Flex refers to the degree of stiffness or flexibility that a snowboard delivers. Since snowboard flex directly affects the rider’s ability to control the board in different snow and terrain conditions, it should be an important consideration when buying a snowboard. There are two types of flex associated with a snowboard:
- Longitudinal flex: the flexibility of the board from nose to tail
- Torsional flex: the stiffness of the board from toeside to heelside
In general, the more flexible a board, the easier it will be to maneuver. Snowboards with greater flex tend to make sharp turns easier. It is for this reason that many experts suggest a more flexible board for beginners. The improved control delivers easier turning, especially at slow speeds.
Freestyle riders often prefer flexible boards as well. This is because sharp turns and improved maneuverability are frequently needed to land tricks or hit an obstacle with precision. Superior longitudinal flex also provides the flexibility needed to execute popular tricks such as nose grinds and 5-0 grinds. Tricks such as these require the snowboarder to ride along the surface of an obstacle while balancing only on the nose or tail of the boar
The downside of flexible boards is their reduced ability to hold an edge. Because of this, stiffer snowboards deliver better stability and performance at high speeds. They are also ideal for groomed snow runs. As such, freeriders and speed demons often prefer a stiff snowboard over more flexible options.
Snowboarders who enjoy both open-mountain and freestyle riding typically compromise by choosing a medium-flex snowboard. It is for this reason than many intermediate boarders avoid the extremes and buy a snowboard that provides relatively good control under all snow and terrain conditions.
Beyond riding style, a snowboarder’s weight should also play a part when it comes to choosing the best type of board flexibility. Broadly speaking, the lighter the snowboarder, the more flexible the snowboard needs to be. This is because less hefty riders need to exert additional effort to initiate turns and maneuver their board.
If you have any questions about snowboarding, give our sales associates a call at 866-786-3869.