Check out our roundup of low-cost beach gear to help all members of the family enjoy frolicking in the sand and water.
Snowboard Camber, Snowboard Base, Snowboard Flex
There are two types of snowboard flex: torsional and longitudinal. In our discussion of snowboard shape, we noted that some boards are stiffer in the tail.
Snowboard flex depends primarily on the construction of the fiberglass that surrounds the core. If manufacturer specs don't rate the flex of a particular snowboard, look for the terms "biax" or "biaxial" and "triax" or "triaxial." Fiberglass woven in a biaxial pattern typically makes for a softer, less expensive board, while a triaxial weave indicates a stiffer board.
Snowboard Camber.Camber is the arch a board makes when it's laid on a flat surface. A high, spring-like snowboard camber allows for more aggressive turns and greater stability and responsiveness at high speeds. Most of the snowboards we recommend feature reverse camber or rocker, with the center of the board against the ground and the ends upturned. This shape floats on top of powder and lets beginners glide a bit more gracefully, with less chance of catching an edge and falling off balance. Snowboards with rocker also perform well in the park. In general, however, they have a tendency to wash out at high speeds. A user who posted a review of the Vandal on the K2 Snowboarding site finds the board's rocker shape less suited to hard-packed snow.
The Salomon Pulse has flat or zero camber, which means it lies mostly flush with the ground and comes up only at the very tip and tail. The Good Ride warns that this means it doesn't have as much pop, or springiness. A Salomon rep points out in a Snowboards.net video that the snowboard's flat camber provides more stability and is intended to make this board easier to learn on. In any case, the Pulse represents an alternative to all the reverse camber out there among starter boards. It's ideal for beginners interested in getting comfortable on groomed runs and in the park. (Note that older versions of the Pulse and the Forum Recon feature traditional camber.)
Snowboard Base.The base or bottom of a snowboard is usually made from a polyethylene material called P-Tex using one of two methods. Polyethylene beads or pellets are melted down to create an extruded snowboard base. This solid base doesn't absorb wax very well, which makes it slower than a waxed board but nearly effortless to maintain. An extruded base is also easy to repair.
To create a sintered snowboard base, the polyethylene is squeezed together under high pressure, creating a porous surface that can soak up wax. This makes the board faster and more durable -- but only if it's properly maintained. Boards with sintered bases are more expensive to buy and can require costly repairs. All the budget boards we've selected have extruded bases that are simple to maintain and repair, potentially saving riders even more money over the life of the boards.
Think Twice Cheap Snowboards
LTD snowboards generally pop up in big-box stores and overstock shops; dedicated boarders tend to stay away. There's no arguing with the price -- just don't expect these boards to last as long as budget models from other brands.
LaMar Snowboards Review
Forum Recon Review
Ride Lowride Review
Salomon Lotus Review
K2 Vandal Review
Salomon Pulse Review
Burton Genie Review
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