Snowboards used to be cambered - ie: when lying on the floor in your kitchen, the board touched the floor near its tip and tail, the centre point hovering a few millimetres off the floor. The introduction of rocker technology reverses that, and simply means the application of reverse camber in the snowboard. Now with rocker (or reverse camber!), there is one contact point at the centre of the board, and the rest of the board curves upwards, away from the floor. This year, the major snowboard brands have employed reverse camber in different places on their 'rocker' boards, combining reverse camber with regular camber -and even no camber - to make their boards handle differently.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
Your snowboard is no longer a wide ski - rocker is snowboard-specific design. Boards with rocker have a looser feeling, are less prone to catching edges and are a lot of fun for goofing around on the pistes. They're more responsive, and since the tip and tail are higher than on a regular snowboard, they also float better in powder. The compromise of the technology is that edge hold suffers and you'll find yourself skidding out of turns more - hence they're not that great for riding chopped-up snow off piste. You also lose the feeling of pushing against the board to load it up - for example, when you ollie.
Burton have used rocker on the Fish LTD, calling it 'S-Rocker'. This tapered, pointy-nosed, swallow-tailed powder weapon employs reverse camber under its nose to lift the tip higher, making it handle more smoothly in powder. Burton have also made a true all-mountain board with rocker - the late-model Hero has rocker which increases in severity along the length of the board, giving it a predictable feel but all the advantages of the technology where it counts.
Lib Tech have called their version of rocker 'Banana'. It's been marketed very well, and practically all of their boards use it. With the reverse camber section between the bindings, the rest of the board is flat underfoot, until it curves up at tip & tail. It's a formula that's received the best feedback so far of any of the brands, and the one that we're most stoked to try here at Zero G. The Skate Banana is their softer freestyle deck, and the Travis Rice & TRS are stiffer and designed to be ridden everywhere.
Rome, one of the biggest successes in snowboarding over the last five years, have always had an excellent freestyle board called the Artifact. This year, they've made a limited-edition rocker Artifact called the RC1985. This board is totally flat (read: no camber) between the bindings, the reverse camber kicking in toward the ends. To make up for the looser feel of the board, they've added some carbon for more pop. We are happy to have bagged the last couple of Artifact 1985s available in Europe, which'll be arriving here mid-November.