snowlink minute: Rocker technology for Snowboards

Snowboard tech Torre Saterstrom explains the difference between traditional snowboard technology and recent and rapid developments in rocker technology. You’ll also see how rocker makes turning easier, offers softer flex in the park, and keeps the board afloat in deep powder.

rocker variables

Rocker might seem like a shiny new thing, but it has come around before. Legend Terry Kidwell touches on the topic in a December 1989 TransWorld interview. His original board was built with rocker, he says: "[It] was a little slippery…we used to call it the Skidwell." But his next model shifted things around. "It has a bit of camber in it…Once the kids get on my new one, they won't want to go back." And so, camber dominated for years, until here we are again with rocker choices before us.


What we have now, that we didn't back then, is the amount

of choices and the cutting-edge technology. These options and technology offer you a different stage to play on. If you like a loose, skate-style ride go with an alternative cambered deck and hold on. If faster, precise ripping is how you roll, then stay in control on camber. If you like to mix it up, get something in the middle. Or if you're simply a soul surfer, go with a hull-shaped powder boat. However you haul on snow, know that there's a board to match it, and even some that do it all. Consider the basic traits of each right here.

1. Regular Camber

The classic. Built with a continuous, arcing shape from contact point to contact point, creating a predictable, reactive ride.

Best for: Speed, stability, pop, carving, response.

Weaknesses: Lack of forgiveness, edge hooks, more work to float in pow.

Model examples: Burton Aftermath, Capita Stairmaster

3. Rocker Camber

Rocker camber (reverse) boards are built with a U-shape of varying degrees. It can be as subtle as a small rise in the tips, or a drastic bend throughout the entire length of the board.

Best for: Effortless presses, powder float, playfulness, learning.

Weaknesses: Instability, unpredictability, and looped out landings.

Model examples: K2 Gyrator, DC PBJ

2. Flat Or Zero Camber

The middleman. These designs have a completely flat profile from contact point to contact point.

Best for: Consistent flex, not too aggressive, not too loose, easier to keep up in pow.

Weaknesses: A less responsive area between the feet, slow to initiate turns, slight washout on lips & landings.

Model examples: Nitro Rook, Salomon Riot

4. Camber Hybrid (combination)

These boards are designed with the best attributes of both camber and rocker. They have rocker between the feet and camber outwards, vice versa, and any mix of the two.

Best for: A blend of conditions and terrain, one board quiver.

Weaknesses: Strange flex patterns, weird balance points,wavering edge hold.

Model examples: LibTech Attack Banana, Forum Youngblood DoubleDog

 

Snowboard Shapes

Today all snowboard shops are carrying some type of rocker board alongside traditional camber boards. Shops around the nation from big-box stores to core shops have been educated on the differences between rocker and camber boards and articulated them clearly. Each store TWBiz called did a great job giving an accurate account of the differences between the two types of boards. Check out what board shops around the country think shred best on their local hill:

"Up here, rocker works really well. It is not as catchy and works well in deep snow. Camber is a bit more traditional, but in terms of just a more versatile all-around board, I would go with a rocker. In the heavy snow, rocker is also easier to handle and not as much work."

- Chris O'Connor, Northwest Snowboards, Tacoma, WA

"It depends on the scenario. If you were riding all-mountain and just riding around, I would recommend a rockered board. Having rocker will make the board more versatile; it is easier to ride and performs well from powder to park. Rocker is not as stable in some cases as a camber board, but overall for Utah conditions a Rocker will treat you right."

- Colin Howells, Salty Peaks, Salt Lake City, UT

"If you are just riding the mountain and not a whole lot of park, traditional camber is still awesome. It takes a little more work to ride, but it for sure still has its pros that you cannot get in a rocker. If you dig the park, though, and the more skate-like feel, you will think the rocker is more enjoyable. In the East Coast, though, I think that having camber is important and you should try to stick with it if you like that feel."

- Lauren Suriani, Sliders Snowboard Shop, Colden, NY

"Although the rocker boards are all the talk right now and very popular for the icy hardpack we rock in Minnesota, it's best to have camber. It gives you great edge hold and isn't as squirrelly. If you are riding a lot of park, it's a great option, but for most of the riding out here camber still works best."

- Mark Williams, Summit Board Shop, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

"I think you have to first recognize that it is a total personal preference. Tons of people out here who ride park and want the similar feel to a skate ride a rocker. You don't see too many people with camber on the mountain. Rocker is just easier to ride and works a little better all over the mountain. If you are hooked on that camber, though, I say don't change a good thing. It really comes down to what you want ride. Try them both out!"

- Tyler Span, Five Points Skate & Snowboards,Ventura, CA

snowlink minute: Rocker technology for Snowboards

Snowboard tech Torre Saterstrom explains the difference between traditional snowboard technology and recent and rapid developments in rocker technology. You’ll also see how rocker makes turning easier, offers softer flex in the park, and keeps the board afloat in deep powder.

rocker variables

Rocker might seem like a shiny new thing, but it has come around before. Legend Terry Kidwell touches on the topic in a December 1989 TransWorld interview. His original board was built with rocker, he says: "[It] was a little slippery…we used to call it the Skidwell." But his next model shifted things around. "It has a bit of camber in it…Once the kids get on my new one, they won't want to go back." And so, camber dominated for years, until here we are again with rocker choices before us.


What we have now, that we didn't back then, is the amount

of choices and the cutting-edge technology. These options and technology offer you a different stage to play on. If you like a loose, skate-style ride go with an alternative cambered deck and hold on. If faster, precise ripping is how you roll, then stay in control on camber. If you like to mix it up, get something in the middle. Or if you're simply a soul surfer, go with a hull-shaped powder boat. However you haul on snow, know that there's a board to match it, and even some that do it all. Consider the basic traits of each right here.

1. Regular Camber

The classic. Built with a continuous, arcing shape from contact point to contact point, creating a predictable, reactive ride.

Best for: Speed, stability, pop, carving, response.

Weaknesses: Lack of forgiveness, edge hooks, more work to float in pow.

Model examples: Burton Aftermath, Capita Stairmaster

3. Rocker Camber

Rocker camber (reverse) boards are built with a U-shape of varying degrees. It can be as subtle as a small rise in the tips, or a drastic bend throughout the entire length of the board.

Best for: Effortless presses, powder float, playfulness, learning.

Weaknesses: Instability, unpredictability, and looped out landings.

Model examples: K2 Gyrator, DC PBJ

2. Flat Or Zero Camber

The middleman. These designs have a completely flat profile from contact point to contact point.

Best for: Consistent flex, not too aggressive, not too loose, easier to keep up in pow.

Weaknesses: A less responsive area between the feet, slow to initiate turns, slight washout on lips & landings.

Model examples: Nitro Rook, Salomon Riot

4. Camber Hybrid (combination)

These boards are designed with the best attributes of both camber and rocker. They have rocker between the feet and camber outwards, vice versa, and any mix of the two.

Best for: A blend of conditions and terrain, one board quiver.

Weaknesses: Strange flex patterns, weird balance points,wavering edge hold.

Model examples: LibTech Attack Banana, Forum Youngblood DoubleDog

 

Snowboard Shapes

Today all snowboard shops are carrying some type of rocker board alongside traditional camber boards. Shops around the nation from big-box stores to core shops have been educated on the differences between rocker and camber boards and articulated them clearly. Each store TWBiz called did a great job giving an accurate account of the differences between the two types of boards. Check out what board shops around the country think shred best on their local hill:

"Up here, rocker works really well. It is not as catchy and works well in deep snow. Camber is a bit more traditional, but in terms of just a more versatile all-around board, I would go with a rocker. In the heavy snow, rocker is also easier to handle and not as much work."

- Chris O'Connor, Northwest Snowboards, Tacoma, WA

"It depends on the scenario. If you were riding all-mountain and just riding around, I would recommend a rockered board. Having rocker will make the board more versatile; it is easier to ride and performs well from powder to park. Rocker is not as stable in some cases as a camber board, but overall for Utah conditions a Rocker will treat you right."

- Colin Howells, Salty Peaks, Salt Lake City, UT

"If you are just riding the mountain and not a whole lot of park, traditional camber is still awesome. It takes a little more work to ride, but it for sure still has its pros that you cannot get in a rocker. If you dig the park, though, and the more skate-like feel, you will think the rocker is more enjoyable. In the East Coast, though, I think that having camber is important and you should try to stick with it if you like that feel."

- Lauren Suriani, Sliders Snowboard Shop, Colden, NY

"Although the rocker boards are all the talk right now and very popular for the icy hardpack we rock in Minnesota, it's best to have camber. It gives you great edge hold and isn't as squirrelly. If you are riding a lot of park, it's a great option, but for most of the riding out here camber still works best."

- Mark Williams, Summit Board Shop, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

"I think you have to first recognize that it is a total personal preference. Tons of people out here who ride park and want the similar feel to a skate ride a rocker. You don't see too many people with camber on the mountain. Rocker is just easier to ride and works a little better all over the mountain. If you are hooked on that camber, though, I say don't change a good thing. It really comes down to what you want ride. Try them both out!"

- Tyler Span, Five Points Skate & Snowboards,Ventura, CA