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Old 02-13-2011, 01:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rocker, Camber, and everything in between

Looking around at all of the current board designs at the SIA show in Denver a couple of weeks ago was cool as always, but also dizzying. Board profiles (camber, rocker, etc.) were still the top story, with every booth showing off their favorite flavor (or in most cases flavors). It made me think how confusing it would be for a newer rider to make a board choice in the current market and how hard it would be to feel confident in their selection. There are now so many varieties out there that it is hard to stay on top of them all.

I thought it might be helpful to start a thread here that showed the basic profile types all in one place without the marketing spin. There are definately many sub categories of each, but these are the broad strokes.




Traditional Camber

Pros - Tried and true performance. Great rebound which helps transition from edge to edge and also adds to pop for ollies etc. Longer running surface means good speed and edge bite in carves. Boards can be ridden shorter than some other designs without sacrificing running surface.

Cons - The contact points of the effective edge (roughly the boards wide points) are in constant contact with the snow. That can mean caught edges and some hard take downs.

Rocker

Pros - Easy turn initiation. Lifted wide points even when weighted means less caught edges. There are many varieties of this design which include various degrees of rocker, asymmetrical rocker (nose lifted more than tail, rocker center point shifted more towards tail, etc.) and multi-stage rocker.

Cons - Lost running surface, lost rebound, lost edge grip (many rocker designs get around this by using other design elements to add grip back in).

Flat

Pros - Maximum Stability. Longer running surface. Boards can be ridden shorter.

Cons - No inherent rebound. Without additional measures these boards tend to feel less lively. The contact points of the effective edge (roughly the boards wide points) are in constant contact with the snow. That can mean caught edges and some hard take downs.

Camber-Rocker-Camber

Pros - Reestablishes much of the lost running surface inherent to camber and some of the rebound. There are many different varieties of this design which alter the placement of the camber and rocker elements as well as the dimensions of those elements.

Cons - Potential for more catchy spots due to the multi stage profile.

Rocker-Camber-Rocker

Pros - Reduces the issue mentioned above from traditional camber where the wide points create catch spots. Good rebound.

Cons - less running surface than conventional camber.

Flat with lifted contact points

Pros - Reduces the issue mentioned above from Flat where the wide points create catch spots. There are many variations of this design. Some have so long a flat spot that they are very close to flat. Others have so little flat spot that they might better be called "Rocker with a little flat spot".

Cons - less running surface than Flat.

Flat-Rocker-Flat

Pros - Reestablishes much of the lost running surface inherent to camber and some of the rebound. This design has a little smoother weighted profile than Camber-Rocker-Camber...

Cons - ...but a bit less rebound and pop.

Last edited by Wiredsport; 02-14-2011 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This deserves a sticky. Good form, WS.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very nice! A simple representation of each style is much more easy to understand for most people than a description.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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this helps me alot since im just getting back into the game and all this new stuff is confusing. but could someone tell me what each one does? flows website has descriptions of each profile/design but they all just make it seem like each profile/design type does the same thing, or maybe its just the way im reading it.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This thread is almost complete. We just now need you to tell us which one is best.

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Old 02-13-2011, 06:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice! I might include the benefits of each later, with your consent, WS.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tj_ras View Post
this helps me alot since im just getting back into the game and all this new stuff is confusing. but could someone tell me what each one does? flows website has descriptions of each profile/design but they all just make it seem like each profile/design type does the same thing, or maybe its just the way im reading it.
I'll take a crack at that, but please understand that these will be sweeping generalities and that all of the other elements of board design will also play a role.

Traditional Camber

Pros - Tried and true performance. Great rebound which helps transition from edge to edge and also adds to pop for ollies etc. Longer running surface means good speed and edge bite in carves. Boards can be ridden shorter than some other designs without sacrificing running surface.

Cons - The contact points of the effective edge (roughly the boards wide points) are in constant contact with the snow. That can mean caught edges and some hard take downs.

Rocker

Pros - Easy turn initiation. Lifted wide points even when weighted means less caught edges. There are many varieties of this design which include various degrees of rocker, asymmetrical rocker (nose lifted more than tail, rocker center point shifted more towards tail, etc.) and multi-stage rocker.

Cons - Lost running surface, lost rebound, lost edge grip (many rocker designs get around this by using other design elements to add grip back in).

Flat

Pros - Maximum Stability. Longer running surface. Boards can be ridden shorter.

Cons - No inherent rebound. Without additional measures these boards tend to feel less lively. The contact points of the effective edge (roughly the boards wide points) are in constant contact with the snow. That can mean caught edges and some hard take downs.

Camber-Rocker-Camber

Pros - Reestablishes much of the lost running surface inherent to camber and some of the rebound. There are many different varieties of this design which alter the placement of the camber and rocker elements as well as the dimensions of those elements.

Cons - Potential for more catchy spots due to the multi stage profile.

Rocker-Camber-Rocker

Pros - Reduces the issue mentioned above from traditional camber where the wide points create catch spots. Good rebound.

Cons - less running surface than conventional camber.

Flat with lifted contact points

Pros - Reduces the issue mentioned above from Flat where the wide points create catch spots. There are many variations of this design. Some have so long a flat spot that they are very close to flat. Others have so little flat spot that they might better be called "Rocker with a little flat spot".

Cons - less running surface than Flat.

Flat-Rocker-Flat

Pros - Reestablishes much of the lost running surface inherent to camber and some of the rebound. This design has a little smoother weighted profile than Camber-Rocker-Camber...

Cons - ...but a bit less rebound and pop.

Last edited by Wiredsport; 02-13-2011 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is an excellent reference tool. Both the diagrams and the descriptions are very clear -- among the best I've seen.

I have just one comment, which concerns the two popular hybrid configurations that you have accurately listed as "Camber-Rocker-Camber" and "Rocker-Camber-Rocker." The companies that use these camber types tend to name them from the inside out, i.e., they start with what's between the bindings and then go to what's under the bindings or at the tips. Camber-Rocker-Camber becomes just Rocker & Camber, or R.C. (as Never Summer calls it), and Rocker-Camber-Rocker becomes Camber/Rocker, or CamRock (as Nidecker and Jones call it).

Hopefully this will help avoid any potential confusion about how these configurations are employed by board makers.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Another variation is the cambered board with a lifted tip and tail. Kessler started this in the snowboarding world for racing, with others quickly following. It's been "the" design that is putting riders on the podium. Alpine riders in general have embraced the technology.

Coiler NSR2 (New School Race) with lifted tip and tail:


From Catek's website, NA dealer for Kessler, "What is it that makes Kessler boards so special? According to Hansjürg Kessler, the most important component of the boards' success is the KST shape – an advanced, multi-radius sidecut, combined synergistically with a totally revolutionary nose shape, camber profile and taper to ensure fantastic edgehold as well as incredibly efficient and smooth turn initiation and completion.

Unlike other board designs, which can overpressure the tip and tail during a turn (exhibited as a tendency for the nose to "dive" or "plow" during turn initiation, and the tail to "hook" at the end of the turn), the Kessler KST shape redistributes edge pressure, so that the nose feeds smoothly into the turn, providing maximum acceleration and optimal edge pressure distribution. The tail of a KST board releases cleanly and smoothly at the end of the turn. The overall smoothness of the KST shape increases rider control and safety, reduces skidding, and ensures maximum speed throughout the turn.

And what about the construction? Well, Kessler has been specializing in titanal construction snowboards for years. Since vaulting onto the US scene with Philipp Schoch's Gold in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, Kessler titanal boards have racked up an overwhelming number of wins. Kessler has continually tested and refined board construction techniques, and produces the most advanced, most copied, and most envied titanal boards in the world.

Hallmarks of the Kessler construction are superior torsional strength, with a supple longitudinal flex pattern that enables the board to track unerringly over difficult race conditions. The boards provide tenacious edgehold, smooth tracking, and a damp, controlled ride.

It all adds up to a world-beating product, and CATEK is very excited to be able to offer Kessler boards to North American riders."

In my own words, the lifted (of decambered) tip allows faster/snappier carve initiation. It slices through the snow, guiding the way to decamber the more stable cambered main section. The result is less chatter and more stability. The lifted tail allows a cleaner, faster release that isn't as "hooky" as traditional all-camber shapes. As the Kessler description alludes to, these boards are also generally being made in conjuction with chatter dampening titanal lamination(s) and modern progressive sidecuts, which are usually tighter in nose through more open in the tail, to fully compliment the benefits of the lifted tip/tail design. These boards are generally made for balls out, high speed carving with very high edge angles. A side benefit, though, is that if the rider is skidding turns (ie; at much lower edge angles), the lifted tip and tail are not at a high enough angle to be engaged, so the board skids around like a much shorter board, with only the cambered section biting the snow. So my 182cm Coiler for example, rages full length in carves, but rides more like a 160-something board at slower, skidded speeds, in crowds, etc.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAA View Post
Another variation is the cambered board with a lifted tip and tail. Kessler started this in the snowboarding world for racing, with others quickly following. It's been "the" design that is putting riders on the podium. Alpine riders in general have embraced the technology.

Coiler NSR2 (New School Race) with lifted tip and tail:


From Catek's website, NA dealer for Kessler, "What is it that makes Kessler boards so special? According to Hansjürg Kessler, the most important component of the boards' success is the KST shape – an advanced, multi-radius sidecut, combined synergistically with a totally revolutionary nose shape, camber profile and taper to ensure fantastic edgehold as well as incredibly efficient and smooth turn initiation and completion.

Unlike other board designs, which can overpressure the tip and tail during a turn (exhibited as a tendency for the nose to "dive" or "plow" during turn initiation, and the tail to "hook" at the end of the turn), the Kessler KST shape redistributes edge pressure, so that the nose feeds smoothly into the turn, providing maximum acceleration and optimal edge pressure distribution. The tail of a KST board releases cleanly and smoothly at the end of the turn. The overall smoothness of the KST shape increases rider control and safety, reduces skidding, and ensures maximum speed throughout the turn.

And what about the construction? Well, Kessler has been specializing in titanal construction snowboards for years. Since vaulting onto the US scene with Philipp Schoch's Gold in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, Kessler titanal boards have racked up an overwhelming number of wins. Kessler has continually tested and refined board construction techniques, and produces the most advanced, most copied, and most envied titanal boards in the world.

Hallmarks of the Kessler construction are superior torsional strength, with a supple longitudinal flex pattern that enables the board to track unerringly over difficult race conditions. The boards provide tenacious edgehold, smooth tracking, and a damp, controlled ride.

It all adds up to a world-beating product, and CATEK is very excited to be able to offer Kessler boards to North American riders."

In my own words, the lifted (of decambered) tip allows faster/snappier carve initiation. It slices through the snow, guiding the way to decamber the more stable cambered main section. The result is less chatter and more stability. The lifted tail allows a cleaner, faster release that isn't as "hooky" as traditional all-camber shapes. As the Kessler description alludes to, these boards are also generally being made in conjuction with chatter dampening titanal lamination(s) and modern progressive sidecuts, which are usually tighter in nose through more open in the tail, to fully compliment the benefits of the lifted tip/tail design. These boards are generally made for balls out, high speed carving with very high edge angles. A side benefit, though, is that if the rider is skidding turns (ie; at much lower edge angles), the lifted tip and tail are not at a high enough angle to be engaged, so the board skids around like a much shorter board, with only the cambered section biting the snow. So my 182cm Coiler for example, rages full length in carves, but rides more like a 160-something board at slower, skidded speeds, in crowds, etc.
Interesting, I totally want to try an alpine setup one day
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