Understanding a Snowboard’s Profile

You’ve mastered the basic parts of the snowboard, and now you want to better understand how the shape affects the way you shred. You should understand three vocabulary terms: camber, rocker, and flat.

Camber is the traditional profile for skis and snowboards. This is when the board has a slight upward curve in the middle with contact points (where the unweighted board contacts the snow) close to the ends. This type of profile requires more effort to turn but is excellent in nearly any snow condition. The rider’s weight puts pressure on the entire board, resulting in an increased edgehold. This is a great choice for racers and park riders.

Traditional Camber boards are the best for carving and jumping; the distribution of weight allows the edge to hold better than most shapes, allowing for precision and a decreased chance of slipping or catching an edge.

Rocker, also known as Reverse Camber, is exactly what it sounds like; Camber turned upside down. Rather than touching the snow at the tip and tail, an unweighted board will touch the snow at the center.  Rocker boards are excellent for soft snow and have easy turn initiation with a decreased chance of catching an edge. This is a popular profile for places known for powdery conditions, such as Colorado or British Columbia. Though jumps are harder to land, you’ll be able to float over ungroomed trails.

Flat, again, is exactly what you would expect—no Camber or Rocker. If you lay the board on a table with no weight, there will not be any space between the base and the table. This type of profile provides a better edge grip than rocker and a better maneuverability than camber.

Your board’s profile will affect the way you ride. If you’re confused about your style and which profile is best for you, visit your local board shop or sporting retailer. There, a professional should be able to assess your style and make accurate recommendations based on what you may need.