- Always wear a wristguard, especially if you're a beginner. Some ski fields will provide them for free when you hire a snowboard.
- There are two main types of wristguard: those worn over your glove, and those worn underneath. Gloves with built-in wristguards are also being developed. Don't buy wristguards until you've tried them with the gloves you'll be wearing. There's no point buying a pair that's uncomfortable.
- Wristguards come in different sizes - get one that fits.
- Wristguards should last for two seasons (depending on how often you wear them). They need to be dried out after use.
- Just starting to snowboard? Take a beginner's lesson, if the ski field offers this. Learn how to fall properly - it'll reduce the risk of injury. Tuck your forearms in towards your chest with your fists clenched - and bend your knees. As you fall, your buttocks (if you fall backwards) or knees (if you fall forwards) take the main impact.
- Don't forget other protective equipment, such as helmets and padded shorts.
Lack of a standard
Standards ensure a product can withstand certain forces under testing, and they reassure consumers that the product can do what it claims. But we can't advise you to look for a standards-approved snowboarding wristguard - there aren't any.
Snowboarding is a fairly new sporting activity and no country has yet developed a standard for wrist guards. The International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS) will discuss what's involved in developing a standard this year.
What to look for
In the meantime, here are the features you should look for when choosing a wristguard.
Breathable material: Neoprene or rubber will be comfortable but may be sweaty. These materials will also cool quickly.
Comfort: If the wristguards aren't comfortable in the shop, they won't be comfortable after a day on the slopes. There shouldn't be any pressure points when you bend your wrist back and forth.
Convenience: Can you use your hands or remove your gloves easily? Can you release, secure, and adjust bindings without having to undo a guard?
Design: Support splints should be contoured to fit the curve of the hand and wrist.
Fit: Guards shouldn't slip up and down on the wrist. They should stay in place regardless of whether they're worn under or over the glove. Brands should offer a range of sizes to ensure a good fit.
Flexibility: There should be some flexibility in the splints - but you shouldn't be able to bend them in half.
Left- and right-hand guards: Wristguards designed to fit either hand won't stay in place as well as those designed specifically for each hand. There should be a clear indication whether the guard is for the left or the right hand.
Length of guard: Longer guards are generally better than shorter guards. The length of the guard should be longer than your watch strap.
Palm support: There should be some cushioning at the point of impact, to spread the load. A fan-shaped support will be most effective.
Support splints: Support splints should be on the top (back) of the hand and on the palm. The palm support should be stiffer than the support on the top.
Wrist extension: Guards should be stiff enough to stop you bending your wrist back more than 45 degrees.