Snowboards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This post aims to outline what the different snowboard shapes are and what style each shape is designed for.
The images below are just some examples of the different shape types. There are a large number of variations of each shape type available but all of those shapes should fit somewhere in the following broad categories:
- True Twin
- Directional Twin
- Tapered Directional
True Twin Shape
A true twin shape is completely symmetrical. If you cut a true twin in half exactly down the middle you would end up with two identical pieces of board.
This means that the nose and the tail are the same length and the same width and the bindings are centred on the board – i.e. they are equal distances from the centre of the board and the front binding is the same distance from the nose as the back binding is from the tail.
Of course, as you can adjust the width of the position of the bindings you could create a setback stance if you were so inclined but this would be unusual on a true twin given its purpose (see below) and might be a strange feel depending on the camber profile (i.e. one foot could end up being over camber and the other over rocker which would probably feel odd).
In addition to this a true twin has exactly the same flex in the nose and tail.
Who Rides True Twin?
Because it is completely symmetrical in shape, it will feel exactly the same riding switch as it does to ride in your normal direction. If you are riding freestyle you will likely be riding switch a lot particularly setting up for or landing 180s & 540s, performing tricks on or off rails/boxes, in the pipe and just in general.
Directional Twin Shape
The directional twin at first glance appears to be a true twin but will have something different between the shape, size or flex of the nose and the tail.
Sometimes the tail might have a stiffer flex, or the camber profile is different towards the nose than it is towards the tail or the nose might be raised slightly more than the tail.
It could also be a true twin shape with a setback stance. In which case, the board will be designed with a setback stance in mind – so the camber profile will be designed so that it feels right in that setback stance.
Who Rides Directional Twin?
Depending on which factor makes it directional it will be better for certain things. For example if the nose is raised more than the tail it will allow for better float in powder.
A Directional shape does at it sounds – it is designed to go in one direction easier than the other.
A directional board will have a different shaped nose and tail and a different length in the nose and tail (though the nose and tail will typically be the same width unlike the tapered directional below).
The sidecut will also be different between the centre of the board and the nose than it is between the centre and the tail – it will be so that it is better for going in that one direction.
The stance will almost always be setback on a directional board and the flex and camber profiles of the nose and tail may differ.
Who Rides Directional?
Whilst you can still learn to ride switch on a directional board it would take a bit to get used to and will feel very different riding in one direction than the other.
Tapered Directional Shape
A tapered directional shape is like a directional shape but the width of the nose will be noticeably larger than the width of the tail.
Almost everything about the tail and the nose will be different – flex, sidecut, length and width. The stance will always be setback and everything is designed to go only in one direction.
Who rides tapered directional?
This one is definitely all about the freeriders. It’s all about tackling the toughest terrain the mountain has to offer, particularly in the backcountry (off piste) and in powder.
You could try riding switch but it is going to feel really strange and be really difficult.
Hopefully this post has increased your understanding of the various snowboard shapes and what each shape does well and not so well. There are of course a lot of different shapes but all should fit in one of the above categories.
Thanks for reading
I hope this post has given you a better understanding of the different snowboard shapes and which shapes suit which styles.
Any comments, questions or feedback very welcome below.