Buying a beginner snowboard can be a pretty overwhelming task. There are so many brands, styles and models which all use technical terms which seem to make everything much more confusing.
As a beginner, there are probably a few main things that you are going to be looking for when you are buying a new board.
- Easy to ride
- Looks good
Easy to Ride
The most important thing in a beginners snowboard is that it is easy to ride. Starting out snowboarding there are normally a couple of rough days while you are finding your feet, getting your balance and learning to use your edges.
If you aren’t starting on a beginner friendly board, the whole process is going to be much harder.
One of the main features that help to separate a beginners board from an intermediate or advanced board is the profile. This is the shape that the board makes when you are looking at is from the side.
When you are starting to learn how to snowboard, you are going to catch your edge. You can’t avoid it forever, it will happen, but on the right sort of board it is much less likely. Catching an edge is when you are sliding down the hill, and you accidentally let the opposite edge of the board dig into the snow, which throws you over the edge of the board.
To avoid that as much as possible, beginner boards are have a profile that raises the edges of the board away from the snow.
In general, beginner snowboards are going to have a rocker profile (shaped like a banana), flat (which is flat except for the nose and tail of the board) or a combination of the two.
This makes for the friendliest feeling ride, that is forgiving. If you are reading the description of a snowboard and they use the word forgiving, it basically means that the board isn’t going to want to catch an edge, and you don’t have to have perfect form riding it, it won’t punish (as often) if you if you make a mistake.
This might not apply to everyone, but most people starting out in a sport won’t want to spend a fortune on their first setup. This works out fine for beginner boards, as you don’t need lots of fancy technology and features, just a board that gets the job done.
Beginner or entry level boards have quite a few things in common, and they are mostly the materials that they are made of.
Softer and flexible boards are the best for someone who is starting out, and these combinations of materials keep the boards soft, fun and most importantly – cheap.
The base of the board is extruded, which is the easiest and cheapest way to make a base material. It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance (waxing), but it still does a good job at gliding on snow.
The cores of the boards are usually very simple, just made up of one type of wood. There is no need for mixing different woods, or adding carbon or anything fancy like on high end boards. Simple cores give you a soft, even flex through the board.
The fiberglass that is on top of the core is usually Biaxial, which means that it runs in two directions. Biaxial glass keeps the board flexible, both from tip to tail and torsionally (twisting the board). Keeping it soft and easy to move around is very helpful for someone starting out.
This combination of an extruded base, simple core and biaxial fiberglass keep the boards soft and flexible, but also keep the cost right down.
If you are sticking to well known brands, the beginner boards in most of their ranges would cost between $300 to $400 dollars. Once you start going over $400, they will start to add different features, that you might not need.
Although this is by far the least important of them all, it is still something that everyone will consider. I have watched people buy boards that are much too advanced for them, even when told it is a bad idea, just because of the graphics.
So even though it is going to play a part, especially when you are making a big purchase like this, try as hard as you can to ignore what it looks like, and just get something that is going to be the most fun when you are our there riding.
Here are a few boards that are going to fun and easy to ride, without costing too much.
The Pulse has a profile which is a mixture of flat and camber, a soft flex, extruded base and only costs $300. Read more
The SFU has the Flat Out Rocker profile, a soft flex rating, biax glass, and extruded base and is very cheap at $300. Read more
The Ripcord has a soft flex rating, Flat Top profile, biax glass, extruded base and costs $360. One thing to keep in mind is that it has the Channel, so you need to buy Burton EST bindings, or make sure that the bindings you get are compatible with the channel (although most are now). Read more
The Formula has a medium flex, rocker profile, extruded base and biax glass – which costs $350. Read more
If you have already researched and found a board you would like, use this page to search a whole lot of shops at once to find the best price.