Since the 1960's snowboard design has come a long way. Manufactures have now started to devise technologically advanced boards to suit for all areas of riding. Various shapes, lengths and composition of boardsexist to give you the best ride possible.
Each model and brand will have their own little tweaks and keywords about shape or materials used- 'dragon fly core', 'powder banana camber', 'twin wood' - don't let all of this confuse you, a lot of this is different brands own way of saying the same thing. We trust that our guide below will help you to find the best board for your riding style and ability.
First of all, determine your skill level. This will allow you to buy a board aimed at your ability.
Beginner/progressive: You are new to the sport but making linked turns and generally ride with some caution, keeping your speed in check most of the time. Boards in this ability bracket tend to be quite soft flexing
Intermediate: You feel comfortable on the piste, and also enjoy heading off piste into the powder. You've tried hitting up the park, catching air, and you ride at a variety of speeds depending on conditions and terrain. Look for a board with a mid flex rating
Advanced: You tend to look for more off piste, steeps and backcountry or are very confident in the park on rails and big kickers, and ride at high speed most of the time. Look for a stiffer board if riding all mountain and off piste or a board with Park specific upgrades for freestyle riding
Boards also have different amount of flex, and as mentioned above the stiffness of your board depends on the type of riding you are doing and your ability.
Second, what type of snowboarder are you? You may enjoy having a few boards for different conditions, but generally you stick to one category of riding. Key categories are:
Progressive- This may be your first snowboard after renting, or your first time snowboarding in general. A progressive board will help you make that step to the next level. Like an All Mountain board, it will take you on a bit of everything. They have a directional twin shape to help you carve and have a softer flex giving you the forgiveness you may need for the few errors you may make from time to time.
All Mountain- You love all types of riding- on piste, powder and park. All mountain boards will cover all types of riding and can handle pretty much everything. These boards will appeal to a large group of snowboarders. The versatile range of all mountain boards has a lot to offer with rocker and camber mixes, all camber, twin tips and directional shapes.
Freestyle- Freestyle riders are all about the park- you love hitting the rails and boxes, and spend your time spinning off the kickers. Freestyle boards are playful with a twin tip shape, generally some sort of Rocker shape to aid buttering and pressing the board.
Powder - The big mountain rider is the one off the piste, hitting up the back country and riding in the deep stuff. Big mountain boards are quite stiff, and have a set back stance for the powder. The tail on a big mountain board comes in various shapes like fishtail or pin tails. This board does not excel on piste and certainly does not work in the park, so for most riders it's usually a second board for them.
Women- Womens boards are designed specifically for women- they've got a smaller stature and lighter weight. Womens centre of gravity is different than men, and the boards are designed to accommodate this. They are also a bit softer in flex, and have a narrower waist for smaller feet.
Board profiles have expanded from the basic camber to various different profiles. When boards were first developed, they were designed based on the shape of a ski - cambered which implies that the centre is more raised from the floor than the tip and tail. After a while designers realized that some types of snowboarding could benefit from a different shape profile, the Rocker Revolution was born! Today we have a myriad of interesting shapes for you to choose from and it is quite straight forward.
Camber: The original shape and still favoured for high speed on piste riding as the board 'bites' well in to a hard turn and they feel very stable and positive when riding at high speed.
Flat or Rocker/camber mix: Either entirely flat or rockered but with some camber left normally under the binding area, these boards are very popular for someone who wants one board to do everything well and is featured on a lot of our boards these days. The lack of complete camber allows the board to feel playful and fun while retaining the ability to feel stable turning at high speed. It also allows for better float in deep snow that a cambered board due to less downward pressure on the tip and tail of the board
Rocker: Now primarily used for park riding as it makes the board very 'skatey' feeling, loose and playful. Very easy to jib and butter as the shape already has you most of the way there! If you don't understand the above terms, then chances are these boards are not for you.
Powder rocker - normally featuring some camber under the feet to the back of the board but then with a very long nose with loads of rocker thrown in so that the nose of the board rides high in deep powder without the need to lean back. In the right conditions, these boards can give you the day of your life!
Take a look at our snowboard size guide. This will give you an idea of what size of board you need for your height, weight and the type of riding.
Note, we've created this chart as a guideline for you to find the right sized board. The size may change based on your skill level or type of riding.