Over the last few years, reverse camber technology has exploded onto the snowboarding scene. Practically every snowboard company offers a series of boards with reverse camber technology. Traditionally, all snowboards came with what was called regular camber. Regular camber is the arch a snowboard displays when laid flat on the surface. This means that the tip and tail of the board rest flat against ground, but the middle of the board is actually elevated off the surface. Now, zero camber and reverse camber snowboards are beginning to command a lot of attention and popularity. But the real question that many have is what is this technology and why has it taken the sport by storm?
Zero camber boards offer superior control in park and urban riding because of their ability of control spins and butters. This is because zero camber boards lie completely flat, with no arc. This gives excellent spin control and zero “pop” when switching edges. Reverse camber offers excellent edge hold and unrivaled floating ability when you are in soft snow and powder. Some riders are even beginning to prefer reverse camber boards for park riding. This is because reverse camber boards start by lying flush in the middle, and elevate as they progress towards the tip and tail. This elevated tip and tail push soft snow under the board, allowing it to float on top. Additionally, this reverse arch on reverse camber boards is in the same shape as a turn. Therefore, when the board is put on edge, it naturally falls into the correct position for a turn. This is what gives reverse camber boards their really strong edge hold. Now if you’re still a bit confused because you’ve yet to come across a board that is called reverse camber outright, that’s because for one reason or another, no snowboard company uses the term reverse camber technology. Most use their own term for their own, slightly tweaked, technology.
To give you a bit of help, here’s a quick rundown on many of the different industry terms for reverse camber. K2 refers to their reverse camber boards as having “Rocker” technology. However, they take it one step further by breaking their rocker technology into three separate categories.
The first is Jib Rocker. Jib Rocker is found on K2’s park line of boards. It is the mildest form of K2’s reverse camber technology and allows their boards to have a very loose, buttery feel. It also allows their park boards to be more forgiving. Jib Rocker ranges from 120-160mm which is very slight rocker by industry standards.
Next in the line is the All-Terrain Rocker. This is found on K2’s Turbo line of boards. All-Terrain Rocker is a blend between park and powder rocker, designed to give the rider a board that floats great in soft snow, and can still be used to jib. All-Terrain Rocker ranges from 180-220mm, which is more intense than the aforementioned Jib Rocker.
Last in K2’s line is the Powder Rocker. Powder Rocker is the most aggressive and is designed to allow the board to float effortlessly in soft snow, yet still hold on hard pack. Powder Rocker ranges from 260mm and above.
Burton also uses the term “Rocker” for their reverse camber technology. They have divided their reverse camber (Rocker) into 2 separate categories, the V-Rocker and the P-Rocker. V-Rocker is designed to curve in three distinct stages, giving the rider superior versatility. Meaning, a V-Rocker board is designed to perform well from park to powder. These V-Rocker boards are a 3 stage rocker with a center rocker between the riders’ feet and additional rockers outside each foot. The outside rockers on the V-Rocker lift the tip and tail off the snow completely offering a very floaty, poppy ride. The V-Rocker also offers pressure distribution edges which offers enhanced grip and power which balances the skateboard like feel from the rocker and offers an overall forgiving feel.
The P-rocker or “New Party Rocker” is designed to make Burton’s park boards easy to slip and slide, allowing for easy spins and butters. The Party Rocker is inspired and fueled by skateboarding and provides a 3 stage rocker just like its V-Rocker counterpart. The difference is that the P-Rocker offers a zero camber rocker between the riders’ feet and rockers in the tip and tail. This zero camber rocker in the center offers an unmatched feel in the park, aiding riders from beginner to expert in their daily shred.
Ride Snowboards refers to their Reverse Camber as “Rize” technology. Specifically, Ride offers “Low Rize” and “High Rize” Rocker technology. Low Rize technology is designed to eliminate edge hooking, and give park and all-mountain riders the benefit of rocker technology. The Low Rize tech has a flat profile through the center of the board which offers a solid platform and a mild rocker in tip and tail to offer a catch free feeling while maintaining full ”Ollie Pop.” Ride has also developed their Low Rize and sidecut technology in unison, to make sure they work together flawlessly to deliver excellent grip and edge control.
Ride’s High Rize technology boards are designed specifically for deep, soft snow. The High Rize technology is much like the Low Rize with zero rocker between the bindings only the High Rize offers an increaesed rocker in the tip and tail designed for powder. With a much more aggressive rocker, Ride’s High Rize boards are designed specifically for superior float.
Forum refers to their technolgoy as “Chilly dog,” which in our opinion, this totally takes the cake as far as creative naming goes. Chilly Dog technology uses a continuous rocker, meaning that it has one constant curve thorough the board. This is opposed to a staged rocker, like Burton, where the arc gets more progressive as you move towards the tip and tail. This continuous arc is designed to make the board more stable and predictable no matter where you are riding. Forum does not have multiple forms of Chilly Dog technology like the previous companies we have explored but do offer different boards with this technology varying in flex patterns for different styles.
Finally, we come to Lib Tech and Gnu. Both of these companies refer to their rocker as “Banana” technology. Although from a food standpoint, Banana’s may not be as appetizing as Chilly Dogs, it is its own unique twist on reverse camber technology. Banana technology uses 2 distinct stages of curve. Starting directly under the rider’s feet, a slight reverse arc is used to begin the rocker. About half way toward the tip and tail, the reverse arc stops and the board goes flat. This is opposed to continually arching all the way through. This flat shape is continues to all the way out to the tip and tail. This unique technology is designed to give float as well as liveliness through its blend of reverse arc and flat curvature.
Gnu also has a specific reverse camber technology coming out in 2010 called “Pickle” technology. Pickle technology is based off the principle that heel side turns require more leverage than toe side turns. Therefore, pickle technology boards will have a deep side cut on the heel side. This is then blended with their existing banana technology to create a board that is designed to float effortlessly, butter and spin with ease, and edge like an all mountain board.
Don’t get too overwhelmed with all the terms we just covered. Reverse camber technology, no matter what the name, is really just designed to give the rider superior float and control. Although reverse camber boards really do ride different than traditional camber boards, which reverse camber technology is the best is yet to be determined. The technology is simply too new. However, reverse camber does promise to be the future of snowboarding. I guess we will have to wait and see!