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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What is Snowboard Rocker and Camber?

Snowboard technology can be confusing: camber, twin-tip, rocker, beveled edge, sintered base, etc is just a partial list of all the jargon used to describe a snowboard. I can’t explain it all in this post, but I will explain one of the most important aspects – rocker and camber.

What is rocker and camber?
Rocker and camber are the terms used to describe the curvature of your board from tip to tail. Meaning, when you set your board down on the ground, it’s the gap you see underneath your board either in the middle or toward the ends of your board. This is best explained through pictures above. 

In the top picture, you can see that when the board is sitting on the ground, the middle actually arches up a creating a air gap. This shape is called camber. Whereas, when you look at the bottom picture, the board steadily curves up from the center of the board. This creates larger air gaps toward the end of the board. This is called rocker.

*Important*  Rocker = Reverse Camber
The whole "rocker" thing is fairly new, so before it became branded as "rocker" many people simply called it reverse camber. This was confusing for me at first and may be confusing for you because some people and companies still call rocker reverse camber. They are the same thing!

Types of Rocker and Camber:
As you can imagine, there is a whole range of rocker and camber. Everything from a very aggressive rocker (aka it looks like a big smiley face), to a flat profile, to a very aggressive camber (looks like a big frowny face). As of recently, there are even hybrid profiles. A hybrid profile could be some rocker in the middle that flows into a camber towards the ends. Every company may have different advertising lingo, but the basic thing you have to remember is this:

Camber = frowny face
Rocker = smiley face

Which one is better?
The right answer will depend on your riding conditions, riding style, and your skill level. Here is a basic breakdown of what each is good for and who might use them.

- Great for groomed or hard pack snow
- Great for holding hard edges. It will feel "grippier"

Rocker:- Awesome for powder riding
- Great for beginners because it will reduce edge-catching
- Perfect for the terrain park rider

Personally, I would never ride a full rocker board (unless it was a super deep powder day). I grew up riding a camber, so a full rocker board feels way too loose for me. I actually ride a hybrid - the Lib Tech Travis Rice and think its the perfect compromise.