Rocking the banana

Rocker, Banana, Moustache—not necessarily words you would associate with snowboarding unless you are a rocker with a moustache eating a banana . . . and you snowboard.

But if you’re one of the many demo-ing new gear this season wondering what all the fuss is about over reverse camber technology, then you’re sure to have heard these associated words.

Camber relates directly to the curvature in your board, and as Peter Saari, vice president of marketing and snowboard product manager for Mervin Manufacturing said (the company behind Lib Tech and Gnu snowboards) camber was adapted from ski technology.

“Traditional camber snowboard designs were based on ski theories created for a sport that has one foot placed in the middle of the board, the camber used to transfer weight out to the tips and tails for control and load distribution in soft snow,” he says. “It (ski camber) wasn’t designed to be used with two feet mounted on one board in a wide stable freestyle surf or skateboard design.”

As we all know, skiing and snowboarding are like strawberries and mustard and therefore require different technologies to get the maximum amount of successful experience. Enter reverse camber.

Reverse camber is a good thing for most riders. Picture the way a skateboard or surfboard (or moustache, or banana) is shaped: generally a slow upward curve along the base where your feet connect and curving more up at the tips. Not only does the rider gain more control by having more solid contact through the board to the snow but the tips make it easier to glide through the much coveted deep powder snow and tackle those park tricks.

Is it for everyone? Not exactly says Nick Neu, manager of Jardines at Sun Peaks.

“It depends on the level of rider and where they’re riding,” he says. “It’s not recommended for beginners because it’s not as responsive in hard snow.”

This is true. While some companies have developed technology like Burton’s V-Rocker which allows for more control on hard packed snow due to the mix of flat and reverse camber, generally a board that’s completely reverse camber excels in soft snow, deep powder and park.

Saari says the award-winning Banana Technology, developed for Lib Tech is a little more user-friendly.
“The rocker is placed between your feet and the board is flat to slightly cambered from your feet to the traditional contact point at the tips and tails,” he says. In regular non-techy language this means that you now have access to manipulate the area between your feet while giving you more pop, control and stability on hard pack while also providing float in broken snow and powder conditions. You can have your cake and eat it too!

So if this all sounds right for you—and it likely does as long as you’re on one stick instead of two—there are some things to consider before going out and buying the first reverse camber or rocker board you see.

When looking at rockers like the K2 Gyrator or the Signal Omni you can generally downsize due to the increased edge control and float. Also check out what your board is made for—boards with reverse camber running the full length of the board are designed more for pure pow. For the general masses, something with a reverse camber/rocker mix like the Lib Tech Skate Banana you’ll be able to kick back and surf the mountain like a pro.

The times they are a changin’, and it’s about time that we ate our strawberries and mustard in separate bowls. We’re here to share the mountain but on different sets of sticks.

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