Hi, my name is Matthieu. I’m writing you from the old continent because I have a tricky question that has to cross the Atlantic. Well, when I turn, I get a strange feeling, especially on frontside. Kind of very slippery feeling. As if my freebord exaggerates and throws me off a bit. It’s very hard to control and sometimes I can’t avoid being thrown on switch position. I thought a lot about that problem and before I give up I would like to get your opinion about stance width and feet position.
I’m regular and I ride a good and old X-80 deck with 85mm blue kryptos. I’m 170cm tall, weight 68kg and my stance width is 65cm (between S2 edges). I realized that I use a very big stance comparing with the 53cm that you suggest on your website. I chose that stance because it’s the one I have on my snowboard, 60-65cm, it depends. But ya, I know, the size of my snowboard (152cm) should certainly makes a big difference… What do you think?
I was also wondering about the relation between the stance width and the trucks. I mean, where do the feet have to be according to the trucks? In the center, between the “center wheel” and hanger? Closer to the hanger? Closer to the “center wheel”? I can imagine that the position of your feet plays a role and influences how your trucks react?
And last but not least, maybe my problem is also connected to the tension of the hangers? But I think my hangers are pretty loose, what would theoretically makes me slide less… so I’m not sure. Hanger tension is very hard to check and measure, or maybe do you have a tips?
I really hope you’ll help me to understand that parameters and maybe solve my problem/instability. I’m looking forward to be back on my board. Thx in advance and have a good day. All the best to the team!
Pro Answer: Mike Hoppe
Hi Matthieu, great questions.
First, the “slippery feeling” you’re describing, where your bord is swinging into an unintentional 180, is a common problem for beginners. What’s happening is that your front truck is gripping more than the back truck. The first thing I would try is tightening your back truck at the kingpin. Also, try setting the rocker (your edge wheel clearance) on your back truck equal or a tad less than your front truck. This mimics a directional snowboard (stiffer tail, softer nose) and will keep your back end in check. Tighter trucks in general should make your slides feel less slippery, as they will distribute more of your weight to your edge wheels. They should feel pretty stiff to the touch, remember each hanger is taking up to half your body weight when you turn or slide hard. The best way to feel this out is by standing on your bord and leaning back and forth. A snug fit in your bindings is also essential for cranking weight onto your edges and getting em to grip the pavement.
Changes to your setup can only help so much, then it comes down to technique. If you’re still having trouble reeling in your slides, try counter-rotating your shoulders a bit by keeping your front shoulder pointing down the hill. That way your upper body isn’t following your bord into that unintentional 180. You’ll see snowboarders in this position when they slide rails (landing regular).
Your stance width is all about personal preference. Like you, I try to match my snowboard stance width and angles, although my freebord stance may be about an inch narrower. Generally, I recommend the shortest deck that will accommodate your desired stance. This puts your feet farther out toward the hanger. The main difference you’ll notice is ease of pressing. With the widest stance, you barely have to lean into your press, the bord sort of does it automatically, similar to a reverse-camber snowboard. A longer deck would put your feet right over the castors and give you a slightly longer wheelbase, both of which could add a bit of stability. Personally, I don’t feel that the benefits of a longer deck are worth the extra size and weight, but again that’s just me.
With so many factors involved, I find it useful to tinker with one thing at a time. If you try to tighten your trucks, change decks, and switch up your stance all at once, it can be difficult to narrow down what’s making the difference in performance. Definitely get together with some more experience riders in your area if you can. The distributors and riding crews in Europe are very supportive and they should have you ripping in no time.