Board Profiles 101
You may have heard snowboarders referring to the profile of their board as being cambered, reverse cambered or a combination of the two and it all honestly sounds a bit confusing and intimidating at first. However, it's useful stuff to know and can help you get a board thats best suited for where you want to ride so we're gonna break it down for you. When you lay your board, wax side down, on the ground you'll notice that it has contact points. These contact points are intentional and depending on the type of board profile you have, can make turns, board control and floating on powder easier or more challenging. The three basic board shapes form a concave, flat or convex shape underfoot, and many hybrid styles combine features of multiple shapes.
The three basic board profiles:
Flat: These boards that are completely flat underfoot and appear to have a large contact point across the entire bottom. They are easy to initiate turns but can be slower because they have such a wide contact point underneath. They can also lack popping power for executing tricks. These boards are becoming less and less common as board technology evolves.
Camber: Camber boards have contact points under the nose and the tail. Cambered boards provide good pop, good edge control and have more stability at higher speeds. Cambered boards can be difficult for newer riders since they may catch edges easier, they also don't float over powder as well as other styles.
Rocker or Reverse Camber: This board profile is the complete opposite of a camber board, with the major contact point being in the center of the board instead of two contact points underfoot. This style is playful and floats well on powder. Turn initiation is easy on these boards but provide less pop and less control especially when one footing off of a lift. These boards are also much less stable when you get to higher speeds.
Technology has come a long way since snowboards were first created. Most modern boards are a combination of both camber and reverse camber features. Each style can provide different benefits so it's best to get a board profile that matches both your ability and riding style.
Hybrid Camber: A hybrid camber is a board that has rocker under each foot and camber under the center of the board. This combination makes for a fantastic board for floating on powder, turn initiation, while still offering lots in the way of edge control and stability. Not quite as stable as traditional camber however, but a very good compromise for someone who wants a board for almost everything.
Hybrid Rocker: A hybrid rocker is a board that has camber under each foot but rocker under the center. This board can float over powder, butters well and is easy to land without catching edge. This profile is great for park and all mountain riders. The camber under foot provides a little bit more stability than a straight up reverse cambered board.
Flat/Rocker: Excellent beginner option because they are easy to initiate turns and due to the rocker points, edge catch is less likely. Not only for beginners however, this style of board really lends itself well to park riding. The shape of the board allows for easier pressing and butters while remaining forgiving in the case that you don't put every trick down perfectly.
Directional Rocker: Much like traditional Rocker or Reverse Camber, the board bends from the middle out. In this case, the board is stanced directionally so that the majority of your weight will be on the back of the board. This will drastically help with floating in powder and also create "Surfy" feel when making turns.
Directional Hybrid: For directional boards you may see a combination of camber and rocker that are less symmetrical. This creates a best of both worlds situation between all mountain and powder. The camber between your feet will create stability and pop with the early rise on the nose helps float in Powder.
Think about what kind of riding you'd like to do and consider what kind of board profile you may have tried in the past. A good starting point for a beginner might be some combination of flat and reverse camber, or a hybrid rocker or hybrid camber. If you want to learn more about what goes into selecting a snowboard check out that post or come on into the shop. We love connecting people with the appropriate gear to have the best time in our backyard!