Twin vs Directional Snowboard: What’s Best For A Beginner?


For those that are eager to learn how to ride a snowboard, you may be too excited to put some time into researching what kind of snowboard you should use at first. There are two main types of snowboards: twin and directional. Each of them is intended to be used differently, so you should really evaluate which type will work best for you, especially for beginners.

The key design difference between twin and directional snowboards is that twin snowboards can be ridden in either direction, while a directional snowboard is meant to be ridden in one direction. This is due to differences in shape and design between the two.

For this reason, twin snowboards are typically the more common type of snowboard that are used, and they’re more recommended for beginners. We’re going to explain why this is in the rest of this article, and we’ll begin by discussing the physical design differences between twin and directional snowboards.

Differences Between Twin And Directional Snowboards

Before we further explain which type of snowboard is best for a beginner, we should first actually discuss what the two types of snowboards actually are. Twin and Directional are general categories of snowboards, and there are variations for each type. In this section, we’ll discuss and explain the different variations for these types of snowboards.

To give you a general idea before we begin discussing, the main variations are:

  • True Twin
  • Directional Twin
  • Directional
  • Tapered Directional

To help differentiate the different types of boards, we’ll split up the types into one of the two main types of snowboards.

Twin Snowboards

The first main type we’ll be discussing is the twin snowboard. Let’s dive deeper into the different kinds of twin snowboards there are.

True Twin

A true twin snowboard is the most basic type of snowboard, and it’s very easy to explain. It’s essentially a symmetric board where all points of contact are equidistant from the center. This means that the nose (front) and tail (back) are the same length and width, and the center of the board is the same distance from the nose and tail as well.

What makes a twin snowboard a true twin snowboard is the fact that it’s completely symmetrical, and this provides a lot of benefits for certain riders. These types of snowboards are great for freestyle riders because riding the board feels the same no matter what direction the board is facing. The board’s simplistic design just makes it very appealing in general.

True twin snowboards are great for beginners because of that level of versatility; if it feels the same to ride the board in whichever direction, it would make it very comfortable for beginner riders because they don’t have to worry about what stance or direction they’re in. 

One more thing to mention: there is a version where a twin board is purposely asymmetric in order to enhance the feeling of similarity while you’re turning. It’s called an asymmetric twin snowboard, and it’s asymmetric design is done either through the sidecut, contact points, or flex. This is just another variation to be aware of when choosing your snowboard.

Directional Twin

The next type of twin snowboard is the directional twin board. You can think of it as a normal twin board, but it’s designed to be a little bit more directional. Its distinguishing design feature is that the nose is longer than the tail by a small amount. There’s also some dimensional differences for the inside contact points of the board.

Something to note about the directional twin is that the snowboard has a normal shape, but some of the points are asymmetrical in order to make it more like a directional snowboard. This makes it effective for freestyle and beginner riders, but it won’t be as comfortable when switching directions.

You should still be able to handle a switch while riding this snowboard, and it’s still a twin board for the most part, but it’s just something to keep in mind while you decide. If you want a completely symmetric experience where there’s no difference in feeling between either direction, you should get a true twin board. For others, the small directional functionality may be helpful.

Directional Snowboard

Next, we have the directional snowboard. Let’s dive deeper into the different kinds of directional snowboards below.

Directional

Now we have the directional snowboard, and like we’ve mentioned earlier, this type of board is meant to be ridden in one direction; you can think of it as the inverse of the twin snowboard. And as you might guess, it has a lot of different dimensions when you compare it to the twin board in order to make it functional in only one direction.

Though this board is designed to be ridden in one direction, it is possible to learn how to ride switch on this type. Directional boards are normally used by freeriders and not beginners because it is uncomfortable and takes a long time to get used to riding them.

The biggest design feature is that the nose will always be longer than the tail, but sometimes their shape may be different as well. For example, if the shapes are different, the nose will usually be the normal round shape while the tail is pointed. The other differences are along the different points of the board, like a special type of sidecut and flex pattern.

Tapered Directional

The last variation that we have is the tapered directional board. The major differences between this board and a normal directional board are the nose and tail design. The nose in a tapered directional board is wider, longer, and stiffer than the tail, and it usually has a different shape as well. This is referred to as the tapered shape, and different boards have different levels of taper.

The point of all this tapering is to create a good float in powder because the design makes the tail sink and the nose rise. 

So, this board is meant for freeriders who want a specialized power board, and again, it’s not generally recommended for beginner riders due to how difficult or long it may take to get adjusted to the different feelings from the different stances.

Is A Twin Or A Directional Snowboard Better For A Beginner?

Now that we’ve talked about the different types of twin and directional boards, and we’ve learned some of their design features and benefits, we can now answer the underlying question in depth: which type is best for a beginner?

As we said in the beginning of this article, twin snowboards are generally more recommended for beginners due to the fact that they’re easier to learn how to ride on. Directional snowboards do have their purpose, but their inherent limited use may restrict or complicate the learning experience for beginners.

Hopefully at this point, you should know the main reason as to why that is: twin snowboards can work in whichever direction so it’s a lot more comfortable for beginners to ride and learn. 

Directional snowboards are meant to be ridden in one direction, so it will probably be more uncomfortable and take more time for beginners to ride on since it feels very different when switching directions.

Now this is not to say that directional snowboards are completely unfeasible for beginners; they can serve a purpose for beginners who only intend to ride in one direction for whatever reason.

However, the thing is that twin snowboards can also be ridden in one direction, and they’re just a lot more versatile in general, so there’s really no strong reason to choose a directional over a twin board.

A perfect analogy to compare this choice to is the decision between a skateboard or longboard. A skateboard can be ridden in whatever direction, it’s versatile, and it can perform tricks. Longboards on the other hand can’t really perform tricks or be ridden in many ways; it’s similarly meant to be ridden in one direction for a long period of time.

Now there are definitely people out there who use and prefer a longboard over a normal skateboard, but it would probably be best for a beginner to learn how to ride on a regular skateboard. If they’re only interested in riding a longboard, that’s their own decision, but many will recommend that they begin learning riding on a regular, more versatile board.

Conclusion

If you’re a beginner rider, you really want to make sure that you put in time into figuring out which type of snowboard will be best for you. We’ve emphasized that twin snowboards are significantly more recommended for beginners, but it’s ultimately your choice, and we hope that you used the information in this article to help make your decision.

Sources:

http://www.ridemteverest.com/buying-guide/snowboard-profiles-rocker-v-camber

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/snowboard.html

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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