Which snowboard camber to choose?
Lay a snowboard flat on the ground and look at it from the side: you will see that it follows a curve. This is precisely what we call the snowboard camber.
Each type of camber has different points of contact with the snow, the rockers, optimising the glide according to several criteria: the level, the practice (freestyle, freeride...) or the quality of the snow.
Especially if you are a beginner in the discipline, you will probably find it difficult to choose between the different snowboarding cambers. Précision Ski answers your questions and helps you to see more clearly.
The different types of camber
Let's start by reviewing different snowboard cambre and rockers. The ranges have been enriched with technological innovations, but we still consider that there are four main families of cambers: the classic camber, the inverted camber, the so-called flat camber, and more recently the multiple cambers have been added.
The classic camber, for speed
This is the original camber, copied from classic skis. That said, it ages more than well since it remains the most suitable solution for speed lovers. Its concave shape, with rocker snowboards close to the nose and tail (the front and rear spatulas), offers optimal support and excellent grip at high speeds, while acting as a spring.
With this camber and its stability, you can forget about edge faults and launch yourself headlong into freeride slopes by taking care of your trajectories. Another advantage is that its excellent high-speed grip guarantees the best pop. This traditional camber is also of interest to the more experienced freestylers, as its ease of take-off allows them to gain height in tricks.
Reverse camber, for rotations
This is actually a term to be put in the plural, since manufacturers have released models at about the same time with one thing in common: with a convex arch, the contact with is ensured by the snowboard centre. We can thus distinguish the V camber with its long break in the centre, the banana camber, a board rounded into a single arch, and the spatula camber, with its more raised ends while a good part of the snowboard is in contact with the snow.
Generally speaking, this particularly handy camber is recommended for freestyle as it facilitates rotation. As the contact with the ground is more pronounced than with a classic profile, pivoting becomes child's play... or almost! It is therefore recommended on the slope and for freestyle.
Another advantage, with its twin shape (symmetrical board), it allows you to ride in switch, i.e. in both directions. This particularity does not fail to seduce freeriders. Added to the fact that the raised shape offers excellent buoyancy, with the impression of flying in powder snow, there's a lot of fun to be had with such a board.
Flat camber, versatility
This is definitely the snowboarding camber that we will advise you if you are a beginner. Intermediate between classic and inverted, the flat camber, or zero camber, is synonymous with a stable, responsive and versatile board. It is very easy to recognise: the snowboard laid flat reveals a flat sole... flat. This means that contact is made along almost the entire length of the board, except at the tail and nose, where the sole is raised.
Stability is therefore assured with this snowboard with zero camber, which above all allows you to have fun on the piste as well as in the snowpark. We can't guarantee great performance, but at least you'll be able to go everywhere without any problems. If only powder snow tempts you, opt for a flat rocker camber, with higher spatulas, whose lift you will appreciate.
And now the mixed cambers
To limit oneself to three types of traditional camber was to be unfamiliar with the manufacturers and their sense of innovation. This is how different types of snowboard cambers, called mixed or multiple cambers, with more pronounced technical specificities, have appeared in recent years. No snowboard with a mixed camber is suitable for beginners. Nevertheless, if you are definitely hooked on one discipline rather than another and want to progress quickly, you will switch to a hybrid camber without waiting too long. Some models also allow you to enjoy the benefits of both classic and inverted cambers. Let's take a look at the main models...
The W camber or hybrid camber
It's a sort of classic snowboard double camber as there are three rocker snowboard zones, in the tail, nose and between the feet. The cambers are therefore located under the feet, which gives the snowboard a great reactivity and a nervous pop. Tone and grip on the menu, the W camber is synonymous with optimised lift in powder snow. Sensations guaranteed!
The camrock or cambre rocker
This snowboard has the concave arch of the classic profile in the centre of the board, with a special feature: the rockers are longer, both in the front and in the back. As a result, it is characterised by its great stability and the contact surface (larger than on other cams) guarantees good grip and smooth gliding in all circumstances. A camrock snowboard provides the versatility that many people are looking for, but with a caveat on the pivot.
The powder camber
As its name suggests, this is the ideal camber for riding in powder snow: an inverted profile at the rear with a rocker in the centre and then a classic profile that ends at a contact point at the front. The buoyancy is almost perfect. In the same vein, the missile camber provides flotation in powder thanks to a big rocker at the front, but also more stability underfoot.
Triple Base Technology, for the more experienced
This is not strictly speaking a snowboard camber, although the "TBT" can indeed be put in the balance of your choice of camber. However, this is only possible if you are already an experienced snowboarder!
Invented in 1997 by the Bataleon brand, now joined by Lobster, the Triple Base Technology is inspired by the natural twists of the zero camber to offer a board in three parts. The centre is flat in order to guarantee the snowboard's stability underfoot. At the front and back, however, the edges gradually rise towards the points of contact. This design ensures smooth turns and avoids edge errors. Finally, the lift is steeper at the extremities, optimising lift in powder snow and making it easier to ride over uneven terrain.
The complexity of the TBT profile makes the board inaccessible to beginners. Indeed, you have to perfectly master the weight transfers to appreciate the technicality of the board.
As you can see, the practice (or all the practices) as well as the sensations you are looking for have a considerable weight in the choice of a snowboard camber. The progress made also invites you to change rooms. But the profile is far from being the only criterion to take into consideration when choosing a board. The shape (twin shape, directional shape, twin tip...), for example, is also important, depending on whether you want to favour lift or agility.