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2 things you must consider when buying a snowboard

Posted on: Apr 9, 2011 Listed in: Equipment by Chris Skinner

Snowboard size guide chartLooking at getting a new board? Then read this!

A response I gave to a question on the post, Buying a Snowboard – Basic Guide, that I wrote back in December, is definitely worth considering next time you’re buying a snowboard.

Length / Size of Side Cut

It’s something that most people tend to forget to look at. I’ve know seasonal riders to choose their board solely on if they fit into the weight range and by the length it.

… no way, I don’t go below a 159. I always get either a 160 or 163. That’s my range and I don’t buy anything else.

Yes, I agree that we must apply a certain degree of logic and experience to what size board we choose, but do we sometimes

rush into buying without considering other factors that may change the way a snowboard rides, performs or feels under foot?

I myself, have made the odd bad decision when buying a board, but I’d like to think I’ve made more good choices.

Below is quote from the question on the above mentioned post. Initially in response to a question about the weight range that snowboard manufactures display for each individual board, I go on to explain about the sidecut.

…..another factor is the size / length of the side cut. Long or short? A longer side cut will produce sharper turns with less effort, sometimes feeling twitchy to the novice rider. Short side cut will result in a more ‘cruise feeling’ drawn out turns. Better for beginners.

So you might want to look into the length / radius of the side cut before buying as this is a big factor….

For example, if you want a board that has a long effective edge (nose to tail) but responds quickly, delivering short sharp decisive turns, then maybe go for something with a long sidecut too.

On the other hand, you might want a short board when just starting out, best to go for some something with a shorter sidecut allowing for a more forgiving feel.

As a freestyle rider you may also not want a board that responds too quickly as soon as that sidecut digs in. Just think what would happen if you don’t quite land that spin spot on – do you want a board that will suddenly throw you into a turn? Maybe, maybe not…

A recent article I wrote How to ride a cat track on a snowboard touches on the subject of a boards’ sidecut.

So, how much do you look into the statistics of a board before buying? Is it just the size and weight range that you look at? Do your eyes never reach past that first line on the sizing chart. Or do you just go for the colour graphics….

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4 Responses

  1. dewei says:

    Hi Chris,

    I have been a regular and avid visitor to your website since I started riding 4 months ago. I appreciate all the little details and the insight.

    However, your comments about the long/short sidecuts have got me abit confused. I thought that a deeper sidecut(i.e. a shorter sidecut radius) will carve a smaller maximum curve/circle and therefore will feel more twitchy?

    • Hi,

      Yes you are correct. The deeper the sidecut radius the sharper the turn. When I’m talking about the length (long/short) I refer to the distance of the effective edge from tip to tail.

      So, the deeper the sidecut, the longer the length of the effective edge (from tip to tail) and the shorter the sidecut radius (also know as turn radius). Giving a tighter turn and a more twitchy feel compared with a board with a shallower sidecut. (shorter length, longer radius).

      Hope that all makes sense.

      Here’s a link to an in depth article about it:

      • dewei says:

        Hi Chris,

        I think I’ve got it now.
        So, different boards will have different combinations of the overall length and sidecut depth giving rise to different effective lengths?