How Does a Directional Snowboard Work?
A directional snowboard is shaped such that it is optimized to be ridden in one direction, which is the direction of the rider's front foot. But how does the design of a directional snowboard achieve this?
Directional snowboards always have a longer nose as compared to the tail length, as well as a progressively deeper radius of sidecut towards the tail end. The larger nose length contributes to an improvement in the board's float and allows the board to power through variable snow types easily. Meanwhile, the deeper sidecut towards the tail end helps ease the rider into a relatively forgiving turn while also providing the energy needed to propel the rider into the upcoming turn.
While the above two features are always found in directional snowboards, these types of boards can also have the following design features. A majority of the time, directional snowboards have a setback stance and a directional camber profile that leans towards the rider's front foot. Lastly, many directional snowboards, but not all, have a directional flex pattern with different flex in and towards the tail as compared to the flex in and towards the nose.
All these factors work to optimize the riding of a directional snowboard in one direction. Therefore, directional snowboards are mostly used in conditions better suited to riding in one direction, including all-mountain and free riding.
Types of Directional Snowboards
Directional Twin Snowboard
At first glance, a directional twin snowboard may appear to be a regular true twin. However, it is designed to double as a directional board as well subtly. A twin snowboard is typically labeled as a twin directional board when it has a setback stance. A twin snowboard with a slightly longer nose length than the tail length is also considered a directional twin snowboard.
Therefore, a directional twin is a twin board inside the contact points, and it is designed like a directional board. Due to this, a directional twin board is very suitable for all-mountain and all-mountain freestyle riding. Although it may not be as comfortable when riding switch, a directional twin will be able to handle switch riding just fine.
Tapered Directional Snowboard
A tapered directional snowboard is a directional snowboard shape with one important difference. In a tapered directional snowboard, the width of the widest point on the nose is wider than the width of the widest point on the board's tail end.
Moreover, a tapered directional snowboard typically has a setback stance, while the level of taper on a tapered directional board can vary at different levels, from subtle tapering to extreme.
Tapered directional boards are well suited for free riders, especially those who require a powder specialist board. The shape of a tapered directional board is optimized to permit ideal float in powder by causing the tail to dip and the nose end to rise.
Should I Choose a Directional or Directional Twin Snowboard?
Many beginner snowboarders wonder whether they will be better off choosing a directional snowboard or a directional twin snowboard. The fact of the matter is that the type of snowboard you choose is dependent on your skill level, the type of terrain you choose to ride on, and a few other important factors.
Directional Twin Snowboard
A directional twin snowboard, for example, is essentially a twin board tweaked to serve as an all-mountain board. While the nose and tail of a directional twin are symmetrical, the inserts are closer to the tail. Therefore, a directional twin snowboard is best for on-piste performance and powder riding.
Since a Directional twin snowboard is designed to provide the rider with the best of both worlds, you can ride in one direction all the way down the powder and even do a bit of switch riding in the right conditions. Lastly, due to their versatile shape, directional twin snowboards are among the most commonly used all-mountain boards, as they provide effective flotation and maneuverability.
On the other hand, a directional snowboard is designed with a shape that suits freeriding more than any other type of snowboarding. The longer or wider nose and shorter tail of a directional snowboard mean that the rider can effectively float over deep powder without much effort. Meanwhile, the shorter tail makes the rear end of the board firmer, thereby allowing for more efficient steering.
Since a directional board is designed to be ridden in a normal stance all the way down, they are the most common amongst free-riders. They handle high speeds better than directional twins and provide high maneuverability on powder with smooth flotation.
Lastly, directional snowboards often have what is called a Swallow Tail. Directional snowboards with swallowtails are designed to perform best on powder, as the tweaked tail shape allows for even greater maneuverability and riding smoothness.