Need help with board choice
I've been riding a long time (since about '92), but only a few days per season. I'm looking to upgrade my gear and need some help. My current ride is a 2000 Burton Custom 160 with Custom bindings. I live in Australia and for those that don't know, our mountains aren't very high and snow is pretty marginal, ie often wet, and icy in the morning. When it snows the pow tends to be on the heavy side. I like to ride all-mountain. I think I would be described as "advanced" but by no means expert. I've been told I have a cruisy/laid-back carvy style. I don't do any park, but like to carve, and be able to jump, ride up natural walls, get off into the trees (tight turns in the steeps) and maybe throw the occasional flatland trick. I want to improve my carving on the steeps, especially my turn initiation.
So, looking at gear, it seems I now have to choose between a traditional positive cambered board and a rockered board. I've done a lot of reading of reviews of various boards and while I'm leaning towards something with a hybrid camber (eg. LibTech TRS C2BTX, Arbor Element RX, LibTech Attack Banana), I have some doubts about the negative camber thing. It comes down to this: at the level I'm at, would I be taking my learning backwards by picking up a rockered board, ie would I be "un-teaching" myself how to carve and initiate turns properly? Are the rockered boards really intended for intermediates and people wanting to ride pow or park (not me), and would I be better learning "proper" carving on a cambered board then taking that forward into trick territory?
In answering, any board/binding set-up recommendations are welcome. An instructor recommended an Arbor Element board, some stiff Rome bindings and 32 Lash boots (if they fit).
Any comments welcome.
C2BTX is still an extremely strong shape for carving, for me it seems to be very similar to traditional positive camber, so I wouldn't worry too much about that regressing your skill level. The center rocker does absolutely destroy the pop you can get out of these boards (pop as in jumping straight up with both legs simultaneously) but they still have plenty of ollie power, so it just takes a bit of getting used to if you want more vertical on your jumps.
BTX, however, will probably disappoint you a whole lot. the flat/rocker/flat design is much washier and nowhere near as stable at speed. Make sure you're looking at camber/rocker/camber designs.
I ride a Lib Tech T.Rice, and it sounds like it's right up your alley. Very stiff C2BTX, aggressive magnetraction is great on ice, and it's fantastic at high speeds.
I bought the TRice last season after riding a camber board for 12 years. I definitely did no have to re-learn, but just had to adjust slightly to the feel of the board. Not at all unlike the transition from one cambered board to the next. I actually had a harder time adjusting between a new camber board 5 years ago because it was stiffer than the board I learned on.
As for pure carving ability, some people would argue that camber is still better for that and I might agree, based on my limited time riding C2, but magnatraction does help the edge hold on ice which might be attractive for you carving up the ice in the morning.
I really like C2 because it still carves well and is MUCH better in the powder than my camber board even though it is 6 cm smaller. I also still find that the TRice has pleanty of pop.
I definitely do not think that a rockered/hybrid board would make you "regress" at all.
I actually think it would make things a lot more "fun" again, as compared to a regular camber board a rockered/hybrid is a lot more loose of a feel, but in a good way. You control the board under your feet (like a skateboard) instead of letting the tips/tails leading the way.
I went from a Ride All Mountain 155 from like 2002 or 2003, to a 2010 Banana Magic (which does not have the full "C2", but is a hybrid where it is rockered in the middle, regular camber around the feet, and rockered again at the tips) and the Magic outshines the Ride in every way imagineable (which it should, as it is 8-9 years newer).
The thing carves harder than any board I've ever ridden. That may be because of the magnetraction or whatever, but when you're carving it feels like you're on rails.
So I definitely wouldn't worry about anything regarding a reverse camber board... do it. They are fun.
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