The length of a snowboard makes a difference in how it rides and riding one that is the wrong length for you will negatively affect your progress and be challenging to ride. But how do you know if your snowboard is too long, and what happens?
A snowboard that’s too long will be difficult to maneuver. You’ll find it hard to initiate turns, hold an edge, or feel like a passenger. You can overcome these things, but you’ll be wasting energy, which will hold you back in your progress. However, a longer snowboard floats better in deep powder.
Understanding how a snowboard that’s too long for you feels, you’ll be able to determine if you have the right board. So, in this post, I’ll go into how a snowboard feels if it’s too long and how you can get the right size board before you walk out of the shop.
When Your Snowboard Is Too Long?
So you’ve found the perfect snowboard, but the shop has just sold the last one suitable for your size. But they have the next size up, so you think it can’t make that much difference and buy it anyway.
You take it on your next snowboard trip and strap in for the first time and set off down a slope.
Sometimes it can take a while to get used to a new snowboard, so you don’t overthink how you’re not getting the most out of it yet.
However, you soon realize that you’re struggling to initiate turns and must swing your body to get the tail around. You may also find that you can’t hold an edge throughout a turn and keep skidding out.
But more alarmingly, you feel like your new snowboard is in charge, and you’re just a passenger without much control.
The reason for all these handling characteristics is that you should have gone to a different shop to buy the right size board for you or a different board.
The extra length means you don’t possess enough physical mass to put power into your oversized snowboard to control it.
If you bought the right size snowboard, you would have much more control over it, rather than feeling it is controlling you.
You can definitely get used to a snowboard that’s too big, but you’re not doing yourself justice. Riding a snowboard that is too big takes more effort, which is a waste of energy.
Also, you will progress slower than you would with the correct size snowboard. Not everyone gets a lot of mountain time, so riding a snowboard that’s too long doesn’t allow you to maximize your time on the hill.
If you want to do some freestyle tricks, you’ll find that a longer snowboard has a higher swing weight than a shorter one.
This means you’ll need to put more effort into your spins to get around the whole rotation. You’ll also need to hit those jumps much faster so you have enough time to complete your spin before you land.
The way we used to know if a snowboard was long enough in a shop was to measure the board in relation to your height.
It was used as a rule of thumb but wasn’t very accurate, as it doesn’t consider your weight and riding style.
Snowboarding has come a long way, so just seeing if the snowboard comes up to your chin is an outdated way of checking the length.
Snowboards now use many different materials, technologies, and shapes, which can affect what the correct length for you is.
Therefore, the more modern way to determine how long a snowboard should be is to consider your weight and the type of snowboard. But, in general, there are two extremes of snowboard length.
At one end, you have freestyle snowboards; these are the shortest with low swing weights, allowing you to spin them faster and giving you lots of control.
At the other end, you’ll find big mountain powder snowboards; these are the longest snowboards, as the extra length gives you more surface area to float on top of the snow and more stability at high speeds.
If you see two snowboards from different manufacturers of the same length, one of them may not be the right size for you.
This is down to the materials used, its shape, profile, and the technologies used in its construction. So you need to check out each snowboard’s size chart.
These charts indicate what length of snowboard you should ride regarding your height and weight.
You’ll see the snowboard’s size chart on a sticker stuck to the base in the shop or on the manufacturer’s website.
The charts are very helpful, as the snowboard manufacturer will have determined the correct size from lots of testing.
Often, these size charts overlap. What I mean by this is that your weight and height ranges may be suitable for two lengths of snowboard. So which one do you choose?
It all depends on where in the chart your stats lie and your riding style. If you’re on the very edge of the shorter board and in the middle of the larger one, choose the larger snowboard.
If you are equal within the chart for both lengths, consider what riding characteristics you prefer.
For example, my current snowboard is a volume-shifted board. Which means that it is wide and short. Also, the bindings are set slightly back to make a longer nose.
But according to the sizing chart, I could choose a 153 or 157-cm snowboard. The longer snowboard would have more float in powder, but I chose the 153.
This is because I wanted a more playful feel and faster turn initiation.
Now that I’ve ridden it in powder, I find it has more than enough float due to the extra width, but the shorter length means I can whip it around trees more easily. So, I’m thrilled with my choice.
Powder snowboards used to be long and stiff. Some may have featured a swallowtail and a pointy nose, but generally, bigger was better if you had the skills to ride one.
However, powder boards are so diverse now. They come in different shapes and styles, making it impossible to put many of them on a sizing chart.
If you want a powder snowboard, you must research what’s best for you and consider precisely what you want it for.
For example, do you want it as a second board that you bring out just for deep days, or do you want to ride it all the time?
When you want to buy a specialist snowboard, such as a powder board, it’s best to talk to someone in the know.
Go to a reputable snowboard shop and talk with an advisor or contact the manufacturer or an online store for advice.
A snowboard that’s too long for you will be hard work and inefficient to ride.
Therefore, you should consult the sizing charts for each snowboard to ensure you get the correct length for your height, weight, and riding style.