A freestyle type snowboard should be purchased based on the following criteria: Rider weight, foot size, and intended use.
Rider weight A snowboard has no idea how tall a rider is, and height is not necessarily a good indicator of weight. Snowboards turn in part based on how much they are de-cambered. If you mismatch the weight requirement of the board to the rider, the rider will spend much of their time trying to bend the board, or to keep it from bending too much. Both will create frustration and fatigue.
Foot Size The width of a board is important due to the size of the rider’s foot and their desired stance angle. Riders who intend to spend most of their time riding the whole mountain will benefit from at least a little forward angle on both feet. If the board is too wide, riding with forward angle will involve too much muscle, as the ball of the foot and the heel bone will be inboard of the edge of the board. This can be overcome to some extent by using risers under the binding, however, you may as well start out with the correct equipment.
Intended Use This is often critical if the intended use is specialized.
- If the rider intends to spend all of their time sliding rails, playing in the park, etc, then a wider board will facilitate a lower angle stance without toe and heel drag.
- Rider experience: If a rider is inexperienced, and will be spending most of their time moving slowly on easier terrain, their equipment requirements will be different than for an experienced rider who may be operating at a higher energy state. In other words, a snowboard is an energy storage and retrieval device. The steeper the terrain, the greater the amount of available energy. A novice will be more concerned with maneuverability than high-speed stability.