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When looking at snowboards, they are described as being camber-shaped, rocker-shaped, or a hybrid?

What's the difference between them, and when is one preferred over the other?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Camber - Where the ski or snowboard creates a slightly concave shape in relation to the snow surface.

  1. Better hard snow and ice grip.
  2. Makes the board or ski "carve" the snow.

Rocker - Where the ski or snowboard has a slight convex shape in relation to the snow surface.

  1. Better soft snow lift and float.
  2. Makes the board or ski "smear" the snow.

Hybrid - Designs which have rocker at the tip, and camber underfoot. Good for general purpose where either condition may be encountered.

Neither is "better" than the other, they are just tools appropriate for different conditions.

Rocker has enjoyed a cult following, and is now becoming more mainstream.

Pick your poison.

Further reading. EvoGear - Camber/ Rocker/ Flat definitions

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