Are you overwhelmed by all the different types of snowboard profiles out there? Well you're in luck! We put this guide together to help you understand the differences between each profile so you can choose the best snowboard for your style of riding.
Before we dive in, be aware that the flex of a board can completely change the way it feels. To put it another way, two boards with the exact same profile, one soft and one stiff, could be considered two different boards. It all comes down to how you ride and what you want. So do not let choosing the profile cause too much brain damage.
Traditional Camber (aka Regular Camber or just Camber)
This is how it all started. It wasn't long ago that this was the only profile available. A traditional camber board is shaped like an arc with its curved side facing upwards and the tips curving back upwards, lifting off the ground. Typically, the parts of the board under your bindings or just outside of them are touching the ground. Some people say traditional camber tends to feel a little more "catchy," others will say it provides more edge hold, both are true since there are two contact points with the snow, but this provides more stability for riders who like speed. You also get more "pop" on jumps and ollies since traditional camber can be "loaded" by crouching and pushing off the ground (or lip of a jump), creating a snap back effect that launches you in the air. See this post from Snowboard Addiction for how to properly load a camber board.
There are now variations on traditional camber with some companies reducing the rise on the middle of the board, blurring the line between traditional camber and flat-camber (explained later). Check out these traditional camber snowboards at Backcountry.com and evo.com. Below are some examples:
Rome Artifact (Freestyle)
DC Space Echo (All-Mountain)
Dinosaurs Will Die Geeves (All-Mountain Freestyle)
Burton Custom X (All-Mountain)
Reverse Camber (aka Rocker)
Every major snowboard manufacturer has a different name for reverse camber (Lib Tech/GNU's Banana, Forum’s Chilly Dog, or Ride's Low Rize). This profile is essentially the opposite of traditional camber and is also shaped like an arc but with its curved side touching the ground and the tips lifting up off the ground. Reverse camber tends to feel "looser" and easier to maneuver than traditional camber because there is less contact with the snow. Beginners may have an easier time learning on this profile. Riders that like to butter may prefer reverse camber since the shape is already curved making it easier to press. Or riders lucky enough to be riding in fresh powder may prefer this profile because of its tendency to stay afloat above soft powder, that is easy to sink in. That is not to say that a traditional camber board couldn't be ridden in powder. Standalone reverse camber boards are typically not too common, rather, reverse camber is usually combined with other freatures to create a hybrid profile (keep reading).
Check out these reverse camber snowboards at Backcountry.com and evo.com. Below are some examples:
Dinosaurs Will Die Rat (Freestyle)
Arbor Formula (All-Mountain)
Never Summer Ripsaw (All-Mountain)
Flat Camber (aka Zero Camber)
You guessed it, these boards have a flat profile and provide benefits from both camber and reverse camber shapes. Many companies have also come up with their own names for zero camber as well (Capita's Flat Kick (FK), K2’s Flatline, or Burton's Flat Top). Zero camber offers riders with stability since your weight is evenly distributed across the board and there is more contact with the snow, but the trade off is a less lively ride and less pop. And while it may be more stable than reverse camber, it may not feel as loose or be as easy to press. Standalone flat camber boards are also not too common, and like reverse camber, flat camber is usually combined with other profiles to create a hybrids as well.
Dinosaurs Will Die Genovese (Freestyle)
Rome Tour (Freestyle)
Nitro Glory Stomper (All-Mountain)
Hybrid camber tries to combine different profiles to create boards that are meant for all types of riding. We have seen this profile take on quite some variations over the past several years as this is where all the different manufacturers try to differentiate themselves and get creative. Some examples are Burton’s Flying V-Rocker, Rome’s S-Cambers, and Lib Tech's various camber profiles. The most popular hybrid boards combine reverse camber on the outside of the inserts and either traditional or flat camber in between. These types of profiles can give riders pop from traditional camber and the loose, floaty feel of reverse camber. Most boards manufactured today use some sort of hybrid profile.
Lib Tech TRS XC2-BTX (Camber/Rocker/Camber)
Ride Machete (Rocker/Flat/Rocker)
Lobster Jib (Rocker/Flat/Rocker)
Capital Ultrafear FK (Rocker/Flat/Rocker)
Jones Aviator (Flat/Camber/Flat)
Capita Black Snowboard of Death (BSOD) (Rocker/Camber/Zero Camber/Rocker)
Despite what many people say, there is no best profile for one type of riding over the other. Jibbers and rail riders may prefer reverse camber since it is more maneuverable but it may not match the pop off jumps that traditional camber provides. Try to think about specifically what you want to use it for. Are you going to be hitting big jumps or spending most of your time in the park? Once you’ve worked that out, then it should be easier to decide which kind of profile will suit your style of riding. It all comes down to what works best for YOU and your type of riding.
We hope this helps you in your decision. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section!
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