One of the most important steps of tuning your snowboard is to actually de-tune, or dull, certain parts of your edges—this is especially true of new boards, so we’re starting the season with this tip.
The edges on your snowboard are made up of three main areas: tip, tail, and the effective edge. If you lay your board flat on the ground or any flat surface you’ll see where the profile (curved or scooped end) of the edge makes contact. Make a mark there on all four sides of the edge (toe and heel edge, tip and tail) with a Sharpie. The area between those marks is the effective edge, or the part of your edge that’s actually on the snow and affects your ride. The edge around your tip and tail is there to strengthen the board and protect it when you smash into rocks and things, but it doesn’t affect how you turn.
When a board is new from the factory or it’s freshly tuned, the edges are usually left too sharp, especially at the tip and tail. If left like this, your board will feel unstable and ride unpredictably. Too sharp a tip, and your board may “hook when you try to turn. That means it feels like someone with a fishing pole catches your board and jerks it as they try to reel you in. Too sharp a tail, and your board may not want to come out of a turn. You’ll be struggling to go from one edge to another as your board tries to track you right into the woods. And, of course, with too sharp an effective edge, boardsliding will be a nightmare and the possibility of adjusting your beautiful smile on a rail will be greatly increased.
Avoiding this is simple, and de-tuning only takes a file and a tuning stone (gummy or diamond).
First, take your file and totally round off the edge in the tip and tail area. You can be pretty aggressive with the file here because you don’t use this edge to turn. Just be careful not to go past your marks and into the effective edge.
Next, take your stone and de-tune the first inch or two of your effective edge. You can be aggressive with stones here, as they don’t take off nearly as much material as a file.
Lastly, de-tune the rest of your effective edge (with the stone) as aggressively as needed. If you’re all about the park and boardsliding anything you find, de-tune a lot. If you’re all about freeriding and carving turns, especially on harder snow and ice, then de-tune less.
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Questions about tuning your board? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature your letter in a future issue. The reader with the best tuning-related question of the season will win a complete tuning kit from Swix!