Up until just recently, you could literally put just about any snowboard into the snow, take any type of look at it sideways, and have no idea what type of board it really was. This is because they all simply looked the same. The profiles of snowboards were are pretty much the same no matter which way you were looking at them.
However, that would all change around the later part of the 80’s, as a new design that was known as ‘camber’ would be introduced to the world. Before the introduction of the ‘camber’ board, most of the snowboards being introduced and experimented with were nothing other than wacky.
With that being said, the camber style of board has since dominated snowboarding. That is until just recently when a new style of board was introduced to the snowboarding world. This new board would be officially called the Skate Banana (which would be introduced by Lib Tech), and the K2 (which would be introduced by Gyrator), both being released in 2007. Both of these versions of snowboards would be considered ‘reverse camber’, which would eventually become known as ‘rocker’ boards.
So, you may be wondering what the difference between the two types of boards really is and how it is going to affect how you ride? Here is everything that you need to know about camber and rocker boards.
Camber boards are unique in the sense that when you look at them from the side, there will be four different contact points that are in touch with the snow. These will be near the tail and near the tip, an arch occurring in the center between where the two bindings typically go.
Benefits of a Camber Board
The main benefit of a camber board is that it has much more pressure on all of the contact points, meaning that you will have a much better edge grip that is in contact with the snow. What this means is that you will be able to turn much quicker when you need to. On top of that, you will have much more power within your board as well. Since your board is essentially going to be pre-tensioned, whenever you put your weight on the tail, it will provide you with much more snap back and act more like a coiled spring.
While they are the ‘older’ style of boards, camber boards are designed for power, maximum response, and hitting the trails hard.
Rocker boards are almost the exact opposite of the camber boards. Rocker boards are going to curve upwards on the outside of the board, meaning that the tail and nose will be lifted. Think of a rocker board as a banana on the snow.
Benefits of a Rocker Board
What makes the rocker board so great, is that the upturned tail and tip are going to give you a much looser, more playful ride. On top of that, you will also have an extra amount of float whenever you are boarding on fresh powder. The one downside, however, is that this style of board is not as fast as the camber style and it will also not hold any edge either. If you are a boarder who is into rail riding or jibbing, you will more than likely have a much better amount of success with a rocker board. This is because they are much more maneuverable than the camber style of board and will be much less likely to catch any type of edge.
Flat Base Boards
If you decide that the camber style and the rocker style of board are not what you are searching for, all hope is not lost. There is always the flat base board that you can fall back on. As the name indicates, this style of board will sit completely flat when it is on the snow. There is a slight turn up on the tail and nose of the board, but for the most part, the entire board will be flat on the snow.
Benefits of a Flat Base Board
The main benefit of a flat base board is that you will always have an edge in contact with snow at all times. This is due to your weight being much more evenly distributed across the entire board. This style of board is essentially going to be a much smoother and more predictable ride when compared to a camber or rocker style of board. The main downside of a flat base board is that they feel less lively and are harder to do tricks on.