In the world of snowboarding the term “camber” refers to the subtle arch that extends from the tip to the tail of your board. This arch is so slight that most people don’t even realize it’s there, yet it can have a significant impact on the way the board performs. One bend is not necessarily better than the other, but they each have their place on the mountain.
What most people call “traditional” or “positive” camber evolved from ski design and was actually the only available bend until recent years. The center of a traditional snowboard has a slight arch which causes the tip and tail to touch the ground while the center is raised. Once the rider applies their weight to the board the arch flattens and the full edge makes contact the snow. This allows for more powerful and precise turning, more “pop”, and greater control at high speeds. Traditional camber boards are preferred for all-mountain and free-ride styles and by experienced riders that enjoy fast speeds.
“Reverse camber” snowboards, also known as “Rocker” or “Banana”, are essentially the opposite of the traditional bend. In this case the center of the board arches slightly downward which causes the tip and tail to rise above the snow. This distributes pressure more evenly and results in a looser ride and less chance of catching an edge. Reverse camber snowboards have excellent float in powder and less tip and tail sink. They are preferred for freestyle and jibbing but they are also a good choice for beginners because they are very forgiving.
Can you ride a traditional camber snowboard in the park or on heavy powder days? Of course you can. Many people just have better results on a reverse camber board. Some people still prefer a traditional camber board in these situations. Just like everything else in snowboarding it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you can’t decide, shoot, for 199 bucks just by one of each.