Snowboarding has come a long way since its inception in the late 1960s. We now have an incredible community, multiple Olympic events and acceptance into most ski resorts (except the final three). But have snowboards changed in 20 years?
Snowboards have changed significantly in the past 20-years, including the shape, profile, materials, and technology. There are also several brand new types of snowboard, such as split boards and swallowtails.
Let’s take a closer look at these crazy advancements and consider why it might be worth upgrading your snowboard…
How Have Snowboards Changed In 20 Years?
One of the most noticeable changes in snowboards over the past 20 years is their shape.
In the past, most snowboards had a directional shape. This meant that the board had a significantly longer nose than tail.
In recent years, snowboards have become more symmetrical, starting with the invention of the true twin. Twin snowboards allowed riders to ride switch (backwards) more easily, as the nose and tail are the same length. This enabled huge advancements in freestyle snowboarding.
These days there are sorts of crazy shapes available. These include swallowtail and volume-shifted snowboards.
Another significant advancement in snowboard design is the profiles.
Traditional camber snowboards have a curved shape, arching away from the ground. This allows for excellent edge-hold and pop… but is a little unforgiving for beginners.
In an attempt to find a less aggressive profile, multiple new designs have appeared over the past 20-years.
Rocker (or reverse camber) snowboards curve downwards in the middle. This reduces the risk of catching an edge and gives a surfy feel. But critics argue that rocker snowboards lack pop and response.
This prompted the invention of the hybrid profile. Camber-rocker-camber, rocker-camber-rocker and flat profiles quickly became popular. They promise to combine the edge hold of camber with the forgiving and surfy feeling of rocker. Pretty cool!
I recently revealed what snowboards are made of. It’s fair to say that we’ve come a long way from the days of wooden planks!
Carbon fiber has now become more common, owing to it’s superior strength and responsiveness. It also happens to be a lot lighter. Other materials, such as Kevlar and basalt, are also used to increase strength and reduce weight.
Additionally, snowboards now feature a variety of core materials, such as lightweight wood or foam. These provide more flexibility and responsiveness.
Base materials have also improved, with many snowboards now featuring sintered bases. These are more durable and faster than traditional extruded bases.
The technology used in snowboard manufacture has drastically evolved over the past 2 decades. There are too many features to list, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Dampening systems: reducing chatter and increasing stability
- Specialized edge designs: such as Magnatraction. These improve grip and improve carving.
- 3D Profiles: Boards like the Burton 3D Fish have incredible 3D profiles. These push powder over the board and increase float.
- 3BT: Bataleon pioneered 3BT, which curves all of the boards edges up away from the snow. This prevents edge catching and enables silky smooth turn transitions.
- Binding Attachments: Advancements such as the Burton Channel system allow infinite stance adjustments.
- Weight: Owing to a joint effort between materials and technology, snowboards weigh a small fraction of what they used to.
An Example Of An Innovative Modern Snowboard
For the perfect example of modern snowboard design, take a look at the incredibly beautiful Bataleon Surfer.
Profile: Camber with Bataleon's 3BT
Shape: Super Directional
Additional Features: Carbon Stringers, Air-ride (dampeners), Swallowtail,
- Insanely light for a board of this quality
- More durable than old snowboards, despite the weight
- Premium, high tech materials throughout
- An incredible example of technological advancement
Snowboards have changed significantly over the past 20 years. We’ve seen incredible advancements in snowboard shape, profile, materials, aesthetics, and tech.
This has undoubtedly improved performance, comfort, and versatility. What a great time to be a snowboarder!
If you came to this article because you’ve just dug out your old snowboard from 20-years ago… that’s amazing. Take it for a spin!
But you’re definitely going to want to a new board, simply to experience the magic of the modern snowboard.