Directional vs. Twin: Choosing the Right SnowboardPublished on 05/25/2023 · 7 min readConsidering making the switch from a twin tip to a directional? Read on to find out why a directional board might be the best for your riding style.
Photo by Ben Kitching
Snowboard designs have been around for decades and come in all different shapes. Many designers created a unique shape for their boards and other products to stand out in a sea of normalcy. As snowboarding grew in popularity, so did the number of companies producing snowboards for all types of riding. This influx led to the production of two main shapes of snowboards—a directional shape and a true twin shape. Boards in both directional-shaped and twin tip-shaped boards are available in camber and rocker profiles, and many are made with a dual-species wood core, stiffer zones, and for different snowboarding specifications.
Twin tip snowboards are more common and are often the first type of snowboard that beginner riders gain experience on. Most rental boards are twin tip snowboards, in a reverse camber profile, and the majority of beginner snowboard lesson packages include twin tip-shaped boards, set to a basic stance. They also make up the majority of boards ridden by professionals in big contests like the X-Games or Olympics, depending on the contest. Certain twin shapes provide a balanced ride, more pop, and versatility for professional snowboarders. All of these factors make twin tip snowboards appealing to new riders and snowboarders who primarily shred certain areas of the mountain. As people improve their freestyle riding skills, they tend to gravitate toward this familiar style of board when looking for a new daily driver. Knowing that, why might you go with a directional?
Know Your Boards and Your Needs
If you’re nervous about making a change from a twin tip to a directional, I would recommend learning about what the boards were best designed for and what technology features they have. This will help you answer questions about the boards’ performances in certain riding situations. If this feels daunting, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated—we know all about board shapes and what makes them the best fit for you. An Expert will also have knowledge of each board's waist width and the right size for you.
Also, knowledge of key companies, key factors, and how their boards differ, along with being able to find alternatives, is super useful. If you’re worried about a certain factor, such as being more comfortable riding switch, or going with a shorter board than before, knowing the dimensions of the boards you’re interested in will be helpful. Understanding how much the board differs at the tip and tail, or the sidecut could help to ease your worries. Knowing if the board is a camber profile, or best suited for intermediate and advanced riders are all factors to look at when deciding on a directional snowboard.
Another thing to remember is your age, what you plan to ride, and your style. Many riders like to base their riding style on the skateboard style of the 2000s because both sports grew the most in popularity at the same time period. Skateboarding and snowboarding tend to closely translate, as people tend to be more familiar with skateboarding than alpine skiing or surfing. Snowboarding companies have responded to this demand by producing boards with a stiffer or softer flex pattern and profile. Many companies make multiple patterns, but most directional snowboards will have a medium flex or stiff flex rating.
A great way to get past the hesitation of using a directional board is to break down your last day on the mountain. Did you ride all day in the park? Did you spend your day searching for deeper snow and chasing powder? Unlike skateboarding, where participants utilize specially designed terrain, most snowboards are utilizing multi-recreational terrain at resorts. This breakdown can help you realize that float, or the ability to carry speed over a flatter area, might be more beneficial than the benefits of a twin tip. Directional boards often offer more stability at high speeds and on groomers. Again, a Curated Expert can help walk you through all of these steps and answer all your specific brand questions from Burton or Lib Tech to name a couple!
Connect the Board to Your Experiences
Maybe you'd like a directional board like the 2022 Lib Tech Orca!
Once you’ve broken down how you’ll be spending your time on the snow, the next thing to do is reach out to a Snowboard Expert for recommendations and a custom curation that will have the best boards available to you. The Snowboard Experts at Curated act like apex predators and will attack all your questions and needs to find the best option for you. Most of these recommendations will most likely fall into an “all-mountain or freeride” snowboard category, which is the most generic use category for a snowboard. These boards are designed and built to go anywhere a snowboard can go at a resort or any other hill you might find. Many companies use a variety of base materials, different sidewalls, and other high-end tech features to lower the overall weight of boards without the durability sacrifice. This opens up a conversation about why this board is the best for your intended use and how it is capable of doing anything you desire.
You and your Expert can talk about all of the benefits of a directional snowboard—how they make floating through powder and charging through spring/wet crud snow easier, or how they hold a better edge for carving deep trenches or going at warp speeds. These tips could help you realize that a directional board will be a better choice than a twin tip. This realization will all be based on your personal experiences—which makes the idea of a directional snowboard more relatable and possibly desirable. Once you think you’re ready to try a directional snowboard, the next step is to pick out the best board for you! If you're already knowledgeable of directional boards and are looking for just an upgrade, an expert is key. They will know which boards have a longer nose, sink less, or are even asymmetrical boards.
Many companies have started using a directional twin shape from their mid-range to high-end models to their professional and performance board models. These boards feature minimal tapered tails and are the best of both worlds; great for terrain parks, hardpack, or any day on the slopes. They allow riders to seamlessly ride switch while providing plenty of float and speed through deep snow. These smaller tapered tails, or wider noses, provide riders with a more versatile snowboard that excels in many riding conditions. Many professionals prefer to ride one of these boards in most conditions and video pieces because they have the best heel edge, toe edge hold. Knowing the current trends can be useful if you’re considering the benefits of a directional twin snowboard.
Remember What You Need
If you’re not convinced that a directional snowboard is the best choice for yourself, then go with a directional twin board or a tried and true twin tip snowboard! Sometimes you know exactly what you want! Besides, there are certain advantages to a twin tip snowboard, like a twin flex pattern and easier board control, and possibly more maneuverability. Just keep in mind that doing what’s best for you and your riding is your main goal.
These strategies are optimal ways to help get the best snowboard for yourself and your personal riding style. Chatting with an Expert about your age, experience, and riding style will help them find the best boards for your personal curation.
Your Expert will be able to describe why each of the snowboard’s features would be best for the riding that you’ll be doing. They’ll know all of the benefits and characteristics of each snowboard shape and why it would improve your on-mountain experience, as well as be able to explain the new technology, like carbon array, and each brand’s specific board terminology to help you understand why a directional snowboard would be the best choice for you. They can even relay the drawbacks of a twin tip snowboard and how they fail in certain riding conditions when compared to a directional snowboard, with extra binding inserts or a setback stance.
Finally, if you’re dead set on a true twin snowboard, go for a twin tip! Finding a new snowboard is all about personal preferences and finding the right board for you!