style. Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced rider? Are you more into freestyle, all-mountain, or powder riding? Different riding styles may benefit from different snowboard lengths. Longer boards can provide stability at high speeds and in deeper snow, while shorter boards are generally more maneuverable for tricks and park riding.
- Skill Level: Beginners often find it easier to learn on shorter boards because they are more maneuverable and forgiving. Longer boards can provide more stability but might be harder to control for beginners.
- Terrain: The type of terrain you plan to ride on matters. Powder snow might require a longer board to help with flotation, while a shorter board might be more suitable for terrain parks and tricks.
- Personal Preference: Your personal preference plays a role too. Some riders prefer the feeling of a longer board, while others like the agility of a shorter one. For a while it seemed like snowboards were getting shorter and shorter but there is a recent uprising of riders who wouldn’t dream of going under 160cm
Is It Better For A Snowboard To Be Too Long Or Too Short?
From a control standpoint, especially if you are a beginner, a park rider, or carving up groomed pistes. It is better to have a shorter board. This will give you a more playful feel and will be easier to pick up and play.
If you are a more advanced rider looking for control under speed or want to have some fun in the pow, choosing a board on the longer side will have its benefits.
Length Vs Riding Style
Here is a breakdown of riding styles and the lengths that suit them best. If you want to focus on any of the specifics and feel that your board isn’t the right length, it might be worth buying a second/third/fourth board. You can never have too many right?
- Shorter boards are often preferred by riders who focus on freestyle and park riding. These boards are more maneuverable and easier to spin, making tricks, jumps, and riding switch (backward) more accessible.
- A shorter board allows for quicker edge-to-edge transitions, which is crucial for navigating terrain park features and halfpipe.
- The reduced length can make the board more playful and forgiving, allowing riders to experiment with tricks and spins
All Mountain Riding
- All-mountain riders enjoy a mix of terrain, including groomed runs, powder, and occasional freestyle elements. Board length in this category often depends on personal preference and the rider’s weight.
- A slightly longer board can provide better stability at higher speeds and enhance carving ability, especially on groomed slopes.
- For riders who want versatility across different terrains, a balanced length that offers both stability and maneuverability is ideal.
- Freeride enthusiasts focus on exploring off-piste terrain, deep powder, and backcountry riding.
- Longer boards offer improved floatation in powder, making them a popular choice for riders seeking untouched slopes.
- The increased length provides better stability when riding through variable snow conditions and steeper terrain
- Carving and alpine riders prioritize precision turns and edge control on groomed slopes.
- Longer boards excel in carving due to their extended edge contact with the snow, allowing for smoother and more powerful turns.
- Recently carving boards have gotten shorter, as the shapes have advanced, allowing for a longer effective edge during the carve
- Powder-specific riding often benefits from longer boards as they provide more surface area and better floatation on deep snow.
- A longer nose and wider waist facilitate better maneuvering and control in powder conditions.
Can You Outgrow A Snowboard?
Yes, you can outgrow a snowboard as you physically grow, progress in skill, change riding style, develop new terrain preferences, or experience significant weight changes.
Your snowboard should match your evolving needs and preferences, so periodically assessing whether an upgrade is necessary is important.
Seeking advice from snowboard coaches, friends, and shops can help you choose a new snowboard that better suits your current stage as a rider.
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