Buying a snowboard for your child can be a challenge. There are a lot of factors to consider, and some parents may get overwhelmed with the flood of information and statistics to consider. But, it doesn’t need to be that hard. Focusing on the size, flex, profile, and shape will help you get the right board for your child. The most important thing is making sure your child has the right equipment to succeed and enjoy the sport.
Kids Snowboard Size Chart
As seen in the chart above, sizing your child for a snowboard depends mainly on their height and weight. These are the two most important factors when sizing up a snowboard. Many will say that the board should stand anywhere between your child’s chest and forehead. However, considering the weight of the rider and the height can have huge benefits.
This chart is an excellent guide for starting and getting the right board length for your child. Shorter boards are easier to maneuver, but longer boards are more stable. Finding the right balance between the two will help beginning riders gain confidence faster. Beginners often do better with shorter boards. However, there are some reasons to get your child a longer board as well.
If your child weighs more than most kids their height, a longer board will serve them better for stability. Also, if your kids tend to ride aggressively and fast downhill, a longer board will help them avoid those terrible wipeouts. And, finally, if you don’t want to buy a new snowboard every year because your kid is growing like a weed, it makes sense to plan ahead and get a longer board.
The flex rating on a snowboard is precisely like it sounds; it measures how flexible the board is. In essence, how bendy the thing is. The chart above shows that the flex ratings go from soft to medium and medium to stiff. The flex rating on your child’s snowboard should vary on what style of snowboarding they want to participate in, their height and weight, and ability.
Softer flex boards are ideal for those who want to participate in freestyle or park riding. Softer flex boards are for those who are snowboarding to hit the park or throw big spins and flips off of jumps. The soft flex makes the board more sensitive to sharp turns and tricks.
If your kid is getting into snowboarding for the slopes’ downhill action and adrenaline rush, then a stiff flex will be the better board. This style of snowboarding is called freeriding. The stiff flex boards hold up for speed better, and they provide the needed stability for downhill runs.
If your child is starting out and wants to do a little bit of both park riding and slope riding, then they would be considered an all-mountain rider, and a medium flex board is the best option. As you can guess, the medium flex is the in-between the soft and stiff, and it makes the board serviceable to any style your child wants to try.
The snowboard profile has to do with which parts of the snowboard are touching the snow. The three basic profiles are Camber, Rocker, and Flat. The camber profile is shaped with an arch in the center, and it provides contact with the snow at the tip and the tail of the board. The rocker profile is shaped like a big smiley face and has its contact point at the center of the board. And, flat boards are, as you can expect, fully flat upon the snow.
Camber hybrids add the other two profiles on the board’s tip and tail. The camber-rocker hybrid helps negate the tip catch. The camber-flat hybrid also avoids catching but is not as drastically raised at the tip and tail of the board.
A rocker-camber hybrid looks a bit like a bird in flight. The board’s stability is still in the middle, but there are two additional contact points at the tip and tail. The rocker-flat hybrid is similar to the other combination, but the arches are not drastic.
The flat-camber hybrid adds some stability and bounce to the flat board but still keeps the more uncomplicated ride of the flat profile. The flat-rocker hybrid raises the tip and tail out of the snow for a catch-free ride but maintains the stability of the flat profile.
Finally, the snowboard for your kid will have a shape that it is cut in. The four main categories for shape on snowboards are Directional, True Twin, Directional Twin, and Asymmetrical.
The directional board is for boarding in one direction. Its tip is wider, longer, and generally different from the tail. It is meant for going downhill.
A true twin board is exactly symmetrical, meaning the tail and tip are precisely the same. This board is suitable for all-mountain snowboarding and anyone else who may have occasion to ride switch.
The directional twin combines a true twin and a directional board. The tip is slightly longer and wider than the tail, but riders should still be comfortable riding switch if needed.
Asymmetrical boards are snowboards that are designed with deeper side cuts on one side for better balance and maneuverability. They are generally true-twin boards with asymmetric cuts and lines to help with balance and switch riding.
What if my child is heavy or light for their height?
If your child is light for their age, then their board should be on the shorter end of the spectrum and softer in flex. But, if your child is heavier, a longer board with stiffer flex will help them with stability and maneuverability.
What type of flex rating should I get for my child if they are a beginner?
Beginners should stick to the softer flex rating for whatever style they want to try. If they wish to freeride on the slopes, they should still have a stiffer board but closer to the medium flex rating. Also, if your child is heavy for their height, then a stiffer selection for how they want to ride will be better.