Wood is by far the most widely used snowboard core material. Vertically laminated Beech, Poplar or Aspen wood cores provide strength and a smooth predictable flex making them both snappy and reliable. Over the years, snowboard companies have experimented with a whole host of exotic materials to either partially or fully substitute wood in core construction with the aim, in most cases, of reducing weight to improve responsiveness and manoeuvrability. A few seasons ago Burton partnered with Plascore to incorporate an aluminium honeycomb structure into some of their high-end boards. Other companies have used materials such as the para-aramid synthetic fibre Kevlar in their cores to reduce unwanted vibrations and create a smoother ride. Several of next season’s Flow snowboards feature a layer of silicon between core and base for similar reasons.
Nitro recently teamed up with Monaco based company Koroyd to produce some really interesting core constructions incorporating tens of thousands of tiny extruded polymer tubes thermally welded together.
Koroyd was originally developed for use as a lightweight structural panel in the aerospace industry but has since found its way into a number of different products including wakeboards, skis, snowboards and helmets. The Koroyd material consists of tiny straw-like tubules that have two layers of different polymer. The outer polymer has a lower melting point than the inner one. The tubes are tightly packed in a mould and then heated to the melting point of the outer polymer allowing the individual cores to bond together thermally, forming one continuous structure. This sheet is then cut to shape and incorporated into the snowboard core by sandwiching it between the fibreglass structural layers.
Traditional honeycomb structures have used glues to join individual cells and this introduces weak points into the structure. Koroyd’s thermally welded construction eradicates this issue and produces a much more consistently strong material. The circular as opposed to hexagonal shape of the cells also adds to this reliability and predictability.
Nitro have incorporated Koroyd technology into two of their 2012/2013 board series’/models. The Factory Series takes four popular Nitro models (the board shown below is the Factory Pantera) and gives them a high-end construction. These boards feature a Koroyd Hybrid Core, with areas of Koroyd strategically placed in the nose, tail and centre of the board. This setup doesn’t change the riding experience too drastically but reduces weight while noticeably increasing the dampening of fatigue inducing vibrations. The new Ultimate snowboard uses a full tip to tail Koroyd core producing a board that looks and feels like a traditional deck but is incredibly lightweight (70% lighter than standard balsa), durable and responsive. We haven’t had a chance to ride one yet but we have already heard lots of positive feedback about it, namely that unlike many other super lightweight boards, it is less prone to chatter and instability thanks to the vibration absorbing properties of the polymers used. We look forward to taking it for a spin.
For more info on the Koroyd technology and its numerous applications check out the Koroyd website.