Pros And Cons Of A Longer Snowboard | With Characteristics

There are a few characteristics that make a difference in how a snowboard performs. But its length is one of the most important things you need to consider when buying a snowboard. You may be tempted to buy a longer snowboard, but is this the right thing to do?

Longer snowboards are faster than short ones and more stable at high speeds. They float well in powder, as the larger surface area distributes your weight more evenly over a longer platform. However, longer snowboards require more effort to turn and spin due to their higher swing weight.

A longer snowboard has a few pros and cons, so how do you know if riding one is the best choice for you? I’ll highlight the characteristics of riding a longer snowboard, so you know what to do.

Pros Of Riding A Longer Snowboard

There are some great reasons you may choose a longer snowboard over a shorter one. Let’s take a look at the main ones:

1. You Can Ride Faster

A longer snowboard has more stability than a shorter one, which is down to the larger contact area with the snow and long edges.

The longer edges cut into the snow more than shorter ones, giving you more control when speeding down the mountain.

You Can Ride Faster

2. Better For Big Jumps

The stability of longer snowboards is also beneficial when you start hitting bigger jumps, as a longer snowboard gives you a more stable platform to land on.

This is why big air competition riders leave their short snowboards at home.

3. Longer Snowboards Float In Powder Better

A longer snowboard distributes your weight over a larger surface area. This means that when you ride powder, you can stay on top of it more easily.

Shorter snowboards have less surface area, which can cause you to sink in the deep snow.

To overcome this, you need to ride as fast as possible and put lots of weight on your back foot to keep your board’s nose up.

So riding a longer snowboard in powder is kinder to your back leg and gives you a surfier feeling.

Cons Of Riding A Longer Snowboard

Some riders like to ride shorter snowboards, as they have specific riding characteristics not associated with their longer counterparts.

1. Harder To Turn

The longer the snowboard, the harder it is to initiate a turn. This means that a beginner should stick to a shorter snowboard, as it will allow them to progress more quickly.

2. Harder To Spin And Perform Tricks

Longer snowboards have higher swing weights than shorter ones. Therefore, spinning in the air requires more effort. Also, you may find that you need to put more effort into your grabs.

The extra weight will mean that tweaking your snowboard into position is more demanding than a lighter one.

Also, nose and tail presses are more challenging on longer snowboards, as you need to lean further over the end of your board, centering your weight to lock into the press.

3. Not Great If You’re A Lightweight

You will find a longer, stiffer board challenging to control if you are a lighter rider. This is because you don’t have the physical mass to keep your snowboard under control.

In extreme cases, you may feel like a passenger, which is not fun at all.

Should You Ride A Longer Snowboard?

When I first started snowboarding, apart from die-hard freestylers, we all rode longer snowboards. This is because they provide you with a big stable platform, allowing you to commit to speed and charging hard.

Either that, or we didn’t know any better. But things have changed since then in the technology used in snowboard construction and the shapes and profiles used.

How To Get The Right Length Snowboard

Some say your snowboard should come up between your nose and chin when standing upright. This method used to be how we sized snowboards, but it’s now outdated.

When getting the correct length snowboard, you should consider your height, weight, and riding style. These days, snowboard manufacturers provide sizing charts for each of their snowboards.

These charts allow you to cross-reference your height and weight with the snowboard lengths they offer. You also need to think about what kind of snowboarder you are.

Do you want to spend time in the park, in the backcountry, or do some of everything?

This will determine what kind of snowboard you should get, giving you a starting point to check out the sizing charts of the boards suited to your riding style.

1. What If My Height And Weight Suit Long And Short Snowboards?

Snowboards of different lengths often overlap in terms of who they are suitable for. For example, you may be torn between two sizes of the same snowboard, so which one do you choose?

2. Consider The Sizing Chart Carefully

The first thing to look at is where you sit within the chart. If you’re right on the upper limits of the shorter snowboard, you’d be better off with the longer one, and vice versa.

3. What Is Your Riding Style?

You may sit comfortably with the ranges of both sizes. If this is the case, you need to think about your riding style and ability. The shorter snowboard will be a better choice if you want to focus more on tricks.

But if you like to ride fast or in powder, the longer one may suit you better. Snowboarders who like to spend as much time in the park and pipe as possible will ride shorter snowboards.

But riders who want to ride fast and in the backcountry will choose longer snowboards biased towards freeriding. However, snowboard brands push boundaries at both ends of the spectrum.

These specialist snowboards break the rules. So if your skills are up to it, feel free to experiment with a shorter snowboard for powder.

If you choose a short but wide snowboard, you’ll be able to whip it around trees much more quickly and be able to take its playful characteristics into the backcountry.

4. What Is Your Skill Level?

You’d be better off with the shorter snowboard if you’re relatively new to the sport. A shorter snowboard’s shorter edges and lower weight make turning easier.

If you ride a snowboard that’s too long for you, your progress can be hindered. More advanced riders can take advantage of the control longer edges provide, especially at high-speed.

What Is Your Skill Level

5. What About Powder Snowboards?

Powder snowboards are traditionally longer. But these days, they often have special shapes, tapered noses, and unusual profiles.

These quirky characteristics make them tricky to pigeonhole into height and weight categories.

With this in mind, if you want a powder-specific swallowtail snowboard, it’s best to talk to an expert in a snowboard shop for advice. This is the same story if you like the look of other specialist freestyle boards.

Some of these snowboards can be ridden much shorter than regular snowboards, so it’s best to discuss the right size with someone in the know before you buy.

Final Thoughts

So there are pros and cons of a longer snowboard. As long as you don’t go to extremes, you’ll still be able to have fun riding it. However, it’s best to think about the experience you want on the mountain.

Keep it short for a playful ride, but go longer for speed, stability, and float in powder.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not digging my head deep into the world of snowboarding, tricks, techniques, and related safety measures.

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