You may have heard or seen terms like hybrid rocker, camber or flat to rocker camber profiles but may not fully understand them.
So I thought I’d put together this post to help people understand the different snowboard camber types.
First we’ll take a look at what a camber profile is and then look at the different types and what ability and style each one is suited to.
Why Learn About Camber Profiles?
If you have a personal preference or are used to a certain type of camber profile (and have tried others and don’t like them) you may want to stick to what you know.
However, if you are in the market for your first snowboard or are looking for a change then you may want to consider which profile will be the best choice for your next snowboard. And if you’ve always used the same profile and haven’t experimented, it’s worth trying some others to see if they are more suited to your riding.
Different camber profiles tend to have different feels on the snow. For example a rocker profile has a looser feel. Different camber profiles are also more or less suited to different riding styles – and to different ability levels.
What is a Camber Profile?
A camber profile is essentially the shape of your board when looking at it side on (images below will give you a better picture) and this affects the feel of the board on the snow.
Looking at a board side on, a camber in the board is a convex shape (like an arch or the letter “n”) and a rocker in the board is a concave shape (like an upside down arch or the letter “u”). See illustration below.
Of course this is more subtle on a real board. There are several different combinations of camber and rocker and some are more extreme than others.
What are the Camber Profile Types?
Snowboarding manufacturers are always coming up with new types – though I think most of the time they just come up with new names for them!
It’s important to note that the illustrations below are exaggerated and also once you step on the board it takes on a whole new shape.
The main combinations, as far as I am aware, are as follows:
This is known as traditional camber because once upon a time pretty much all snowboards were made with this profile.
Basically there is camber under the board which runs from the points near the tail where the board makes contact with the snow to the point near the tip where the board makes contact with the snow – or said an easier way, camber from tip to tail!
This type of ride has great for pop for ollies and jumps, has great edge-hold and helps for generating speed.
The trade off? (there’s always a trade off) – it can be easier for beginners to catch an edge with this style of camber. It is also more difficult in deep powder where you want more float – and it’s harder to butter and press.
Continuous Rocker/Reverse Camber:
This has many names – rocker, reverse camber, anti camber, banana and continuous rocker come to mind. But essentially it is the opposite of traditional camber. There is a continuous concave or “rocker” shape between the tip and tail contact points.
Reverse camber boards were traditionally recommended for beginners because it makes turn initiation easier and you are less likely to catch an edge. However, it also provides a looser feel which may not be the easiest for the beginner to control.
The continuous rocker profile has a very playful feel, is great for butters and floats well in powder.
The trade off is that there is less pop, they feel loose (which is only a bad thing if you don’t want a loose feeling board), doesn’t hold an edge as well as other profiles, and it is more difficult to stomp landings from big air.
Just like it sounds this profile has no camber or rocker – it’s flat between the contact points.
This camber style gives a stable ride, meaning it could be a good option for beginners except that, like the traditional camber, it’s prone to catching an edge.
It makes it good for landing big air and is fine for hitting jibs. It is quick from edge to edge so is great for riding through trees and tighter areas and provides plenty of edge-hold.
The trade off is that, due to having so much contact with the ground, this style will be a slower ride. So if speed is your thing this may not be the way to go. Also for beginners it will be easier to catch an edge than a rocker board but is more stable. See below for some great hybrid options for beginners.
Like the name suggests, hybrid profiles are a mix of camber, flat and rocker. There are heaps of different combinations of this employed by snowboard manufacturers. The most common hybrids are rocker/camber/rocker (hybrid camber), camber/rocker/camber (hybrid rocker) and rocker/flat/rocker (flat to rocker). Some examples are shown in the illustrations below.
Rocker/Camber/Rocker (aka Hybrid Camber)
The rocker in the tip and tail are great for turn initiation and float in powder, whilst the camber underfoot adds stability, pop and increased edge-hold.
This is my preference for riding the back country. You get the edge-hold you need from the camber section underfoot and the float in powder from the rocker sections.
Camber/Rocker/Camber (aka Hybrid Rocker)
The camber towards the tip and tail produces the kind of pop you get out of camber whilst the rocker between the feet give it a looser feel and better float in powder than a traditional camber ride, and allows for easier turn initiation. It will butter well and land well. This is a great all round profile for the park and mountain.
These are just a few of the combinations used. Within each combination different levels of camber and rocker can be used and the lengths (amounts) of the rocker, flat and camber sections can be tweaked. This leads to almost endless combinations.
Best Profile for the Beginner
Beginner: The rocker/flat/rocker (Flat to Rocker) or rocker/camber/rocker (Hybrid Camber) profiles are great for beginners as they feel more stable due to the flat or camber sections underfoot and the rocker sections towards the tip and tail reduce the likelihood of catching an edge and make turn initiation easier.
For more on how to choose the best beginner snowboards check out the link below.
Best Profiles for Different Styles
In terms of styles I’ve put together this quick table. I looked at a couple of hundred boards for their camber profile and found that different camber styles are used across all board styles but some profiles are preferred over others.
Overall 76% of the boards I analysed had some form of Hybrid profile, with 9% traditional camber, 13% Rocker/Reverse Camber and 2% flat making up the other 24%.
|Street/Jib||Freestyle||Freestyle-All Mountain||All Mountain||Freeride||Powder||TOTAL|
|Traditional Camber||1 (5%)||6 (12%)||4 (8%)||1 (3%)||5 (14%)||1 (3%)||18 (8%)|
|Continuous Rocker/Reverse Camber||4 (20%)||11 (22%)||8 (15%)||1 (3%)||2 (6%)||3 (9%)||29 (13%)|
|Flat||2 (10%)||2 (4%)||2 (4%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||6 (3%)|
|Hybrid Camber||1 (5%)||10 (20%)||12 (23%)||13 (33%)||18 (50%)||16 (47%)||70 (30%)|
|Hybrid Rocker||0 (0%)||11 (22%)||17 (32%)||15 (38%)||6 (17%)||3 (9%)||52 (22%)|
|Flat to Rocker||12 (60%)||9 (18%)||10 (19%)||10 (25%)||5 (14%)||11 (32%)||57 (25%)|
If you want a more detailed page about the different camber profiles and the styles they suit check out my snowboard camber profiles explained post. It breaks down the different styles of snowboarding and which camber profiles are best suited and most common to each.
What Camber Profile Do You Prefer?
The board that I currently ride has a Hybrid Rocker (camber/rocker/camber) profile and suits my needs well. Do you know the camber style of your board? And if you do what camber style is it and how do you think it affects your riding?