When it comes to buying a snowboard, I get the best I can get for the least. But nowadays finding cheap, good quality boards is getting tougher and tougher. So when it comes down to you finding a completely gnarly deck, with exactly what you need (and want), brand new, and for an unimaginable price, but the size is a bit small, what do you do? That is a hard question to answer, and yes it does come down to personal preference. The three main things are:
1. Does it reach your nose, yes or nose?
If the deck does not reach your nose don't go for it. The rule of thumb is that the board has to be 92-95 per cent of your height (if the board is slightly under your nose, its still OK).
2. Do your binding/boots go over the edge?
Your bindings, should not go over the edge. The only thing that should be over the edge, is your boots by about half an inch (12.7mm). That little bit of overhang is good for leverage, if your boot does not hang over a bit don't go for it either, because then you're just asking for the slowest least maneuverable board in the world.
3. Does the boards size fit your weight & Height class? What do you need it for?
When you buy your snowboard, on the base (the waxed side) there'll be a bunch of papers containing your owners manual and general information on the board (how well it performs in certain conditions, what type of riding it was made for, etc). Read those papers before even thinking of attaching your bindings and heading up to the top of Whistler BC for a ride. On those sheets there'll also be weight class and weight range. If you are above or below those, then return it or it will mess you up. But then we get into what purpose you want it for. If you weigh 170 pounds, and you're riding a board that's 152cm, you're probably a park junkie. If you're 5'7, and your riding a 168cm board, you're probably a pow shredder. But please stick to men's and women's boards, cause if you don't, it WILL get confusing.
Now, most decks do come in wide sizes for the shredders and park junkies with Sasquatch sized feet. But they're usually not the answer to your problems. Yes it will solve the problem of toe drag and of your enormous feet, but you'll have a few more problems to worry about. First, being the lack of manoeuvrability; second, it might be too stiff; third, reselling difficulties (not really a problem, but its a pain either way).
If you have a smaller board (new or used), and the sizing is a little sketchy, remember the three questions to ask yourself. Your best bet, if you're buying a gnarly deck for a bargain, and the size is a little small, get a pair of elevators, they'll raise you 12mm more above the board so carving is easier, and it reduces/ eliminates toe drag.
There you go. Problem solved.
Good luck choosing a deck, and have fun.
I'm Shayan Shakeri, and I love snowboarding... In case you're wondering, I had that problem too :-)