Questions answered by Snowboard Engineer Paul McGinty
What are the biggest forces shaping the changes and developments you've made to your boards?
Every board we shape has a unique personality because every rider is an individual. With that in mind, Ride has been on the forefront of shaping technology producing Hybrid camber lines for four seasons now. By blending modified camber lines into localized rocker zones we can really push performance to the next level and provide a trusted ride for every unique style of rider.
The development cycle this year focused a lot of energy into refining and expanding these Hybrid shaping theories to make each board more versatile. This results in easy to ride boards right out of the wrapper that are complimented by increased pop and grip when you need it. We design each board as a system by interlocking the camber/rocker line into the flex design and into the sidecut design. We are able to make riding simply more FUN – we've tuned flex profiles and Ride exclusive technologies like Popwalls to be smooth and forgiving at low speeds, but precise and high energy on bigger features and steeper lines. Ride Hybrid technology really is the best of both worlds.
To what degree are you emphasizing camber shape and core profiles in your lineup?
From a priority standpoint, we have focused our line to be driven by the output message – to some extent it's unfair to ask every consumer to know the pros and cons of specific technologies. This is where the face time in a shop is invaluable to the end consumer to ensure they get on the right product for their needs. So, to this extent we have made the conscious decision to categorize and present the line based on outputs not inputs – and in its simplest form that boils down to four categories: Park and Pipe / All-Mountain Freestyle / All-Mountain / Pow. From 50-feet away camber shaping is not a headline and this is a conscious decision understanding many consumers will be overwhelmed with 100 camber stories for 100 brands.
So as much as camber shaping is one of the main design factors in all of our boards, it is not the first level of categorization when we present the line to other snowboarders. That being said, it is on the second level of detail when you look through our line. Within each output category, we quickly subdivide based on camber theory. For instance, within Park and Pipe we subdivide into three options for camber lines – Traditional Camber, Twin Rocker, or Hybrid Twin.
So in summary, from a behind the scenes standpoint, camber line theories are still a primary design tool. But, from a public perspective camber theories are now a sub-category of the main output – Park/Pipe vs. All-Mountain, etc…
Are you cooking up any new materials or construction techniques?
Popwalls redefined what was physically possible in energy return on a snowboard last season. By adding carbon fiber pop rods into the Slimewall urethane sidewalls right above the edge of the snowboard, we eliminate all energy losses. One hundred-percent POP! Acknowledging the success of the first year of Popwalls on the Machete GT and Highlife UL we made the conscious decision to further develop and expand Popwalls into two brand new models this year to utilize this Ride exclusive material – for men the new Buck Up, for women the new Hellcat.
For the Buck Up, we designed the board from scratch with Seb (Sebastien Toutant) and quickly the blank page was overflowing with ideas. Thirty-plus prototypes later, we have a board that has combined the ease-of-use of Seb’s favorite slopestyle board – the Buckwild, with the pop and stability of Seb’s favorite big air board – the DH. Seb’s new go to board, the Buck Up does it all. This is achievable because of Ride's exclusive shaping concept and proprietary Popwalls.
So to the original question, from a materials standpoint, POPWALLS were cooked up by Ride's own factory and from a performance standpoint, POPWALLS changes everything – easy to ride at slow speed, massive pop, and precision at high speeds. As such, this year we are expanding their use and incorporating them into more models than ever: The Highlife UL, Machete GT, Buck Up (NEW!), and Hellcat (NEW!).
What themes are you seeing for graphics?
Answered by Russ Cosgrove Image & Design Manager
On the whole, boards and board graphic colors have toned down a lot. Bright colors are still very relevant, but in small doses. On a graphic level, the sky is the limit as long as it's done right. At Ride, we look to work with talented artists and illustrators out-of-house which brings something unique to our line. The combination of those chosen artists and in-house designers results in a great looking product. Less is usually more.