know how to choose a Snowboard Profile
The profile gives the board it's core personality, it is the spec. with the most influence on how a snowboard will fell like, not just turning or jumping or buttering or something else, but how it feels in general. Has a huge influence in how much you will love or hate a snowboard and, besides the size and width, is arguably the most important spec to get right when buying a snowboard.
Because the profile is a lot about general feelings and sensations that are harder to put in words than other snowboard specs, we recommend you to try at least one camber board and one rocker board (with a correct size and width for you) so that you can get a better understanding of snowboard profiles and how they feel like when in action.
Just to clarify before we drop in, the word camber refers to a curvature, we can call camber to a rocker profile (reversed camber) and to a hybrid profile, but not to a flat profile, there is no such thing as a "flat camber", physically impossible. A flat profile, that is possible.
Now let's check out the profiles you will find available nowadays:
Traditional Camber snowboard profile
This is the profile that defined snowboard for many years, borrowed from the ski technology, it uses the board flexibility to get grip. The camber profile has more pop and feels more alive than other snowboard profiles, it gives you more control and stability allowing for a more precise steering. The camber gets loaded at the beginning of a turn and gives you that energy back at the end of the turn, throwing you (yes, that's the feeling) to the next turn or to some trick you want. You'll love it if you're into jumps and halfpipe (improved take-offs and landings) and if you love to control your turns by the millimeter and to get more rebound from your snowboard at the end of your turns.
Triple base - Camber with lifted edges from the bindings out, more forgiving as the rocker, although it feels different. It keeps the pop from regular (not triple base/concave) camber boards.
Rocker snowboard profile
All innovation in snowboard profiles started with the rocker profile, the inversion of the traditional camber profile. Rocker is more forgiving (less likely to catch an edge with), easier to change directions with and easier to maneuver with at slower speeds. In powder a rocker profile allows you to lift the nose and to put more weight on the tail with less effort, it floats better avoiding the back leg burn. A snowboard with a rocker profile is a bit slower than a snowboard with a traditional camber profile but faster than one with a flat profile. Rocker is widely used and loved by beginners and beginners snowboards tend to be rocker. It's also enjoyed for rails and boxes, flat tricks (buttering) and riding powder, lots of freestyle/park/jib and powder boards are also rocker.
Flat snowboard profile
It allows for quicker edge change with a bit more grip than camber and has a bit more pop than rocker. It is slower than other base profiles because all the base is one contact point (you may not notice it unless you're a quite advanced rider). If you want a snowboard with a flat profile and want it to be fast, then a sintered base (the fastest kind of snowboard bases) and a narrower waist width are both good specs. to pair with the flat profile.
Hybrid snowboard profiles / Combos
All hybrid profiles aim to get the best of camber and rocker in a single snowboard. Each brand names their own profiles, so its common to find the same snowboard profile referred to with different names. Here are the most popular ones:
Hybrid camber-rocker-camber, rocker dominant
Hybrid camber-rocker-camber, camber dominant
Powder hybrid (rocker-camber)
Powder hybrid (rocker-flat)(soon)