Sunday, June 28, 2009

An equalizer side cut - Salomon

I was reading different interviews from the snowrev website and I really enjoy when product director from Snowboard companies take the time to explain the technology and the ideas behind it.

So here is a copy/paste interview with David Farcot from Salomon:

SR: Equalizer, is it basically straight edges instead of the traditional radius that has been on boards since the beginning pretty much?

DF: An equalizer side cut is made out of straight lines (3 or 5) and kinks, instead of a radial or elliptic curve. It's a patented geometry that we introduced in (07-08).

SR: What was the idea behind it and who came up with it?

DF: The idea is to equalize the pressure distribution along the edge by maximizing its contact with the snow. In a 3D world with complex terrain (snow surface), straight lines are easier to bend than complex curves. On a regular snowboard, the pressure peaks on 4 narrow spots (feet, wide points). This creates instability. When pressure is more evenly distributed, you're more stable, like running with flat soles vs. high-heels. The theory and prototypes came from our board wizards here, and surprisingly were originated to answer a random request from our former CEO. You guys should work on a technology that makes the snow softer; its getting really packed everywhere

SR: What are the benefits?

DF: More maneuverability and a smooth and constant edge contact, even on hard packed, with no hiccups. David Benedek and Bode Merrill both say it makes switch in-runs and take-offs a bit more relaxing.

SR: If it distributes the pressure farther along the edges does that mean you ride a shorter board than normal or ride your usual size and it just rides radder?

Salomon: It means that you can ride a soft board that still holds the edge when the snows not perfect and youre still charging. (Official / Drift) It means that you can ride a longer board with some pop and stay in control (Lark)

SR: Where the people at Salomon nervous the first time people rode it?

DF: Yes we were all pretty amazed by how well the theory was confirmed by riding...we were more than doubtful before.

SR: It won a "Good Wood" award for 2009 in Transworld's board test; did that seem to justify the theory of the whole Equalizer thing?

DF: The fact that our riders have adopted it is the best proof for us that this technology rides perfect. Of course, the Good Wood awards for Official and Drift have been a great help to convince kids to give them a ride.

SR: Which of the team riders ride boards with equalizer edges?

DF: David Benedek, Matt Ladley, and Sylvain Bourbousson on the Official, since the first year, Wolle Nyvelt on the Grip, Scotty Arnold on his updated pro board, Desiree Melancon on the Lark, Jed Anderson on the Drift…Even carving Josh Dirksen likes it..

SR: How has feedback been from consumers, dealers and other everyday riders that have ridden it?

DF: Really great! Kids and retailers from hard-packed areas and park-riders (East Coast, Canada, Scandinavia,) have been super stoked since the early days. Last summer we had an overwhelmingly positive response at Mt. Hood. Kids loved being able to file down their edges for rails and then still hold an edge cruising down Palmer in the morning.

SR: For 09/10 how many boards will have Equalizer?

DF: Same as last year + Grip (all mountain bamboo freestyle board) / Gypsy (park & Jib for girls) / the updated Arnie (he asked for EQ after trying the official).

SR: What other features does the Salomon Official have that make it stand out from other boards on the market (as if straight edges were not enough)?

DF: Well, it's pretty loaded with very smart and efficient tech: an alien light core (wood + low density foam) with a popster profile (increase the pop, keeps the strength) and sidewalls with rubber rails (dampening layer) are the main highlights.

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