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.
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.
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.