Snowboard Profile Shapes

  • Snowboard profiles have evolved and changed so dramatically in the last 5 years or so that its now the focal point of most conversations about boards.
    In actuality this technology was created in the early years of snowboarding but they have brought it back within the last few years.

    A baseline refers to the way the board is shaped from tip to tail. Different rider styles do better on certain baseline than others.


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    side view of different snowboard base lines

    Traditional Camber

    A traditional camber board is suited for a rider who likes to ride fast and take risks. This rider wants full edge hold from tip to tail and the stability that the camber gives by driving the tip and tail into the snow. When this rider comes in and out of their turns they are bending the board into a reverse camber shape which makes the board pop as it snaps back into its natural shape. The term pop is used to describe the spring like tendencies that a board has when you stop bending it. However, a rider on this board needs to pay attention to what they are doing. This baseline is very unforgiving and will be the easiest to catch an edge if your tail gets out from behind you. Camber is made for fast speeds, hard packed snow, and big S turns. Not for someone who wants to go into the park, or trees, or in powder conditions.

    Reverse Camber or Rocker

    Reverse camber or 'Rocker' has made a huge move in the ski and snowboard industry, especially in the past few years. Also known as 'pre-bent rocker,' this shape is best suited anyone who wants a more playful feel. Rocker doesn't allow the rider as much stability at higher speeds as the camber will. However, the contact point is only in between your feet which allows for much more maneuverability than traditional camber. You can change the direction your board is going by simply pivoting your body. This allows the rider to catch themselves from falling easier than traditional camber. In other words its more forgiving. Rocker boards are good for beginners, people who want to do mostly park, powder, and trees.

    Flat

    Very similar to traditional camber, flat boards are advertised as better versions of camber because you can evenly distribute your weight more than camber. The thought is that on a ski, camber is great because your foot is pushing down directly on the camber and flattening it out. When you are on a camber board there is still a dome in between your bindings. Meaning that weight distribution is not even and therefore less stable. This sounds like a great selling story but there is a downfall to flat. You loose pop because the board has less distance to snap back to its natural baseline. So its a baseline that has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. I would keep the flat boards in the same category as the camber; mainly for hard packed snow, fast speeds, and big turns

    Camber Combination 'Hybrids'

    Hybrid boards come in every shape and size rocker and camber all over the place. One of the most popular hybrids on the market today is Burton's Flying V baseline. Camber under foot, rocker everywhere else. This combination allows the rider to enjoy the maneuverability that the rocker presents in addition to the steady edge hold you would get from having camber directly under foot. Most companies make a version of this. These boards are all mountain boards. Safest bet if you are looking for that one board that will do it all. You can take this board into the park, trees, pow, and then race your friends all on one board. Very fun playful feel with serious edge hold when you need it.

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