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To duck or not to... Snowboard stance

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I was mounting my bindings on my first snowboard and I got a bit lost in all the angles. Past couple of years I was occasionaly using my sister's board which was set at 21/0. That seemed alright, but I've been told to experiment with angles to find whatever fits me best (pretty strange concept to a skier ).
So.. what's the deal with ducky? How many of you ride forward/ducky and why?
Thanks for any insight.

jinx confused :
post #2 of 45
I ride ducky. +-15 though I rarely ride switch anymore. The big advantage is being able to crouch very low. This is very helpful in tight trees, which I frequently encounter in Colorado. That is why I have stuck with the duck for a stance.
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 
I'm understanding that a lower crouch (easier when riding ducky) is conducive to better control or tighter turns?
And same angle on both feet allows you to ride switch - that's kind of cool.

Isn't it harder on the knees though?
post #4 of 45
Myth!

My knees were shot long before I started riding. I rode regular stance for the first 5 years and switched over to duck 4 years ago. No problemo whatsoever, except that I do have a strange growth between my toes and can swim a lot faster. Your waddlage may vary.
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx View Post
I'm understanding that a lower crouch (easier when riding ducky) is conducive to better control or tighter turns?
And same angle on both feet allows you to ride switch - that's kind of cool.

Isn't it harder on the knees though?
Ducking (ha!) under tree branches (sometimes ropes) and squeezing into tight spots. I ride mostly backcountry, and thick trees are part of it. If you don't ride trees, it probably doesn't make sense.

As far as harder on the knees. Nah, it's fine. Don't over dial your stance. That can be uncomfortable. It takes some messing around to get it where you like it, but I think it's worth it.
post #6 of 45
That myth, which I enjoy perpetuating has to do with exposing yourself to injury, the details are lost to me, but just because rusty and killz haven't blown knees riding duck doesn't mean they aren't marginally more likely to do so. I think the angle of front and rear foot should be within 15º of each other.

I have no reason to believe that is safer other than something I read years ago in the dark ages of snowboarding. It might have something to do with the fact that you can squat down low, putting your knees bent inwards at ugly, unnatural angles. Imagine your legs folding in like that after landing a big air.

Just my opinion, but I hate duck foot, never tried it, never will. If you want to ride switch, try something like 10º/0º.

OK, that's the veiw of a grouchy old man based on no solid knowledge or experience, in case you are interested. Glad I could help.
post #7 of 45
I started riding the year I began teaching snowboarding. The main reason was the amount of time I spend riding switch so as to mirror my goofy students. My current angles are 18/-18.
post #8 of 45
Come on man, that's 36º different. You are a professional. Consider 8º/8º. Your feet should be somwewhart aligned anatomically. Natural stance.
post #9 of 45
21, -9. I'm happy with it for all around riding. :
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Come on man, that's 36º different. You are a professional. Consider 8º/8º. Your feet should be somwewhart aligned anatomically. Natural stance.
I meant 8/-8, but yeah, whatever you like.
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I have no reason to believe that is safer other than something I read years ago in the dark ages of snowboarding. It might have something to do with the fact that you can squat down low, putting your knees bent inwards at ugly, unnatural angles. Imagine your legs folding in like that after landing a big air.
Hmmm, what is a big air. 40ft? I've put a few of those on the duck stance, no problem. In that stance you knees bend in a natural way. Just like sitting down. I haven't felt anything unnatural about it at all. I've been riding duck since the 98 season.
You can definitely over dial it. The first time out I had way too much angle. It hurt. So in that case I think you would be likely to tweak a knee.
Most of the pros ride a duck stance. They are hucking and stomping bigger airs than I will ever get. Angles vary, but most are using some sort of negative angle on thier back foot.

Funny post telerod. You got a good chuckle from me on that one.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I meant 8/-8, but yeah, whatever you like.

Just fyi, snowboard bindings adjust in increments of 3. So you would probably be rockin' +-9 or something like that...
post #13 of 45
No, I wouldn't be rockin' that, but it's better than +15/-15, unless your feet naturally point out.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
No, I wouldn't be rockin' that, but it's better than +15/-15, unless your feet naturally point out.
Do a squat in the gym, and look at where your toes are pointing. For most people, they will be mildly ducked. People deadlift sumo -- the ultimate in duck! -- and because of the wideness of the stance it's not harmful to the knees. Many pros are more ducked than 18/-18, some are now going to 18/-24 or similar stances with less angle on the forward foot than back. Some, like Jonaven Moore, are known for great switch freeriding and are only mildly ducked. Some rules of thumb: the wider the stance, the more angle differential is comfortable for many people; and, it's both persoanl preference and personal anatomy.

For people who ride with shoulders more to the front of the board, with a lot of rotation, and with a Craig Kelly style pinching of the rear knee, riding duck will obviously cause a lot of torque on your MCL. Riding knees separated, shoulders more in line with binding angles, this does not happen, and in fact many people find duck easier on the knees for regular riding in addition to it better-allowing you to absorb impacts in terms of flat landings, balance better on rails, etc.

It does make it slightly harder to carve and pressure the edge than riding with forward angles. (That is a controversial statement, but imo correct.) If carving were everything, we'd all be on Skwaals; and if carving meant nothing, we'd all go without highbacks, and we all know how fun that is, right?

For the o.p., be aware that as a crossover skier you will tend to naturally want to face the nose of the board. It is good to be mindful of this in general in terms of making the transtion, but also in terms of what stance is comfortable. If 21/0 was comfortable, why not start roughly there, but try, say, 21/6; 18/6; 18/-6; and 21/-3 as different options? Trying a wider stance with, say, 15/-15 for an afternoon could also be a good thing, but I'm not a big fan of toying with radical changes in setup too much early on while you're developing your basic riding skills.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Just my opinion, but I hate duck foot, never tried it, never will.
Er, how do you know you hate it if you've never tried it?

-Mike, 15/-15

it's
winter
and
the
duck-footed
snowboardMan whistles
far
and
wee
post #16 of 45
Good post, CTkook.

Michael M, I think I've made it clear that my preference is based solely on willfull ignorance.
post #17 of 45
Thread Starter 
Well, I'm a realtively small and short-legged 1.64 midget and my board is a 1.53 Salomon Maiden - the stance feels pretty wide to begin with (of course, I also kick myself in the ankles when i walk ).
I guess I'll try a smaller duck (18/-6?) and see how that works. And a forward stance, though I like the idea of duck - I don't want to approach snowboarding as a skier, I'd rather keep it separate and just get used to going sideways.
post #18 of 45
Sounds like a good place to start. The good thing is you can try different stances, but maybe you will be comfortable with that and leave it there. I usually just set it and ferget it.
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Come on man, that's 36º different. You are a professional. Consider 8º/8º. Your feet should be somwewhart aligned anatomically. Natural stance.
That's right, I am a professional. With that in mind, shouldn't you defer to me on this issue? Just kidding...

FWIW, my feet do naturally point outward. I'm not certain that matters, however. After dialing in my stance width, I have no issues with board control, no matter what I'm doing. The angles I ride are comfortable for me, which is all that matters. I would never start a beginner at those angles, nor would I recommend them to an experienced rider trying a duck stance for the first time.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iskitoofast4u View Post
FWIW, my feet do naturally point outward. I'm not certain that matters, however.
That absolutely matters:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
it's both persoanl preference and personal anatomy.
The idea that duck will blow out knees is true - for me, but I am pigeon toed. Personal preference is important, but anatomy is everything, and everyone's is different. It is silly to recommend a stance to a person when you know nothing about that person's anatomy. The best thing to do is make suggestions on how to find what stance will fit your anatomy. The squat thing at the gym is a good start. I usually have students do a jump test. When you jump up in the air and land, you usually land in a neutral stance. I once heard someone suggest sitting on a table with your knees against the edge and your legs dangling from there - check the angles and go. That may work as well, but the important thing is that you set your angles for YOUR body.

Once you have your split, you can use it for forward or duck stances. For example, if you ride 18/18, then you may be comfy at 0/36 as a forward stance and vice versa.

As suggested, a lot of people tend to be more comfy going more duck at wider stances, but that is an individual anatomy thing as well.

Lastly, and possibly slightly O.T., a lot of people, when going to higher forward angles (specifically alpine) will decrease their split. This has to do with the higher angles and closer stance resulting from higher angles. This, however, can change with anatomy too.

My personal opinion on riding duck - I wish I could do it, but I can't. The best I can do with my big feet and funky anatomy is postive 33/33.

I also don't understand why anyone not riding switch would want to ride duck, but that is just me. On the other hand, you can ride switch well regardless of what angles you ride - skiers prove that.
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsthrills View Post
[snip]

Once you have your split, you can use it for forward or duck stances. For example, if you ride 18/18, then you may be comfy at 0/36 as a forward stance and vice versa. [snip]
I agree with most of what you're saying, but 36/0 would be pretty extreme for a forward stance while 18/-18 isn't that extreme for duck. Totally agree it's personal preference, but the split tends to decrease as stances get more forward, with an emphasis on tends. Most softbooters with an emphais primarily on carving seem to come down to 9 or even 6 degree splits.
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsthrills View Post
going to higher forward angles...will decrease their split.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
the split tends to decrease as stances get more forward


:
post #23 of 45
I agree I'm splitting hairs, if that's what the rolleyes mean, but I don't want someone thinking 36/0 is a good "standard" reference for a "forward" stance...and I do note that your reference to "higher" forward angles and decreased split was specifically for alpine riders. Softboot riders with an emphasis on carving tend to be at far lower angles with still a narrow split, look at say Vin Q. Basically I'd say someone comfy at 18/-18 might be all comfy at 18/6 or to get really carve-oriented, 21/15 (which I believe Vin Q was at), 27/21, something like that. 36/0 could work for someone, it would just be very unusual and if your'e going way outside the norm it's good to understand why.:
post #24 of 45
Fair enough, 36/0 might be a little overboard from 18/-18, but I don't think it is too extreme.

Going from 18/-18 to 18/6 is also not the greatest idea. If you have your front foot at 18 and ride -18 duck, why would you do away with that split altogether? You would be asking someone to go from the duck stance that they are comfy with, leave their front foot the same, but put their rear foot forward. Very few (who were actually comfy with the original stance) would be comfy with the rear foot at 6 IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
Softboot riders with an emphasis on carving tend to be at far lower angles with still a narrow split
Not necessarily. I'm sure that you could name a bunch, and so could I, but that does not mean that it is the "norm". Here are some quick examples - they are all over the map. Also, the board width should really dictate a lot about your angles as well, but that may be a different discussion.
post #25 of 45
Regarding what the guys at Bomber ride in softboots, frankly the guys I'd like to ride like, say BillyBordy, are at pretty conventional angles when they softboot it. Vin was at steeper angles to avoid boot-out, then went down when he could after getting riser plates for his softboot setup. There's a lot of idiosyncratic stuff on Bomber...

Comfy at 18/-18 and 18/6? Yeah, just narrow the stance by an insert or two on either side of the board when you go more forward. For most people it will work like a charm.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
Comfy at 18/-18 and 18/6? Yeah, just narrow the stance by an insert or two on either side of the board when you go more forward. For most people it will work like a charm.

Yes, narrowing the stance would help, but I still think that most people would find the change extreme. I believe that most bodies that are comfy with a 36 degree split would not be comfy with a 12 degree split.

Again, I think, as you say, we are splitting hairs.

The bottom line is that every body is different and will require its own stance. I think that we agree on that..?
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsthrills View Post
[snip]

The bottom line is that every body is different and will require its own stance. I think that we agree on that..?
This we definitely agree on. : The corollary is that different types of riding will, for the same individual, on average call for different stances, but yes people need to figure out WHICH different stances are right for them.
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsthrills View Post
That absolutely matters:
Here's an update that's very relevant to this discussion. I'm 27, and ski & ride an average of 65 days a year. For the past 4 or 5 years, I've developed shooting pain in my right hip (I ride regular) over the X-mas break, when I typically spend 14-16 days in a row on snow. Being young and stupid, I never had it checked out until this morning.

I saw a sports medicine specialist @ Yale who also happens to be a snowboarder , and after our initial chat, he asked me what my stance width and angles were, going so far as to draw them on a piece of paper on the floor. He then had me hang from a chin-up style bar overhead as he took measurements. My snowboard setup exactly matched my lower body's anatomy in the unweighted position. The Doc said that test eliminated snowboarding as a potential cause of the pain.

It's funny though - when first showed him my stance, he sort of laughed and said, "Oh to be young again!"
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
Do a squat in the gym, and look at where your toes are pointing. For most people, they will be mildly ducked. People deadlift sumo -- the ultimate in duck! -- and because of the wideness of the stance it's not harmful to the knees. Many pros are more ducked than 18/-18, some are now going to 18/-24 or similar stances with less angle on the forward foot than back. Some, like Jonaven Moore, are known for great switch freeriding and are only mildly ducked. Some rules of thumb: the wider the stance, the more angle differential is comfortable for many people; and, it's both persoanl preference and personal anatomy.

For people who ride with shoulders more to the front of the board, with a lot of rotation, and with a Craig Kelly style pinching of the rear knee, riding duck will obviously cause a lot of torque on your MCL. Riding knees separated, shoulders more in line with binding angles, this does not happen, and in fact many people find duck easier on the knees for regular riding in addition to it better-allowing you to absorb impacts in terms of flat landings, balance better on rails, etc.

It does make it slightly harder to carve and pressure the edge than riding with forward angles. (That is a controversial statement, but imo correct.) If carving were everything, we'd all be on Skwaals; and if carving meant nothing, we'd all go without highbacks, and we all know how fun that is, right?

For the o.p., be aware that as a crossover skier you will tend to naturally want to face the nose of the board. It is good to be mindful of this in general in terms of making the transtion, but also in terms of what stance is comfortable. If 21/0 was comfortable, why not start roughly there, but try, say, 21/6; 18/6; 18/-6; and 21/-3 as different options? Trying a wider stance with, say, 15/-15 for an afternoon could also be a good thing, but I'm not a big fan of toying with radical changes in setup too much early on while you're developing your basic riding skills.







Dude, Well said.

To me the angles of the bindings are transmitted directly to the sockets of my hips. I want to keep a good dynamic body position. I heard the average person has 30degrees between hip sockets. Most of the popular stances end up being around this separation i.e.+18/-12, +21/-9.
To answer the guy about the strain of riding duck... as far as being more stressful on a body? Very doubtful. We have a thing called pain that warns a person about a potential situation involving joint injury. The debate was over a decade ago. I'm not saying I invented it but I was the first person I know that got away from a forward stance. Wisconsin was prolly a few behind the times. Dunno, but forward was just how you rode. Took me the next summer skating to realize a disconnection of styles.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3snowboards View Post
Dude, Well said...

...To answer the guy about the strain of riding duck... as far as being more stressful on a body? Very doubtful. We have a thing called pain that warns a person about a potential situation involving joint injury...
I was opining that a ligament tear might be more likely, but you all have convinced me otherwise.

You might ski or snowboard your whole life and not feel the pain of ACL or MCL rupture. That doesn't mean there isn't a significant risk of it happening. It only hurts after it pops. There is no 'warning' pain.
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