There is an inevitable cycle in any new product release where the vocal consumer base will sway towards the negative. In my 35 years I've seen it in everything from soda to cars, to 'Star Wars' movies to computers and even snowboards. The last time (in current memory) that the snowboarding population was so split down the middle was not over backcountry boards but step in bindings. Step in's have gone the way of the beta max video tape as a general victim that was equal parts bad hype, poor engineering and just being generally ineffective. But, more and more I see a similar slant driving from a vocal minority regarding reverse camber decks. What's even funnier is the bickering is filtering into my comments section.
I'll be the first to admit: I'm not an engineer. But, as a snowboarder I'm interested in trying different boards and seeing how they ride. Riding mostly on the icy slopes of Pennsylvania (Hey you gotta make do with what you have) the general crappy conditions provide a good testing ground for seeing if anything lives up to the the hype. When Mervin started marketing magnetraction the whole "turns ice into powder" was a pretty typical Mervinism. You know these mervinisms by now. The kind of statement that is so far reaching you can visibly see the sarcasm dripping from the catalog. But, like all things Mevin there is typically something worthy in there. The same can be said for the hype and footage surrounding the Banana traction (BTX) decks. Are they so revolutionary that it will forever change the face of snowboarding? We'll find out over time but I highly doubt it. I could be wrong but I can't fault them for being funnier if not smarter than most brands when it comes to marketing.
A snowboard, like skateboard or surfboard, has an inherent simplicity that is a big factor in its success and appeal. The ability to control and manipulate the board is not something that is incredibly complex. But, it could be changing the camber of a board means more to somebody who rides 100 days a year versus 25 days a year. Of the people I hear tearing down on reverse camber decks right now it's a few dedicated riders whoa re so dialed in with specific equipment that the slightest change would ripple effect their riding. From the 2010 Lib Tech Catalog post I had this comment.
"Bananas are so overrated. Every kid and his mom wants one and they don't even know why. A bunch of mediocre snowboarders swear Bananas are the amazing and they’ll never go back to standard camber. Unfortunately if you ride more than 20 days a year your libtech will flex out or delam before the season ends. Quick silver actually lost money off of them last year cause they warranteed so many boards. Its called good marketing and its just a snowboard... Don't Slip on Your Skate banana. Peace"
Knowing the Lib Tech faithful it didn't take long for another comment to sprout up:
"I ride 60+ days a year, on a lib trs, I love my board. My edge has a very nice chunk out of it thanks to a very friendly rock, and it's still not delamming, nor "flexed out" after 2 seasons. Why don't you stop talking shit and go snowboarding you pussy? Come to the northwest, you can still talk shit up here, but everyone will still rip harder than you... on their libs."
Put those two comments together and you have some high comedy for sure. I go back to my earlier statement: there's an inherent simplicity to snowboarding that makes it fun. OK, so I shortened it a bit but the point here is that we will always have snowboarding companies marketing to us, we will always have engineers looking to try something new and we will always have riders who say "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." As for me? I've had a few reverse camber decks I've tested including a Lib Tech Phoenix, Burton hero and Nitro Sub Pop. Each one has its own unique way of riding and to be honest it took a little getting used to the different minutia. On the flip side they are all really fun boards to ride. Because, at the end of the day, if I'm snowboarding I care less whats under my feet and more about the smile on my face.