Reverse Camber: Snowboarding's New Black

As of the 2007/2008 season, boards with reverse camber have been available to the public.  Mervin Manufacturing, which include Lib Technologies and Gnu, were the first to put out a reverse camber model.  They dubbed it Banana Technology and marketed it on the now well know Skate Banana.  The technology was built around the idea that a snowboard is not a ski, according to the Lib Tech website. There are a couple different types of reverse camber.  As more companies catch on to this new direction of board construction, each is modifying reverse camber to suit specific riding needs.  The purpose is to take snowboarding back to its skate and surf roots.

Banana Tech incorporates two flat spots, from under either binding to the effective edge with a banana rocker linking the two.   The reinforced tips provide increased stability, pop and lift for those deep pow days.  Keeping the rocker between your bindings allows the board to be pressed flat, giving you full edge contact for more board control and pop, while also providing killer edge hold for carving and those especially icy runs. Banana Tech is available on a variety of Gnu and Lib Tech boards this season and most come coupled with Magne-Traction, which are serrated edges in the rocker to give you more edge hold.

[caption id="attachment_390" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Banana Tech, as featured on select Lib Tech and Gnu boards. (c) Mervin Manufacturing"]Banana Tech, as featured on select Lib Tech and Gnu boards. (c) Mervin Manufacturing[/caption]

As with all new tech, for the 2008/2009 season, a majority of companies have jumped on board and added reverse camber models in their lineup for the season.  These companies are keeping the base flat between the bindings and arches up from binding to the tips (Rocker Tech).

[caption id="attachment_391" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Rocker Tech, known as Flat Kick (Capita), 1985 (Rome) and various other names. (c) Capita Snowboards"]Rocker Tech, known as Flat Kick (Capita), 1985 (Rome) and various other names. (c) Capita Snowboards[/caption]

K2 is using Rocker Tech for their Gyrator powder board.  The stiff flex coupled with a stance setback allows the nose to float above the snow, making riding more comfortable as you don't have to fight camber to keep yourself from digging in and eating it. For powder option, there's the Rome SDS Notch 1985.

Softer boards with a centered stance are popping up all over the place for jibbing and park riding.

Stepchild, featuring rail king JP Walker and heavy hitters Simon Chamberlain and Joe Sexton, has catered to the freestyle market by manufacturing their Jib board with reverse camber and soft flex, making it perfect for pressing nose or tail.

If you're looking for a board that you can use for all mountain freestyle or an all around park board and don't have the bank to drop on a Lib Tech or a Gnu with Banana Tech and Magne Traction, Rome SDS has adapted Rocker Tech into its Artifact board.  For those of you familiar with Rome, you'll know how sick the Artifact is.  The Artifact 1985 features a limited colourway and all the perks of the Artifact's mid flex goodness for a killer park board.

One board worth mentioning is Capita's mid season, limited edition release, the Horrorscope FK, featuring Flat Kick Technology, which is Capita's term for Rocker Tech.  This board is NOT made to take in the pow or bomb off jumps.  It is purely jib specific.  It's a midrange priced board.  If this seems like the board for you, better hurry to grab one, there are only 500 of these beauties being distributed worldwide.

I had the opportunity to ride the Horrorscope at the end of last season.  I found that the amazingly soft flex was like butter on any rail or box.  The reverse camber and flex helped in absorbing the rail made switching up a little bit easier.  I've been riding normal cambered boards for, well, since i started and I've always been able to do what I need to do in the park.  That being said, there is an argument to be made for the comfort and buttery feel of a reverse cambered board.  I know there are a lot of riders out there that have rocked both.  I want to hear your opinions on the matter.  Is it all just hype, snowboarding's sugar pill, or does it actually make a difference?