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So just how do you pick a board?
Many people might say the length should be "between your chin and the middle of your nose". My question for that is, how does the board know how tall you are? It doesn't. It does, however, know how much you weigh.

Most major board companies have a chart on the back of each board with a weight range for each board and board length. Boards have also become very specialized in the past few years. Some boards are made just for the park or for powder. The correct board size for me can range from a 156 to a 176, depending on the make and model.

My first suggestion would be to figure out what type of riding you'll be doing. Snowboard catalogs list boards according to riding style. After you have a few boards in mind, then look at the charts. The bigger you are (mass wise), and the more powder and backcountry you'll be in, the bigger the board you'll look at. Wanna play in the park and pipe or if you're on the light side, go for a smaller board- No matter your height.

If you can't find a chart, go by the flex of a board. To measure the flex of a board, grab the edge of the board near (but not at) the nose with one hand, place the other end of the board with the contact point* touching the ground, and push with your other hand downward on the middle of the board. If you grab the board at the end, and press it straight down against the floor, you'll be measuring how stiff the tip and tail is, not how stiff the board will be when you ride it.

So who is it that's telling you all this? This season is my 13th season. Most of those have been in the Northwest. I've worked in the retail and repair aspect of the snowboard industry for three seasons. That means I've taken clinics from Burton, Toko, Sims, Option, Santa Cruz, K2 and Ride among others.

*contact point is the place where the bottom of the board actually touches the ground when it's flat against the floor. One may wish to place the contact point on a bench to get a more accurate feel.

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