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Why Are Stiffer Cambered Boards for "Expert"

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Every time I run into the label Advanced-Expert it's on a stiffer camber board, and I do not know why.

I've only been riding for 2 weeks and I just had the best riding experience of my life on a Harvest 158 Freeride that was around a 6-7 stiffness camber board, and I weigh 165lbs. It was so stable it gave me enough confidence to absolutely molest black runs with quick edge to edging. Not a single fall. Didn't even catch flat.

Then I try a 151 Burton v-rocker (Labeled beginner) and fall down more than I ever imagined humanely possible on greens and blues. Couldn't gain anything remotely resemblant of speed without washing out, no edge hold at all.

So what gives?
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A "6-7" stiffness isn't a stiff board.

You hop on a truly stiff cambered board without having a really good feel for edge control and you're gonna get your ass slammed. A stiff cambered board is very unforgiving. My favorite combo for bombing on groomers or for riding sketchy, variable conditions, but also unforgiving for beginners. However, if you do learn on a stiff cambered board, you'll learn to ride correctly.
 

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A "6-7" stiffness isn't a stiff board.

You hop on a truly stiff cambered board without having a really good feel for edge control and you're gonna get your ass slammed. A stiff cambered board is very unforgiving. My favorite combo for bombing on groomers or for riding sketchy, variable conditions, but also unforgiving for beginners. However, if you do learn on a stiff cambered board, you'll learn to ride correctly.
Pretty much this. :)
 

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Just picked up a JDUB. Thing is 60% camber 40% rocker...don't really see the rocker at the tips but its gunna get used this weekend. Stiffness of like an 8-9 and magna traction should be quite interesting. I'm getting back on a camber board after using the Salomon drift rocker stifness 3-4. Im expecting to feel pretty weird on the first few runs of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I race jetskis and I'm starting wakeboarding, otherwise not really. I hadn't been going that fast prior, however everything felt so good when I got on that board, that it was like I had an epiphany. My confidence effectively tripled and I decided I was going to just go balls out until I ate shit, and amazingly it worked out. The harder I went, the harder it gripped.

I do not think it was Burton. It was some small time custom piece. Harvest Freeride Snowboards is the brand, model is a Surf 158. Got a bird as it's logo. I can't find shit about it on Google. It's definitely directional with some setback, and a full camber.

The V rocker I believe was a Cruzer 151.

I'd keep the Harvest if he didn't want it back. So that leaves me needing to get my own ride. Knowing my preference now, I'm looking at the BSOD, Bataleon Enemy, Man's Board, and Burton Custom X all in 156 or 159.
 

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The beginner/intermediate/advanced/expert board rating typically refers to how big/fast/hard the rider intends to go. A newbie on a stiff, cambered board may find more diffultly learning to turn and more likely to catch an edge than with a more noodley setup. On the flipside, an advanced rider trying to ride fast and hard on a soft beginner board will find it very chattery and prone to wash out. (Of course, when I started, everything was stiff and cambered. :D )

The stiffest board I've ridden, from 155 to 185cm, was a 178 Oxygen Proton with hardboots. The thing was a beast to try skid around and manhandle in tight, slow, crowded conditions. In those conditions or in choppy snow, it would wear you out quickly! But, once you were able to open it up and passed a certain "threshold speed" on steeper/less crowded runs, the thing suddenly came alive and was a ton of fun with lots of rebound and fantastic edge hold. Of course you needed plenty of strength and stamina to maintain balls to the walls hard carving, but the board worked with you then instead of against you. It's very frustrating to try to rail like that on a floppy board.

Board materials and geometry have fortunately taken a leap in recent years to close the versatility gap. My current ride is a 182 hardboot deck, cambered, but with slightly decambered tip and tail. When carving hard with a high edge angle, the nose provides a quicker, more solid initiaion, while the entire length is engaged, providing phenomenal edgehold, and the tail releases easily. If the need to skid arises, though, the flipped ends are off the snow, so the board turns like one much shorter than it's actual length. Titanal layering means more chatter absorption, and less stiffeness. Hard carving edgehold is much improved, too, though you really need to bring your A-game with every hard-charging run or it will vault you into the trees. Most of the sidecut is in the nose, which flares to near straight in the tail; meaning you have to be very aggressive starting high in the carve because you rocket from the exit. Triply-so in tight conditions where high edge angles and tight carves are a must. Wicked fast ride, but you need to be able to control it.

I've never seen a newbie "molest" a black run, but if you're confident on that board, by all means stick with it. Perhaps you have some other "boarding" related background that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Well, I'm sure how I'm gauging my performance is to a lesser grade than a more experience rider. I probably should've just said that I had a personal breakthrough or evolution, where I jumped a skill gap, felt highly comfortable doing dangerous things, and realized I loved cambered freeride style boards.

Also, I ended up ordering last years Bataleon Enemy 157 from evo.com because it seemed like a great deal, along with some Union SLs. Let you know how it holds up to the aforementioned riding when it gets here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Haha, I have no other locations to gauge myself by. I've only ridden here in WV, but still having a blast! We have some great mountains. Hopefully I'll make it out to the west coast by the end of the season. But I'm by no means unathletic. I powerlift, rock climb, race, so I have the strength and stamina to manipulate the board which I'm sure helps. It seems like boarding skill is confidence based more than anything, having the willingness to follow through with the moves, and once I started that it was all gravy.
 

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East-Coast blacks = West-Coast blues.
yes but regular riding conditions in the the east coast = caution! icy terrain ahead, do not enter, very dangerous, hazardous signs in the westcoast :p
 

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I could see a young, fit, and *daring* new rider charging down blacks on powder days. With soft snow to cushion most of the wrecks and yard sales, the only thing holding them back would be physical exertion/tiredness (which can be considerable when you are new to the sport), or failing that, getting mentally tired of falling on your ass/face every 20 yards.

Could happen. Dunno about it happening this season, though.... powder is hard to come by!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been riding at Winterplace almost daily because I only live 30 minutes away. It's a rather small place, almost always hardpack or ice, only a few soft days last weekend. I've also hit up Snowshoe which I considered to be a very large and nice resort mountain. Those are the only two I've tried, but next on my radar is Timberline. My buddy tells me that there are some really nice runs there which they do not groom, so when it hits fresh you can get a taste of pow riding.
 

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I've been riding at Winterplace almost daily because I only live 30 minutes away. It's a rather small place, almost always hardpack or ice, only a few soft days last weekend. I've also hit up Snowshoe which I considered to be a very large and nice resort mountain. Those are the only two I've tried, but next on my radar is Timberline. My buddy tells me that there are some really nice runs there which they do not groom, so when it hits fresh you can get a taste of pow riding.

Winterplace 90 acres
snowshoe 244 acres
Timberline 100 acres

Dude, you need to take a road trip.

Vail 5000
squaw 4000
Mammoth 3500
 

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If you are being totally honest, you are the exception not the rule. Did you come from any other board sports background or skiing? Typically a new rider is NOT going to be linking turns on a black run in 2 weeks and certainly not making quick edge to edge transitions.
I am an exception too than? Because I was linking turns on blacks in 2 weeks and landing back 180's in 3 off of small 10 footers. Than again learned on like a 9 out of 10 flex cambered deck hahahaha.
 
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