An Expert Guide to Volume Shifted SnowboardsPublished on 08/18/2023 · 8 min readSnowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast explains how volume-shifted snowboards differ from regular snowboards and lists the top-recommended volume-shifted boards!
Photo courtesy of Nidecker
When it comes to shopping for a new snowboard, figuring out the proper size for you might just be the hardest task. You have to consider your height, weight, boot size, ability level, and riding style, among other things. However, once you determine your general size range, shopping for a new board to add to the quiver becomes a much easier process—or so you thought…enter volume shifted snowboards!
To be honest, the first time I heard a snowboarder describe their set-up as a volume shifted snowboard, I had no clue what that term meant. What the heck was this new technology? Was it a gimmick, or did it offer value that a normal board didn’t?
Chances are you’re probably wondering the same thing! Whether you’ve heard the term volume shifted before and don’t know why it matters, or if this is a completely foreign concept to you, worry not. In this article, we’ll cover everything you should know about volume shifted snowboards; by the end of it, you’ll practically be a gear expert!
A Brief History of Volume Shifted Snowboards and Surfing
Like many advancements in snowboarding, the idea of volume shifted snowboards was derived from surfing. While you don’t have to be a surfboard expert to understand volume shifted snowboards, a bit of context is helpful.
There are two main types of surfboards: longboards and shortboards. Longboards are the easiest to paddle out and catch waves on, whereas shortboards are the easiest to turn on quickly and effortlessly.
At some point, surfers figured out that if they made their surfboards wider and thicker while also making them shorter, they could get the best of both worlds: a surfboard that is both adept at paddling and catching waves and easy to maneuver.
This innovation, the hybrid surfboard, was versatile in multiple settings and didn’t ride like previous boards. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the volume shifted snowboard was inspired by!
But Seriously, What Are They?
Simply put, a volume shifted snowboard has a large waist width and is meant to be ridden 3-6cm shorter than your normal snowboard size. Volume shifted boards possess the same surface area (volume) as a longer board and, therefore, have the same advantages. However, since the surface area is displaced—or shifted—to the width of the board, a rider can use a version that is less lengthy, simultaneously giving them the advantages of a short snowboard!
If that definition left you confused, don’t sweat it. Wrapping your head around the volume shifted board concept can be tricky at first! Here’s another way to think about it: Volume shifted boards have decreased length and increased width—effectively keeping the surface area identical to that of a longer board with a standard waist width.
Exactly as a hybrid surfboard with a shortboard length but a longboard surface area offers certain advantages, volume shifted snowboards also possess several unique benefits.
So What? Figuring Out the Goal of Volume Shifted Snowboards
To understand the advantages of a volume shifted snowboard, you must first understand the benefits of both a longer and shorter snowboard:
Longer snowboards typically provide good stability when riding at high speeds, provide better edge hold, and float through deep snow more easily due to their large surface area. Due to these reasons, many riders will opt for longer snowboards as their freeride, backcountry, or powder boards.
Short snowboards are typically lighter, easier to pop into the air, facilitate maneuverability more easily, and can be spun with less effort. Subsequently, snowboarders who enjoy riding in terrain parks often choose a shorter snowboard as their freestyle board.
Volume Shifted Snowboards
Volume shifted snowboards can offer the best of both worlds and provide qualities found in both long and short boards! Another advantage of volume shifted boards is that they’re great for riders with larger boots. Since they possess such a wide waist width, riders with large feet don’t have to worry about common concerns like toe or heel drag.
Who Should Consider a Volume Shifted Snowboard?
The short answer to this question is everyone. Everyone should consider a volume shifted snowboard if they’re interested in it! These boards come in so many different styles that there’s almost certainly a model you’ll enjoy.
It is worth noting that volume shifted snowboards typically have a learning curve. So if you’re a brand-new beginner rider, you may want to hold off. But intermediate riders or advanced riders should have no problems.
What Kind of Riding Are Volume Shifted Snowboards For?
Volume shifted snowboards are ideal for tree runs where you need to navigate quickly and smoothly around obstacles in soft powder snow. They allow you to float above the powder and keep your turns sharp and responsive. If you live in or plan to visit an area with heavy snowfall and tree-lined mountains like the Pacific Northwest, BC, or Japan, then a volume shifted board would be a perfect addition to your quiver.
While many volume shifted boards are designed primarily for powder riding with a soft flex and wider nose, some models, like the Ride Warpig, are better suited for all-mountain riding and carving. These boards have a stiffer flex and less taper from the nose to tail, providing a solid edge hold even at high speeds. Additionally, a little extra width in the board can help provide clearance and maintain a clean carve on softer snow.
Popular Volume Shifted Snowboards
1. Ride Warpig
The Ride Warpig is one of the most popular volume shifted snowboards on the market. It is an all-mountain board you can take all over the resort. With a medium flex and a rocker profile, this board can ride anything from steep and deep pow lines to casual groomers, and even handle its own in the park! It is built with “cleave edges,” or steel-reinforced edges which provide extra durability. For these reasons, the Ride Warpig is truly one of the most well-loved snowboards in the volume shifted category.
If the Ride Warpig is a friendly introduction to volume shifted snowboards, the Ride Superpig is its ultra-aggressive counterpart. This lightweight snowboard wants to ride hard and fast; the more snow, the better! With a much stiffer flex than the Warpig and a predominantly camber profile, the Superpig offers great edge hold when carving! Both the Superpig and Warpig have a “tapered bi-radial” sidecut radius that provides extra grip through turns and stability on a flat base. Overall, it’s a great choice for those who want a specialized snowboard for off-piste riding.
The Bataleon Party Wave is another freeride/powder snowboard, though this board has a much softer flex than others on this list. This soft flex rating makes it quite playful and gives it a very laid-back, surfy feel perfect for soft snow or a powder day! Don't expect it to be super poppy, however. This snowboard works well as a freeride board because, despite its soft attributes, it has a big ol’ nose and a tiny tail. This makes it a breeze to float through powder, chunder, slush, or anything else you might encounter freeriding!
4. Gnu Gremlin
The Gnu Gremlin is similar to the Ride Superpig in the sense that it possesses a stiff flex, aggressive camber profile, and is built to ride hard and fast. However, it leans slightly more all-mountain than the Superpig does, and it can be ridden on groomers just as effectively as off-piste.
This board is designed with Magne-traction edges: strategically placed serrations along the edge of the board that act as extra contact points and provide more traction and edge hold.
It does have a larger setback stance than any other snowboard on this list: the inset packs (the location where bindings are mounted) are set two inches back from the center of the board. This setback stance gives the rider the ability to charge over chunder with no issues! Just don’t expect it to ride switch as a true twin shape or directional twin shape would.
A few other brands to consider that have volume shifted snowboards in their lineup (including a reverse camber option) are Capita, Burton, and Lib Tech.
Buying Your First Volume Shifted Snowboard
While it is ultimately personal preference whether you want to add a volume shifted snowboard to your quiver, there’s no denying that volume shifted boards have become a staple in the snowboard industry. If you think you’re ready to take the plunge and get your very own volume shifted board, Curated is the place to go! We’ve got plenty of different volume shifted board options, and even better is the fact that you can get personalized advice on which is best for you.
That’s right, here on Curated, you’ll be matched with a Snowboard Expert, have a conversation via chat, and can get personalized recommendations based on your needs and wants, all for free! It’s the quickest and easiest way to find the perfect gear and have it at your door in a matter of days!