We’ve heard it said that if you’re going to get into winter sports, and if you’re new to it, the best sport to pick up is snowboarding.
Skiing can be a challenge and many people think that snowboarding is an easier option as we’d have all been on a skateboard when we were kids and wonder “how different can they be?”.
Of course it’s much (like, a lot) easier said than done, but as you start to get better at a sport, you start to look at the options of buying your own equipment and start saving on rental fees.
So you’re practicing hard, getting better with each outing and all that’s left to do is get your very first snowboard.
This can seem daunting if you’re new to snowboarding, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. In fact, we’re going to clear up all the misleading and confusing facts about buying your first snowboard.
We’re going to illuminate the right parts of the board that you need to know, and teach you everything you must understand to head out on the slopes.
But don’t worry. We’re not going to go too in depth. We just want to make sure that you have enough knowledge to buy the right board, strap on and start snowboarding.
You can learn the rest later on. Our goal is to get you out there as fast as possible.
Who knows? Maybe we can share the next chair up.
The Best Snowboards for Beginners to Buy
The most important part about buying a snowboard for beginners is that you need to buy for the ride you want, not the ride you currently have.
Beginners advance very fast, because there is a small learning curve for snowboarding. If you buy a board for right now, you’ll probably outgrow it quickly.
Choose a board that suits the type of riding you want to aspire to do.
We haven’t exactly specified, but most of these boards (except for our last option) aren’t gender specific. It turns out that the best men’s beginner snowboards and the best women’s beginner snowboards have a lot of crossover. Feel free to choose the one you prefer.
By all means, ignore the “standard” phrase, because that means nothing to this board. This is specifically created to help beginners move up to intermediates without delay.
The standard board is a directional board, meant for downhill rising with a nice even rocker to help you with those turns. You shouldn’t have issues catching an edge with this board. It has a nice soft flex to the board, giving you enough pop to take a few jumps on the way down.
Like we said, this isn’t the best men’s beginner’s board, but a board meant to move beginners into a more aggressive style of ride.
If you are planning to hear towards the parks and pipes, we’d suggest you begin your quest with the Capita Horrorscope. It’s a gently flexed board with a reverse camber on an extruded base. (Remember those terms? Just testing you…)
The tip and tail of this twin directional board is popped enough to give you a good float over powder and soft enough to enjoy the park to its fullest measure.
If adrenaline is your game, then the Horrorscope is your ticket in.
Our next board is from Raven, who state that they’re “on a mission to offer beginner riders the ultimate freestyle board”.
With bindings includes and a solid board, this board is suitable for a range of snowboard environments including parks and the open mountain face.
The true twin shape means that the board can ride both ways; regular (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward).
The Raven board is available in two sizes, so you can select the better size for your individual needs.
Again and again, we hear of how many new riders take up with a Burton Skeleton Key, only to stick with it well after they’ve progressed in skill and ability.
We love the rocker and soft flex of this board. It is directional, giving an advantage when trying out your turns on the slope. It also comes with a slight taper from tail to nose, which eases you into turns without catching edges prematurely.
This twin directional is the best beginners snowboard for downhill and the park. Not sure which style you’ll settle on? Learn with the Agenda to try out the best of both worlds.
The soft flex is good for beginners but is stiff enough to advance to intermediate without delay. You will find that the twin rocker is also responsive underfoot and great for those long, sweeping turns.
This is one step up from the basic board, and you’re going to love it.
Although some companies just put out smaller versions of snowboards, we think this is the best kids beginner snowboard. It’s suited for the weight, ride style, and learning curve that a kid goes through.
The flat top style of the board means the kids will have a firmer board feel. The boot and binding set up is ideal for kids’ lower gravity on the board.
It’s very soft and playful, a good introduction to the fun of being out on the hill. It has a great wide profile and has a lot of response and pop, something the kids will truly love.
This beginner board is perfect for children aged 5+ looking to improve their snowboard skills.
The Echos beginner board comes with bindings and doesn’t require specialised snowboard boots, saving you even more money.
Featuring a freestyle shapes and thinner cut edges, the board offers more control to the rider, making it easier for riders to learn and practice on.
The artistic graphic is a youth-friendly design that young snowboarders will love.
Different Types of Snowboard Camber
If you’re already aware of some of the terms of snowboarding, you’re not going to get much out of this section.
Skip on the next heading if you know these terms already, If not, stick with us and you’ll be as caught up as the rest of them.
Not also will this help you understand this guide better, you’ll know exactly what you’re reading when looking at snowboards when you’re buying in the future.
One of the first questions you’ll have to answer is “what’s the camber of your board?”.
The camber is the shape of the curve in the board. The camber allows you to accentuate certain aspects of the board, taking advantage of different terrains that you’ll most likely be boarding on.
The cambered board has an upward curve in the middle, giving a sort-of flat “w” shape when looking at it sideways.
Why do this?
A cambered board gives you a springy and responsive feeling to the board, and reacts better in many conditions. It distributes the weight of your body across the whole board, giving you more control over the entire area.
Snowboarders will describe a cambered board as having good “pop”, that feeling of instant response when turning. You’ll also have a good edge hold, a term used to describe how well your board holds the snow when making sharp turns.
You can also get flat cambered board, a board with no bend at all. It lies completely flush to the snow and doesn’t leave any springy pop feeling in your ride.
This would suit those who are still learning and don’t want to risk too much edge catching.
A rocker, or a reverse-camber, on a board is like the opposite of a cambered board. The board is curved evenly from tip to tail. There is no upward curve in the middle, just a gentle curving board, like a flat “u” shape on the side. Think of a flattened rocking chair.
Beginners prefer this simple design for downhill rides, while advanced snowboarders like the control they get in powder. The rise of the tip and tail should give you a floating feeling in even the deepest snowfall.
The reason that beginners usually start on a rocker board is that it doesn’t catch edges as much. One of the greatest causes of falls and spills on the ice is catching an edge, when your board’s edge doesn’t slide, but grips the snow, throwing you over.
A ‘rockered’ board reduces the risk of that happening.
A camber combination board is a hybrid of the rocker and camber board. There are two different types of camber combination boards, however they’re for more advanced riders looking to ride in the back country or even in the park doing jumps and tricks, so we won’t spend too much time discussing them here.
Combination camber boards are ideal for quick turns and more twisting courses, which is why they’re the choice of off-piste and park riders.
Different Types of Snowboard Camber
Most snowboards come with a flex number. The snowboard company rates the flex of a board, from very stiff, to light and responsive. The numbers range from 1-10, with 10 being the stiffest board available.
What should beginners use? Good question…
Because you’re going to be learning the board, learning the moves, and the responsiveness of the board, you probably would prefer a soft flex. 1-3 is a good flex rating to begin your snowboarding journey.
Soft flex boards provide good control in a variety of conditions, from hard-packed to any freestyle moves. It’s a forgiving board, giving good traction to those who need it the most.
Harder flex ratings, 8-10, suit snowboarders who crave something a little more extreme. Off-piste and backcountry riders like the edge control they get from a stiffer board, because advanced snowboarders prefer higher speeds, edge control is what it’s about.
Do you favour an extruded base? Or do you prefer the sintered style?
What on earth are we even talking about?
Your snowboard is made from polyethylene pellets. And the construction of your board will be either extruded or sintered from those pellets. Let us explain…
Extruded boards are made from melted polyethylene pellets, fused together to essentially form one continuous piece, no porous surface at all.
Sintered boards are formed from high pressure applied to the pellets. The result is a board that’s more porous.
Extruded boards are usually cheaper to buy and repair. The cost to make them is minimal, and so the savings are passed down to you. Great news for a beginner buying their first snowboard.
But because they’re one piece, they won’t hold a wax well. As you start to get better and your board speed gets greater, your extruded board won’t hold up as well as a sintered board. The wax can’t penetrate any pores, because there are none.
In contrast, sintered boards do hold wax well. They can be more durable than an extruded board. But the cost is prohibitive. They do require regular maintenance, and could be a bit too technical for beginner riders.
As a beginner, we’d recommend sticking with extruded boards until you’re ready to move up in the world. They’re cheaper, you won’t have to worry about maintenance, and if (when) you fall, you won’t cause as much damage to your board.
If you’re planning on riding a whole bunch of terrains, let’s focus on an all-mountain style. That should cover any type of ride you want to try out.
And you’re going to want to try them all out.
Normally, these boards are directional, with a distinct nose and tail. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Take an all-mountain style on groomed runs, off-piste, or powder and you’ll be confident in any condition.
A lot of snowboarders prefer a freestyle board, because they prefer tricks, jumps, and rails.
Freestyle boards are lighter, shorter, and have a softer flex. They have a twin tip edge (again, we’ll cover that in a second) for both sides, and they give you a lively ride throughout the park.
New to the scene are these incredible split boards. They are snowboards that can separate into two halves. This is the board for the advanced rider wanting to hike the backcountry and ride the ungroomed, unpatrolled trails.
When the board is split in half down down the down centre of the board, you use separate bindings to essentially “ski” up hills or along the flat ground.
And then, when you’re ready to ride, you can join it up again to ride as a normal snowboard down the backcountry trails.
Although we definitely think these snowboards are cool, they’re certainly not for beginners. Sorry!
Different Types of Snowboard Camber
Now that covered flex, bends, cambers, styles, and bases, the last thing you need to know is the shape of your board.
Once again, this depends on your own style and your preferred rides.
Directional boards are just that.
They are aimed in one direction. There is a nose and a tail, and they are meant to keep in that one direction.
The nose section is wider and softer, while the tail is shorter and stiffer, putting the control and power at the front of the board where you need it.
This is your downhill board.
A true twin board looks identical from one end to the other. The nose and tail are interchangeable and you can ride both stances, swapping back and forth as you board down the hill.
As you can imagine, this works well for riders on parks and pipes.
A directional twin board is a hybrid between the two. While the nose and tail are different widths, the stance is set exactly in the centre, so you can ride both ways.
The directional twin is ideal for those who want to ride a bit of both. They like the freedom of the ride downhill and parks as well.
One Last Thought
There’s no way we could cover everything you need to know about the sport, but we can supply you with the board. We hope you find a snowboard that suits you and your body. Besides, learning is best done out there, not right here.
With the best beginners snowboard, you’ll be shredding it up in no time at all. Just stay out of our way on the hill.