Most snowboard descriptions contain fluffy, trendy jargon. They’re designed to capture buyers based on riding style, demographics, and disposable income. The information you really want looks more like this:
These snowboarding terms include actual data that can guide you to finding the ideal deck for your riding style, ability, and preferred terrain choices. Here are a handful to help you inform your next purchase.
Turn your board on its edges. Look at the shape. A concave shape represents a rocker profile; convex represents camber. Less prevalently, there will be neither rocker nor camber. This is simply called a flat camber profile.
Blended camber profiles abound, the new normal for snowboards since the 2010s. Perhaps most frequently, companies will offer rocker-camber profiles, i.e., rocker at the tip and tail of the board and camber between the feet. For powder boards and other decks that aim to have a surfy feel, companies will use rocker at the nose and flat underfoot or in the tail.
The measurement of a snowboard from its tip, or nose, to its tail is called the snowboard size. Of all the snowboarding terms buyers focus on, this is by far the most scrutinized. It’s associated with height, weight, and riding style. You can check our snowboard size chart to learn more.
The most narrow part of a snowboard, typically between the inserts, is its waist width. This is important primarily because it needs to be wider than the length of your boot. If your feet overhang, you’ll experience toe or heel drag. You want to avoid this at all costs. If your feet are underhanging, you won’t be able to engage the edge effectively.
A snowboard flex rating is a general, non-technical way to measure how longitudinally stiff a board is. That means how stiff it is from the nose to the tail. Typically, the rating is on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being a very soft board and 10 being practically a race board.
It’s important to note that flex ratings are not uniform across all snowboard manufacturers. What might be a 5 in one company’s offerings, could be a 1 in another’s.
A board’s taper is the difference between the width of the nose and the width of the tail. Taper is an important thing to look for when you’re wanting something that rides well in powder. A wider nose and narrower tail allow the board to float more effectively.
You’ll notice sidecut meters in our chart of snowboarding terms. This refers to the board’s side radius, which facilitates how tightly (or not) the board can turn.
A larger sidecut radius means the board’s sidecut depth will be smaller, resulting in bigger, more stable turns. A deeper sidecut means the board’s sidecut radius is smaller, making the board more nimble.
There are five different types of sidecuts: radial, quadratic, serrated, progressive, and asymmetrical.