TOP Snowboards Selection
Buying a snowboard might look like a simple task at a first glance. There are plenty of options out there – excellent. But at the same time, it can be a bit confusing because everything looks the same. Even if you can see some differences in their specifications, you need to know what they actually mean and how they can improve your game.
Going through the best snowboard brands might be a great choice for someone without too much experience. I truly recommend my students a popular product from a well established manufacturer. Also, you want reliability and high quality standards – less likely to get all these from a small no-name company.
What works for some people does not necessarily work for everyone else, so it is important to research the best snowboard brands and figure what they can do for you. Here are some of the top rated options on the market based on my personal experience.
Unsure what makes one product or brand better than the other? Most importantly, your main expectation is the defining factor in the process. All in all, this comparison table will introduce you to a few top selling choices out there, as well as their strengths.
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Best for Kids
I always tell my students – a snowboard designed for adults is not always the best one for kids too – even if you just get the same model in a small size. Instead, the best snowboards for kids come with extra features – most of them are related to health and safety.
Best for Men
When it comes to finding the best snowboards for men, there are certain things that make them gender specific. For example, such boards are more masculine. They are a bit wider, but also stiffer. They look and feel rough compared to snowboards for women.
Best for Women
Finding the best snowboards for women implies choosing this specification when you buy online, ask a representative in a local store or just paying attention to specifications if you are not sure. Apart from being lighter, these snowboards also have a more obvious curve on the side.
Deciding on the best snowboard asks for some research. It might be a good idea to try snowboarding with different styles and types of boards before you commit to one. It will give you some hints about what to expect. Other than that, a bit of education is just as handy. Find out what to look for in a snowboard, discover the top rated manufacturers, find their best selling items and make an informed decision.
Researching a particular model before spending your money will make all the difference in the world. Moreover, this choice must be done with your personal needs and expectations in mind.
Arbor Coda Rocker
The Arbor Coda Rocker snowboard is excellent in all environments. It is a do-it-all model that will not excel in one particular area, but it also features no obvious weaknesses. It might feel a little too stiff for a newbie though. All in all, its speed is above what you would expect.
You have lots of rocker going on. The nose comes in a good size – just a bit longer than its tail. It is quite fine with jumps due to its stiffness. The same goes for jibbing – stiff, but it can still do it right.
Burton Custom Flying V
Available in multiple sizes, this snowboard comes with a fresh shape compared to previous generation. Not only does it look good, but it also feels better under one’s feet. It is mostly aimed at experienced riders. It might feel challenging for a newbie, but it still makes a good learning board that will literally push someone’s limits.
Most of its appreciation is grabbed by the camber’s power. The float of rocker is quite relaxed, so the two features work one against the other for a full experience. It features 45 degree carbon highlights.
Arbor Coda Premium Camber
This unity can provide enough flexibility for a series of tricks, yet it can challenge you a bit when you exaggerate. Performers will love its convenience when it comes to jumps. It makes no difference how small or jumps are. The snap off the edge is simply perfect.
Maneuverability is flawless. Press on the tail or nose and you will feel like a plug is out of it trying to brake you down. Jibbing will never be an issue. The board locks in just right when you press the tail or nose. Going sideways is piece of cake.
Lib Tech Skunk Ape Horsepower C2 Wide
This snowboard is all about technology and research. The C2 camber profile boosts aggression on the snow. The pressure is solid, so you have a good stability, as well as precision. The medium stiff flex is excellent to challenge you a bit, but without causing any discomfort
In terms of design and construction, you can count on a paulownia core – likely to last for ages – and a mixture of biax fiberglass and basalt alloy. Birch internal sidewalls, UHMW sintered sidewalls and tip or tail impact deflection come in to complete this model.
Jones Solution Splitboard
Tackling this snowboard asks for some experience – it is not really suitable for beginners. How come? The light core is based on a cocktail of paulownia and poplar, so it requires a good control. Carbon stringers are not to be overlooked either – an extra addition to the newer versions of the board.
Stringers add to the stability, but they also bring in some extra torsional stiffness. The good news is that once you get used to it, it becomes highly predictable. The overall performance is flawless though – excellent on powder, firm snow and climbing rides.
Never Summer Proto Type Two
This model is part of a larger collection. Most snowboards in it are designed for intermediate and expert users and this one makes no exception either. It comes with an all mountain freestyle riding style, as well as an asymmetrical twin shape.
The stance is centered. You can find it in a few different sizes. It feels excellent when jumping or piping, not to mention switching. It might feel a bit unstable on powder at times though. From this point of view, it works on most conditions apart from hard snow and tall powder – it still works, but it is challenging.
Burton Process Off-Axis
Although this snowboard has been through a few generations, the latest changes were not that impressive. In fact, its small flaws have been fixed, so it came as close as possible to perfection. It comes in more sizes – from 152 to 162 – and feature a hybrid camber profile. Its shape is asymmetric twin.
The board feels pretty light and allows easy turning. Riding a mountain can be an exciting experience. Skidded turns might need a bit of techniques though. It picks up speed quite fast. It may not be the fastest in the world, but it is certainly on top of its range.
Featuring a true twin shape, this snowboard is excellent for jib and street riding styles. It is not so suitable to newbies, so it requires some experience. It comes with a flat to rocker camber profile and a centered stance. In terms of weight, it feels normal – not too light, not too heavy.
Once you climb on it, you can tell you are about to have a good time. It feels playful, so buttering and moving around is piece of cake. In other words, this is the kind of snowboard that makes you look good even if you barely know what you are doing.
How to Choose the Best Snowboard
If you are new to snowboarding, choosing the best snowboard can be a bit tricky. There is plenty of jargon involved in the process, not to mention the numerous options on the market. First of all, do some research, Second, check catalogs, retail websites and reviews. Third, go with something more general, rather than a specific snowboard. When I get asked for advice, I take a student through a series of questions before making a final recommendation.
Goals and Expectations
So, what is the primary use for your snowboard? What do you hope to achieve? How often do you expect to use it? If you will barely use it a few times during the wintertime and only when you go on holiday somewhere in the mountains, you could do with any basic model. If you plan to use it more often and actually learn some tricks, you will need a quality model.
Types and Varieties
There are more types of snowboards out there and just like you have probably guessed already, each of them comes with its own specifications. Choosing the right model for your goals and plans will lead to an unpleasant experience, so do your homework.
An all mountain snowboard is quite general. It represents the most popular type out there and it is no surprise why most boarders ride this model. Simply put, it can perform pretty much anywhere on a mountain. As long as you have some snow, you can freely use it. You can go in the countryside on a rough terrain or on a groomed runs.
Some all mountain snowboards are directional. In other words, they only go downhill. Some others carry the twin tip profile, so they are suitable for any direction.
Freestyle snowboards are quite self-explanatory, but not really. In other words, they are excellent for a lively and playful experience, regardless of the location. You can use them for everyday fun, but you can just as well use them to push your limits with some fancy moves.
Their freestyle profile is given by their insignificant weight (you want a low weight to be able to jump and spin, right?), as well as the short length and flexibility given by the twin tips. Given their size, they are not so good for fast cruising rides. Also, stability is not among their pluses either.
All Mountain Freestyle
If you like to spend time both on mountains and in parks, an all mountain freestyle snowboard is the best choice. These models are normally small or medium and come with a medium or soft flex. They are more versatile, but they do not excel in any of these fields. Simply put, they are more general.
Entry Level Versus Higher End
You can find snowboards designed for any level – entry level or higher end. Each of them comes with its own particularities, mostly given by the construction type, shape, materials, length and flex. If you are completely new, an entry level unit is more suitable – the same goes for those who might be experienced, but they only go snowboarding a few times a year. The higher end snowboards are recommended to those who keep learning and gaining experience.
Length and Size
The size depends on your weight and riding style. Years ago, you had to stand next to a board. If the top was by your chin, it was a good board. These days, it is more about science, so your weight is just as important. If you like free riding, get a long board for speed and stability. If you like freestyling, opt for a small size.
The width depends on your foot size. Normally, the edges of your boots should barely hang slightly over the edges of your board – maybe a couple of millimeters. You need it to apply leverage and handle pressure with your ankles.
Camber and Rocker
A board with a camber has an arch underfoot. A rocker snowboard has an upside down camber. They are excellent for powder and allow more control over pivoting. They make landing easier when you freestyle too.
The flex varies from one brand to another – there are no standards. Number 1 is the softest and number 10 is the stiffest. Generally, you can find soft (1-2), medium (3-5), stiff (6-8) and very stiff (9-10). The flex depends on your style (soft for freestyling), ability (soft for beginners) and weight (soft for light riders).
Bells and whistles? Up to you! Make sure they do not hook you in just because they are cool. Think about whether you actually need them or not.
Bottom line, choosing the best snowboard is a matter of personal needs, expectations and ability levels. Make this decision with your necessities in mind. While getting influenced by others is good for your education, always research your potential options upfront.