Once your package arrives it will look similar to the image below. There will be a board, two bindings and a pair of boots.
Determine the board direction. Most boards have graphics that make it pretty easy to determine the direction. Like the photo of the board below, use the graphic to help you establish what is the tip and what is the tail of the board. Usually the make, model, or size of the board appears on the topsheet. When the text is right side up the nose of the board will be pointing in the air.
Lay the board down on the floor or a table. Open up the binding box. Make sure there are two bindings, two mounting disks, and hardware. Note: The disks and hardware are usually in a separate bag within the box. In the package box, the bindings may be separated by a piece of cardboard to protect the board in transit. Pull the cardboard piece out to check for the bindings and possibly mounting hardware.
Determine your stance goofy or regular? Goofy stance is when the riders right foot is forward and regular stance is when the riders' left foot is forward on the board. If you skateboard, wakeboard, or slalom water-ski you will keep the same stance. If you haven’t participated in any of these sports and are still unsure if you’re goofy or regular, very quickly without thinking about it too much stand up and get ready to run a race. On your mark, get set, go! How did you get set? Was your right or left foot back? If your right was back mount up your snowboard regular. If your left foot was back mount up goofy.
Set the bindings on the board over the pre-drilled inserts. Here we want to determine the stance width (the distance between each binding). As a general rule, if you don't already know your stance width, you should have the bindings mounted slightly wider than shoulder width. Stand behind your board and move the bindings to accommodate your stance.
Check the bindings relation to your edges. Look down the nose of the board and make sure the bindings are centered from edge to edge. This will provide the best ride.
Determine binding angles and mount your bindings. If you don't already know what degrees you like to run on your bindings use ours. Go 15-20 degrees on your front foot and 5-10 degrees duck on your back foot. You can set the angle by using the numbers on the disks. If the arrow on the bindings is pointing to 15 your binding is at a 15 degree angle. The bindings will be pointing out sort of duck footed...if they are pointing towards each other you angled them the wrong way.
Once you have the bindings at the right width from each other and the right degree you just need to mount them to the board. Take out the hardware packet that came with the bindings. Easy hulk, you want the screws tight but don't over do it. It's very important to check these screws before every time you go riding because the can loosen between sessions.
Once you've got your bindings mounted to your deck take a minute to step into the bindings (with or without your boots on) to make sure your stance feels comfortable and natural.
Adjust your binding straps to properly fit your boots. You want your toe and ankle straps to be as close to centered on your boot as possible.
So you’re looking to purchase a wakeboard. If you’re just starting out it can be a daunting task. Here we breakdown what you’ll need to know to make an informed purchasing decision. All wakeboards may look very much alike, but there will be differentiating features to each board. These features include, length, width, rocker pattern, hull/base shape and design, fins, edges and materials.
When choosing the proper length wakeboard you’ll need to ask yourself who will be using the board? Just for me? A set up the whole family can enjoy? Finding the correct size board is based solely on weight. Below is our wakeboard sizing wizard. Just type in your weight and you’ll be given the ideal board size range. Choosing a board at the smaller end of your size range will make the board feel lighter, spin faster, flip faster, and be quicker edge-to-edge. A smaller board will have less surface area so it will ride lower in the water, making starts more fatiguing and landings a bit stiffer. On the flip side, a larger board will provide a larger more stable platform and will have you sitting higher in the water helping to generate speed when cutting into the wake and helping to pop you out of the water when starting. This larger surface area will also allow the board to pop higher off the wake, but land softer. If purchasing a board for the whole family you’ll want to take each riders weight into consideration. In some cases it’s not possible to buy just one board for everyone to use. For example dad weighs 215lbs and son weighs 90lbs. A board that will work well for dad will be much to large for son to handle, and a board sized for son will be much too small for dad. If you’re in between board sizes always err on the side of too big.
The width of a wakeboard plays a large role in how it sits in the water. A board with a wider midsection, tip and tail will sit higher in the water creating a more stable riding platform helping to generate speed when cutting into the wake. Having a board with a narrower tip/tail will have a lower swing weight, ideal for spins, inverts and other tricks as well as being quicker edge-to-edge. Many board companies will provide the length and waist measurements, not all provide tip/tail measurements.
Let's make is simple. When you lay a wakeboard on the ground, the rocker is the bend you see. A 2x4 piece of wood has zero rocker, a skate deck has a 3-stage rocker, and your grandma's rocking chair has a huge continuous rocker. The two main rocker setups you need to know are 3-stage and continuous. The 3-stage rocker has a main flat spot with an upward bend at the tip and tail. A 3-stage rocker is a little slower because the bend causes it to push more water. The continuous rocker has a smoother feel because it doesn't have a large flat spot. A continuous rocker allows the water to flow without disruption across the base and out the tail. This makes a continuous rocker faster and smoother edge-to-edge, however it lacks the vertical pop of a 3-stage. A new style of rocker has emerged and combines these two styles. Different brands may use a different terms such as: progressive, hybrid, blended 3-stage, and continuous hybrid. Each company has their own way of building these, but the ultimate goal is combining the benefits of each rocker-type by giving you the smooth ride and feel of a continuous rocker, while providing the extra kick of the 3-stage.
The more rocker your board has the slower, looser, and less edgy the wakeboard (bigger vertical pop). At the other end, less rocker allows the board to move faster and edge more aggressively (less vertical pop, more distance).
Each board is designed to have a specific feel. The people who shape these boards work very closely with their riders to make the board sit, edge and pop exactly the way the riders want.
A board with concaves will reduce suction from the water increasing speed. Spines or v-shaped hulls will help break the plane of the water which helps reduce the impact from landings. Higher end boards have started to incorporate channels at the tip/tail. This has the same result as when you put your thumb over the garden hose. It forces the water traveling under the board into a smaller space helping to propel the board forward. The more channels and/or fins you add to a board the more aggressive it becomes. The following describes how boards range from mellow to more aggressive designs. Ultimately it's all about what style you ride!
The shape and design of the tip and tail will also play a role in how a wakeboard will perform. A board with a more squared off tip/tail will provide more pop and vertical lift than a more rounded shape. Pro-model and higher end boards will tend to feature a more squared off tip/tail for this reason.
On an entry-level board you'll most likely see a single fin in the center (of the tail). These boards are usually very smooth on the water and pretty basic. Board shapers have then taken the next step in making these boards hold a better edge (and become slightly more aggressive) by adding molded fins to the outside edges of the board. Boards with molded fins give you the option to remove the center fin. When you do this the board has a looser feel and quicker response.
An even more aggressive board would have four actual fins (not molded fins) on each corner of the board. The closer the fins are to the edge of the board, the more aggressive the board because it is quicker edge-to-edge. However fins placed close to the edge of a board will not release as cleanly from wake. But this style does allow for smaller fins which means that it will release off the water quicker (for spins and inverts).
Today almost all of the boards on the market come with fins that are designed specifically for that board. You shouldn't have to worry about changing your fins, but if you want to, this may help you decide what to look for...
Simple one-fin-style boards have fins that tend to be a little larger (1.5-2.5 inches), which helps entry-level riders keep the board on track. These fins don't have the quick release of smaller fins, but are much more predictable. Smaller fins (1.2 inches or smaller) are usually used for more advanced boards. These fins are generally longer in length to help keep the board on track when on edge, but are also shorter in height to release quicker out of the wake.
The sharper the edge the more aggressively the wakeboard will track, resulting in more speed. Beginners and riders who like surface tricks will enjoy a more rounded edge as it will be more forgiving and less prone to "catch an edge". More advanced riders will prefer a sharper edge as it will help with acceleration cutting into the wake.
As with rocker patterns many manufacturers create boards with a blend of both types of edges. This type of edge is known as a variable edge. A variable edge shape will be more rounded in the middle of the board and sharper towards the tip/tail. The variable edge pattern helps create pop toward center of board and the sharper edges toward the tip/tail make the wakeboard faster and quicker edge-to-edge.
New to the wakeboard scene are boards made with sidewalls. This type of construction adds strength and durability to the board as the sidewall material absorbs shocks and vibrations.
Many wakeboards today are made with a compressed poly-urethane or foam core wrapped in fiberglass. Higher end and pro-model boards can come with wood and PVC cores, which helps reduce weight without sacrificing strength. With the rise of cable parks and more on-water park features wakeboard manufactures have started making boards with base materials that can absorb the punishment. Examples are Ronix’s sintered base and Liquid Force’s grind base. The use of these types of materials will increase the wakeboards price but can definitely help extend the life of the board.
With so many choices on the market purchasing a snowboard can make your head spin. In this guide we attempt break down all the ins, outs and what-have-you’s of snowboard technology and help narrow down which board is right for you.
The better you understand yourself as a rider and what you’d like to do on the mountain, the more equipped you’ll be in choosing the correct snowboard.
How often do you plan to ride?
How athletic are you?
Do you skateboard or wakeboard?
Do you tend to pick up athletic activities quickly?
What is your height, weight and boot size?
Where will I do most of my riding, out west, mid-west, or the east coast? Where on the hill will I spend my time, groomers, park/pipe, backcountry?
When choosing the correct snowboard size both height and weight play a role, however weight plays a bigger role. Basically it comes down to being able to properly flex the board. Some places still use the method of having your board come up between your chin and eyes, but this is outdated. Riders who are tall and light can get a longer board as their height will help control the board. Conversely, a shorter/heavier rider can get a way with using a shorter board.
Most snowboard companies will classify the boards in their lineup in three different ways: All-mountain, Freeride, Freestyle.
All-mountain boards are designed for shredding all types of terrain, from corduroy groomers to untouched pow in the backcountry to the park and pipe. Because this type of board is so versatile its the choice for most riders out there. All-mountain boards can be found in all price points.
Freeride boards are designed for riders who like to spend most of their day in the backcountry. These boards will generally be longer in the riders ideal board size range, stiffer for more stability and are directional, made to ride in one direction.
Opposite of freeride boards, freestyle or park boards will be ridden at the shorter end of the riders ideal board size range. This makes the boards lighter and more maneuverable. They will generally offer a true twin design which allows the rider to go switch (non-dominate foot forward) more easily than a directional board.
Powder boards are designed specifically for riding powder. Many will have wider noses to help the board float as well as set back stances.
Splitboards are geared towards backcountry riders who like to earn their turns. These boards come apart in the middle and allow the user to access much more terrain.
True twin shapes will have the exact same tail and tip measurements. The inserts will also be placed directly in the center of the board. This allows riders to ride regular and switch with ease. Most freestyle boards will have a true twin design.
Directional boards will be engineered to be ridden one way. The insert pattern maybe set back from the center of the board. The tip and tail will also have different flex patterns.
Directional Twins will have the same or very similar tip/tail dimensions, but either the inserts will be set back from the center of the board. Or the tip/tail will have different flex patterns.
Snowboards flex one of two different ways. Longitudinal flex refers to how easy a snowboard bends if you tried to touch the tip to the tail. Torsional flex refers to how easy the board will flex side to side.
Boards that are easier to flex will be easy to turn and more forgiving. Beginning riders will want to look for a more flexible board to start with. A board that is stiffer will hold an edge better and be more stable at higher speeds. There is no industry standard for measuring board flex. If you see a rating it will be a comparison of boards within the brands line up.
Snowboards are made with multiple layers pressed together. Along with what type of materials are used, the method in which they are pressed will define how each board will perform. Most companies use wood cores. Wood is durable, abundant and has a high strength to weight ratio. To the wood cores companies will add other materials such carbon, Kevlar and certain metals to get more performance out the board. Around the core will be a fiberglass wrap. This helps the board stay torsionally rigid when the board is on edge. A board with biaxial glass will be less rigid which lends itself nicely to beginner/entry level and freestyle boards. Triaxial and quadaxial boards will have more layers of glass making them more rigid. A board that is more torsionally rigid will be more stable at higher speeds and quicker edge to edge.
There are two main construction techniques that manufacturers use to make snowboards, Sandwich and Cap. Cap construction has the top sheet wrap around the snowboard and come right up to the edges. Many price point boards will use this construction method.
Sandwich construction as the name implies will be the multiple layers pressed and held together by a sidewall.
There are two widely used techniques to create snowboard bases, extruded and sintered. Extruded bases will be easier to care for as they don’t absorb wax very well so routine maintenance isn’t a must. Sintered bases will be more durable, will yield a faster sliding surface and be lighter than an extruded base. They will need to be waxed to keep them performing at the highest level.
Snowboard companies use different methods for attaching bindings to boards. Most boards on the market will either come with a 2x4 or 4x4 insert pattern, a 2x4 will just offer more stance options. Burton snowboards will either come with a 3x3 or channel mounting system. IMPORTANT: Check your bindings to ensure the proper mounting disc is included for the brand/type of board you’re purchasing.
When purchasing snowboards manufacturers will provide some individual board specifications. Typically these include: waist width, tip/tail width, sidecut and effective edge. Not all companies provide every spec.
Waist width will refer to the width of the board at it’s narrowest point. This maybe the most important spec as this plays a key role in choosing a snowboard. A rider using a board that is too narrow for them will get heel/toe drag. This happens when either your toes or heels dig into the snow when carving, not good. Below is a chart to help you see how wide, at a minimum, your board will need to be to avoid drag.
Tip/Tail width, you guessed it, is the measurement for the tip/tail at it’s widest point.
Effective edge will be the length of the edge between the two contact points. This will be the section of the board that will touch the snow. A longer effective edge will have more of the board in contact with the snow making it more stable. A short eff edge will make the board easier to turn and quicker edge-to-edge.
The sidecut measurement refers to the size of the arc cut into a snowboard. A larger number means a more shallow arc. These types of boards will be more stable and easier to handle at speed. A smaller number means shorter arc. These boards will be more maneuverable and quicker edge-to-edge.
Over the past few years reverse camber or rockered boards have exploded onto the market. Each company seems to have a different, and better, take on very similar concepts. Below are the four main camber profiles used by snowboard manufactures. Beginner or novice riders will benefit from a board with reverse camber as the tip/tail won’t be preloaded into the snow which will make turn initiation easier. However, since reverse camber is a new technology boards offer it will tend to be more expensive.
These types boards are ones you’ve seen and ridden for the past 30+ years snowboarding has been around. They work great on groomed runs and will track straight and provide plenty of power through a turn.
Boards with this type of reverse camber will have tips/tails that release easily from the snow, but when ridden will still provide stability and power through the turn. These types of boards will provide superior floatation in powder vs cambered boards.
These types boards will have the loosest feeling ride. They’ll provide the best flotation in powder and release from the snow extremely well making them ideal for jibbing.
Boards with zero or flat camber pull from both the camber and reverse camber bag of tricks. They offer decent floatation in the pow but can handle higher speeds with more stability.