These are the Snowboarder Magazine's top picks of 2010, based on demo runs by shop staffers across America.
Let's start with you, the rider. You have to consider a few basic things, including your age, size and ability before you even start looking at board types.
* '''Age:''' It is important to consider the rider's age, especially for growing riders who will need an extra inch or so of board to grow into.
* '''Weight''': Weight is the most important rider characteristic in determining board size. When heavy riders try to use a board that is too short, it tends to perform poorly at high speeds. A lighter person on a longer board will usually have problems controlling it and initiating turns. On the other hand, if your height and weight are disproportionate, you may need to alter the guidelines. An unusually tall, skinny rider may opt for a longer board to gain leverage. The same holds true for a heavier/shorter rider; a shorter board will give a little extra leverage. To counteract being too heavy for a particular board length, you can always look for a stiffer board in the same length.
* '''Board Width: '''The board should be wide enough so that your boots fall just a centimeter or less over the board edges. Test it out for yourself before buying.
* '''Gender''': A critical factor since a woman's foot size, center of gravity and distribution of body mass differs from a man's and all of these factors affect the way a snowboarder interacts with her equipment. Women's boards are designed to take these differences into account, plus they are narrower to accommodate smaller feet.
* '''Athletic Ability''': A rider with extensive experience in other skate/board sports will probably want to invest more in his or her equipment since he or she will likely take to the sport more quickly. Someone with less outdoor sports experience might be better off keeping his or her equipment purchase more conservative.
* '''Graphic Appeal:''' Pick a board that matches your style and you'll enjoy it that much more even though die-hard riders may scoff at this being a decision factor. Remember that boards are a form of self expression!
* '''Budget''': The most expensive equipment will not make you a better boarder, but better boarders will want more expensive equipment simply because they offer more advanced features and technology. Expect to spend $275 for an entry level board and more than $400 for a really good recreational board.
Now that you know the basics of how to fit a board, it's time to learn about the types of boards that are available. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages that play a part in what type of boarding you plan to do.
It is very important to know the lingo of snowboarding so you can understand each board's description.
* '''Base: ''' This is simply the bottom of the snowboard, or the part that touches the snow. There are two types of base, sintered or extruded.
* '''Camber:''' This is closely related to the board's flex. It is how far the center of the board bends up when placed on a flat surface. There are regular, reverse, kinked, and flat camber styles.
* '''Nose:''' The front end of the board, also called the lip.
* '''Rocker:''' The opposite of camber. When the board rests on a flat surface, only the center makes contact.
* '''Side Cut Depth:''' The difference in the widest point and the narrowest point of the board
* '''Side Cut Radius:''' The curve of the inward cut from the nose and tail to the center
* '''Tail:''' The back end of the snowboard.
Aside from some killer bindings, you need a few accessories to really trick out your ride.