How Small of a Snowboard Can I Ride? (Explained)

Picking the right size snowboard is crucial for a smooth snowboarding experience. There are different lengths and widths for each category and style of snowboards.

A little difference in size can make it challenging for you to ride and can even cause injuries. But there are exceptions when it comes to size. Let’s find out more about it! 

How small of a snowboard can I ride?

You can find snowboards that are less than 100 cm in length but they are for children. If you are 5 feet tall then you can ride a snowboard that is 142 cm in length. You shouldn’t ride a snowboard that has more than a 6 cm difference in size. This will result in you losing control of the board.

There are snowboard sizes for everyone starting for children from the age of 3 and people over the age of 40. You should always ride snowboards according to your body type and riding style.

However, many riders go down a few centimeters to make their boards lighter. This enables them to make short and quick turns. You should not go below 6 cm to prevent accidents and for your comfort. 

Is it okay to ride a smaller snowboard?

It is completely okay to ride a smaller snowboard. Plenty of riders prefer smaller and narrower snowboards to swing weight and for easier pressing.

It will be easier to spin and perform tricks. You will have to put in less effort when moving around. Smaller snowboards are especially preferred by freestyle riders so that they can do board slides, 360s, and other stunts. 

It also makes the nose and tail press simpler when compared to larger snowboards. You don’t have to lean much to get locked in and pressing on snow will be easier. 

But having a small snowboard is not always the best idea. As smaller snowboards are lighter, they will tend to bounce around and wobble more than a large snowboard since they will have less contact with the snow.

This will make it harder to control and unstable to ride at high speeds. Not only are you more likely to fall, but it can also hinder your improvement as a rider. 

What happens if you ride a snowboard that is too small?

Less stability:

Smaller snowboards will feel less stable during big jumps and at higher speeds.

The reason for this is because smaller snowboards have less contact with the snow and shorter edges. Professional riders who do huge jumps and hips try to avoid smaller snowboards. 

Toe and heel drag:

If your feet are too big for the board, your heel or toe might be overhanging the edge of the board. This results in toe and heel drag. You could lose balance.

You will fall more in steeper terrains or when laying down a hard carve. Large turns will also be more challenging. 

Unsafe for terrain and deep powder snow:

If you are a powder or all-mountain rider, you are more likely to snowboard in terrains and deep powder snow.

Small snowboards can be okay in parks but not good for stability and cruising fast on hard snow in

other conditions. There are more chances of you falling through the slope if you go for a small and narrow snowboard in terrains and deep powder snow. 

Durability:

Stiffness tends to decrease over time so your snowboard will soften up the more you use it. Since smaller snowboards have less material in them, they are lighter.

As a result, bigger and larger snowboards last longer due to their stiffness. Larger and wider snowboards have heavy and expensive material in them. They are often preferred by professional riders. 

What size snowboard do you ride? – Choosing the right size snowboard

Here are some factors you should consider to choose the right size snowboard. 

Weight:

Weight is considered the biggest factor when it comes to choosing the right size snowboard. Every snowboard is designed to carry a certain weight. Any more or less than that can cause discomfort.

Your snowboard should be able to carry your weight. The greater your weight, the longer your snowboard has to be. Your board will get loose and will be hard to control if it is too short for your weight (vice versa).

If you weigh more than 210 pounds then purchase a board that is longer than 158 cm. 

Height:

Height is less of a factor but it is still important because usually, a taller rider weighs more than a short rider with a similar build. This is because they have a wider stance.

Hence, the greater your height, the longer your snowboard should be. But using your height to buy your snowboard is okay if you’re a beginner. 

Ability Level:

Beginners tend to buy narrow and shorter snowboards because they are easier to balance and control.

You need to have advanced balance and control skills before you buy a wide snowboard. Beginner boards should be at least 3 to 5 cm shorter. Switch to a longer board after you level up! 

Riding style:

Due to riding style, many people size down for a lighter board for flexibility. This is mostly done by freestyle riders or riders who primarily ride in the park so that they can perform tricks and stunts.

But if you’re more into freeriding or power then you should get a snowboard on the longer end of the size range with more volume. 

Boot size:

Your boot size is important because the width of your snowboard will depend on that.

If you have a shoe size of more than 11.5 then you should go for a wide snowboard but if you have a shoe size of less than 7 then you should go for a narrow one. 

The width is divided into four types: Narrow, Regular, Mid-Wide, and Wide. 

This is just an estimate of what your snowboard size should be. Check out size charts for a better idea. It’s even better to go to a snowboard store and they’ll help you pick the right size. 

Is a shorter snowboard easier to ride?

Not necessarily. A shorter snowboard makes turning simpler but a longer board offers more stability at higher speeds. As mentioned earlier, shorter boards are more flexible because they are lighter. It can be easier to ride for starter-level riders. 

A shorter snowboard can be tough for you to ride if it does not support your weight and height. It can also be too short for your feet. You’ll find your feet overhanging the edge and might fall into the snow often. To prevent this from happening, pick a size that is suited for you. 

Is a shorter snowboard better for beginners?

It is indeed better for beginners. Shorter snowboards offer more maneuverability and are better in terms of spin speed and technical control.

A longer board is tougher to control. A beginner might not be able to handle the length. This is why beginners are often recommended to start with a slightly shorter board.  

At the learning stage, a shorter snowboard can help you out since it is easier to turn when compared to a long one.

Beginners usually ride with snowboards that are 3 to 5 centimeters shorter. Once you reach the intermediate level, you can increase the size. Most beginner snowboards tend to be short in size. 

Does 2 cm make a difference on a snowboard?

There are different lengths for different styles. Many people have a difference of 6 centimeters when it comes to their snowboard and it doesn’t seem to affect them. 2 cm should not make that of a difference on a snowboard.

It is barely noticeable. It can make a bit of a difference if you are used to riding smaller or larger boards. Some people prefer shorter boards and some longer. 

Many freestyles go around 3 to 6 centimeters shorters and free-riders go up the size around 1 to 4 centimeters. It is up to your preferences as long as it is not extreme.

If you are used to riding a board that is 158 cm in length for years, it will feel different when you have a board that is 164 cm in length. This is because it is a large change but a small 2 cm difference is not that noticeable. 

Should I get a bigger or smaller snowboard?

You should not focus on bigger or smaller when it comes to the size of your snowboard. The size of your snowboard should match the type of riding you do. Every board is made for a certain body type and riding style so you should buy your snowboarding accordingly. 

If you are a freestyle rider then you could purchase a slightly smaller board. But make sure it’s not too small as it can be unstable. You could buy slightly bigger snowboards if you ride outside the park. 

There are certain risks you take by riding a snowboard that is bigger or smaller for you. The risk increases when the difference is large. To avoid that, make sure you get the precise size or make sure the difference is minimal. 

Should a snowboard be up to your chin?

This is a popular length measuring method used for ages but it is not accurate. They believe that shorter length boards should come up to the individual’s chin when the board is stood on end and that longer boards should reach from the nose to a little over the head.

Shorter boards are recommended for freestyle riders and riders who are new to snowboarding. Longer length boards are preferred by all-mountain riders who snowboard at high speeds. 

You can use this method to get a rough idea about your snowboard sizing. Many riders implement this method into their snowboard buying decision but this is not accurate as the rules are quite vague.

There are better ways to find out your snowboard size and they include your weight, riding style, ability level, and height.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is snowboard boot size the same as shoe size?

Do snowboards have a weight limit?

What are wide snowboards for?

Why are snowboards so expensive?

Why are snowboard bindings so expensive?

Are snowboard bindings universal?