by G. Kunkel
(This article was originally published on Helium.com on November 29, 2008)
Until recently, kids didn’t have much choice when it came to snowboards. If a brand even made a kids model, they were generally scaled down versions of adult boards with little incorporation of innovative technology. This left kids trying to ride boards that were ill-fitting and hard to steer. This really short-changed the world’s future riders.
Today, snowboard manufacturer’s recognize that Grom’s and Grom-ette’s are part of snowboarding’s future. They are creating models that recognize the differences between adults and youths. Kids today can now ride boards that suit their weight, ability, riding style and gender.
So how should the young shredder choose a board? With today’s options, it is now very similar to an adult choosing a board. Learn the snowboard brands and their offerings. Kids can find boards that allow them to learn and stomp tricks.
What’s the first consideration for a young ripper? Know the rider weight. Boards are rated for weight not rider height. Check to see what boards are in the weight range of the rider. Don’t buy a board that the young grom will grow into. It may be too stiff for them to learn to turn on.
What is the ability of the young ripper? Those just learning to ride will find that a flexible board is easier to learn on. Beginners will also find that today’s boards can be shaped for the beginning shredder. Snowboards can have upturned edges that don’t catch and spill the rider.
What’s the gender of the grommie? Grom-ettes need a softer flex pattern than groms. Girls tend to be lighter and need a more forgiving flex pattern. Get them set up for success from the start.
What does the young rider want to hit up? Assuming the Grom is not a beginning rider, this is a major factor in the purchase decision. Today’s advanced rippers can find boards that let them tear it up in the park and the half-pipe. Buy a board that allows them to ride like the big boys.
So who makes kids boards and which are well constructed? Below is a partial list of manufacturer’s, their kid’s snowboard models, sizes, and approximate cost. Check their websites for model specifications. Size doesn’t have to keep kids from riding anymore.
Boy’s – 4 models to choose from
Operator Smalls – New model for 08/09. Shaun White model for the expert. Freestyle & freeride powerhouse, great for jumps, jibs, pipe, effortless spins. A directional board. Sizes – 128, 136, 143; $ 259.95
Custom Smalls – New model for 08/09. Freeride board for the intermediate rider. A twin tip board for the powder, jibbing, and the park & pipe. Sizes – 120, 125, 131, 135, 140, 145W; $249.95
Dom Grom – Freeride, yet a true twin tip. It brings the feel of skateboarding to the groms riding. It’s jibby, buttery, and poppy. Sizes – 130, 134, 138, 142; $249.95
Chopper – Freeride twin tip board. All models have been redesigned for 08/09 season with additional sizes. This redesigned line is flexy, no camber, and has upturned edges. It’s built for the learner. Sizes – 90, 100, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130; $159.95
Girls’s – 2 models to choose from
Chicklet- This is an all-mountain freestyle board. It has been redesigned for 08/09. It has upturned edges, and camber has been eliminated to make for easy steering and stopping. It is a great learning board with new sizes for 08/09. Sizes- 90, 100, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130; $159.95
Feelgood Smalls – This is a new board for 08/09. It is an all-mountain board for the advanced rider. It is a twin tip board that rides the powder yet has pop for the park. Sizes 120, 125, 130, 134, 137, 141; $249.95
Buzz Jr. – This is a freestyle/freeride board the beginning grom. A flexy, twin board that will get him riding and progressing in the park. Sizes 110, 120, 125, 130cm $200
Blast Jr. – This a freestyle/freeride board for the beginning grom-ette. This board has an ultra light construction and soft flex pattern. Sizes 110,120, 125, 130cm; $200
Stairmaster Mini – a soft, true twin tip freestyle board for the park. It comes in nine sizes in 08/09.
Scream Snowboard – a pro-model style twin tip freestyle board with a soft flex. Has shorter edge contact for turning and spinning. Built for the terrain park.
Scout Junior Snowboard – a flexy twin tip board. Offered in two sizes.
Betty Snowboard – an all-mountain performance girl’s board. Built with a kid friendly flex.
Flash Junior – an all-mountain performance boy’s board. Built with a kid friendly flex.
Racer Youth – an all-mountain kid’s board.
Circuit Youth – an all-mountain flexible kid’s board.
Flash Youth – an all-mountain flexible kid’s board.
Grace – Girl’s directional all-mountain board with detuned edges.
Lil Nine Boy’s snowboard – a boy’s directional flex freestyle board. Good for the beginning to mid-level rider. Soft yet built for the entire mountain.
Lil Nine Girl’s snowboard – a girl’s directional flex freestyle board. Good for the beginning to mid-level rider. Soft yet built for the entire mountain.
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