If you’re like many people worldwide, you love to pass the time during the winter by going snowboarding! Of course, all snowboarders love getting new boards, but there are some questions you may have during the purchase process. One of these questions may be whether you need to break the board in.
Snowboards do not need to be broken in to be functional. However, doing so may help your board become more flexible and give you a more comfortable riding experience. Flexible snowboards are generally better for beginners because they’re easier to turn and are more sensitive to the user’s movement.
Breaking in a new snowboard before you use it is not usually necessary, but you might want to do so anyway if you’re looking to have more board flexibility. Below, we’ll discuss how to break in a snowboard, as well as the situations that call for either a stiff or flexible board!
Do Snowboards Need to Be Broken in?
As a general rule, it’s not necessary to break a snowboard in before you ride it for the first time. However, some people like to break their new boards in to increase their flexibility and make them more responsive to their movements.
To break in your new snowboard, you’ll want to get it to bend a little bit.
- The first thing you’ll have to do is place it on top of either snow or another soft surface, so you don’t scuff the board or your floor!
- Then you’ll want to attach both of the bindings to your feet.
- Hop back and forth, moving from the nose, or the front of the board, to the tail, or the back of the board.
This movement will be enough to break in your board sufficiently for riding purposes, and as you use it more and more, the flexibility will only increase. Everyone rides a snowboard differently, and your board should be as flexible or stiff as you need it to be for your size, experience level, and riding style.
How Flexible Do You Want Your Snowboard to Be?
Some snowboards are very flexible, while others are pretty stiff. Both are best suited to different people and different riding styles, so there are a few factors to consider when you’re looking at snowboards and choosing a level of flexibility. Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of both flexible snowboards and stiffer snowboards.
When to Have A More Flexible Snowboard
These types of boards are usually better suited to people who are just learning how to snowboard, as well as lighter people or those with smaller frames. They are also suitable for freestyle snowboarders to use because they’re easier to maneuver and, in general, more forgiving than stiffer snowboards. Flexible boards are also much more sensitive to user movement, which means they work well on both softer snow and bumpier surfaces
Because softer boards are easier to maneuver than firmer boards, they’re good to use if you find yourself having a hard time moving how you’d like. It’s probably not your fault – you may just need to get a more flexible snowboard! These kinds of boards also allow you to move more slowly, so it’s also a good idea to change boards if you feel like you’re going too fast down the slopes.
Who Should Use a Stiffer Snowboard?
If you’re a more experienced snowboarder, or if you like to free-ride, you might want to go with a snowboard that’s stiffer (and probably longer). While flexible boards are easier to turn, stiff boards will give you a better grip around corners and are often better for boarding at high speeds. They’re also better for descending hills because they can hold an edge very well and can absorb hard landings without buckling or causing you to wipe out!
Because stiffer boards have very good edge gripping, they’re also much better for use on surfaces that have heavier borders. This makes them ideal for groomed slopes and deep snow. They float on powder, so while they’re great for specific purposes, they’re not ideal for freestyling like shorter boards are.
Should You Buy a Short Board or A Long One?
For an easier time during the break-in process, keep in mind that shorter snowboards typically have a higher level of flexibility than longer boards do.
It’s not one size fits all, though: just like smaller people typically prefer shorter boards, longer snowboards are designed for larger people. This is the reason why they have less flexibility than shorter boards. You can’t usually break them in to the same degree that you can a flexible board, however, because they’re designed for freeriding and boarding on half pipes. Despite this, they will usually gain a bit of flexibility after enough repeated use.
The Two Types of Flexibility to Consider
When you’re looking to buy a new snowboard, there are two types of flexibility to consider when making your final decision: longitudinal flex and torsional flex. In general, more longitudinal flex will mean better flexibility as the board is broken in. Here’s how to assess both kinds of flexibility on a snowboard that you’re looking at.
Measuring the Board’s Longitudinal Flex
“Longitudinal flex” refers to the flexibility between the front and back of the board. To measure a snowboard’s longitudinal flex:
- Put the tail of the board on a soft surface to prevent any scuffing.
- Then you need to wrap your arms around the upper mount to mimic the pressure that your feet will have on the board while you’re using it.
- The more the board bends in response to this pressure, the greater longitudinal flexibility it has!
Longitudinal flex comes in two forms: progressive and continuous. If your board has a progressive longitudinal flex, it means it will flex from the center of the board. In turn, the nose and the tail will both have different levels of flexibility. On the other hand, if the board has a continuous longitudinal flex, the board will have the same level of flexibility from the top down.
Measuring the Board’s Torsional Flex
A board’s “torsional flex” measures the degree of “give” that the snowboard has across the width of it. Most people find that the torsional flex isn’t as crucial as the longitudinal flex because it typically has less of an effect on the board’s overall performance.
To measure your board’s torsional flex:
- Place the tail on a soft surface, so it doesn’t scuff.
- Then place your feet on either side of the board’s width to hold it in place, and hold the nose with both hands.
- Twist the nose in each direction, and assess how much it moves. The more response your board has to this manipulation, the softer of a torsional flex it has.
Snowboards with a soft torsional flex will be better if you’re boarding in areas with many sharp turns. Snowboards with a stiffer torsional flex, on the other hand, will increase the hold you have on edges. While torsional flex doesn’t have quite as much of an effect on your board’s performance as longitudinal flex does, it’s still something you should consider when purchasing a new snowboard.
While it’s not usually necessary to break in a snowboard before you ride it for the first time, doing so can increase its flexibility and give you a better riding experience, especially if you’re a beginner. Remember, the level of flexibility you need depends on your height, weight, riding style, and experience level, so take the time to assess your needs and do your research before making a final decision.