Friday, October 2, 2009
Burton Custom or Burton Custom V-Rocker?
For a number of years Burton has only offered cambered shapes on their boards. Now, these boards we're amazing, models like the FL Project, the Rippey, and the Custom. In the last couple of years the Snowboard World has been in the midst of a new beast, Reverse Camber. At first a lot of people were skeptical of how a board that was so different than everything else on the market could be better than the tradition. But after people began to ride these mythical boards it became apparent that they weren't better, but just different. So, here we go...what are the differences between a Cambered Snowboard and a Reverse Cambered Snowboard?

Cambered Snowboards have been your traditional way of looking at downhill snow travel for decades. These boards take their shape from skis, which lie flat on the snow on the tip and tail, and then the wood layers are stacked so that the board has a raised or "cambered" spot in the center. This allows the rider to preload the snowboard and then release the board thus allowing for a smooth carving motion. The postive thing about this way of building snowboards is that it gives the rider a more powerful motion. So if you're into bigger jumps, backcountry booters, or just powering through solid turns, this is the shape and style for you. The negatives of cambered boards are that the pressure spots on the snow are at the tip and tail of the board. This means that to initiate or release the turn, you first have to lift up the edges from the snow. Most riders that are just starting out have trouble with this, mainly because lifting the nose and tail while trying to setup for good edge control is not the easiest thing to do.

Reversed-Cambered Snowboards are brand new on the scene...well...sort of. Companies like K2 have actually been doing reverse-cambered snowboards for over 15 years. However, in the beginning, K2 only marketed these boards for extremely deep powder and backcountry performance. It has only been in the last three years that companies ( like Lib Tech, K2, GNU, DC Shoes, Forum, and Burton) have started to incorperate reverse-camber shapes into their lineups. These boards basically take a backwards thinking on how to build a snowboard. They looked at how a snowboarder rides and found that the stance and the pressure points were totally different than a ski. Then they figured out that if they made the board sit flat in the middle they could get a better flex point, with more contact on the edges, and a better turning radius. So now you have reverse-cambered snowboards that are called Rocker, Banana, or just plain Reversed Cambered. The one thing that all of these boards have in common is the fact that they all are flat in the middle and then rise steadily out from the mid point to the tip and tail. The positives of reverse-cambered snowboards are that first off they are great for riding deep powder, crud snow, or anything that you would normally sink into. Secondly for beginner snowboards or people trying to learn new tricks these boards are really forgiving. The tip and tail don't need to be preloaded into a turn like a cambered snowboard needs to be, and because of this they float over the snow and make snowboarding feel effortless and easy. This makes these boards great for jibbing, presses, bonks, lips, and just about anything else where you want the board to feel as loose as possible. The negatives of these reverse-cambered boards would be that they can feel too loose for some people, and they can somtimes feel too soft. For those people that want a lot of preload out of their board, or just a board that is powerful, these do not allow you to preload the back foot as much. So, again, if you're into rocking huge jumps or just want something to power huge ollies over slow signs with, you may want to check out a cambered snowboard.

So when it comes to the question of: Which Burton Custom should I buy? The easy answer is: The one that fits your riding style the best. Burton's idea works because they have taken a cult classic and made it not necessarily better, but given the rider a better range to find their perfect board.