How Tall Should My Snowboard Be?

Smiling Chinese snowboarder holding snowboard

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Finding a snowboard of the appropriate size is the first step to truly having an enjoyable experience, and fortunately, the way to determine the best snowboard for casual riding is surprisingly easy: just find one that falls between your chin and your nose when standing up.

Snowboards are, however, measured in inches when sold so if you already know your preferred snowboard height, you could request a model in the same size if it's not on display in the shop.

Professional snowboarders might also select varying sizes depending on their specific discipline in the sport. Freestyle jibbing, for instance, requires a slightly shorter board to maintain more control when jumping over and sliding down obstacles.

Technical Specifics of an Appropriately-sized Snowboard

According to the Pro Board Shop, a snowboard's size is based on the riders height and can be measured using the following formula: rider's height (in inches) multiplied by 2.55 then multiplied by 0.88, which will equate to the length (in centimeters) of your ideal board.

Unfortunately, this formula isn't perfect; not all riders of the same height are built the same. Weight can also play a key role in determining the length of snowboard because a snowboard with more surface area can distribute more weight on top of the powder, allowing for even heavy-set snowboarders to slide down a slope with ease.

In general, longer boards also yield faster speeds in which the rider gains better control while shorter boards are more maneuverable and offer a lower swing but can't get quite as fast or distribute quite as much weight.

Personal Preference

In truth, the only way to really know the best size snowboard for your particular style is to try different sizes out and, of course, have different-sized boards for different snowboarding styles. Freestylers, for instance, prefer shorter boards so they can jib (or jump) over logs and handrails to perform tricks similar to skateboarders.

Meanwhile, high-speed snowboarding racers or those interested in more maneuverability while reaching the top speeds of steep-slope snowboarding find more solace in the control offered by longer boards, which extend beyond the recommended "nose-height" measurement.

Varying the snowboard you use will greatly impact your boarding experience. If you find yourself at the snowboard shop still hopelessly lost on what to do, just ask one of the salespeople or instructors what they would recommend based on your body and skillset.