There are a lot of camber options out there, and if you’re a little fuzzy as to how they all work and which one will be best for you, then narrowing down your snowboard options can feel similar to wrangling fifty wild horses with a strand of dental floss.
Here is an intro to camber profiles that will hopefully make your decision process easier and more effective.
Camber is the long standing champion of camber profiles. Holding strong as the industry standard until recent years, traditional camber is the most popular and well-tested construction method for skis and snowboards. This camber provides excellent stability at high speeds and a supreme edge hold while turning at high speeds. With the edge making contact with the snow the entire length of the board or ski, this profile offers a high level of shovel pressure, making it excellent for carving, and good rebound even after minor edge sets, making camber a great option for groomers and hard pack. Traditional camber does require more effort to turn and is less forgiving making it catchier than other camber profiles. Lastly, it provides the most pop out of any camber profile, making it perfect in the pipe and off kickers.
Rocker camber, also known as reverse camber or negative camber, bows the board or ski with the tip and tail arched upward, leaving the base of the board or ski flush with the snow. This design has many advantages to regular camber profiles. With less edge contact with the snow, rocker camber is highly maneuverable making it much easier to turn, less catchy, and incredibly quiet. Although, with less edge contact comes a less stable ride and increased possibility of washing out. With the upward arch of the tip and tail, rocker camber performs excellent in deep powder conditions providing amazing float and control. The shape also keeps your tips or nose above the snow preventing them from sinking. While rocker camber has many benefits, its shape reduces the pop and rebound of the ski or snowboard.
The Flat camber, or zero camber, profile is exactly what it sounds like. It’s flat. The base and edges, minus the tip and tail, sit flush and have complete contact with the snow. It is the middle ground between traditional and rocker camber. The lack of curve makes flat camber an excellent park option, especially for riding rails due to the flat surface. With high edge contact with the snow, flat camber is very catchy and the flat base produces a very damp or dead feeling with limited pop and rebound.
Hybrid camber includes elements of both rocker and traditional camber. The snowboard or ski will curve in different directions in different sections, resulting in a kinked curve. Think of a ‘M’ or a ‘W’ shape. The ‘M’ hybrid profile features rocker between the feet and camber directly underneath the feet. This type of camber is an attempt to combine the advantages of traditional camber (stability at high speed and improved carving and ‘pop’) with those of rocker camber (float in powder, ease of turning, easier butter and presses). Hybrid camber is very versatile. It provides a loose feel due to rocker between the feet or underfoot and excellent float in powder. Camber under the feet gives edge hold and some degree of stability and pop, but not as much a full cambered snowboard or ski.
The ‘W’ profile features camber between the feet or underfoot and rocker at the nose and tail of the snowboard or ski. This camber profile is also very versatile. It provides stability, edge hold, and pop due to camber between the feet or underfoot. Rocker at the nose and tail brings in the contact points, making turn initiation quicker and easier than a full cambered snowboard or ski. In addition, the rocker position makes it easier to press and provides excellent float in powder.