We all know the guy who insists on riding a snowboard that’s at least two inches taller than he is. “Dude, you say, “why is your board so long? He asks why yours is so short. There’s a moment of silence. Why is your board so short? If you’ve been snowboarding for a long time, you most likely have tried different lengths, eventually deciding on your current choice. However, if you’re fairly new to snowboarding, chances are you just took the first board in the shop that was in your price range and matched your boots. This can lead to some seriously incorrect sizing, which is why we’re here to give you the lowdown on how to correctly size a snowboard.

One of the first things to think about is width. This often gets overshadowed by the issue of length, but is equally—if not more—important. Rob Aragon of Exit Real World in Portland, Oregon says that the first question he asks a prospective snowboard buyer is what size feet they have. If you buy a board that is too narrow, you can have toe or heel drag, which makes turning difficult. However, if you have a board that is too wide, you’ll have trouble controlling your turns. Set your boot on top of your board as if it were in a binding. If your heel and toe are both within a half-inch of the edge, then the width is correct.

Next is length. Snowboard length is measured in centimeters and can usually be found somewhere on the topsheet. To see if a snowboard is a good size for you, stand the board up lengthwise and see if the board falls somewhere between your chin and nose. If it does, it means that it’s a pretty safe size to try out. Eventually, you’ll decide if you want a longer or shorter board based on your riding style and the terrain you ride. For instance, if you ride mostly powder, you’re going to want a longer board, whereas someone who rides a lot of park will most likely opt for a shorter one.

All right. Now go get yourself a snowboard.