If you’re planning on taking up snowboarding, the first thing you should know is that there are many varieties of the sport. The type of snowboarding you will do on the side of a mountain will be wildly different from what you do in a terrain park.
In this article, we will discuss camber vs rocker type snowboards, how they affect your riding styles, and what the pros and cons of both types are.
This also means the type of snowboards you will need to use will be different, depending on which terrain you’re planning on riding. Camber and rocker are examples of how the bottom of your board is shaped, which makes it suitable for one kind of terrain or the other.
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What Is a Camber?
Once upon a time, cambered boards were the only type available on the market until rocker boards were introduced. They remain the more popular choice today.
Simply put, the bottom of a camber board is concave in design. This means the midsection (or the waist) of the board is lifted up, while the head and tail of the board (or the ski) are the main points of contact with the snow.
With a camber board, the area of the waist where the board is lifted and does not come in contact with the snow is called the camber. Of course, the board is quite flexible, and this design is present only when there is no weight on the board. Once you apply weight or pressure to the board, it becomes flat.
What Is a Rocker?
A rocker is exactly the opposite of a camber when it comes to design. While a camber board has an uplifted edge in the middle, a rocker board has a convex shape, which is low in the middle and curves up toward the front and the back. The name rocker comes from the board’s resemblance to a rocking chair.
A rocker board can also be known as a reverse camber board. With a rocker board, the middle edge contacts the snow.
What Are Hybrid Profiles?
Not all snowboards are designed purely based on camber or rocker profiles. For the best possible results and to get the advantages of both profiles, there are several combinations of camber and rocker type boards that are created for all-around performance on the slopes.
A simple example of a hybrid board has an uplifted tail and head with normal endpoints, while the midpoint of the waist is also in contact with the snow. This means the area between the midpoint of the waist and the two ends of the effective edges are also lifted up. This combination of camber and rocker profiles gives the board a wavy appearance when you look at its bottom.
Advantages of Camber Boards
Camber profiles come with a lot of benefits for different types of snow conditions. Due to the upward curve in the middle, a cambered board forms a continuous edge with the snow when weight is applied to the middle. This means that once you put on the bindings and stand on top of the board, the board becomes completely flat.
Here are some benefits of the design:
Because of the continuous edge and the large point of contact the board has with the snow, a camber profile offers superior stability on the slopes, especially while you’re making turns. This means that you can take turns at high speed without the fear of crashing or stumbling on your board. Stability is especially important if you are a beginner and just starting out with the sport.
The rule of thumb is that the more area you have in contact with the snow, the more grip you will experience on your ride. Camber profile boards give riders the ability to grip tightly on hard snow because they have more area in contact with the surface. This is also important for beginners because it enhances safety.
Advantages of Rocker Boards
Unlike cambered boards, rocker profiles have less base contact with the snow, which gives these board shapes their own set of advantages:
The limited surface contact of the board with the snow means that riders are especially agile and can turn quickly. The result is a more playful and wild ride. This is especially important on soft snow or powder.
Floatation is the ability to stay on top of powder snow. Because of the limited contact and the uplifted heads and tails on rocker profiles, riders can get a better experience on softer, deep snow. The concave shape ensures the leading edge of the board doesn’t dig into the soft snow.
Camber vs Rocker: How to Choose?
Because of their different advantages inherent in their designs, cambers and rockers are each more suitable for different types of terrains.
Camber profiles are more suited to groomed slopes and parks, while rocker profiles are more suited for all-mountain terrain and powder skiing.
While rocker profiles suit beginners as well as expert-level snowboarders, advanced riders usually opt for camber style and hybrid profiles for better stability on the slopes.
If you’re just starting your snowboarding experience as a beginner, you might want to stick with a hybrid design. You can learn more about this by checking out this article on the best beginner snowboards.
Experimentation and technology have introduced many design innovations into the way snowboards and skis are built. By using camber, rocker, and hybrid profiles, snowboard manufacturers have come up with many new designs for both experts and beginners to give snowboarders the best riding experience in different types of environments and terrain.
We hope this article about camber vs rocker snowboard profiles has helped you figure out which of these designs is the right fit for your snowboarding needs. If you’re interested in similar topics about snow-based sports, please feel free to check out our other articles as well!