choose a snowboard SIZE you'll love!
The size is by far the most discussed factor when choosing a snowboard and so often the only one (besides the graphics, we all love to love our boards graphics), but not necessarily the most comprehended. "Which snowboard size shall I get? Should it be by my chin?" Maybe, because there is a correlation between your weight and your height, but a good amount of people is heavier or lighter than the medium weight for height, so also, maybe not. Height only dictates where the center of mass is. For snowboard sizing, between height and weight, your weight matters the most, it puts more or less pressure on the snowboard. But what really matters the most off all when sizing a snowboard? Your riding style and level.
When we talk about snowboard size we mean the length, tip to tail (not the effective edge), and not the snowboard width. Unless we are talking about a powder board that needs more surface than other boards in order to float, a standard snowboard size for your weight and riding style and level is pretty predictable. The size number you'll take from here will save you time by alowing you to look for snowboards within a certain size range, going straight to the point and avoiding any snowboard size that's not so good for you when buying or renting (or borrowing) a snowboard.
Snowboard size for weight / Suggested weight range
Almost every size of each snowboard model comes with a suggested weight range (neversummers boards are an exception here), if your weight is within that size range the snowboard will perform as advertised by the manufacturer and as expected by you. The snowboard size is a suggestion, not an unbreakable rule and it's totally ok if your weight is off the suggested weight range for the board you're riding and loving. If you enjoy riding a snowboard let no one tell you different. For beginners, just being within the suggested weight range for size will do it, for any intermediate or more experienced rider who wants to push his/her riding it won´t be enough and it can be a shackle.
If you are heavier or lower than suggested If you're more on the heavier side and your weight is closer to or above the maximum suggested weight (you're riding a smaller snowboard size than the recommendation), the snowboard will feel softer, more flexible. On the contrary, if your weight is closer or below the minimum suggested weight for the snowboard size you're riding (you're riding a bigger snowboard size than the recommendation), the board will feel stiffer. This can help you in finding the snowboard you're looking for, the one! For example, if you love a snowboard model but find it too stiff you can get a smaller size of that model; if you are overweight and want a normal sized snowboard you can look for stiffer boards than you really want; if you are very thin and light you can look for softer boards than you really want and get a normal sized snowboard that suggests your weight.
Snowboard size for riding style and level / Size influence in board performance
Other than the, afore mentioned, relation between your weight and the snowboard size affecting the boards flexibility, the size of a snowboard also influences it's manoeuvrability and that's why you may prefer bigger or smaller snowboards than the recommended sizes for your weight. Smaller snowboards are more manoeuvrable, better to ride park, rails and boxes and to play around with butters and small tricks. Bigger snowboards are more stable and float more, better to ride fast and hard on slopes, for freeriding and to ride powder. If you notice, freestyle snowboards come in smaller sizes than freeride snowboards.
Snowboard size chart / Choose a snowboard size in 3 quick steps
1 - Know your height and weight and find the correspondent snowboard size in the snowboard size chart bellow.
2 - That is a snowboard size for your weight and height, now let's tune that snowboard size for your riding style and level.
beginner -3cm | jibing/buttering -5cm | all-mountain freestyle -3cm | all-mountain freeride +3cm | backcountry/powder freeride +5cm | trees > short and wide
3 - Because one cm up or down wont make a difference, if you get 156, go with 155, 156 or 157, for example. And that's it, your standard snowboard size for weight and height.
How to choose a snowboard size on the go
Need to choose a snowboard on the go without access to our snowboard size chart? Maybe you are at a physical shop looking at a snowboard that seems fine to you and has a nice price but you want to be sure before spending, or a friend has a good snowboard to sell but you don't know if its your size. Or maybe you are looking online but want to spend more time riding and less time choosing.
No worries, just start with the "by the chin" standard and adjust accordingly: heavier than your height's average +1 to +3cm (or look for stiffer boards) / lighter than height's average -1 to -3cm (or look for softer boards) / stability over maneuverability +1 to 3cm / maneuverability over stability -1 to 3cm
This obviously not the most accurate way to choose a snowboard size but it will get the job done.
Snowboard size VS snowboard effective edge
Definition of snowboard size: the snowboard size is the maximum length of the board, tip to tip.
Definition of effective edge: the effective edge of a snowboard is the part of the edges that is in contact with the snow. All the edge used while turning on a snowboard. The edges of the snowboard usually go all around the board. On snowboards that have no edge on the tips, the edges still go further than the effective edge to avoid a weak point where the tips of the edges would easily get ripped off the snowboard (specially while carving seriously or while jibbing and buttering).
Snowboard size F.A.Q.
Is the "by the chin" an accurate way to choose a snowboard size?
No. That can work because there is a relation between weight and height, but lots of people fall far from the norm, so measuring the snowboard against your height is not an accurate way of choosing a snowboard size.
Is the snowboard size difficult to choose?
No. Just know your weight and, on the snowboard specifications (online or on the board itself) check out the suggested weight range for each snowboard size. And if your snowboard boots are a US size 11 or plus, look for snowboard sizes with a W (like 155W instead of just 155). The suggested weight range for snowboard size is usually a wide range, aim for the middle.
Im heavier/lighter than suggested for a snowboard size I like, can I still use that snowboard size?
Yes. The answer is in the question, the suggested weight for a snowboard size is a suggestion.
What happens if I'm heavier than suggested for a snowboard size?
The snowboard will feel softer, more maneuverable, more prone to shattering. It may feel more responsive too, snappier.
What happens if I'm lighter than suggested for a snowboard size?
The snowboard will feel stiffer, more stable and controllable at speed and less prone to shattering.
Is the snowboard size the most important thing when buying a snowboard?
No. The width is more important. And both, snowboard size and snowboard width, are easy to choose. Plus, you're in the right place already!