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Best thing to do if your Snowboard is too Stiff

What To Do if Your Snowboard Is Too Stiff

What To Do if Your Snowboard Is Too Stiff
What To Do if Your Snowboard Is Too Stiff

It's not uncommon to hear a novice snowboarder exclaim, "My snowboard is too stiff!" That's a real issue because the stiffness of the snowboard affects the overall riding experience because it determines the maneuvers that can be performed. What can you do if you're experiencing the same issue?

Increase your riding frequency if your snowboard is too stiff. This will aid in breaking in the snowboard. Before each ride, you should also hop from the nose to the tailboard several times. If both options fail, consider purchasing a new board with the appropriate flex rating for you.

The rest of this article will go over everything you need to know about dealing with a stiff snowboard in greater depth. You'll also learn about flexibility ratings, why they're important, and how to select the best one for you.




Why Do You Need a Non-Stiff Snowboard?

Stiff snowboards appear to be a no-brainer because they absorb heavy landings much more easily than softer options. The stiffness, however, should be within an acceptable range for your riding style (more on that later).

If you choose a snowboard that is too stiff for your riding style, you will have difficulty initiating or completing maneuvers. Trying to force the situation may result in falls and injuries.


Best thing to Do If Your Snowboard Is Too much Stiff?

If your snowboard is too stiff, you can bend it before each ride, ride more often, or choose a board with a different flex rating.

We'll go over each option in greater detail so you know what to do the next time your snowboard becomes too stiff.

Before each ride, bend the snowboard.

The longitudinal flex of your snowboard could be the source of the stiffness. Bending it can help to soften the board and make it less stiff. Follow the steps below to accomplish this:

  1. Attach the bindings to your legs.
  2. Then hop back and forth from the board's nose to the tail.
  3. After a few hops, you can loosen the board slightly.

However, you should only do this when you're out on the snow to avoid scuffing up the board or leaving wax on surfaces unintentionally.



Boost Your Riding Frequency

Stretching your board's longitudinal flex before each ride, combined with riding on the board more frequently, can make the board less stiff. The board becomes more flexible as riding frequency increases.

It has a longer and firmer board; you can achieve the same level of flexibility on a shorter board by simply using it more frequently. After a week of using the board daily, you should begin to see results.


Select a Board with a Varying Flex Rating

The flexibility of a snowboard is determined by a number of factors. This includes your riding style, weight, and level of skill. If your board is too stiff and you can't fix it with any of the hacks we discussed earlier, you've probably chosen the wrong flex rating for you.

Consider getting a new board that better fits your style by selecting the appropriate flex rating. That is the most straightforward way to ensure a pleasurable riding experience.

In the following section, we'll go over how to make this decision.



Choosing the Right Flex Rating for Your Snowboard

As I previously stated, your snowboard is too stiff because you chose a board with the incorrect flex rating for your riding style. The flex rating of your snowboard describes its flexibility. The boards vary greatly because they are all designed with different snowboarding demographics in mind.

To make the best decision, you must first understand flex ratings and how manufacturers classify a board.


Flex Ratings Explained

In a snowboard, there are two main types of flex ratings:


Longitudinal Flexibility

This refers to the snowboard's flexibility from nose to tail. When discussing the flex of aboard, this is the primary metric in focus. Manufacturers refer to the longitudinal flex when they provide a flex rating.

In addition, longitudinal flex can be continuous or progressive. If the board has progressive flex, it means that the flex around the nose, center, and tail will vary from one part to the next. Continuous flex refers to a consistent flex from the bindings to the tail of the board.

The approach will be determined by who the manufacturer designed the board for. More information is provided below.


Torsional Flexibility

This is the flex from one edge to the other across the width. Most snowboarders do not consider flex when selecting a board. Even if they wanted to, they wouldn't be able to because manufacturers don't list official torsional flex ratings for a board.

Some argue that this flex is important because sharper turns and spins are easier to execute with soft torsional flex. Edge-hold will likely be improved if the torsional flex is stiffer. As a result, you can't completely dismiss this metric.



Common Flex Ratings and What They Mean

When considering flex ratings, keep in mind that there is no standardized scale that manufacturers can use. As a result, what one manufacturer considers "very stiff flex" may be considered "stiff flex" by another.

Because of the numerous minute details that go into making a snowboard, it is difficult to develop a generalized system. Flex ratings, on the other hand, are denoted by numbers on a 1-10 scale.

This is what the numbers mean if you see a flex rating displayed from 1 to 10:

1-2: soft

3-4: medium-soft

5-6: medium

7-8: medium stiff

9-10: stiff

Some manufacturers may not use numbers and instead rate their boards on a scale of soft to stiff. Others use numbers, but in a slightly different order than what we have above. As a result, you can find ratings where the numbers represent the following:

1-2: soft

3-5: medium

6-8: stiff

9-10: very stiff

The ratings all essentially mean the same thing. So, first determine whether you need a soft, medium, stiff, or very stiff board, and then compare manufacturer ratings accordingly.

So, what's the best way to choose the appropriate flex rating?



How to Select the Best Flex Rating for You

Knowing the proper flex rating to work with is the most reliable way to avoid getting a stiff snowboard. All snowboards with flex ratings ranging from 1 to 10 have their uses.

While you may be looking for ways to improve the stiffness of your snowboard, another snowboarder may prefer the stiffer flex because it better suits their style. As a result, you should select your flex rating based on your preferred snowboarding style.

Best Flex Ratings and Snowboard Styles

Here are some examples of snowboard styles and the flex ratings that go with them:

Freestyle or Park Riding

If you spend the majority of your snowboarding time in the park or on the streets, you should choose a board with a soft or medium-soft flex rating. You can be assured of easier presses, jibs, and other ground maneuvers this way. If this is your style, you should stick to boards rated 1-2 on a scale of 1-10.

However, such boards will struggle once you leave the park for more difficult terrain. If you want to make bigger jumps and have more freedom with where you can use your board, aim for flex ratings of 3-6.

If you intend to do more small jumps, jibbing, and buttering, lean toward the lower end of that scale. If you're more experienced, you can use boards that are closer to a 6. It will allow you to better maneuver the jump line, ride the pipe, and so on.

Keep in mind that the best freestyle and park boards should have the same flex ratings all the way down the board. This enables you to easily take off, ride, and land on any part of the board.



Free Riding

If you are a free-rider who enjoys riding the backcountry aggressively, carving, and riding at high speeds, you should opt for a stiffer flex over a soft variant. With a stiffer flex, you can enjoy more stability and edge-hold, especially at high speeds.

As a result, you should aim for flex ratings of 7 to 10 here. Personal preferences and other factors such as weight will determine the exact rating. However, you must ensure that the flex in the nose is softer than in the tail.

This is significant because the softer nose helps keep the board afloat in some situations, while the stiffer tail helps with carves and edge-holds. You can go a little lower than 7, but most riders in this category will choose a board with a flex rating of 7 to 10.

All-Mountain Riding 

This category's riders do a little bit of everything. If this describes you, you should select a flex rating between 1 and 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. The best snowboards to use here typically have a flex rating of 4-7, except for beginner riders who may benefit more from a softer flex.

Depending on the manufacturer's choices, boards in this category can be aggressive or a little less powerful. Sidecut and camber profile of the board are frequently involved here.

However, choosing a board at the higher end of the recommended scale will generally result in more aggressiveness.
This post by Snowboarding Profiles delves deeper into these snowboarding styles, highlighting all of the differences between them.



Body Weight and Snowboarding Ability

When deciding on the flex rating for your board, your riding style isn't the only factor to consider. You must consider your snowboarding abilities as well as your body weight.

Skill in Snowboarding

A softer flex snowboard is much easier to control and maneuver, especially at slow speeds. Mistakes don't hurt as much on these boards, either. Softer flex boards also make turn initiation much easier. This means that a softer flex is usually the better choice for beginners.

While complete beginners can start with the softest flex, intermediate-level beginners or those who are a little more daring can go with a medium-soft flex of around 3-4 out of 10.

Body Weight

When deciding on a flex rating, you cannot ignore your body weight. Controlling stiffer boards will be more difficult if you have a lighter body weight. You'll find yourself simply following the board rather than controlling it. Similarly, if the flex is too soft, a heavier body weight may crack the boards.

Along with the flex rating, most manufacturers recommend a bodyweight for their boards. If you are unsure whether a board is suitable for your weight, check the specifications or contact the manufacturer. If the weight recommendation is not readily available, use the rough guide below:

  • If you're on the heavier side of the scale or athletic, go for the higher end of the flex range for riding style.
  • If you aren't athletic, you should stick to the bottom of the scale for your style.
If you follow this rough guide, you'll be mostly correct. Still, it's best to stick with manufacturers who make the weight classification clear at a glance.



Height and weight in relation to Snowboard Size

If the size is outside the recommended range for your height and weight, your snowboard may feel softer or stiffer than usual for your style and weight class. If you weigh more than 170 lb. (77.11 kg), your snowboard should be 160+ cm (62.99+ in) long, and 128-136 cm (50.39-53.54 in) if you weigh 110-120 lb (49.90-54.43 kg).

Tips for Buying the Perfect and Good Snowboard

To select the proper snowboard and avoid getting a stiff board. Here are some pointers to remember:

Stick to well-known brands

It's all too easy to get sucked into the bargain hunt and end up with boards from an unknown brand. When this occurs, you will have a board with a flex rating scale that is very different from more common scales.

In some cases, there is no flex rating at all. To avoid this, stick to well-known brands. Some of the most best well-known names are:

  • Nitro
  • GNU
  • Ride
  • Salomons
  • Rossignol
  • Rome SDS
  • Capita
  • Arbor
  • Burton
  • Lib Tech


Take note of the Size Chart

Most manufacturers or retailers have a size chart, so make sure you're getting a snowboard that's appropriate for your height and weight. You've already seen a rough guide, but the brands will have a more detailed chart that will include your weight and height category.



Request a Warranty

You can check all the right boxes and still end up with a stiff snowboard. In this case, make sure you have enough time to return the board and choose another one at little or no additional cost.

Each of these boards can cost up to $400. That is not money you can afford to lose due to selecting the incorrect flex rating.

Conclusion

If your snowboard is too stiff, make sure you've chosen the right board for your riding style and weight class. Focus on "breaking in" the board if you've made the right decision. A few rides with it should bring it up to the desired levels of flexibility.

However, if you notice that you've chosen a board that's a mismatch for your style and weight, your only option is to try to get the board exchanged for a more appropriate piece. Remember that if you ride stiff boards, you will lose control of your movement.
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