All you need to know when picking a board: The right tool for the job

Yesterday morning as the sun rose brilliantly over the Atlantic Ocean, I sat in some 50 degree water cursing myself. No, I wasn’t swearing like a little school girl due to the time or the water temperature. I had made the wrong board choice. Seduced my the hopes and dreams that there would be head-high or OH waves, I had only brought my pin-tail thruster to the beach. The waves were mushy and waist-high at best. I left at home my trusty stead, the Oak of the Northeast, my twinzer fish, which would have made short work of those mushy waves. Instead, I suffered while others around me wooted and hollered.

For those of you who surf, you know, but for the rest of you, I’ll provide another analogy. Imagine bringing a WRX sti to Target or an x-acto to a samurai fight. Yup, something isn’t quite like the others. Of course I brought that sexy thruster to the beach because it represent all that is surfing (or marketed as surfing). Do you see Kelly Slater on a fish or Andy Irons on a longboard? Hell no. Sure they ride those boards, but you never see them riding them. That’s because you are marketed the latest and greatest in surfboard technology. It doesn’t matter if it works only in triple overhead, it’s cool. I forgot the cardinal rule, the one rule that you can’t ever forget when looking to purchase or select a board, any board. It’s what your shop teacher and your sex ed teacher both told you in high school: You gotta bring the right tool for the job.

Now how does this relate to snowboarding you might ask? Surfboards are ultra-complex in their simple tear-dropped foam with a variety of tip/tail shapes, concave rockers, rails, widths, lengths, materials and blah blah blah. Snowboards on the other hand have simple dimensions: length, sidecut, running length, tip/tail width and waist width. Sorry Georgie boy, the game has changed. Now you have to consider reverse camber, flat camber, camber+reverse camber, banana, rocker, triple-base-technology and some other crap that I’ve tried and can’t remember.

The decision to purchase a snowboard can’t be taken lightly. You have to remember that same cardinal rule: the right tool for the right job. Don’t be seduced by the siren call of marketing. And don’t take the shop kid’s gospel at face value. Do the research. Buy a Buyer’s Guide. Ask around. Go online, and ask questions (and get heckled) in a messageboard. Then go to that shop and have a conversation with the shop kid about your needs.

Form your own opinion that isn’t created by those looking to sell you something. If you’re local hill is Seven Springs, PA and you are 5’2″, 110lbs, you don’t need a Burton T6 164 with C60s. I don’t care how much you love Nicolas Muller (we love him too). Alternatively if you’re in AK, that JP Walker Stepchild 147 might not be the best choice for Alyeska. And for fucksakes, if you just started, DON’T buy that Burton Method, even if you made a killing last year on Wall Street. I repeat: don’t buy that Burton Method. I don’t care if it matches your Porsche Boxster (I know. You’re saving up for the Carrera) and Ed Hardy t-shirts.

This simple mantra should save you a ton of angst and triple your stoke (plus if you’re that Wall Street guy some more cash for more Jagerbombs and roofies). Oh yah and remember kids, wrap it up when you ride. Stay protected out there this winter.

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