Sidecut Theories Explained

Buzzwords and hype always seem to attach themselves to any new technology that has the potential to be the real deal. If you look at the alternate camber revolution this reigns true, but what often gets over looked is the revolution in sidecuts that’s taken place. Much like camber there’s been a huge progression in what’s going on with sidecuts.
The way to look at all these advancements in sidecuts is they either push outward or inward. This meaning that rather than a standard looking sidecut that just bends in at the waist and back out at the tips you either have an indentation creating a kink or an outward bend creating a bump in the sidecut. Visually you can notice these sometimes by looking right at the board or by putting it on its edge and looking down the sidecut.

Now unless you’ve been under a rock you’ve noticed the hype behind Mervins Magne-Traction with claims that it turns ice into powder. You can even go so far as to say that they’re the creators of this current revolution. Now if you’ve ever been drunk and retarded you’ve probably tried to cut steak or something similar with a butter knife and we all know how well that worked, right? Then you grabbed a real steak knife and it cut through the meat with no problems because of the serrations. Same concept with Magnetraction by creating more contact points it digs in and cuts through ice/hard packed just like the steak knife. There’s various options of this some with more contact points and others with less. Smokin and Rossignol Snowboards have a license from Mervin to use this technology but Smokins design is different and can be seen in the style of the serration used. Humanity Snowboards follows suit with the C6 sidecut that utilizes 6 contact points in various important areas to help with edge grip.

Arbors concept for better edge grip was unblending a tri-radial sidecut so that instead of being a continuous arc making up three radi it would bulge outward right under-foot creating 2 additional contact points.

Burtons method does the same as what Arbor is doing with pushing out the edge underfoot to create two extra contact points. The big difference is in how defined it is, as it’s very minimal you have to look a lot closer to see it.

There’s one other brand that does a single bump in the middle of the sidecut that I can’t remember who it is, but same concept as those above.

Nidecker which also makes Jones, Yes, and Antti Autti’s special projects decks has their own variation. Instead of actually turning the sidecut itself into a giant serrated steak knife they cut grooves into the actual edge. This makes a serration inside of a traditional sidecut that lets you cut through ice.

Never Summer goes the opposite route with having indentations in their sidecut. By having a deeper radius into a shallower radius which finally goes into a straight line these create the indentations or kinks. It’s a very similar concept to what Salomon created with their Equalizer sidecut, the only difference is that Salomon uses straight lines through the whole sidecut and has a few more kinks.

Causes controversy!

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  1. razvan says:

    “Mervins Magne-Traction with claims that it turns powder into ice.” You mean the opposite I guess.

  2. MightyDumplings says:

    You must not have read the other articles. Angry isn’t a strong believer in Mervin’s marketing claims. Definitely a Freudian slip there. I didn’t realize that the Never Summer technology took the opposite approach of other manufacturers but it sure as hell works.

  3. It was a little late when I was working on this and yeah it slipped. But Mervin can suck it.

  4. hanzosteel says:

    Your breakdown of equipment technologies are wicked. Any idea what Nitro’s dual degressive sidecut is all about? Is it basically the same as what Arbour’s doing?

  5. e says:

    I’ve built a lot of weird sidecuts, bumps, flat section, serrated edges over the past decade and they did grip better….but manufacturing them can be bitch. I had a design that worked well, then the factory made it and it was the worse board ever. In the meantime, I still use for camber boards a deepsidecut that mellows a bit before the tips. You can’t see anything special, but it carves great, stable yet quick turning. But that problem is that nothing can be subtle, everything has to jump out at you. I rode some magnetractions and they were not for me. I did bumps at the feet on a board 4 or 5 years ago, worked well, it gripped, it carved…but the salespeople weren’t happy that it wasn’t noticeable enough visually. Actually dusted it off and rode that board the other day and loved it all over again. A lot of times it’s not how rad the board is, but how many gimicks it has.

  6. Manifeste00 says:

    Those cutted grooves edges are an interesting idea. I’d like to know if they make the ride better or if there isnt much of a difference. I’m actually really interested in the YES rocker twin.

  7. e says:

    you can just experiment on an old board using a dremel tool. Just be careful not to heat up the edge too much and melt the base. More small groves or small dimples are better than big deep sharp groves. The one Nidecker uses cuts thru ice better than anything on the market but it slows you down quite a bit. Not sure of the latest nidecker version, there’s a company and switzerland that makes the machinery for it, so apparently Nidecker is the only one that uses it.

  8. BiznessTime says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m curious though, which ones have you ridden and do you like any one method better than the others? I’m particularly interested in the NS method and how it compares to the others. Thanks.

  9. supercollider says:

    The Dual Degressive sidecut thing that Nitro does on boards like the Team is kind of the opposite of what never summer is doing.
    The side cut has a very large radius (straighter sidecut) out towards the tips and a very tight radius between the feet. They don’t mention anything about it being for added grip, I don’t think it’s meant to be. Its really about having a board that doesn’t hook and is forgiving when you’re landing/spinning.
    That straight sidecut also makes it fun for bombing runs.

  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by angrysnowboard, said: angry's POV – Sidecut Theories Explained […]

  11. Yeah the Nitro sidecut doesn’t actually effect the board shape to add and bulges or kinks it’s just like what Supercollider said.

    BiznessTime I’ve ridden all of them except the Nidecker one it’s the one I really want to try out big time. I’m going to follow up a post after the On Snow with how the various ones ride kind of like how I did with the Camber theories posts.

  12. Abra says:

    The Nidecker Ultimate Grip is the real deal, i have been riding a Megalight with it for 2 seasons, and a Yes 156.5 this season.

    I also have put 30 + days on an original Magne Traction, and a Phoenix BTX.

    Unlike MTX the UG doesnt ever feel like it is interfering, and is only noticeable in that it grips like a bastard, but rides like you would expect a well tuned board to, whereas i often found the MTX taking control of the turn, making it too hooky

    I also found then when MTX lets go, you really slide out, whereas on the Nidecker/Yes you are able to catch it.

    Not very scientific, but if you have ridden them you will no what i mean.

  13. Abra I agree fully with you about MTX I had the first dark series late release with it.

  14. nito says:


    Re: experimenting with a dremel.

    You mention adding dimples to the edge. Do you mean to cut little pits into the edge? Also for anyone thinking about doing this, a dremel spins way to fast and will heat up the edge like e mentioned. However, I wonder if using a file and carefully cutting small indentation similar to the NS design would work.


  15. luke says:

    I personlly would rather eliminate contact points instead of add them. I like park and powder about the same so I detune most of my board but it still works fine on ice and hard packed shit. I could understand Magne-Traction for carving down an icy mtn but why would you put that on a park board…..?

  16. yop says:

    Nidecker did the UG only between the bindings because that’s where is the pression when you break or need a high edge power. in the tail and nose, the contact need to be without bumps to let you enter easely in your turn without agression, and stay the maximum stable.


  17. doug says:

    I saw the ultimate grip guy with his machine at ISPO 2009, pretty neat, but yea it has the appearance that it would create a lot of drag.

    You could probably build a jig on your own to do this to your board with a dremel or a router, but yea free handing it would probably work too.

    I think one aspect of getting more grip, is simply increasing how much of your edge is in contact, magne traction works partially because of the actual waves, partially because there is more edge material availalbe per length of board.

  18. rian says:

    Thanks for talking about sidecut! It totally affects how a board rides. I’m super stoked on equalizer sidecut on the Salomon boards with rocker in particular. I ride a Gypsy and the Equalizer sidecut makes it feel stable and fun in the park and on rails.

  19. Spenser says:

    “i often found the MTX taking control of the turn, making it too hooky

    I also found then when MTX lets go, you really slide out, whereas on the Nidecker/Yes you are able to catch it.”

    EXACTLY. sometimes it would randomly grip and literally pull me through part of the arc, and sometimes it would just skip out for no apparent reason. never has ever happened to me on any other board as long as ive been riding. im not a fan of MTX. that being said, i thought the mellow MTX on the phoenix shape was fine. didnt really feel like full/regular MTX on all the other mervins ive tried out, but i still prefer a regular sidecut.

    cant we just have straight up radial sidecuts with sharp edges again? those ones are always my favorite.

  20. I'm the guy they call stupid says:

    A serrated edge is not sidecut. Get a fucking clue.

  21. Pretty sure the outside of the edge is also part of the sidecut. It’s OK I understand you can’t comprehend things.

  22. I'm the guy they call stupid says:

    The sidecut is the radius of the board’s shape. Serrated features have nothing to do with the radius. If you want to incorporate serrated edges as part of sidecut, you’d need to cite the multiple radius features with every bump and indentation. I got a question…..have you ever made a snowboard? You know, cut the parts, bend edges, screen bases or topsheets, lay it all up? I hope so. You seem like a nice guy.

  23. So in your mind the edge isn’t part of the sidecut huh? Wow you’re a smart one.

  24. I'm the guy they call stupid says:

    Good answer!

  25. BackcountryBrad says:

    I’ve been riding smokin snowboards magne traction for four years now and find it only bites too hard when ridden with traditional camber. Once you go rocker it will blow your mind. Of course, smokin traction has always been much more mellow and more uniform than Mervin traction. My rocker traction board will still out edge any traditional edge board I own. I find I ride much faster now, because I can stop whenever and wherever I want. The rocker adds freeridability, spinability and rips in the powder. Better on ice, better in powder, better for freestyle. This technology is not going away. Glad to see the entire industry is trying to develop similar tech.. The open minded and creative snowboard industry once again has lead the progression of snow sports. Support your local snowboard company!

  26. I'mWithBrad says:

    I’m in total agreement with BackcountryBrad….one of my favorite decks in the arsenal that i seem to want to grab 95% of the time when headed out the door is my MTX reverse camber. This combo has created a perfect working relationship that lets me ride everything faster and smoother.

  27. Mike V says:

    I am interested in perspectives on the Never Summer approach to side cut. Being in Ontario, Canada, Never Summer demos (or sales for that matter) really don’t exist. I was able to try out a couple of Lib Tech boards this weekend (2012 TRS and T Rice) only to discover that I really do NOT like Magnetraction. Although I loved it on hard pack and ice, I felt a lot of drag when carving through fresh snow and slush (yes, it has been a crazy weather week). I’d be interested in perspectives from folks that have tried both. Will I have the same problem with a Never Summer SL.

    My interest stems from the fact that I am in the market for some new wood. I am 50/50 park/mountain (or whatever you want to call the hills out here). My park riding is limited to jumps and pipe. Given my mix, I am interested in hybrid boards. I’ve tried to Lib Techs (noted above) as well as the Burtons (Custom Flying V and Sherlock). My thoughts on the Lib Techs are above. As for the Burtons, I found them fun, but very loose for hard core carving. In a perfect world, I’d have multiple boards. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble convincing the wife that this is a good idea.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.


  28. I hate Mervins MTX and you won’t have that problem with the NS Vario Power Grip.

  29. Harry Pooter says:

    1I have a 2008 LibTech TRS 154 MTX, a 2010 GNU Park Pickle 150 BTX, and just bought a 153 Attack Banana EC2 and found that MTX was sick on the TRS, and better on the Pickle with Reverse Camber, and then ridiculous on the AB with the addition of Elliptical camber from heel to toe. Granted, I ride midwest snow 95% of time and it is hardpack or dust’n crust. Also, the AB is a more mello MTX but holds an edge every bit as well as the TRS and Pickle. I love Mervin boards, am curios if there is a post of why Angryboarder is anti Mervin? Ever since 2009, everyone in my group that has tried mervin has bought one (2 TRS btx, 2 pickles btx, 1 carbon credit btx, 1 B-Street btx, and a future Dark Series, womens pickle, and 2 Riders Choice in the works) so something has to be said for that? I am interested in tryin out some Rome boards to see their take on camber and sidecut/edges.

  30. Cause I don’t by into hype marketing.

  31. Harry Pooter says:

    That lame reasoning definitely has me second guessing my three Mervin purchases!

  32. Want a cookie because you believe in the marketing?

  33. Harry Pooter says:

    I’d take you up on the cookie, but, I’m still full from the Pickle and Attack Banana

  34. Yes well you know when you’ve been sodomized by fruits and veggies it’s understandable.

  35. SlickmisterN says:

    Nothing like truly biased hate with a paper thin explanation to tide you over. Angry even goes so far as to say Mervin pioneered this neat little bit of tech which is now a staple of high end board manufacturing. Look man, credit is due where credit is due, no matter what your personal agenda is with this site. They shifted the focus from the stagnating base techs to revolutionary sidecut and tip theory which has created a new era of thought over the entire construction of a board. You can’t just blindly overlook that dude I’m sorry.

  36. Skunk Ape says:

    I haven’t been snowboarding enough to notice many of these subtleties you talk about, but the Lib Tech Skunk Ape is one of the best big man snowboards out there. How many other boards can accomodate a 6’9″ rider with size 15 boots and 250 lbs?
    I looked at all of them, and for size options and the east coast Ice that I ride on, it is a perfect board. I have felt the magnetraction take over a little during some turns, but I have also never washed out even during the most icy days.

  37. […] The Angry Snowboarder Blog Archive Sidecut Theories Explained That should break it down for you. Magnetraction is best summed up as too much of a good thing while RC tech grips right underfoot like all alternate cambered decks should. K2's it just feels like riding a snowboard no gimmicks. __________________ Angry Snowboarder Because someone has to call it how they see it! […]

  38. Robert Kilgallen says:

    I enjoyed the article. I’m an average rider who is surf style. I do love my Lib Tech’s boards, I like MTX for edge hold on icy/crusty conditions, feel confident on my edge. I enjoy rocker/camber combination for floating over chopped up conditions & pow days.I have a 1986 Mullet for powder days, T-RICE C2BTX HORSE POWER for carving the trails. I jump inches and mostly do speed runs while carving.

  39. Kling says:

    best story evar.

  40. mike says:

    Angry snowboarder ”Same concept with Magnetraction by creating more contact points”
    You need to learn basic pyhsics! It is the other way around, it creates less contact points on hard-pack! With normal edges the entire edge contacts the ground, with magnatraction only the crest of the waves contact the ground, so that means less contact, and less contact means more power per cm! Think of a knife and a saw. it is easier to cut wood with a saw rather than a knife, and the reason is saw has small tips that contacts the saw, less contact point, on the other hand the entire surface of the knife contacts the wood. Than means leas pressure per cm! If you decrease the contact point you get more power. To mak you understand easier, imagine a 100kg rider riding a 163 board and a 153 board. Which board floats and which board sinks?? The smaller obviously sinks beacause more kg is on per cm2! same thing applies to the magnatraction edges! Less contact point means more power!

  41. You sound like a fucking moron plain and simple. You’re trying to argue effective edge vs effective contact points. Big difference. Leave the snowboard tech to the people that actually ride it.

  42. mike is a bitch says:

    Lol did this get revived. Maybe its cball19

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