Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How To: Buy A Snowboard

First, there are many ways to buy a new or a first “stick” and there are many snowboards that can fit you well. But, many factors will enter in line and minimize the actual number of boards you can actually buy. Shopping for snowboards is actually the thing I like the most to shop, after shoes of course!

Money isn’t everything but...
Beforehand, you must check your wallet and see what’s available and what is a reasonable price so that you’ll still have the money to actually ride the board of your dreams. Don’t worry if it isn’t that much there are always many solutions. You also have to think if you have to buy bindings and boots. This has a huge side effect to your budget and the board you’re gonna ride. Paying a board 600$ and putting “shitty” 70$ bindings on it isn’t the right solution. Board, bindings, and boots are the holy trinity of your riding. So if your budget is low consider paying less for a board and balance your money on good bindings and comfortable boots. *I will be giving tips on how to choose the right bindings and the right boots in upcoming posts.
Knowing how much money you can spend on your equipment is the preliminary to your quest. If you begin by watching boards at first your head will confused by sellers’ speeches, cool graphics, and popular brands.

Now you know your budget, if it’s low, let’s say 300$ or less I would recommend to continue with the current equipment and keep you money and save for next year. Remember, next year models will be even better than the current year and you’ll have more money to spend on a new board.
But, if you are a little weasel I would recommend checking on eBay and your local used seller website. My current board, a 2007 Burton Supermodel was bought new on eBay for 200$ shipping included. There are deals to make if you know what you want and what to search. Sometimes you have to be patient to win the right auction. The best tip is to shop online during the off season. The best deals are out at that specific time. Shops want to clear last season’s products at less than the cost. Same thing for online used local markets, people (around September) want to clear their last year models or are quitting the sport so you can buy a Gnu practically never used for less than a 100$. A deal!
Now, I know what you’re gonna tell me: Mike I have to be lucky and patient to find my new board like this!

Choose wisely
Let’s pretend your budget is no problem, and you want the perfect board for you! First, there is the factor of length: not all the models and sizes are equivalent. It depends what kind of terrain you mostly ride and even if companies try very hard they don’t make polyvalent boards. In my opinion, you’ll be better with more than one board to complete one and another than having a board that is ok everywhere. What I mean is for example: you like to ride the park sometimes and you like to carve and speed up other times. An All-Around board could be the answer, but it won’t perform at its best, it will be ok in the park and ok to carve. You should instead buy board for freestyle and a board for freeride. They will be excellent in their elements. You don’t bring your cross-country mountain bike to do descent! It’s the same thing for snowboarding.

The Real Deal
You are going to the shop to buy your board, first never buy at the first visit. Because, even if the seller says it’s the best board ever. He may have never tried it before and he may haven’t even put his feet on a board at all. Sellers are sellers and they talk like they know everything. Don’t get me wrong, they know lots of stuff and they can give you the best advices you’ll ever have. But, they are sellers. I recommend you to visit multiple shops and retailers and get advice on which snowboard they will recommend to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the answers between the sellers. Because with more and more products on the market it is easy to lose focus and buy a board that doesn’t answer to your needs.

Get back home and don’t forget to ask for written down prices, models, sizes, etc. Then grab your buyer’s guides or the Internet to check them out. Try to find user reviews of the boards you are looking for. Remember, it is the customer that really tries and live with the product. Even if the seller tells you something about a board that he tried. The guy who has been riding the board for six months knows also what he is talking about.

Commit to the moment
Remember, that shops are there to make money. It’s like when you buy a car you should not be afraid to bargain and ask for a price. At the end it is your money that you spend. A final price isn’t always a final price and if you feel you have been answered rudely ask to talk to the manager. You‘ll see the nineteen year old seller shit his pants. If it’s the manager that’s been rude tell him that your are displeased by his behaviour and that you are gonna tell everyone to never go back to this store. Remember, bad publicity can hurt. And please, don’t buy your board there if he stands on his “attitude”.

Final thoughts
Sometimes, it’s not the Pro Model that you wanted that fits you better or the cool graphics that adorn the board you buy, but buying the right board for you is worth the shopping and bargaining. It helps you to enjoy and love the sport even more. We are in a world of consumption and it is easy to spend too much money for products that are “cool” in the moment. Don’t get too influenced by publicity and your favourite rider’s equipment. Even I dream of the Forum Substance Peter Line’s riding!

X-Mas is coming!
I love the Holidays but I must warn everyone out there who’s asking for a board from Santa, be sure to tell exactly what board/size you need or to go shopping with Saint-Nicolas to find the right item for you.

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