Friday, September 10, 2010
For a long time the only shape that snowboarders had to choose from was Camber. This magical core bending process was brought to snowboards through technologies harnessed within ski manufacturing. Camber was good for many reasons. For all of you out there that would like a little visual, cambered basically means that the board sits flat on the tip and tail and the center of the board bows up off the ground in the middle. When you go and stand of the board, your weight pushes the center of the board down towards the ground, thus storing potential energy. When you put the board into a turn that potential energy is transfered out to the edge and then you release it when you come out of the turn. The more energy you put into the board the harder, faster, and more edgy your turn can become. This was the promise of Camber.

However there were negatives to this shape. The most obvious is the fact that your nose and tail are flat on the ground at all times. This puts your edges directly in line with the snowpack while cruising at speed. One little bump, nook, cranny, or undulating snow pack, and it would give you an uneasy feeling. Like you were stuck between two walls bouncing your board around and making you feel uncomfortable. Also, when turning your board it became essential to pick up the nose and tail before turning so that you didn't catch your edge and end up on your backside. I know I can speak from experience that you get lazy every once and a while and the boards edge would surprise you by bucking you around.
So four years ago, along comes Reverse Camber or better known by its sub-company names of Banana (Lib Tech), V-Rocker (Burton), Rocker Technology (K2 Snowboards), and Chili Dogg (Forum).  For a lot of people the rise of Reverse Camber was a long awaited and amazing thing. Lib Technologies released their Skate Banana and the world of snowboarding changed forever. It made snowboarding so easy! But not just for beginners, even the pros and everyday peeps were riding this new shape and loving it for everything from backcountry powder to urban rail gardens. The key to Reverse Camber's secret is that the core bends in the opposite way a Camber board's does. There is a slight pinch in the very center of the board and then the board rose gradually out towards the nose and tail. Think of a V or a Banana.

  The positive of this shape is that it keeps your nose and tail up off of the ground when you shift your weight on the board. Cruising at high speed and wondering where your edges are? On a Reverse Camber board as long as you shift your weight around naturally those edges of yours will be up giving you a free feeling that won't leave you boxed in like a Cambered board. For beginners it was like bowling with bumper guards, since most beginners have no idea where their edges are. Now, they don't have to worry about where their edges are and the learning curve is that much easier. For experienced riders it was amazing because now you had all this extra play in the board. You could ride switch easier, learn all those elusive tricks and not worry about catching an edge and paying a huge price if your edge caught. It also allowed for more float in deep snow and more room for error on rails and boxes.

But there was a downside to Reverse Camber. Cambered boards allowed the rider to put pressure into the board and have that spring called "pop". Since Reverse Camber boards were already flexed in that direction, it was hard to store energy into the core and get a lot of "pop". Reverse Camber boards almost had a noodle like feel to them when you were carving on them or getting ready to power off a jump. You just couldn't get the snap out of them like you could with a Cambered Board.

Now enter the next generation of snowboarding. If Camber is good for some things and Reverse Camber is good for others than what if a company made a board that had both. What do you know, They Have! Now we have boards from Lib Tech (C2 Power Banana), Burton (Flying-V), Never Summer (Rocker and Camber), and Forum (Combo Platter) that use both of these technologies in a harmonious blend. They are pinched like a Reverse Camber board in the center, however they rise and fall with Camber under the bindings, and then back to a Reverse Camber shape in the nose and tail. The Best of Both Worlds! Now you can lean back and get all that float that you love from a Reverse Camber board, but still have all the power and stored potential energy right underneath your feet.

So there you have it folks your three major Cambers within the Snowboard world; Camber, Reverse Camber, and both at the same time! No matter what your looking for in your next board make sure to check out all the options to figure out which version is best for you. See you all soon.