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Snowboard Profiles Explained!

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When it comes to snowboard performance there are three defining features that work in conjunction to give the snowboard its characteristics.
They are:

Snowboard Shape

Snowboard Profile

Snowboard Flex.

 

The snowboard shape refers to the outline as viewed from above. Like directional, asymmetric, true twin, or all mountain twin. The shape also includes features from the side-cut and it’s relation to the binding positions. The side-cut is the curved shape along the long edges of the snowboard and contributes to its steering behaviour.

Shallow side cuts are great for really fast freeride snowboards where you are likely to make long drawn out turns or ride mainly soft snow, where side-cut plays less of a role.

Deeper side-cuts allow for smaller turn radius when carving and a more nimble feeling turn initiation on rough terrain and hard packed snow.

The bindings can either be set centrally to the side-cut, which will give you the same turn behaviour when riding regular and switch, or set back which will give you high performance in some areas but make riding switch harder. (More on all this in a later article)

The Snowboard Profile is the bit we’re hear to talk about today. This is the official term for the shape a snowboard has when viewed from the side. The snowboard profiles can range from aggressive camber all the way through to completely rockered snowboards…and everything in between!

But what is camber, and what does it do?

 

Essentially camber makes the middle of the snowboard stand up away from the snow, like a bridge.
When you stand on (or load) your snowboard the downward force is distributed evenly along the full edge as the bridge shape squishes down into the snow.

This means that when your ride a cambered snowboard your board is working with you to generate edge grip and store energy a bit like a compressed spring. There is much more too it than just springy-ness, but the defining feature of a camber snowboard is the edge response and grippy feeling you get as you come onto a new edge.

Rocker boards go completely the other way. Shaped like a surfboard, the point in the middle is touching the snow, and the rest of the snowboard is trying to rise up off the snow. These boards are characteristically looser and more surfy feeling. They behave brilliantly in powder and have a very forgiving ride.

The downsides include reduced edge hold and noticeably less performance in rough or technical terrain.

 

In between there are various options including hybrid camber, hybrid rocker, and zero camber boards. Each is designed to fill a certain need. For instance, flat / zero camber boards have the ability to generate edge hold but remain significantly less catchy when performing butter tricks and excel on park features such as rails.

Hybrid cambers snowboards have a mixture of rocker and camber to try and give you the best of both worlds, or snowboards that have the cambers central point moved along the board to create a different feel. (Lots of freeride snowboards have camber that sits more under the back foot, giving excellent drive through turns when on harder snow but keeping the nose of the snowboard free to flex and float better in powder.

 

So why would I buy a certain kind of profile?

Depending on the kind of riding you want your snowboard to excel at you may choose one over another. A rider that just wants to hit powder runs will not need the interaction of camber on hard snow and will likely enjoy a rocker, or backseat camber snowboard that floats easier. Whereas someone wishing to hit technical terrain or rail fast carves will benefit from the increased performance and edge hold of a camber snowboard.

 

What to look out for:

In lots of snowboard shops, you will hear phrases such as “Helps with turn initiation” or “Less likely to catch an edge”. While these statements sound amazing there are two things to bear in mind.

1 – Catching edges is pretty much always down to technique and terrain.

2 – You are trading off with control and performance later on.

3- Snowboard profiles always work in conjunction with the snowboards flex and side-cut.

A super stiff board could have loads of rocker, but it won’t be forgiving. Just as a camber snowboard can be very flexible and easy to manipulate. Each feature works together to give the snowboard it’s overall characteristics.

When deciding what snowboard to buy it is a good plan to look at your strength and kind of riding you want to do as deciding factors that will help you decide what characteristics you will get on with best!

For instance, a newer rider will not have the strength to control a super stiff board no matter what profile it has. Pick a flex that you can work with and chose your profile based on the kind of terrain you wish to ride. 

If you need any extra info just get in touch with our team and one of them can help point you towards some snowboards that will suit your needs.

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Posted in: Knowledge Base

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