Something has been bugging me lately, what board shape do I want? Now this isn’t about taper, sidecut radius or waist width. It’s the way the board is bent so to speak. In the early 2000’s a great man and skier, Shane McConkey (R.I.P.) mounted ski bindings to a pair of water skis and successfully skied them on a almost vertical slope in Alaska. That started it all, the revolution of skis and snowboard shape taking away camber and adding rocker and every thing in between.
First lets start with the most traditional CAMBER:
If you look at the board from the side while it is sitting on a flat surface you will notice the center is not touching but the tip and tail are. This is going to offer better edge hold and more pop versus a rockered board.
Here is where things get a bit more complicated because the technology is so new to snowboarding everyone has ideas on what will work and be best. I will start with the easier concepts and then go to the more complex ones.
The first rocker we will look at will be the one that took off in snowboarding a few years ago. Lib tech’s banana tech: it is very simply a board that has a flat base under your bindings and has rocker between your feet. So if it were on the table that the cambered board was on earlier the middle would be touching and the tip and tail would be about 1 cm off the table. This will give the board a very “loose” feeling and make it easier to do presses. You will also notice that the board catches its edges less so if you over or under rotate you will not be in as much danger of falling on your face in front of your friends. Lib Tech has licensed this to Gnu and Roxy. Rome’s Reverse-free camber is this shape too.
The next one we will look at is Burton’s V-Rocker: this is very similar to the banana tech we just talked about except just outside of your bindings will have a bit of rocker to. The rocker lifts your contact points even more off the snow, giving it an even looser feel and more catch free ride.
Up next is the most wide spread type of rocker. It is very similar to 3 stage rocker you would find on some wakeboards. It is flat between the feet and has rocker just outside of the bindings, If you look at the side of this board you will see the middle of the board sits flat till just past the inserts where it lifts up off the table. This will give you better edge hold than a board with more rocker as well as give you more pop. There are many different names for this form of rocker. Capita’s flatkick, Burton’s P-rocker, Ride’s early rise, K2’s jib and all terrain rocker, Rome’s reverse jib camber, Smokin’s D.I.R.T. rocker, DC’s Bender Anti-camber.
The last type of rocker we will go over is continuous rocker. Featured in Forum’s chilly dog and Stepchild’s reverse camber. This is used in wakeboarding for an even flowing ride. This rocker shape is like a circle. There is no flat spots or camber. It is the most predictable rocker out there because there are no bends in the rocker.
Then there is the hybrid of camber and rocker and that comes in as many forms as rocker. The first Hybrid we will look at is Lib Tech’s C2 POWER BANANA: a lot like Banana tech except that instead of being flat under your binding you have camber. Looking at this from the side the tip and tail will still be off the table but not as high as the board with just banana and will come down from the highest spot just outside of the bindings. This hybrid will offer better edge hold and pop than its non cambered counter part.
The next hybrid will be Burton’s Flying V it is just like there v rocker but under the bindings there is camber instead of flat this will add a little stability and pop to the board while still offering a looser feel and better float in softer snow.
The last rocker we are going to talk about is the powder style rocker where the thing that is the same with all theses boards is the nose is lifted off the snow to help it float. Then they all do something a little different after the front binding. With Burton’s S-rocker you have camber from the front foot back, it is the same as Rome’s S-camber. With Capita’s pow fk your board is flat from the inserts back. When you look at Ride’s High rise you will see that it is flat between the feet and has about half the amount of rocker in the tail then in the nose. K2’s powder rocker is the same tip and tail rocker but it has a lot of it so you can have lots of float switch too.
Ok so now that we have rocker covered, what is best for you? First of all snowboarding is something most of us do for fun. Most people will have fun on most boards. You just need to choose what style of camber or rocker fits the style of riding you have the most fun doing. If you are a powder hound then you might want to get a pow specific rocker. If you are more of a jibber you might look at a soft twin flex and shape board with a good bit of rocker. If you are an all mountain rider you might look at a board with some camber and rocker or a board that has only a little rocker.
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