ReTales: A Tech Glossary Part 2


Brands like to use a lot of fancy words to describe their product, and in reality, most of them are just made to confuse the shit out of people. It’s a classic sales technique. But we want to encourage you to shop smart, so here here are a few of the more-common “tech phrases” you’ll run into while looking for the right snowboard, with what they actually mean. See Part 1 of the Glossary here.

Swallow Tail: Common on old school directional boards, and making a strong return in the dedicated powder board market, swallow tails are a notch at the tail of the board. This is done to reduce overall surface area at the back of a board, helping it sink into powder to serve as a sort of rudder. This is preferable to just chopping the end off a board, because it leaves a longer edge intact, giving you better control.

Stringer: A term borrowed from surfing, this refers to a reinforcement built into the board going from tip to tail.

Biax Fiberglass: The board is made with a fiberglass where the strands are arranged in an + pattern across the board. This reinforces the wood and other materials, but only a little bit. Not necessarily a bad thing, just an indicator that a board will be softer and easier flexing. Particularly common in park boards, but found in many board types.

Triax Fiberglass: Now with 50% more glass! If biax glass looks like an +, triax looks like an X with an I on top of it. This way you have the stringer providing tip to tail support, with cross fiber reinforcement. This is an indicator that a board is stiffer and more responsive.

Crabon Fibrè: A douchey way of spelling “carbon fiber”.

Carbon Fiber: Often substituted for one or more layers of fiberglass, carbon fiber is is stiffer, more durable, and lighter than fiberglass. When multiple layers are used it can make your board stiffer than grandpa after a few blue pills and a Golden Girls marathon.

Pop Rods: Also known as “Jumper Cables,” these are usually additional carbon fiber (or fiberglass) inserts to strategically stiffen a board. Most often, they run from the inserts towards the tip and tail of the board, providing additional stiffness, and thus pop.

“Gas Pedal”: There are a few variations of this, but the idea remains constant. Thicker foam is placed at the toe of a binding, bringing the surface closer to the bottom of your boot. This makes a more direct line for rider input, making toeside turns more stable and consistent. Think of it as highback forward lean, but for your toeside.

Directional Shape: This is when the nose and tail of a board are shaped differently to change the riding experience. Most commonly this is done on powder focused boards by making the nose wider and the tail narrower, which makes it easier to keep the nose up while maintaining control in deep snow.

Directional Stance: Done by moving the binding inserts back some distance from center, making the nose longer than the tail. Occasionally done on powder boards, it is more common on beginner friendly decks as a longer nose and shorter tail makes for a easier turning, more stable board that is less likely to scare away newbies.

Symmetrical Shape/Stance: Unsurprisingly this is when a board is the same nose and tail, front and back foot. Many people prefer riding boards this way, as it makes the transition to riding switch more simple.

Contact Points: Contact points are the areas along the edge of the board that engage with the snow while turning. Depending  your board, the number and location of those points can vary greatly, and that is why the benditure (camber vs. rocker vs. hybrid) effects how a board rides. More and further contact points make for a more aggressive and stable board, while fewer or closer points are going to be more mellow and maneuverable.

Cant: This is when the sole of a binding is angled inward to take pressure of of the rider’s knees. This can be done using dual-density foam (hard on the outside, soft on the inside) or simply by having less foam on the inside. Makes for a very comfortable day of riding, and could potentially make it easier on old farts with bad knees.

Think we missed one? Have a gear question you just can’t figure out? Need someone to translate marketing gibberish into something resembling English? E-mail Jim and he’ll answer you in a future article. And probably an e-mail too. He’s cool like that.

7 replies
  1. Oh Henry
    Oh Henry says:

    If you wanna get confused just go ask your local shop staff to explain every Mervin board on the floor and the 82 camber profiles they have

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