Let's start with good news, as a first timer or a beginner it's easier to find yourself a snowboard.
In a nutshellFor a fun, fast and easy progression as a beginner you will want the smallest recommended snowboard size for your weight/height (wide or not depending on your boot size)check the size chart + soft flex + twin or a not very directional shape + rocker base profile to get to the first turns faster OR a camber profile for a more solid progression (or any combo in between, for a combo I would recommend rocker-camber-rocker). Now the cheapest and easiest way to get that? Look for a beginners board, and that way you only need to choose the width and size!
What to buy first? Boots. If you must choose buy boots before you buy a snowboard or anything else, they are shoes after all and you want to have your own shoes before have your own car. First the shoes, then the car. First the boots, then the snowboard. Also the snowboard (width) will depend on the boots size and the bindings size will depend on the boots size too, and one thing you can not adapt is the size of your feet, so start there. Now what to buy after the boots? If you have outerwear (either yours or borrowed or if you can rent it on the resort you're heading to) you may get the board, otherwise get the outerwear and accessories first as the board/bindings you can rent or buy anywhere and the lack of comfort (that comes with the lack of proper gear) can take the fun away.
All the necessary wisdom for a beginner to choose a snowboard like a pro:
size(tip to tail) - Find the standard recommended size for you according to weight and height. If you're looking on other size chart that not ours and you have a range of size options to choose from, go with the smaller end and round down if necessary.
flexibility - Soft flex is better to start, it's more forgiving and easier to control at slow to moderate speeds because, facilitates turn initiation. It is the most important part of your choice, along with the snowboard size.
shape - Slightly directional (not too much) if you think you are more an "all mountain" guy, or twin if you can already see yourself "freestyling" the cheat out of your local snowpark. This is more about the future, for now you will be OK with any shape as long as it´s not ridiculously directional like a powder board.
profile - Rocker is great if you are just trying snowboard out without any idea if it will hook you up or not, it´s easier to use and more catch free. It is also great if you want to try some off-pist runs or if the slopes are buried in fresh powder. Otherwise we recommend a camber or rocker-camber-rocker combo, most advanced riders use a camber board or some kind of combo and that's not a coincidence, they store energy that you can use to pop ollie's or to jump to the next arc like rocker boards never will. So if you believe you will get hooked and want to progress give a try to a camber or rocker-camber-rocker combo snowboard and you will probably be really happy with your choice in no time. width vs boot size -Your boot's shall stick out of the snowboard about 1 to 1,5cm on each side. If your snowboard boots are size US 11 or up you may need a wide board. Wide snowboards are made for people with bigger feet than average for their weight / height (or advanced riders who just like it better). You will have, for example, the same snowboard available in the sizes 157 and 157W, beiing the only difference between them that the size 157W is a bit wider than the 157. If you are to decide between 2 or 3 boards, get the narrowest one.
Intermediate / Advanced Snowboarders
If you are not any more a beginner and the info above is not enough, and you're not yet an expert snowboarder (pro rider, top snowboard instructor or at that level, you will know...) then you probably are an intermediate / advanced snowboarder.
For an intermediate / advanced snowboarder, to have an idea of how a snowboard will perform by reading it´s specs, is quite important for a lot of different reasons. It may allow you to choose and buy a priced down snowboard on the go, to narrow down the options between all available snowboard models to buy, try out or rent a snowboard or to plan future try-outs. Ultimately it will make you a better rider, it will make it easier for you to find a sharper tool to further explore and develop your riding preferences and skills. Its a bit of knowledge that may make or break your efforts as a snowboarder.
If you know your height, weight, boot-size and riding style / desired use for the snowboard, you have all the data you need to choose a snowboard.
You may just choose a board type based on your riding style and trust on the brands to deliver, most brands do a good job in letting you know what their boards are good for (this will do it for any begginer and may do it for more experienced snowboarders too).
But you only truly know after trying, a board may be awesome at what it was made for and still fell wrong under your feet. If you want to take the power in your hands and decide by yourself which specifications does a board need to excel under the conditions you want her to, check out Board > Specs. to learn about each specification/technology and which one of them you want in your board (or which one of them you would like to try out and get to know better, try them onyour friends boards, rentals, try-outs...)
That will take you from your data to the snowboard you REALLY want, as fast as possible. We make your choice easier by making it painless to figure out and to find what you should be trying-out in the first place. Then the more you know the less you need to try out. So go ahead to "Board" tab and get your quest started.
They just need love and a short board. When getting a board for kids you just need to choose the size and to pay attention to the comfort and easiness of the bindings. Check on the board specifications which size is recommended for the kid's weight. There are even boards for you to drag your kid around the house, garden or on the kids area at any mountain/resort. The myth that kids should learn to ski first? Busted! The snowboard position is more biologically correct and better for the knees than the pizza position in skiing. If he can walk he can ride and it will be good for him. So go ahead and have some fun with the younger ones.
Women also need love and a shorter board :) But you don't have it as easy as the kids, you need to consider all the same things as guys do when choosing a snowboard.
Womens specific snowboards Women are usually lighter, have a lower center of mass and have smaller feet than mens, so womens specific snowboards are smaller (in both lenght and width) than men's snowboards, they also generaly have softer flexibilities and come with more feminine graphics. Tip to choose your board If you can't find the snowboard you want in the women's lines, or if you just prefer the graphics on some board with the size and specs you want that happens to be on some brand's men's line, go ahead and get it. Just make sure it has the size, flex and other characteristics you want or need. Check the "beginners and first timers" tab on this page or the "intermediate / advanced snowboarders" right below, and our other pages for more info about choosing the right type of snowboard for you and about choosing a snowboard size, flex, shape, base profile, type.