Head to a rental shop and the standard advice you’ll be given about choosing the right length snowboard is to “pick something that’s somewhere between your nose and your chin".
While this is a good starting point, it’s pretty much the broadest possible guideline. Finding exactly the “right" length board for you depends on two factors – your height and your weight. However it’s also worth considering what snow conditions you’re most likely to encounter, and your terrain and style preferences.
As a rule of thumb, longer boards are faster and more stable but will be harder to turn (like a Cadillac!) whereas a shorter board will be lighter and more maneuverable but will offer less edge grip.
With all this in mind, we’ve created these four different length calculator tables, equating to four different rider types, which help you get a general idea of what sort of length you should be looking for.
Once you’ve worked that out, try a few – after all, like so much in snowboarding, board length is a matter of personal preference.
Oh and if you struggle with the metric system: 1 stone = 6.35 kilograms
1) ENTRY-LEVEL SNOWBOARD LENGTH CALCULATOR
Novice riders usually find it easiest to ride something that's a medium length. As boards in this category tend to be directional twin shapes, the ideal size ranges are roughly in-between those for jib and all-mountain boards. If you're buying your first snowboard, this is the table you want to look at.
2) JIB SNOWBOARD LENGTH CALCULATOR
In general, jibbers tend to prefer shorter boards. They have lower swing weights (making them easier to spin) and if you're riding rails, you're unlikely to be encountering deep snow, so you don't need a long nose. If you're into your park and rail riding, this is the table you'll want to look at.
3) ALL-MOUNTAIN SNOWBOARD LENGTH CALCULATOR]
All-mountain boards do pretty much what the name suggests. They're go-anywhere, ride anything machines designed to handle both groomed pistes and powder/ As such the average lengths tend to be a bit longer than both jib and entry-level boards.
4) WOMEN'S SNOWBOARD LENGTH CALCULATOR
In general women have a different weight to height ratio to men, so the weight/height calculation changes when choosing a board. If you're after something that'll cruise in pow, opt for something towards the upper end of the range, whereas if you want a jib board, go short.
A NOTE ABOUT POWDER BOARDS
Powder-specific boards often have specialist shapes with unusual tapered noses that make it quite hard to apply a straight-up weight/height formula. If you're looking to buy something like a swallowtail, it's best to ask your local snowboard shop for advice.
Some specialist freestyle boards (the Burton Nug and the Amplid Pocketknife for example) can be ridden shorter than your standard boards, so it's worth seeking out the advice of the brand or a knowledgeable shop-monkey on them too.