What Size Snowboard Does Your Child Need?Published on 12/09/2022 · 6 min readWhen it comes to snowboarding, one size definitely does not fit all. Check out these key factors to use when determining what size snowboard your child needs!
Photo by Ostap Senyuk
As a Winter Sports Expert, I regularly have parents or family members looking for sizing advice when shopping for their favorite little riding buddy. They want to be certain that the gear they choose is correct in terms of sizing, and that it will encourage a lifelong love of snowboarding.
I also chat with young adult riders who grew up on hand-me-down gear and have grown accustomed to a board that is several sizes away from the ideal fit. Learning to ride on a board that is the correct size can feel like starting over, so it's best to get a child started on the right length from the start.
While many consider it a good rule of thumb for the snowboard length to land between a rider's chin and nose, this is only a general indicator of the correct size. Curated’s snowboard size chart is a great place to start, but there is even more to keep in mind beyond just your child’s height and weight. What if your child’s height/weight ratio is outside of the norm? Or they are a total beginner who has natural ability and lofty goals on the mountain this season? Answers to these questions can be found by going beyond the general height/weight chart and digging into your child's individual characteristics in the following areas:
There is nothing like sharing the joy of the outdoors with your children, and knowing the right way to approach a new adventure with a young rider is key to establishing a positive attitude and experience. While you or your older child may have picked snowboarding right up, your youngest, let’s say, may require a little more attention and patience. Start with friendly, fun designs, and always opt for a shorter length board on a rider’s first time out. It’s better for them to have a sense of control and accomplishment than to feel overwhelmed with a board they will “grow into.” The Salomon Team Package or Burton Chicklet snowboards are great options that will have your smallest shredders learning the basics in no time and asking when they can go again!
Whether they are still building confidence or jumping off every side hit in their path, the skill level of your child will impact what size snowboard they need. For example, a cautious snowboarder who is brand new to the sport will spend their time on groomed runs that are easy to maneuver on a beginner’s board. That’s why a slightly shorter flat/rocker style board, like the K2 Vandal or Kandi Youth, will be beneficial so they can maintain control and build on their skills without being overwhelmed.
However, an advanced and more confident rider may spend their time on challenging terrain with their older siblings and parents. They can ride on a hybrid or camber profile board that is a few centimeters longer and will see them through a few seasons of even further progression. The Jones Prodigy is an excellent choice for the experienced child who chases (or leads!) their crew through the trees and steeps. The Salomon Huck Knife Grom will provide a solid board for freestyle riders to practice their jumps, ride switch, butter, and spins all over the mountain.
Understanding a child's natural ability and goals for the upcoming season will help tremendously in board sizing and will ensure they are having as much fun as possible on the mountain.
Does your child have their sights set on learning tricks in the terrain park? A shorter, true twin board with a soft flex like the CAPiTA Children of The Gnar or Bataleon Stuntwood will offer complete control over the board while they tackle boxes and rails, and are jumping over skiers on the way to the cafeteria.
If they are more interested in finding pow or gaining speed and skill in the backcountry, they will benefit from a longer board with a stiffer flex and more stability. The K2 Tree Splitter, Arbor Satori, or Jones Mini Mind Expander are all freeriding options that will take your young rider to the next level this season and possibly beyond to their first adult board.
If you’ve got a daredevil that likes to do everything fast and aggressively, choose a board that is slightly longer. A board that is too short can cause your child to lean backward and put too much pressure on their knees. Longer boards will provide more stability at high speeds and offer more surface for solid landings if they are jumping off everything they see.
However, if they like to make shorter, quick turns and have a slower, more relaxed riding style, a shorter board will be more suitable.
When choosing the right size snowboard for your older child, you may also want to consider the brands they like. While the dimensions of each board will vary, most brands offer a variety of board lengths for kids, as well as adults. Each offers special sizing charts that can help you select a board that is best suited for your child’s size with that particular brand.
Knowing the size of your child's boots is another helpful indicator of what size snowboard they need. If your pre-teen wears a 10.5+ boot, it's worth considering the waist width on their new board. Choosing a board with a wider width will ensure there is no toe or heel drag, which will decrease speed and drastically reduce the fun factor on the mountain. Every board has waist width measurements so be sure to pay attention to this when shopping for someone with larger or fast-growing feet. Also remember to choose a corresponding binding, one that is meant for an adult rider and not a young adult version.
Wide boards are also an option for heavier riders who haven't hit their growth spurt yet. The added surface of the board will help balance out the difference and ensure your child has a solid, sturdy board that isn't too long for their height.
Snowboarding is an awesome way to get your kids outside when the weather turns cold. Setting them up for success with gear that is suitable for their age, abilities, and goals is the best way to instill a love for a sport that the whole family can enjoy as they grow. It also greatly increases the odds that they will pass it on to their own little shredders one day, and before you know it, you'll be helping pick out gear for the grandkids, too!
Have questions about what the best options are for your winter sports-loving family? Chat with a Snowboard Expert here on Curated today for advice on gear, apparel, and more!