Snowboards are constructed using a lot of bits and pieces. There’s the wood core that consists of different types of wood. There are various grades of fiberglass and epoxy that wrap around the core, and there are different grades of P-Tex bases. There are steel edges that come in all different shapes and densities. Some boards have rubber inside of them and some have Kevlar and magnesium- the list goes on and on. One of the most essential elements found in a snowboard is the stringer. Snowboard stringers play a big role in how a snowboard rides so it’s worth getting familiar with the different kinds of stringer technology out there if you’re in the market for a new board.
What are stringers?
Stringers are long, thin strips of material that are placed in a chosen pattern on either the top, bottom, or both of the wood core. Stringers can be made of carbon fiber, Kevlar, basalt or even certain types of wood. Although carbon fiber is the most common material used for snowboard stringers, recently companies have been using more eco-friendly materials.
What are stringers for?
Stringers help give snowboards strength, elasticity, pop, and both torsional and longitudinal stiffness. A board can be made to be stiffer in one area and more flexible in another depending on where the stringers are placed on the core and the pattern they are placed in. Stringers work in conjunction with the fiberglass lay up of the snowboard whether that be in a biaxial, triaxial or quadaxial pattern with biaxial being the most flexible and quadaxial the stiffest. Stringers will not stretch as much as fiberglass so they offer additional support to the core.
Stringers can be arranged in a limitless number of patterns depending on the will and imagination of the board designer. Here are a few of the more common patterns that you will find on the market.
Parallel: Parallel patterns employ two stringers running side by side from tip to tail. They give the snowboard more pop for launching off of jumps and natural features. The closer they are to the middle of the board the more torsional flex the board will have and in turn it will feel less aggressive and looser. The board will have less torsional flex the closer to the edges the stringers are placed. This type of pattern will yield a more aggressive (stiffer) feeling board that has enhanced edge hold.
V Pattern: This pattern places “V”s just in front of the tip and tail of the board with the point of the v ending at the insert pack and the two ends resting at the outside contact points of the snowboard. This pattern gives the board a combination of good pop and torsional stiffness. It also helps strengthen the tip and tail making the board more stable on less than perfect landings.
X Pattern: The “X” pattern can run diagonally from contact point to contact point or be more concentrated towards the middle of the board. Longer X patterns give boards lots of torsional and longitudinal stiffness resulting in a good all mountain freestyle type board with good pop and a lively feel. Boards with a shorter X pattern will have softer tips and tails making them easier to press but still have good pop.
Every year the technology changes a little and a board you rode last year may have a different feel and flex for the current year. Your shop should be able to tell you about those changes and the specifics regarding snowboard stringers.