Camber vs Rocker Explained

For the longest time, you could place a snowboard on the snow, look at it from one side, and see that it’s identical to the rest. Most snowboard shapes were almost alike since the ’80s when camber was launched. Before this, snowboarding was a sport filled with experimentation and boards with wild designs. 

Nonetheless, in the recent seasons, the experimentation feel seems to be back. Besides, it might be challenging to choose the right one due to the multiple but handy ski and snowboard profiles. Today, we compare the most common snowboard profiles; camber vs. rocker. So, camber & rocker, what’s the difference? And what purpose does each serve? 

Read on to find out more.

What are Camber and Rocker?

Typically, these are terms used to describe the curve present on a ski or snowboard when you look at it sideways. Snowboards and skis featuring a camber have midriffs that slightly arch off the excess snow. 

What are Camber and Rocker Profiles

What are the Benefits of Camber?

Camber offers decent edge control, especially when turning on hard snow. Additionally, it provides springiness. On the other hand, snowboards and skis with rockers are equipped with midriffs that sit on the snow, though the tail and tip arch upwards. 

What are the Benefits of Rocker

Rocker delivers excellent flotation and easy turns on soft snow. 

Choosing Between Camber and Rocker

There are rockered and cambered skis and boards and a combination of the two known as a camber-rocker combo or hybrid ski/board. Selecting the most suitable option depends on the terrain you prefer to ride in or ski. So, here’s what you need to know about these two snowboard profiles.

What is Camber?

Camber delivers pop or springiness on your snowboard or ski. What’s more, it offers you decent edge control when turning. For a long time, snowboards and skis featured cambered profiles only, and they’re still quite popular among boarders and skiers. 

When you put it on an even surface, you can see that it has a raised midsection, and the contact points touch the surface, near the tail and nose. The part where it’s slightly curved upwards is referred to as the camber. 

Once you step on the board, the camber flattens, developing constant edge contact with the surface with all your weight focused on it. Cambered snowboards and skis come with the following upsides.

Decent control when riding at high speeds

Cambered boards and skis come in handy if you’re searching for a board that’ll offer security and precision when riding at high speeds. 

Stability

When turning, your cambered board or ski will provide decent edge hold, creating stability. 

Good hold on hard snow

The constant edge contact delivered by these skis and boards generates decent edge grip on hard snow. 

What is a Rocker?

Choosing Between Camber and Rocker

Basically, a rockered profile is the opposite of a cambered profile. It features a flat, consistent arch that bends upwards from the midriff of the board or ski. This shape is similar to the vintage rocking chair’s floor rails, also known as the rocker.

This board’s or ski’s contact area is beneath the rider situated near the feet. As it is the opposite of the cambered profile, some boarders or skiers call it an alternate, reverse, or negative camber. Here are some of the advantages of having a rocker snowboard or ski.

Better flotation in powder

The upward-facing tips and nose on your ski or board help you remain on top of the surface. 

Excellent maneuverability

A completely rockered board or ski is designed to remain afloat, as it has a shorter productive edge. This translates to effortless and more nimble turning. 

Enhanced experience

Considering rockered boards and skis don’t offer springiness, it’s usually more effortless to slide rails with them. Besides, the chances of catching edges are minor. Lastly, rockered snowboards and skis are excellent for riding switch. 

Choosing Between a Camber and Rocker

Now that you know what both profiles have to offer, it’s time to choose. A short while after rocker was released in the market, snowboard and ski producers found that camber and rocker can be blended to solve various performance issues. 

At the moment, most boards and skis utilize some blend of underfoot camber and tip & nose rocker in their build to improve performance on specific types of snow and terrain. When searching for snowboards and skis, you’ll notice that skis come in four camber/rocker categories; complete rocker, tip & tail rocker, tip rocker, and standard alpine.

When it comes to snowboards, there are five different profiles; flat/rocker, camber, camber/rocker, flat, and rocker. To choose the most suitable profile for you, it would be best to consider the terrain you usually ride in as well as your level of experience. 

Choosing a camber or rocker profile depends on the terrain you go skiing or snowboarding

Choosing a camber or rocker profile depends on the terrain you go skiing or snowboarding

Groomed slopes

Snowboards and skis with a cambered profile are popular thanks to their stability when riding at high speed and steady edge control. Again, Boards and skis with a combined rocker and camber profile perform decently and make it easier for you to go through rough terrain with various tricky features. 

On the other hand, completely rockered snowboards perform somewhat decently on resort slopes, though they’re not suitable for icy terrain, where you require significant edge control. 

All mountain

When it comes to snowboarders who move around freely from one terrain to another, rockered boards are the ideal selection due to their ability to make turns effortlessly and swiftly. The additional float delivered by snowboards and skis with this profile, specifically in powder, is among the most well-known upsides. 

On the other hand, snowboards with a camber and rocker profile combination are relatively popular in different conditions. When it comes to skiers, the standard blend is the rockered tip, as it comes in handy in making turns easily and delivers decent flotation for skiing efficiently in powder, and flat or cambered midriffs which offer reasonable edge control, and perhaps a flat, slightly raised tail, for you to hold speed. 

Powder

A completely rockered board or ski was initially designed to dominate. Their raised noses/tips and tails float effortlessly in the soft snow and are not likely to catch an edge. Snowboards with this profile let you ride more comfortably in deeper snow, which significantly lessens rear leg burn. 

Boards and skis that blend the camber and rocker profiles also excel here. They are also versatile enough to use in multiple conditions. On the other hand, Cambered snowboards can ride powder; however, they utilize a setback stance. 

Park/pipe

A number of boarders and skiers prefer the stability delivered by cambered snowboards and skis when doing jumps in the park. This profile conventionally offers you more reliable pop-off jumps. 

All the same, rockered boards and skis make it easier for you to transition from tail to nose or vice versa. When it comes to jibbing, rockered boards and skis are pretty common, as they come in handy in avoiding hang-ups on rails and boxes, making it much easier to press into a rail. 

Choosing a camber or rocker profile depending on your level of experience

Skiers and snowboarders of different skill levels can go for a rocker. Still, recreational and advancing riders, as well as individuals who have not been riding for a long time, can experience an almost instant enhancement from utilizing a board or ski that has a rocker profile. 

A rockered or a rocker and camber combination snowboard or ski is more suitable for professional riders. Manufacturers have designed all sorts of creative rocker variations that solve specific riding issues. 

For expert boarders and skiers, you can fine-tune your adventure by choosing the rocker variation that suits your needs best and then tune your snowboard well.

Choosing a camber or rocker profile depending on your level of experience

Camber-Rocker Combination

We have consistently mentioned the camber and rocker combination, so it only makes sense to review it. 

What Does It Look Like?

Otherwise known as a hybrid profile, this board blends the aspects of both camber and rocker boards to come up with the perfect all-rounder. Typically, the edge has a wavy appearance. 

How Does It Work

Some manufacturers will integrate the rocker profile at the midsection and the camber profile under the bindings. This helps maneuver loose turns without giving up pop. On the other hand, other brands add camber in the midriff to maintain the board’s ability to curve while the rocker design spreads to the nose & tail to surge float and smooth out all the edgy contact points. 

These are the most common hybrid profile options. While hybrid boards come with the advantages from both profiles, they do not come with the same downsides as the rocker and camber profiles. 

Final Thoughts on Camber vs. Rocker

You might find it somewhat confusing when choosing the type of profile your board should have. It would be best to think about it thoroughly and consider various aspects like your budget, skill level, and terrain before making your choice. 

For instance, are you going jibbing or hitting huge kickers for the most part? Or are you simply searching for the ideal all-rounder? Once you decide, it becomes easier to pick the most suitable profile for your riding style.

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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