People normally get acquainted with snowboarding as a sport through word of mouth and through media, and it is a normal reaction to say that it looks fun. This is also one of the sports that allow you to enjoy natural terrain with relatively simple equipment.
Instead of being cooped indoors during winter, why don’t you give snowboarding a try?
Is it hard to Snowboard?
If you know how to use the skateboard, then snowboarding shouldn’t be difficult. In fact, you can master this sport quickly even if you do not have any skating experiences at all – almost all fledglings can hit the slopes in as early as 2 to 3 days after they first tried the snow. In addition, snowboarding is also one of the most dynamic sports that you can try, thanks to the variety of gear, techniques, and skating styles that you can try. At the same time, it allows you to explore different snow conditions that you can master. With the right combination of gear and experience, you can definitely become a true master of the snow!
Where to Start?
If you have decided to pick up snowboarding as a sport, the first thing that you need to do is to pick up the right gear for you. Doing so will help you start practicing basic skills right away, and of course, provide you the right handicap for your level.
When you want to pick up the right gear, it does not mean that you have to get the most stylish ones or the most popular brands. At the same time, make sure that you have all the protective gear that you need in order to ensure that snowboarding would not only be a fun sport for you to indulge in, but also a safe one.
Choosing the Board
There are different features that you need to look at when you are buying a board. Here are some terms that you need to learn when you are getting your first board.
Here is the rule of thumb –always choose the shorter board in the size range based on your height and weight. For example, if you are around 5’10”, the board seller would automatically tell you that the recommended size for you is anywhere from 159-167 cm. Choose the smaller size so that you would not have a difficult time maneuvering the board when you hit the slopes.
Tip: If you want to choose a correct short board and you have no idea what your height is, put the board against your body vertically. If the board is somewhere between your chin and collarbone, then that is around the perfect size for you.
2. Rider weight
Your board would essentially not know how tall you are, but it would surely tell you that in a way, it knows your weight. For that reason, you can choose the length of the board that goes with your height, if you have the ideal weight based on your height. If you are too heavy for your height and you choose a short board, it would have the tendency to perform poorly at turns when you pick up speed. If you are too light for your height and you choose a long board, you would have definite trouble when you make initial turns.
Tip: When shopping, it is best to look at the manufacturer’s board recommendations according to weight. They tend to offer different board builds based on a snowboarder’s weight and skate style.
3. Flex or stiffness
When you ride snowboards, you would notice that they tend to tend to bend a little. That bending is called the flex. The flexibility of the board affects the responsiveness of your board whenever you shift your weight from one part of the board to another to accelerate or slow down. To explain further, here are two flex types that you need to always check.
- A. torsional flex
This flex involves the measure of stiffness from the board’s toe edge (the ridge in front of the toe) and heel edge (the ridge at the back of the heel). When the flex is soft, it would be much easier to turn or maintain control during bumpy rides or when tackling gentle slopes. The stiffer ones are great for deeper powder and groomed slopes.
- B. longitudinal flex
Longitudinal flex is simply the flex from the board’s front nose all the way to the back. Choosing a softer flex would allow you to have better control for landing jumps, freestyle riding, and jibbing. If you choose a stiff one, you lose some control, but you get more effective edge hold on a slope.
4. Effective edge
Notice that the board gets thinner towards there the tow and heel of the boot is? Those are called the edges. The effective edge differs on what kind of riding you want. If you want to do multiple turns, spins, or quick carves, then you need short edges. If you want better stability when going down on a great speed, which is ideal for races, then you want longer edges.
5. Waist width
The waist is the narrowest part of the board, which is where you would strap in your boots. When choosing a board, you would want a board that actually fits your boot perfectly. If you have bigger shoes, you would have a difficulty with a narrow board since you would have difficulty dragging your feet to make turns.
This is the measure of the turning radius in your board, and this would differ depending on the model of the board that you want to get. The smaller the radius measurement is (or the deeper the sidecut), the sharper the turns you can make.
The longer the radius is (or the shallower the sidecut), the wider your turns would be. You may not pay much attention to this now, but when you know what kind of skating you want to do, this would figure out in the next board that you are going to buy.
After you have bought your basic board and have hit your first slope, you would soon figure out the next types of boards that you would want to purchase.
Depending on the snowboarding styles that you would choose to master, you would learn to shop for customized boards or even experiment on the flex and the sidecut as you learn. For now, stick to a board that fits your budget but would help you keep your balance and control.
However, your shopping spree doesn’t stop on picking your first board. The next article will help you get your first snowboarding gear set and other accessories.