The WMBC Guide To Buying A Snowboard

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Effective edge, camber profile, poplar cores, carbon stringers, sidewalls, flex ratings – there are a lot of things to consider when investing in a new snowboard. And you don’t want to get it wrong – they’re expensive! Here we’re running through 5 things to consider and look for before you make the purchase!

  • The BIGGY – What kind of rider are you? Are you a parkrat, freerider, hard-charging straight-lining racer or do you love buttering and flatground tricks. There’s a board suited for every single style of riding. It’s important to understanding both what you LIKE to do AND what you WANT to do is vital. You might find that at your current level, you LIKE flatground tricks, perhaps because you’ve got them on lock. But what are you looking to progress to this season? Are you looking more towards the park, maybe you’re looking more towards the backcountry – in either case, tweaking your selection to allow for this is of paramount importance. You don’t want to be stuck with a 160cm Pow board and suddenly you realise that rails are your thing! It’s important to consider your level as well – you need something a bit more forgiving if you’re a beginner but you’ll need some serious tech to give you the precision you need at the top end. If you’re having trouble, this always makes us laugh from Onboard and the below (credit Evolve Chile)
  • Image result for what kind of snowboarder are you

 

  • Length & Girth– Size Matters! If you’ve bought a board before you’ll likely know the range to work in. If you don’t, go and speak to someone at TSA or Snow & Rock and they’ll give you a better idea. As a rule of thumb, if you’re going for a freeride board, go a bit higher, if it’s a park board then go a bit shorter. It’s important to remember not just your height but your weight as well – I’m average height but quite heavy so when I bought a 155 for my height, what I really needed was a 157 to account for the weight. I winter well……. Make sure you’ve got the right width as well – there should be a little overhang (Onboard recommend 1.5cm tops) on your toes and heels.

 

  • Camber Confusion – This can get seriously confusing – Camber, Rocker, Flat, Gullwing, Hybrid, Banana, Wavelength, Powder, Flying V, CamRock – brands all have different names for slight iterations of the big 5. Camber all comes back to what you’re doing with your board and primarily falls into Camber, Reverse Camber (Rocker), Flat and Hybrid –  There’s too much to go into here but we highly recommend you understand the different profiles and test them for what you want as they all provide very different rides! Ultimately it all comes down to personal rpeference but take a read here for a good start

Image result for snowboard cambers

  • Tech 101 – let’s get serious:
    • Sidewalls dampen impact – The bits you can see between the top sheet and the edge. Many brands offer urethane technology but call it something different – Ride’s ‘Slimewalls’™ are one such example and help dampen impact when you’re charging around. Not a defining feature but a hell of a nice to have.
    • Carbon gives you pop. If it says ‘Carbon Stringers’ it’s going to be poppy as hell!
    • TBT (Triple Base Technology) helps stop catching your edges. The centre of the board is in contact with the snow whilst the area around the edges, nose and tail are slightly raised. Bataleon and Lobster are the biggies. I found the Bataleon Global Warmer to be particularly fun for jibbing and park and I only once caught my edge and knocked myself out! Bases – Sintered = Faster and more expensive, Extruded = cheaper but more durable, doesn’t hold wax as well
    • Edges – Focus on ‘effective edge’ – the surface area of edge in contact with the snow. The more there is, the more control you have. For example, Lib Tech & subsidiary GNU have Magnetraction where the edge of your board has ‘teeth’ or waves which help grip the snow as there is more surface to the edge! It’s great for park riders too as you can detune the edges and still hold in the turn.  To be honest, you can pretty much tune your ride to what you fancy – dull it down to stop catching on rails, sharpen up if you want to bomb around a bit more.
    • Shape – Powder boards tend to be directional whilst if you’re looking for something a bit more All-Mountain, you’ll be looking for a True Twin. There are some ridiculous shapes out there so the best way is to keep it simple!

 

  • We’re Not Worthy – An alternative approach yes, but should you get lost, try this. Is there a particular snowboarder who’s style and tricks you admire? It definitely shouldn’t be the be all and end all in the selection but ultimately, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. The Pro Models (whilst more expensive) have been honed to allow those riders to do exactly what they want to do and whilst most of the pros operate in echelons well outside what us mere mortals can do, if you want that Horgmo-style, you could do worse than his favourite board (girl’s name naturally required). It’s the same as getting Ronaldo’s boots or Murray’s racket.

Check out Evo or Onboard Mag resources for more info –

BONUS TIPS!

  • DO NOT CHOOSE IT BASED ON THE ARTWORK.
  • Go to your local dome testing night! Big Bang Snowboard Show is always a good bet
  • Most Snow & Rock and TSA’s have test boards which you can take out on the snow at the various snowdomes around the country
  • Check out discount outlets online for last year’s models – they really don’t change that much year on year……………….except in price
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WMBC Team