Since their creation, snowboard boards have evolved in terms of shapes. In recent years, brands have opted for a return to the simple pleasure of slipping. Small inventory of the boards that it is possible to find.
Snowboarding has always been looking for the most effective board shape, as sportingology says. We have seen many evolutions in its infancy, but for some time, the round spatulas seemed to reign as a master. After years of almost uniformity, the snowboard industry finally regained interest in atypical shapes. The reasons for this mutation are not only aesthetic but aim at a return to the sources sometimes forgotten: the pleasure of slipping.
Round spatula years
Until a few years ago, the vast majority of snowboard boards had spatulas (raised at the front of the board) symmetrical round, regardless of the practice for which they were intended. Only the swallows, uncontrollable big freeride boards, came out of the lot with their sharp nose and tail swallowtail. Even though their effectiveness on a big powder day is undeniable, their elitist side (and their high price) could put off for a quieter freeride practice. The only alternative for the powder seemed to be rigid boards with round spatulas. Boards certainly effective at high speed in the pow but not really playful for everything else.
Forms inspired by surf and skate old school
After a competition to find the most effective camber in the late 2000s, the industry seems to have suddenly reminded itself that the first thing a boarder asks is to make turns. Starting from this reflection, the snowboard has gone from its roots to bring back to the taste of the forgotten shapes, often inspired by surf or skate old school. Allied to the progress of manufacture of the new millennium, we saw the appearance of machines with strange forms especially for the carving and the powder, without measuring two meters like a swallow.
Directly inspired by surfing, brands such as Burton, Salomon and Jones have introduced fishes in their ranges, small, wide boards and lots of setbacks (mounted on the back of the board). Finished the entire collections with symmetrical spatulas, place to directional boards, pointed nose, square tails and a bunch of odd shapes. Big brands such as Ride, K2, Lib Tech, Arbor, Bataleon, Yes or Rome have all come together and competed creatively.
The creativity of small brands
The American brand Spring Break took the step further by trying very experimental shapes that bring a really singular way of riding each board. Cory Smith, former pro rider and creator of the brand, has mixed an artistic approach with a handmade manufacture inspired by the surf shapers. These slippery UFOs are not intended for the general public but they served as a showcase to make then more accessible series boards. Its bestseller is the Spring Slasher, a small fish destined at first sight to the powder but which proves to be very effective to carve on hard snow. This board has become very popular with the videos Yawgoons, a crew of the East coast of the United States that makes very creative videos in a tiny station.
In France, Dupraz was one of the first to advocate for this surfing of snowboard boards with his long pointed nose. The brand has been organizing bank slalom for years to highlight this pleasure of sliding and carving. Other small brands in Europe, the United States or Japan develop boards with innovative shapes. We find very interesting models at Korua Shapes, United Shapes, Gentemstick, Furlan for example.
What’s the point ?
Already, it has the look! And this will mainly serve to behave differently from a more classic board. Special shapes are there to bring new sensations and performances. The board will not automatically change the way the owner rides.But discovering new supports, turning and edge changes really opens up prospects. Carver on a runway without relief can take a whole new dimension.
These boards will also fill the surfers who will find sensations very close to the slide on the water, especially with the fish. These shapes make it possible to democratize freeride. No more swallow to float in the powder (although the swallow is always the ultimate weapon on very big days). A small, wide and directional board can be a real bomb in the pow, while remaining handy and perfect for carver. The biggest advantages are a better track grip and ten-fold powder capabilities that will prevent you from having the back leg on fire after a run, as is usually the case with a twintip board not suitable.
So dare to think outside the box and try a different shape. Not all of them will be adapted to your way of riding but if you find footwear at your feet, you will be able to explore new horizons. Beware, however, of not feeling off-piste. Even if the board works well in freeride, it will not make you less vulnerable to avalanches and rocks, so remain cautious.