Camber vs Rocker Snowboards – What’s The Difference?

How to choose a profile

Up until a few years ago, you could put a board down on the snow, look at it sideways and they would all look quite similar. Most board profiles had remained pretty much the same since the late eighties when camber was introduced. Prior to this, the early years of snowboarding were rife with experimentation and all kind of wacky designs.

It’s only in recent seasons that this experimental feel has been revived. In 2007, Lib Tech brought out the Skate Banana and K2 introduced the Gyrator. These reverse camber, or ‘rocker’, sticks marked the start of a board shape revolution.

So, what’s the difference between a cambered board and rocker board? And how does it affect the way you ride?


What does it look like?
When you look at a cambered boards side on, it has four contact points with the snow near the tip and the tail, and it arches up at the centre between the bindings.

What does it do?
Cambered boards feature more pressure on the contact points, allowing more of the effective edge to touch the snow and therefore providing excellent edge grip throughout the turn. Second, there’s increased ollie-power, since the board is essentially pre-tensioned – when you load up the tail, it really wants to snap back like a coiled spring. It might be an older technology, but camber is still the favourite of powerful riders looking for maximum response – these boards are built for charging hard, riding pipes or hitting big booters.


What does it look like?
These boards curve upwards towards the nose and tail in a kind of banana shape. The angle of the reverse camber and the point at which it starts varies from brand to brand.

What does it do?
The upturned tip and tail gives a more loose, playful ride and gives you extra float in powder. On the downside, it isn’t as fast and doesn’t hold an edge like a cambered board. Jibbers and rail riders will often opt for a rockered board, as they’re more manoeuvrable and less likely to catch an edge.

Rocker boards feature raised contact points.


What does it look like?

These boards sit completely flat on the snow, apart from a slight turn up at the nose and tail.

What does it do?
This keeps your effective edge in contact with the snow at all times. As your weight is more evenly spread along the edge, it actually makes it harder to catch an edge compared to a conventional camber board – it’s a very predictable, smooth ride. The downside is that flat boards can feel less lively and lack a little ollie power.


What does it look like?
Hybrid profiles combine elements from camber, rocker and/or flat boards, in the hope of creating an all-rounder. If you look down the edge, it will appear wavy.

What does it do?
Some brands will put the rocker in the middle with camber beneath the bindings – for looser turns without sacrificing pop – while others will put camber in the middle to maintain carving ability with rocker extending towards the nose and tail in order to increase float and mellow out those twitchy contact points. The options are almost endless! Though hybrid boards get the benefits of both profiles, they obviously don’t have the same uncompromised performance as either extreme.

As a final tip…
It can be confusing when you’re trying to decide what kind of profile you want your board to have. We’d recommend really thinking about what you want to use your board for. Are you going to be hitting big kickers or jibbing most of the time? Or do you just want something that’s an all-rounder? Once you’ve worked that out, then it should be easier to decide which kind of profile will suit your style of riding.

Ready to buy? Check out the latest snowboards at Surfdome.


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