Why riding straight doesn’t mean riding with a flat base:
Snowboarding with a flat base allows you to go in a straight line, however, it also means you don’t have pressure on your toe or heel edge.
What this means is if you’re riding on a flat base and hit a rough patch of snow, it’s going to throw you off balance and you might find yourself suddenly catching an edge.
This is especially important as you get into freestyle and start hitting jumps because riding off a jump with a flat base opens you up to getting thrown off balance and makes it harder to create a stable platform to pop off (and as I’ve mentioned before, pop is how you stay balanced when hitting jumps).
Off topic: If you’re unfamiliar with ‘popping’, here’s a blog on how to pop correctly off jumps
How to fix the problem of flat basing:
You want to apply a tiny bit of pressure on your toe edge while you ride in a straight line. By doing this you don’t get jolted or pushed out of position by a small bump or rough snow and it gives you a stable platform to stay balanced while riding and hitting jumps.
This means you’ll be travelling in a straight line, because you’re not turning toeside, but rather you’ll have a tiny little bit of pressure on your toe edge while still riding straight and almost flatbase.
When to snowboard flat base:
That all said, there are still times when you can ride flat base to get the extra speed (riding flat base is faster than riding on an edge).
Typically, you’ll ride fully flat base when riding straight on powder or on a run where you know the snow conditions are good and the path is bump free/smooth so you know that you won’t suddenly get jolted/thrown off balance by a small rough patch.