This is an exciting year for snowboards and the snowboard trends coming forward for this season. As you take to the hills this year you may begin to notice a few boards that look a bit different. In fact, in some cases you may wonder if you’ve stepped back into the 80’s. That’s because swallowtail and uniquely shaped boards seem to be a new trend in the industry. While some may not be practical as everyday rides, others claim to be just that, taking you from groomers to powder and excelling at both. Here are some unique shapes to look out for.
Surf Inspired Shapes
While swallowtail shapes have been used in powder boards for years, the expansion of these surf inspired shapes seems to be a more recent snowboard trends. The difference? Most brands know that riders can’t afford to have a “collection” of boards and need something that can tackle multiple conditions. While the shapes themselves may vary, the end result can look something like K2’s Cool Bean. Short and stubby but with all the surface area of a normal sized board, the Cool Bean boasts its ability to “slay giant powder runs or rip around on groomers with a big smile on your face”. The idea is simply to give riders more of a surfy feel similar to that of riding a wave, while also maintaining edgehold and control when Mother Nature isn’t quite as generous.
The theory is simple. Your feet aren’t symmetrical so why should your board be? It’s a known fact that it takes more effort to apply pressure to your heels than it does your toes, so why not build your board to accommodate this? Asymmetrical shapes are becoming popular at the higher end of some brands lines. What you’re given is a board like the Ride Helix which has a tighter turn radius on your heel side edge and a longer turn radius on your toe side edge. In laymen’s terms, your turns feel more fluent because you don’t have to apply as much pressure on your heel side edge. This is a snowboard trends we are going to keep an eye on.
While not new to the game, hybrid shapes, which involve combining rocker and camber to the profile of the board, continue to make their way even further down the line. Coming in at an opening price point and plenty accessible to beginners is the Rome Factory Rocker . Featuring rocker between the bindings for playfulness and float, and camber beneath the feet for response and pop, the Factory Rocker gives riders the best of both worlds at a price they can afford.
Combine them all
Combine all of the above and you get the Gnu Zoid, a unique board Gnu refers to as being “ergonomically efficient”. At first glance you might think it looks odd and as if it can only be ridden in one direction. You’d actually be right, they are actually sold in “regular” and “goofy”. However, odd as it looks, the Zoid combines a progressive shape capable of slaying powder with an asymmetrical sidecut making shredding those groomers as efficient and smooth as possible. Couple that with the combination of rocker and camber and you’ve got a board that knows no limits.
While most of us can’t run out and get a new board each year, it’s at least fun to try something new here and there. Some things may be gimmicky and some are just revamps of tech that existed long ago, but every once in a while something will stick and can change product as we know it. Rocker may have seemed like a new “trend” 10 years ago but it’s long proven its place and has evolved in many ways. One thing’s for sure, as long as the industry continues to innovate, gear will only get better and better.