Camber Theories Explained

Camber used to be one of the easiest things to explain about a snowboard. Now everyone’s tossing around buzz words because of the anti-camber technology that’s floating around. It’s something that I’m noticing people don’t fully comprehend with the various differences and are in turn butchering it when trying to reference it or write a review of a board with it.


To understand reverse camber you have to look at what traditional camber is. If you lay your board flat on the ground there will be a space between it and the mid section of the board, that’s the camber. This is what you end up loading and unloading to drive through turns and initiate pop. This has been the standard for what boards have been pressed with for 20 something years. Hopefully everyone grasps this concept because it’s simple enough.

True reverse camber is just the opposite of camber. Lay the board flat and from the dead center the board will bend upwards in a mellow U shape. Mervins Banana Technology is the prime example of this. That mellow U shape keeps the contact points raised off the snow and there is essentially no flat spot between the bindings.

The next variation of reverse camber are the ones that offer a mix of both reverse and positive camber. Most common is the Never Summer R.C. Technology. How this works is that it’s a reversed camber between the feet then a micro camber just after the inserts. The reversed part lifts the contact points off the snow just enough to let them be catch free, while the cambered section still allows you to have solid pop. Mervin will be offering this up in their Banana C2 for next season and Nitro did it this year in the Sub Pop this year and will have it in the Sub Zero and a version based off their Team model. It’s really in a realm of it’s own.

You can even tell by this diagram that the buzz words get tossed around a lot.

Rocker is a little different as some people claim that they’re reversing the camber between the feet. Basic concept of Rocker is just like that of a rocking chair, back and forth, back and forth, get the idea? The common one is the 3-stage rocker which K2 utilized a lot that’s where it’s flat between the feet then a gradual rise depending on it’s purpose towards the contact points. Burton does their V rocker which is like it sounds a V shaped rocker between the inserts into another stage of rocker a little further out. It can be argued that this is also Reverse Camber, it’s all in how you interpret this. Salomon is doing a bigger V shaped rocker in the Grip for next season as well and that could arguably be Reverse Camber.

Too Much Rocker?

The next form of Rocker is the Cam Rocker or Camber Rocker, depending on what you want to call it. Standard traditional camber under foot that gives way to an early rise rocker after the inserts. When the camber is loaded it causes the bend in the rocker to initiate more and rise. This is total ski styled rocker as the whole concept is to keep the camber under foot and put the rocker out at the tips where you can flex the board and cause it to rise. Some could call this early rise either. I know Signal, Atomic, and Yes are doing this.

Zero camber just eliminates it entirely. No longer do you have to preload the camber to get pop, but you don’t get that surfy loose feel that you get with rocker or reverse camber. By keeping the board entirely flat you’re just distributing the pressure completely downward. There’s a bunch of variations out there with beveled bases but that’s a whole different explanation.

Hopefully this clears up all the various buzz words and product descriptions that are floating around out there. I know there’s probably more that I’m missing so feel free to add your .02 cents.

Causes controversy!

Latest posts by Angrysnowboarder (Posts)

62 Comments

  1. burritosandsnow says:

    im saving this for fast forwarding to the morons I have this argument with everyday…

  2. effin says:

    id like to buy one, but im scared i wont like it on the super hard pack of the east, i trust never summer's design from what ive heard (some from you) & based on how much i love my revolver already, there is a revolver r.c. for sale i been looking at

    it just feels like a gamble to buy one and i dont have a way to demo or borrow

    its come to: r.c. or a traditional noodle? ooooo what should buy in a recession, ya know

  3. The Angry Snowboarder says:

    If you're worried about it gripping on ice look at anything that has MTX, Vario Power Grip, or anything that has the edges tweaked. Even the Burton stuff with the PDE will grip solid.

    On a plus side if you dive in and buy it and hate it, those things have such a high demand you can sell it. There is an adjustment period with any of them of a few days but once that's down you'll either love it or be like this isn't for me.

  4. LateBloomer says:

    So your next post should be about what the various camber styles excel at. I'm not going to think about it too hard but gut feel, I like the N.S. RC as best for all around and it seems that the cam-rocker of Yes/Signal/Atomic would be very specialized and poorest for all around. Agree?

  5. The Angry Snowboarder says:

    HAHA lets just say Cam rocker is a crock of shit.

    But as far as R.C. being the best it's solid and has it's purpose but so does 0 camber and 3 stage and 4 stage rocker. I liked what Burton was doing with V rocker on the Hero it was fun, I own a Turbo Dream with 3 stage rocker, I own like 15 decks with R.C technology. It all has it's place.

  6. Jimster716 says:

    Nice writeup, thanks for putting it all into one location. I wonder what prompted it…hmmm? I'm gonna go walk my cat now. Puahahaha.

  7. The Angry Snowboarder says:

    HAHA I had this written over a week ago. But yes you walk that cat.

  8. scott says:

    It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, and if one engineer will be able to claim the best design. I have been a coach for years, and have based my coaching on what I was taught, which is the interaction between your body, the board, and the snow. Camber was a huge factor. Coaching involved an understanding of timing, intensity, and duration of body movements, all based on the shape of the board. With all that changing (rocker, magna traction), it will be interesting to see what changes in body movements are noted, and implemented. A long time ago, I used to be a member of the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, and they wrote a book explaining how the board and body work together efficiently to maximize the boards potential. I love that snowboarding has flipped the script on that shit. Just when they thought they knew it all, time to write another book. Snowboards have edges, use them, and have fun doing it!

  9. scott says:

    remember the Inca company? They had boards with double camber, individual camber under each foot(think golden arches here). The boards were real soft between the feet. I am sure they had a similar feel to todays rocker boards. Everyone laughed at them, but who knows where we'd be if they kept going. Why is it cool when Mervin does it in 2006, but in 98, anything different was a joke (step-in bindings). Are we that cool and confidant that we are riding the best way possible? I lived through the development and evolution of the sport, yeah I'm old, but today's riding has gotten boring to watch. How many times do you think I've seen a backside rodeo 7, or a cab 9, or even a 270 the hard way on your local handrail? That shit is a dime a dozen. Thank god for T-Rice, and the combined multi-million dollar budget of Quik, and Red Bull to keep me stoked on the general state of the sport. Oh yeah, and L.P.N., and the Rome crew

  10. The Angry Snowboarder says:

    I actually have a post coming where I talk about Inca's Dual Camber to R.C and Banana C2 comparing it.

    Also AASI makes people ride like robots.

  11. Prospect Snowboards says:

    We've found that the regular camber boards benefit riders who really pound the flex while riding; for riders who are aggresive. That extra camber resistance means better pop which is sometimes needed.

    So far RC tech is smooth and friendly. Beginner riders dream. I rode our concept model the 2nd half of the year and grew to really like it. It gripped pipe walls better and rails were great.

    Both kept an edge well although the RC took some getting used to. I could still do the same jumps, runs, and flips. The thing that stuck out most is I couldn't pump turns with RC as well; kinda how surfers gain speed on the wave.

    To me… the decision comes what you like better; aggressive or more relaxed riding. Do you pump that turn hard and use that tail for landings or do you like leaning in smooth and having something like a landing suspension?

    -Cheers kids

  12. Pam says:

    I hope I don't ride like an AASI robot :( I do see why you say that; so many good riders lose their style. They ride by the book and that's not what snowboarding is about.

    As for the article. That clears some things up, but I still like a really aggressive board for my all around riding. If I do get a park board, I would def want to demo a rocker. Maybe this season I can.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hardest thing is that most people have not ridden all the main versions. I did 3 basic versions for testing last year: 1) with slight camber at the tips 2)more camber at the tips centered just in front of the binding 3) straight angle to the tips. The more contact you get at the tips the better traction, more stability, more pop you'll have than something like a banana. This is what I ride, yeah I don't have the same pressing…but i pretty much never press so who cares. Having a straight angle or reverse camber to the tips the more playful it is, but is not the greatest things on jumps, stability, getting pop or riding ice…but pressing, ease of turning, pow is really good. The tighter the reverse camber between the feet the quicker it turns but is also not super stable in rough hard snow when on edge. So a WWW won't carve as quick as say as a Lib, NS, Nitro, Flow. Last thing is these boards are not super easy to make, doing something like the C2 for instance can turn into a nightmare if there is too much camber which is super easy to do during mass production. In the end, most every competitive FS rider is still on camber. RC is still all so new

  14. Anonymous says:

    Prospect hit the nail on the head.
    For old school riders who like to load the board in order to go faster. This stuff sucks donkey. But its here to stay for the little park rats and people who ride casually.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Don't forget "Flatline", K2's new technology…
    http://k2snowboarding.com/technology/flatline

  16. The Angry Snowboarder says:

    Scroll up and see where I mention 0 camber.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I've heard people say reverse camber isn't so good for jumping and you need to land really centered to avoid going over the handlebars or backwards. Has anyone else found that? If you want a park board mostly for jumps, is it best to stick with regular camber?

  18. The Angry Snowboarder says:

    Depends on the model actually. Check out this post I wrote to help you gather which one might be more suited to what type of riding http://www.angrysnowboarder.com/2009/08/camber-theories-in-use.html

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  25. nvansluy says:

    Alright, I’ll admit my ignorance. I understand this article, and have checked manufacturers’ websites for further insight. But Angry, can you advise WHY Cam Rocker is a “crock of shit”, while Rocker Camber is good. Is Never Summer’s RC any better than Lib Tech’s/GNU’s C2 Banana?
    If you’ve already answered this, please point to that article.
    Thanks.

  26. It’s not a real rocker it’s just an early rise. When you load the camber the “rocker” just rises up but doesn’t give you any of the added benefits of others. With what NS is doing the reverse between the feet gives you the center play you want while the micro camber in the tips still gives the pop. The other benefit of the center reverse is it raises the contact points up and reduces the drag. I haven’t ridden anything with C2 Banana yet.

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  28. AGRO says:

    What is all this about specs, and tech? The Machete is sick for parks and rails and pretty solid at fast speeds. Turbo Dream is a little more stable. The High Life is sick at speeds if you don’t ride switch much. If you’re an east coaster on icy shit (sorry) Magne-traction holds up awesome. Try Gnu’s Kass, or LIB’s TRS with C2 banana. It’s not as playful, but if you ride hard you can get some good presses in. If you like laying out deep carves, stick with camber. Or Demo the Hybrid camber first. You may love it, but It’s not the same. If you slay rails, reverse camber all the way. I love park riding, but love pow even more. That’s what works for me.

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  30. J. says:

    Camber/Rocker – The best solution is Bataleon`s TBT. Check this and forget about rocker/banana/etc

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  33. Frosty says:

    Do yourselves a favor and figure out the correct physics of camber for yourselves.

    You can do this in the comfort of your own home without having to test ride every variation in snowboard construction.

    It is easy! Cut out a mini snowboard from business card type cardboard. Then try finger weighting and unweighting the board with single camber/ dual camber/no camber and or rocker only variations. Try evenly weighting and unweighting the mini board and then try just weight loading front or rear foot position. You are looking for suspension and weight distribution characteristics.

    I’d be interested in your conclusions.

    From my observations and engineering and physics perspective the dual camber version provides superior performance in all regards. This also translated to reality on the snow for me when I first tried a dual camber snowboard.

    peace

    Frosty

  34. Fhg2f says:

    I ride east coast ice in VA. I rock out on a ride machete and like ARGO said it rocks in the park but it also kills it all over my mountain. I can push it as fast as I want with plenty of bite on ice and enuf pop to play off just about anything. It does have some flex and doesn’t excel in the chop and won’t carve as hard ad my camber boards but all around it’s the most fun board I’ve ridden.

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  36. kleveland_killa says:

    I bought a 10 NS Evo the last week of our season. I was able to ride it 6 times before the season ended. No joke, I learned and progressed more in those 6 sessions than I have the entire 10+ years I’ve been ridin. NS R.C. technology is awesome. As soon as you strap into a board with this kind of technology you can tell what’s goin on and feel the difference. The R.C. allows you to rotate dead center without catching anything. It’s amazing. I was 270 on, 360in while on the rail and 90in off by my 3rd session with this stick. Not only is it sick on rails, but the preloaded pop works killer on jumps and kickers. You can definitely notice the difference with the extra pop.

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  38. Mike says:

    hey i have a burton indie 152, and ive been riding for two years and im nopt sure what a good upgrade for a new board, do you have any sugestions that i could possibly look into ? thanks

  39. shane says:

    If you want to ride a board with no pop,not pop out of your turns, sucks on ice, and does not ollie good then go with the reverse cambered snowboard. I still can’t believe you suckers by this crap. I have been riding for 17years and have seen so much crap come and go stick with the regular cambered board (Rome Agent) is the best. I go to the on snow demos for our shop every year in colorado and try all the new board for the up and coming season and have given many of the those companys chaces they all suck. All you who love the reverse cambered snowboards grow some balls and pick up skateboarding instead. REGULAR CAMBERED BOARDS ALL THE WAY.

  40. You must be from the front range. How’s Kansas this time of year?

  41. shane says:

    WOW your quick to judge nope sorry I’m from summit county and ride A-basin and Keystone

  42. Well that would explain it. What shop you work for up here chief.

  43. shane says:

    I work at Virgin island ski and board rental. one of the only shops not owned by the devil themselves (vail co). Still trying to get demo boards in here hopefully soon. anyways if your in the area and need a great board tune stop in some time.

  44. Sorry that shop is the bargain basement ski rental and doesn’t hold a candle to any form of relevance in snowboarding. If I want some whale bails and rear entry I’ll come talk to you.

  45. shane says:

    ohh just thought I would offer to be nice, but guess it was not welcomed. oh well to bad we have more experince at snowboarding then you could ever think of for employees. be it on how to replace edges to anything you could think of. Been here since 1976 we have seen it all. SORRY little one.

  46. So being nice is condescending and talking like you’re more important than you are? I understand the internet can be a level playing field for people that talk out their ass, but having worked literally right across the parking lot from your shop and knowing how much of a joke it is I can’t take you seriously in any capacity.

    Awesome you’ve snowboarded 17 years my first time riding was X Mas 1987 on a Black Snow. Oh your shops been there since 76 awesome, I’ve worked for shops that were founded in the 60’s. Oh you go to demo’s cool, I get companies to send me product to demo. See the point here? Plus at the level you are at in the industry most companies over look your shop for being anything of relevance, I do the same. When you can put on your big boy pants and actually bring well thought out responses maybe we’ll talk, oh and missed you at the Loveland Demo.

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  50. gravityhomer says:

    haha. Posts 48-55 are the funniest setup to an owning I’ve ever read on the internet. You are hilarious angry and live up to your name.

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