Camber, man what a riot. Year number 3 of it being a major buying factor for snowboarders. After riding both for the past few years it has increased my personal board count from 1 to 3 and increasing. This is practical because 10 and 20 day riders need as many boards as a 60+ day rider right? Well one company, Prospect snowboards has come up with a better way to characterize what a rider might according to their skill and riding style and a lineup of camber styles that aren’t an overpriced gimmick. Rocker billy, crusty bananas, chilidog blumpkins blah blah blah. You as the consumer are getting slammed with marketing jive from head to toe from snowboard companies. Just because company Q is marketing it “Boner Pop” snowboards doesn’t mean they have bonerific ride. What is true and what does work are when solid ideas meet quality craftsmanship. Prospect Snowboards has come with ideas that are just that reverse camber designs that actually enhance the ride, rather than making a bright colored turd that rides like… a brand new brightly colored turd. With a regular camber, 2 reverse, and a flat camber, these boards have an area for any rider covered.
Reverse camber, this is the hot topic. Neil Henderson, the founder of Prospect Snowboards says: “These boards are friendly for beginners, but not necessarily for beginners”. Meaning reverse camber rides easier for new riders and it has flex characteristics that a shredder appreciates. The concept of reverse camber puts the real effective edge between the feet so it creates a slippery/playful/unstable feel that is perfect for flatland butters. For new riders with no camber resistance, reverse camber boards are easier to manipulate into turns and there is less dreaded edge to catch. Of course you are going to find tradeoffs, something snowboard companies don’t like to tell you about. With reverse camber’s contact point concentrated toward the center the unstable result means landing big airs isn’t ideal. Additionally no camber resistance means less pop and big landings are harder to stomp. The guys from Prospect have this one nailed. They have done a moderate reverse camber convex base combination in the Tangent RC snowboard line. The reverse camber shape makes the Tangent easy to manipulate and still gives pop. The convex base creates a buttery smooth ride and more importantly a beveled edge similar to a race ski. The curved base makes a catch free ride on the rails even with sharp edges. This might be one of the biggest revolution in the reverse camber snowboard lineup for 2010/2011.
Regular camber tech is getting tossed into the back seat like a cheap date these days. Everyone takes it for granted. The shaping has contact points at the effective edge making a longer more stable riding surface. For flatland the flex of the board has a “camber resistance” that makes it tougher to raise the nose in a manual. The trade off on this is that you get better pop on ollies and jumps. That extra pop is going to appeal the type of guy or gal that wants to shred hard with a powerful riding style or that really wants to stomp big airs. These boards are made for the powerful rider that likes to go everywhere on the mountain. The Prospect Snowboard factory have been making boards as early as 1992. Neil says “There is a ton of time put into perfecting the flex and snap characteristics. Other companies are leading you to believe that camber is out or that their reverse camber carries all the benefits, but it will save your life if you plan on going big.” What he is talking about is coming down funky on a big air or riding at 40+ mph. Having camber is like having fins on your surfboard and reverse camber is like no fins. It definitely has its benefits. The fins keep you going straight and make sharp carves possible.
Flat camber is designed to carry some strengths of regular, and some benefits of reverse. It carries a stable ride and an easier flex. A lot of riders who take advantage of the whole park like a board that can land a big air with stability, but want the maneuverability to butter. There are always tradeoffs here. Flat camber brings the most base to ground contact meaning more friction and lower speed. With good riders this isn’t a threat because you are almost never flat based. The Freestyle division from Prospect has created a park specific board to take advantage of the flat base benefits. “Our no camber profile makes a good terrain park specific board. It’s got pop, it butters, and it is stable. At the same time we know the park is where boards get beat up the most. To make cover our riders we put in what is essentially a flak jacket made of a hemp weave to bear impacts from rails and hitting bonks. We’ve termed this the Sooperpark BPJ for bullet proof jacket. It is our toughest deck in the lineup.” So here is our consensus: Most riders don’t get to really try a variety of decks to actually understand what ride they might like best. It is more like buy and adapt. For shops, it cuts into profits when customers return or exchange boards. Unfortunately the industry isn’t set up to please the customer. Of course the guys from Prospect will back your purchase and take back any board in return or exchange to keep the rider satisfied. A truly rider oriented company. Prospect Snowboards