Twin True vs. Directional Twin? What is a snowboard sidecut? What are snowboard shapes and which one should I ride?

The shape of the snowboard refers to its outline, and as the name suggests, the shape when looking at it from the top down. There’s a whole range of shapes out there these days so it can help if you can understand how these shapes can influence your riding. Along with the shape of the board, we do have to factor in the sidecut shape too. The sidecut is the curved part of the edge, between the nose and tail of the board. We’ll start with the most simple shape and then go from there to build a wider understanding.

True Twin (a.k.a twin tip)

A true twin snowboard is an entirely symmetrical snowboard. The nose and tail are identical and it can be ridden forwards and switch with no differences. The binding inserts are placed to allow for a perfectly centered stance on the board. Usually the preferred shape of park riders and those who spend lots of time riding switch. You'll also find the "Asymmetrical Twins" in this category too, though the asymmetry is with the sidecut differences in heel and toe edges, as opposed to the nose/tail lengths and widths. 

Directional Twin (a.k.a twin like, all mountain)

Directional twins feature a slightly different nose and tail length (and sometimes width and flex). They are designed to be ridden in one direction to take advantage of its directional design, for example in fresh snow. Generally speaking, these boards can easily be ridden switch all over the mountain too, making them a firm favourite for many snowboarders looking to “have it all”.


This would be the favoured shape among freeriders. These boards are asymmetrical from nose to tail and will often have their binding inserts set back from center by 1-5cms to help with this directional orientation of the rider. It’s typical for a directional board to have a longer, softer nose compared to a shorter, stiffer tail. This category is where you will find features like a swallowtail or tapered tail, meaning a narrower tail compared to the nose, or even a tail shape to help the board’s tail sit lower in deeper snow than the nose. You may also hear the term, "volume shifted". This simply means shorter, wider boards that provide the same larger surface area under your feet, in shorter lengths compared to their traditionally longer counterparts.

Snowboard shapes and designs with Focus Snowboards. What is the difference between a true twin, directional twin and a volume shifted snowboard?

Now that you have some more info about the shape, the second part of a board's overall shape is the sidecut. If you took your snowboard on a wide open, flat area of snow, tipped it up on edge and slid it forward, it would naturally turn in a circle. You can find more info on your board specs chart about the sidecut radius, telling you the size of the circle it would draw in the snow, when tipped on edge.

Shorter sidecut measurements are associated with what’s known as a “deeper” sidecut, and so a more defined curve. It will have the ability to make a tighter turn. On the contrary, longer sidecut measurements are mellower and won’t be able to make as tight turns, but will track at higher speeds with more stability. Naturally, you will find that longer boards will have larger radius measurement. With that said, here’s some of the sidecuts you’ll find on most boards.

Radial Sidecut

The radial sidecut will create a perfect circle so this means a perfectly round sidecut arc. These are typically the sidecut of use on a true twin snowboard. The following sidecut shapes can be found on all other variations of board shape.


These boards have shorter (or deeper) heelside sidecuts, compared to their toeside sidecuts. This allows for a tighter turning radius on the heel edge of the board to make up for our biomechanical differences in our riding. If this is new to you, in short, when you balance over your toe edge you use your ankle, knee and hip joints. When you balance over your heel edge, you cannot use your ankle joint in the same way. You’ll often hear people say they prefer their toe edge as they can "grip it better" and this is a basic insight as to why. This asymmetric concept was developed to help riders get some extra help on their heel edge.


This sidecut has an ovular shape to it with the longer, mellower section at the nose to middle of the board and the shorter, tighter section toward the tail of the board. The idea is that this will help a smoother start to the turn and a tighter turn exit, which can help to generate speed out of a turn.

Multiple Radii

Many boards these days have sidecuts with multiple sections. Some of these sections can even be straight, as opposed to curved and then joined by small curved sections in between. This can manipulate the feel of the board throughout the turn and take advantage of the benefits of different sidecut radii, all in one edge. These designs are definitely worth demo-ing if you can, as they often provide quite a unique feel that can be hit and miss with riders.

Serrated Edges

Finally, we should include the multi-contact edge design. There's lots of variations of this too, with different names from each brand too. This edge design was made to provide more contact points to enhance grip on icier surfaces.

When shopping around and getting to know brands and their gear, just know that all of these profiles and sidecuts are underlying most, if not all modern day snowboard designs. What changes is the terminology each company uses and the names they have implemented to sell their version of the design. You can usually find a board tech section on brand websites to explain more about the features of their boards and it is worth a read if you are new to it.

So what about Focus Snowboards?

Well, if you want to get straight to it, you can find our board tech info here. Our flagship snowboard is The Reason and you can find the exact specs listed under board specs here. If you happen to be short of time, The Reason is a directional twin snowboard with a symmetrical, progressive sidecut (Pro-Sym Sidecut) and is everything you need to ride all over the mountain. This means longer, shallower or larger sidecut radii in the tip and tail, with a shorter, deeper or small sidecut radius in the center.

If you have any more specific questions about the board tech in Focus Snowboards let us know!

Happy sliding,

Kahli & Leo