Re-Tales: What Size Board Should you Ride?

Our resident Shop Guy, Jim O’leary is in, and this week he’s got some actual information for you. He’s full of this kid of stuff, so if you have a stupid, or not so stupid question you’d like answered, feel free to leave it under an anonymous name and perhaps he’ll answer it in a future column.


Everyone knows the trick for picking board size. You hold the board straight up, tail at your feet, and the nose should fall somewhere between your Adam’s apple and your nose. Right? WRONG. Every time I see someone do this, I think, “if I asked them to name three riders, they would name Shaun White every time.” Weight, and shoe size, play the most important part in selecting board size, height is a distant distant third.

Why? Because weight is what makes everything on a snowboard work. It is what makes the difference between camber and rocker, it is how you turn, hell it is what actually pulls you down the mountain. And the length as height malarkey isn’t even a myth perpetrated by the great snowboarding-industrial complex. If you look on the back of every single board sold today, there is this cute little chart on the back. See what it lists there? Rider weight, in pounds and kilos, suggested binding size, and NOT rider height. The only explanation I can come up with is that while the manufacturers were trying to explain this to us, we were busy arguing about baggy pants vs. tight pants, or making horrible music videos. Because we are morons.


Presumably, this habit dates back to an era when snowboards were simple. The men were men, everything was camber, and everyone wore fanny packs. Since then things have become a bit more complicated and, truth be told, there is no hard and fast rule. Speaking generally, if you’re around 150 lbs you’ll be at home on a 155. Scrawny stick human? Try and find something in the neighborhood of 148-152. Terrifying hambeast? Head north of 158 my gargantuan friend. But really, it isn’t that simple. Boards like the Burton Nug and LibTech Box Scratcher are designed to be ridden much shorter (up to 10 cms) below your “normal” length. So just take thirty seconds and look at the chart. Every board will be a little different, and every rider will be looking for something different.

And if you’re thinking of buying the “wrong” size because you like the color better, just save us all some trouble and buy some Dual Snowboards already.

Honestly, we have no idea what this means.

In the end though, there is a fair amount of wiggle room in sizing. For most boards, you will be in the weight range for two, possibly three sizes. In general, a shorter board is going to be more nimble, more flexible, and lighter; think more of a park and jib board. A longer board is going to be more stable at speed, stiffer, and provide more float in powder; great for going fast on groomers or staying on top when it gets deep.

So please, next time you’re in a shop looking for a board, take a minute to realize that the board you’re thinking about buying is a bit more advanced than your caveman sizing technique. Respect the people who built the thing and check their recommendations for proper length, rather than a stupid technique you read on some website.

Here’s a really awesome info graphic on the physics of snowboarding from our new favorite site


19 replies
  1. Justin's bong
    Justin's bong says:

    I’m pretty sure no one is on this site to figure out what size board they should ride. Yobeat kills it again with another retarded article

  2. KC KYLE
    KC KYLE says:

    Alright kids this is all you need to know. Stiff Regular Camber for pow, softish Regular camber for park. Don’t be a pussy and ride a small board. If you want to throw down on anything get ya a big boy board.

  3. Steve the cat
    Steve the cat says:

    6ft weight 185 I ride a 55 reverse camber …..but according to go beat I should b riding a 183

  4. Ali Bomaye
    Ali Bomaye says:

    Am I the only one that can’t stand when people tell you what size board you should be riding? If you’ve never ridden before then obviously it makes sense to follow the weight guidelines, but if you’ve been riding for years and feel comfortable on something different then don’t listen to the fools telling you it’s too big, small, stiff, or soft for your body weight. Snowboards are just a piece of fucking wood that slide down the hill! some just feel better than others depending on your how you ride and what you like. close knees, cowboy knees, gorilla ste or standing straight, everyone rides differently and has different preferences. Cody Wilson has some of the best blunts and pretzels in the game and he rides a 162, he’s not heavy or tall? Kael Hill has one of the most unique video parts I’ve seen, and he was riding a shitty 125 Out Rage. Vinny can also pull off all kinds of sick tricks on his tiny ass board.
    stop trying to tell people what they should and shouldn’t be riding, and just let them ride!

  5. quiver, duh
    quiver, duh says:

    I am a scrawny white guy 6ft 160
    I ride a 157 for park jumps
    161.5 for backcountry jumps and resort pow days
    164.5 for deep days inbounds or outtabounds. If you’re a park rat buy a park board. If you are a pow slayer then buy a pow board. Cmon is it that hard?

  6. upstatemike.
    upstatemike. says:

    i ride a fucking 147. all season. including the one day i ride powder. it’s gonna be fine kids, just do what feels right.

  7. Spot
    Spot says:

    I’m 105 (at 19 not groing) I ride street and am on a 148 salomonder.
    At this point should I just start riding kids boards?

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