Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Why do splitboarders ride such long boards?
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  • #663030
    saign
    330 Posts

    I’ll go a bit further

    Dirksen

    5’10” 170 rides 163

    Muller

    6’2″ 180 rides 158

    Eric Jackson 5’9″ 155 rides 159

    Most pros are smaller guys but I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a pro riding a 170 or larger. The only one that comes close is Xavier, but he doesn’t turn :bow:

    I’m probably going to open a big bag of worms here, but… I tend to disagree with the “not enough skill to turn a longer board” Barrows theory….maybe its more of a not enough skill to keep a small board stable. I’d like to see one of you long doggers spin off a wind lip on a 180cm…just sayin’

    #663031
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @saign wrote:

    I’ll go a bit further

    Dirksen

    5’10” 170 rides 163

    Muller

    6’2″ 180 rides 158

    Eric Jackson 5’9″ 155 rides 159

    Most pros are smaller guys but I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a pro riding a 170 or larger. The only one that comes close is Xavier, but he doesn’t turn :bow:

    I’m probably going to open a big bag of worms here, but… I tend to disagree with the “not enough skill to turn a longer board” Barrows theory….maybe its more of a not enough skill to keep a small board stable. I’d like to see one of you long doggers spin off a wind lip on a 180cm…just sayin’

    You are right about one thing: preference and riding style do matter, as I stated at the beginning of my first post in this thread, as also does preferred (and available) terrain. But here is where you are wrong: riding skill makes it possible to make quick turns on a longer board. For example, I have no problem shredding the typical Colorado tree run on longer board (170+) with rocker. An old school fully cambered board, like the Morrow Goodwill 179 I loved for couple of seasons, makes it a little more difficult, but it still can be done. Of course, this analysis is a little overly simplisitic, as factors like flex, sidecut, taper, and dampness will matter as well.
    But, there is no skill known to man which can make a typical, deep sidecut, 162 cm board stable when one is maching out of tight exit and then hits unseen buried avy debris. Situations like that demand a board which is stable by nature: MY choice (personal preference) is to err on the side of stability, as I know I can make the more stable board turn quickly enough, but I cannot make the squirrelly board stable. I prefer a board which is unflappable in demanding situations, which smooths out less than perfect snow conditions, and which makes riding at speed effortless, rather than a scary accident waiting to happen.
    The rider has to decide what their own priorities are: if getting that last 1/4 rotation on a backside 7 is of prime importance, then by all means go a little shorter, if stability and ease at speed and floatation is important, go a little longer.
    As mentioned previously: Scott Newsome is a pro rider whose new board from Trapper is a 173-but, I would never suggest that riders choose their equipment based on what some pro rides, that would be nonsensical. One should choose their equipment based on what works for their own riding. BTW, pro riders with “signature” model boards are generally paid royalties… I know if I was a “name” pro rider, my signature board would be bad ass 162, so all the lift rats would buy it and I would get more cash… Heck, Daniel Furberg had to start his own company to get the kind of board he wanted, as his board sponsor was not willing to make it, for fear of not being able to sell it.

    #663032
    UPGRAYEDD_2505
    127 Posts

    Well, if skill allows you to turn a long board quickly, then skill should allow you to keep a short board stable at speed.

    One word: QUIVER

    One more word: SQUATS

    #663033
    saign
    330 Posts

    I agree with most of what you say, and I like longer boards than most of my friends. I can stomp pow landings like park jumps with a 64. I also ride the trees fine with it. I even find myself willing to go a little bigger. That being said, while it’s less effort to float and haul ass, it takes more effort to turn at low speeds and maneuver in tight spots.

    The analysis of what the pros ride is simply showing what the best of the sport ride. I think their choices are relevant. How can you deny what the best in the world are defining the sport with. I agree about the marketing ploys, but how many banana hammocks has lib sold? They made that board for Travis and have hardly sold any. If you choose a corvette over my Subaru WRX, you’ll smoke me on the strait away but I’ll out manuver you in the tight spots. Its all about personal preference and riding style IMO.

    And I do believe it takes just as much skill to hold a shorter board solid at high speeds if not more, than it does to turn a long one at low speeds.

    #663034
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Sorry, but you cannot make a squirrely board stable no matter what you do. Stability is inherent in the board design, or not…
    Consider: sure, if you want to straightline a big pow face on a short, soft board with a deep sidecut, you can do it with stability by leaning way back and unweighting the nose. But now, you cannot turn if you have to…
    Also, this approach requires that you know you need stability at that moment. Now, consider another example, you make turns on a hanging face, drop into a funnel shaped couloir, and want to point it out the exit. What you do not know, is that there is a pile of avy debris in the apron, just buried by new snow so it looks totally clean. This is perfect example of where a board which is inherently stable is a huge asset. Sure, if you are incredibly strong, maybe you exert a huge force, and can keep that tiny board from blowing up on you, but, it would be so much smoother and easier with a stable board from the start. Why make it hard on yourself?
    As to pros, I am not under the same illusion as you that they are generally “the best in the world” and neither I am interested in riding like them. I am interested in riding like me, the way I want to ride, and I suggest others should ride their own way as well, not to worship at the altar of some marketing tool.

    #663035
    UPGRAYEDD_2505
    127 Posts

    No worries Barrows, just gonna have to disagree with you. Lots of folks are more interested in hitting features and riding pow vs riding extreme terrain where they need the most stable platform. People should ride whatever length board they want. I personally like bigger boards also. :thumpsup: But just because you’re not interested in riding like a modern pro snowboarder doesn’t mean that some of them don’t rip. Worship – no. Respect – yes.

    #663036
    saign
    330 Posts

    Again I agree with most of what you say. Its common sense that a bigger, stiffer, longer sidecut board will be more stable at high speeds. But I didn’t start on flex pattern or sidecut, this disussion was based on length. I prefer medium stiff, and medium long sidecut, and medium long length for that matter as well (that’s what I would call 62-64) I’m not saying short soft deep sidecut boards are the way to go….unless your a park rat. We’re really arguing over a couple inches.

    I never said you can “make a squirrely board stable” What I said was a “holding a shorter board solid” and that takes as much strength and skill as turning a longer board in tight spots IMO. Its all personal preference to where you want to work harder, or to find a good medium between the two. Not one board is ideal for every situation. Sometimes I want more stability, that doesn’t mean I’m going to yardsale if I’m hauling ass and hit some chudder. It just means I have to work harder in that situation instead of others. You would rather work harder to turn at slow speeds and less at high speed situations.

    We can just say this is a fact. Longer stiffer boards handle high speeds and chop better. Shorter flexier boards will be more maneuverable at slow speeds. To find that balance is in the preference and style of the rider.

    As far as the pros are concerned…show me someone who isn’t pro who can ride a line like De La Rue. It’s nuts how fast he rides. I’m not idolizing anybody, I got my first T.Rice before he blew up, because his boards have what I like in them. I think his and all the recent movies that glorify these guys are kinda lame, but I can’t deny his skill. I don’t worship anyone or want to ride like anyone but myself. To say that they aren’t the best in the world is your own opinion, but not the opinion of many.

    #663037

    I ride smaller boards than all of y’all.

    Inbounds: 154 Burton Custom, or 154 Jones Flagship

    Backcountry: 158 frrebird.

    Not a big dude, (145lbs 5’10) but I would say that I still charge, and that I ride deep powder. Not to say I wouldn’t ride a larger board other wise. I would seriously consider anything from a 152-164.

    #663038
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @upgrayedd_2505 wrote:

    No worries Barrows, just gonna have to disagree with you. Lots of folks are more interested in hitting features and riding pow vs riding extreme terrain where they need the most stable platform. People should ride whatever length board they want. I personally like bigger boards also. :thumpsup: But just because you’re not interested in riding like a modern pro snowboarder doesn’t mean that some of them don’t rip. Worship – no. Respect – yes.

    I am not sure that we disagree? I said that if spinning is ones’ priority, then going a little shorter is a good idea, I also said that people should ride what works for their riding style. My main point was though, that boards around 168-173 or so, for riders around 6′ tall, do not have a problem making quick enough turns to ride, say, western trees… and pow, back east, I, personally would go with a totally different type of board…
    As to the pro rider thing, I was responding to Saign, who appeared to be suggesting that people should choose boards based on what pro riders use. I totally disagree with this idea; I think people should choose the board which works for their riding style and terrain.
    My main point in responding to this thread, was to try and get people to think for themselves, and be creative, and not just be a sheep and do (or aspire to do) the same thing everybody else does. Most of all, do not be afraid to try a longer board for fear of not being able to turn it quickly enough.
    If one is 5’11” tall, and cannot turn a 170 rocker board quickly enough to ride western trees, then some upgrades in riding technique are in order. It is not like I am advocating everybody goes out and gets a 200 cm Tanker (although I have no problem with those who love to ride such a board). I see an awful lot of riders out there (including an embarassing number of “pros” unfortunately) who really do not know much about how to turn a snowboard.

    #663039
    trondh
    59 Posts

    IMHO you just need to try a range of lengths and board types to find what suits you. And not as in try a 172 for one in-bounds run, a board takes at least a few days of getting used to. Buy something used, try it, and sell it if you don’t like it.

    I used to ride a 156 fish and a 156 skate banana, now I just ordered my second 172 split. When drunk, I’d probably say that you don’t find the right board, the right board finds you if you let it 🙂

    #663042
    Powder_Rider
    498 Posts

    It seems to me that you select the board size first on the width to your boot size, right? Then select the board style to your preferred riding style, The Then select length based on your weight. right?

    So as a benchmark take a look at the Venture Snowboard’s 12/13 spec sheet, such as the Storm, see: http://venturesnowboards.com/boards/

    From Venture Snowboards:
    SIZING YOUR BOARD

    One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why we offer each of our board models in four waist widths and a variety of lengths. We originated this concept because we believe the right fit is the key to a great ride. Our shorter, narrower decks have a softer flex pattern and are ideal for women and smaller riders. On the other end of the spectrum, our widest boards are considerably stiffer and boast a 27cm waist to virtually eliminate boot out for riders with big feet. While it’s often a matter of personal preference, the chart below shows our recommendations on sizing for width.

    24 CM 25 CM 26 CM 27 CM
    US MENS 6 – 8 8 – 10 10 – 12 12 – 14
    US WOMENS < 9 9 +
    UK ADULT 5.5 – 7.5 7.5 – 9.5 9.5 – 11.5 11.5 – 13.5 +
    EURO ADULT 39 – 41 41 – 43 43 – 45 45 – 47 +
    JAPAN MENS 24 – 26 26 – 28 28 – 30 30 – 32 +

    see:
    http://venturesnowboards.com/boards/

    http://venturesnowboards.web11.hubspot.com/Portals/122548/docs/venture%20specs%2012.13.pdf?__hstc=154845223.d45ad9fb22f9ade9c9b112b44d75ecda.1347324380518.1348893367041.1349325255335.3&__hssc=154845223.11.1355591334010

    Would stay in Venture’s Specification for Storm splitboard length-range, If in the spec’s length-range would you go on the shorter’, in the middle or longest length of the range? Or would you just choose a longer board out-side of the manufactures suggested board spec length?

    #663043
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    POW-D:

    I would add the following to your advice:

    Consider that board length should be proportionate to height, rather than weight. Here is why: a taller rider has a higher center of gravity (CG is generally about 2″ below the navel, and about 2″ in). The higher a rider’s CG, the longer a board is needed to provide the same level of longitudinal stability. For simple example of longitudinal stability, think of this: when one gets a little too far in the back seat, does the board have enough tail length to provide a correcting force, and help the rider get back over the board before totally losing control.

    And, consider that board stiffness should be proportionate to rider weight, and rider weight should include pack, etc. Hence, usually a slightly stiffer board is needed in the backcountry, due to increased weight of the gear carried.

    Then, after considering both your advice, and mine, board size, stiffness and type should then be adjusted for riding style, preferred terrain and snow conditions.

    A lot of people seem to miss out on the importance of considering board length and rider height together.

    #663044
    powderjunkie
    1669 Posts

    lots of good points – snurfer hit it on the head.

    just talking yesterday on the skintrack with breadbox about this exact thing.

    find out for yourself what works.

    I know that i really like riding a 58 for jibbin fun and the ole park days, but much too short for stomping BC drops or tracking a fast turn or running out flats in powder

    had a 71 mountain gun and knew that was bigger than I wanted to go

    my sweet spot is a 64, but i like a 62 for corn and a 68 if there is a over a foot and a half of fresh. longer board sure breaks trail better :thumpsup:

    i’m 5.10 180#

    to just answer your question – I think most splitters are a little older, less into spinning and park, more likely to ride a longer board. I do think most people size up a little for all the reason stated already.

    #663046
    WhitePine
    503 Posts

    First off I’m 6’3″ 200lb. Over the years my boards incrementally get longer and longer. I started with a 160 > 163 > 162 > 166 > 168 > 180. As I’ve gotten older (30 years old now) I find myself becoming a powder fanatic. I could care less about the terrain park and kickers. When I first learned about splitboarding in 09 I found a O-sin 4807 168cm swallowtail split used and super cheap. I’d never ridden one before but I thought it would be fun to try. I’m so glad I did cause it re-invigorated me about snowboarding (at the time I was turning back into a skier).

    The longer nose and overall board makes it easier to keep speed up in low angle meadows without leaning back so far on the back leg. But most importantly, the longer board gave me more of a surfy feel that was just amazing. I guess that’s what my personal preference has shifted towards. In some ways it may be similar to the way the ski industry is going. I see 5’7″ guys rocking 195cm MegaFat skis. They swear to me that can control them no problem but they are looking for extra surface area for flotation and length for speed and stability. I for the same reason found myself using my swallowtail split inbounds on deep days. When I go back to my 166cm resort board, it feels like its too short. Rockered boards at the same length feel like its easier to go over the handle bars. Anyway, I sold my 168 and got a 180cm V-tail for this year. I used it only once in the late spring last year but it didn’t feel too long or unmanageable and I could still whip it around. I hoping it will be fun but I’m sure it will suck a little more on the tight exits back to the car. That extra 12cm is only about 4.75″ longer so it probably won’t be too much worse.

    So to sum it up, for my height, weight, riding style and what I’m trying to achieve in the backcountry or at the resort, it seems a longer board is preferable. It has taken 16 or 17 years of snowboarding to get to where I’m at but I’m still experimenting with different shapes because the sport changes constantly. My suggestion would be to buy a used board cheap just to see how you like the shape. Sell it if it sucks and try something new. That’s part of the fun.

    #663047
    JNK
    77 Posts

    Good info everyone. Much appreciated.

    #663045
    Jason4
    443 Posts

    I think one big thing that is missed here is snow density. I ride in the PNW and would prefer to ride the same size board on the lifts or when skinning. My everyday solid right now is a 160 and my sweet spot is 159-162. My split is a 164.5 but my next one will be closer to 160. I almost always have a pack on whether I’m on the lifts or not but it is a heavier pack for full day tours than it is for short slack country hikes. The snow that I ride is denser than the snow in Utah so I expect that if I were basing my decisions on living in SL, UT then I would be on a longer board and a mid-170s board seems right.

    The discussion about length vs stability and turning are kind of nonsense. It’s a different skill but a skill nontheless to deal with a board that is less stable when running out fast lines just like it’s a skill to turn a long board in tight trees. I’ve done them both and again, my happy spot is just over 160. If someone else is happier on a longer board then that’s fine. I’ll invite anyone to come find me and we’ll go run out lines and turn in the trees and compare notes in the skin track.

    Either way it looks like the general consensus is that the difference between solid and split sizing is pretty small and there are 2 different camps on size with a big difference between the 2 camps.

    #663040
    JNK
    77 Posts

    I was just going to ask about conditions people ride in. I also live in the PNW but I would think longer would be better for our wet, heavy snow. It seems so easy to get buried and then just lose all momentum. A longer board would keep the nose out of the snow better? Light, fluffy powder doesn’t need as much float? Maybe I’m way backwards on this one.

    #663041
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Lets look at float specifically: This is actually much more complex than most seem to realize. First, there are really a couple of things people are referring to when the say: “float”.

    Real float, is when the entire board is near the surface of the snow, basically planing out, or very near to planing out. When a board is near the surface like this, it is very, very easy to turn quickly, as the rider can very freely pivot the board at will, even if it is quite long, as both the nose AND tail of the board are near the surface, and neither has to overcome much pressure to move laterally through the snow (during a sliding turn, or pivot).

    How much real float a board has is almost entirely determined by the surface area of the board. The longer, and or wider a board is, the more float. A board with more surface area will ride closer to the surface of the snow, and be easier to turn quickly, at a given speed. Note, this also means that in powder snow conditions, a bigger board (more surface area) will actually be easier to turn (closer to the surface) at a slower speed.

    Now, the “other” kind of float which some people seem to be talking about: this is really more about the board’s tip being up, with the board riding with a tip up, tail down attitude. This is the way many of the high taper/big setback designs (fish, etc) work. This is really not “float” in the strictest sense of the word (planing) but is more about ploughing. These boards indeed keep the tip up, even at relatively low speeds, and they can also be turned fairly quickly, often by pivoting off of the tail, and they are generally able to keep the tip up, and stop the dreaded tip dive in deep snow, even at low speeds. But these boards lose stability at higher speeds due to their general lack of overall length, and they do not allow as many turn styles as easily as a larger shape which is riding closer to the surface in the tail of the board (the ability to smear the tail is diminished).

    Then consider rocker. Rocker does not really make a board float better, float comes almost entirely from surface area. But, tip rocker does help a board to rise up and start planing a little sooner, so it makes it easier to ride in deep pow, especially when speeds are slow. Now, combine tip and tail rocker with a tapered tip and tail design (see furberg for an understanding of this shape) and the float is improved drastically during turns, as the pressure at the edge of the board is distributed over a longer section of the board, reducing the tendency of the board to knife into the snow (and dive) when put on edge, especially at lower speeds. For pow, the shape of the furberg is for me, a revelation in terms of float, and ease of ride, and the ability to make the most different kinds of turns while staying near the surface of the snow, at even lower speeds.

    #663048
    powslash
    382 Posts

    @jason4 wrote:

    I think one big thing that is missed here is snow density. I ride in the PNW and would prefer to ride the same size board on the lifts or when skinning. My everyday solid right now is a 160 and my sweet spot is 159-162. My split is a 164.5 but my next one will be closer to 160. I almost always have a pack on whether I’m on the lifts or not but it is a heavier pack for full day tours than it is for short slack country hikes. The snow that I ride is denser than the snow in Utah so I expect that if I were basing my decisions on living in SL, UT then I would be on a longer board and a mid-170s board seems right.

    The discussion about length vs stability and turning are kind of nonsense. It’s a different skill but a skill nontheless to deal with a board that is less stable when running out fast lines just like it’s a skill to turn a long board in tight trees. I’ve done them both and again, my happy spot is just over 160. If someone else is happier on a longer board then that’s fine. I’ll invite anyone to come find me and we’ll go run out lines and turn in the trees and compare notes in the skin track.

    Either way it looks like the general consensus is that the difference between solid and split sizing is pretty small and there are 2 different camps on size with a big difference between the 2 camps.

    Damn it. Was going to stay away from this thread until this happened. LIES.

    @jnk wrote:

    I was just going to ask about conditions people ride in. I also live in the PNW but I would think longer would be better for our wet, heavy snow. It seems so easy to get buried and then just lose all momentum. A longer board would keep the nose out of the snow better? Light, fluffy powder doesn’t need as much float? Maybe I’m way backwards on this one.

    Correct. Deep snow of any density will cause wallowing. A long board can help this. A quiver is the answer.

    #663049
    jerrett
    139 Posts

    I have no idea! My splitboard is roughly a 159, perhaps a little shorter… and my resort board is a 169.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind having a second split that’s a little less of a powder snob than what I have now.

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