Reverse camber, banana tech… there seems to be a lot of buzz around this “new” rocker technology. First of all, it’s not new, it surfaced years ago. We have an old Sims 1/2 pipe in here to prove it! Boards were built that way simply because they were easier to ride. As snowboarding became more popular, and riders were going bigger and faster, boards needed to be a lot more stable at those higher speeds. Stiff camber started to become industry standard. Camber is the arc built into the middle of your snowboard that, when compressed, allows your weight to be distributed all the way to the tip and tail to utilize the overall length of the board. This, combined with the sidecut, is what drastically helps makes your board carve a turn. When you strap into a board with no camber on soft snow your weight sags the board and it rides much shorter than it should. 10 years ago, when a board lost it’s camber, we threw it out. It was spent, lifeless, and done. So what’s changed?
Technology has come a long way. Manufacturers can take that reversed camber design of yesteryear and add components and shapes to get the best of both worlds. These boards are extremely easy to ride and are right at home in powder and jibbing around the park. Butter tricks are effortless and under-rotating those 5’s aren’t an issue anymore.
So, what about the rest of us that never ride the park, and rarely see the deep snow? This is where you are going to get a different opinion from everyone that you ask! Here’s mine: These boards are not the best choice for high-speed, hard-pack free riders. Of course they will get you down the hill, but if you want a board that carves on hard-pack at high speeds, stick with a traditional cambered board. We tested a bunch of different rocker boards last year to try and decide what to bring into the store. Here’s our line-up…
Never Summer Legacy-R and SL-R $499.99
Never Summer has been in our store since we opened. They represent everything a snowboard company should be; owned and operated by riders, made in the USA, and backed by a 3 year warranty!
The ’09 line-up introduces Never Summer’s version of the rocker. Out of all the rockers that we tested, their new R.C. Technology held the best edge on the hard pack hands down! This is the only real all-mountain rocker out there!
What’s different? NS uses a blend of Rocker and Camber (R.C.). The center of the board has a pronounced rocker and the camber is out towards the tip and tail. This gives you a definite snap out of each turn. It also enables the board to track better which gives you more stability. But wait! They also tweaked their sidecut to perform better with this RC Tech. The sidecut gives the board focused edge hold from 2 inches outside each binding in toward the center. If you look down the edge of these things, you can definitely see the difference.
We have a demo in the store for anyone to take out and try. It will feel a little different at first, but we think you’ll agree this is the best all-mountain rocker on the market.
Signal Park Rocker $339.99
This is our second year with Signal, and we are so stoked on this brand! Rider owned and operated, made in the USA in their own factory with US sourced materials, and they use recycled plastics in their base material.
The Park Rocker is exactly that, designed for mainly park riding. This is the least expensive rocker shape board on the market. Why would you spend almost $500 for a board and then just go smash the thing onto rails and boxes? The Park Rocker is SOOO fun! Perfect for park sessions and low speed trail missions. There is some tech here though. The rocker has 3 stages; STAGE 1 supplies continuous contact between your bindings for solid edge hold. STAGE 2 rocks up 10 degrees into STAGE 3, which is flat. Perfect for effortless presses!
Capita Horrorscope FK $349.99
Capita rules! Rider owned and operated, art-driven graphics, and a sense of humor. This is a late-season release from Capita that will show up a little later. Like the Park Rocker, the Horrorscope is really meant for sessions in the park or buttering down the trail. Capita uses “Flat-Kick” technology. It’s basically the same as Signal’s Stage 3. This board is flat between the bindings then rocks up to a flat tip and tail. Schmooove like buttah!
Burton Hero $449
Burton uses what they call V-Rocker on this board. This one is slightly rockered in between the bindings then rocks more toward the tips. What sets this board apart is that the tips are spoon shaped so you are much less likely to catch those edges when stomping those spins. This board is also Burton’s least expensive board in their line with their EST mounting system.
There are many other companies making rocker shapes this season. Lib-Tech seems to be the company credited with re-introducing this technology on modern boards. We rode a Skate Banana and thought it was great! The Hero from Burton rides very similar but costs less. Honestly, the Park Rocker rode as well and comes in $140 less! The Magnetraction on Lib’s boards helps to hold an edge a little, but it’s hard to justify the price difference.
Stepchild has a Jib Stick but the edges come pre-rounded. Perfect for sliding rails, but if you want to even try to carve a turn, fuggetabaddit! K2 makes rockers in China.
Hope this little rant helped. If you are wondering what the crew in here will be riding, we dig the rockers, but aren’t totally converted. I think we will each add a rocker to our quiver but will break out the traditional camber for hauling ass on those icy nights!