For many years, bindings have been essentially the same. Sure there have been innovations in strap shape, additions like baseplate covers, slightly different toe ramps etc, but for the most part, the basic goal of a binding has been to hold your feet to the board, and that’s about it. Enter JF Pelchat, long time pro and the mastermind behind Now Bindings. Not only do these things hold you to your board, but they also use physics to make it easier to ride. Neat, right? We got a pair to check out and decided we should catch up with JP and get the dirt. Because the people need to know — What is so futuristic about these bindings?
In case people don’t know, who are you? What is your background?
My Name is JF Pelchat, I am a former snowboard pro and a closet engineer, I have been living in Whistler for 18 years but I am originally from Saint-Jerome QC Canada. I have two daughters 5 and 8 and they both snowboard, not ski. I have been snowboarding since 1985, so almost 29 years and during those years I have become a member of a notorious organization called the WILDCATS. I continue to be very involved with snowboarding and my passion is to share it with my girls and the rest of the world through my company. My hobbies other than boarding and building bindings are: cooking, biking, socializing, mushroom picking in the fall, and I also love a good party with my friends, Wildcats style.
Why did you decide to start a binding company?
After all those years sliding sideways and looking at bindings and how they hadn’t evolve since they first came out, I’d figure I could bring a small contribution to the sport by incorporating the movement of a skateboard truck into a binding and making it more about turning a snowboard than just holding your boot down.
I never saw your Kickstarter, how are you funding it?
At the start (around 2004) I made a rough working prototype in my garage and validated the idea, I then apply for a Patent which was patent #2 for me and this was all funded by my savings making money as a pro. Then around 2009 I met with Nidecker Snowboards and they offered to help me financially, with distribution and sales. At that time they were and still are supporting/helping cool rider own brands like SLASH, JONES and YES, so I saw a partnership existing. Since 2010 they’ve provide me with financing, took care of distributions and sales while leaving me with 100% of control over the brand direction, marketing and product development.
You have a pretty heavy pro team. How did you decide who to get involved?
Jeremy Jones, Devun Walsh and the YES crew are all friends so they got to tried the early prototype and from that day on they were backing it up so this was a no brainer to make them part of the team. From there I built around them and I try to bring riders that contribute to the team and the sport while keeping it relevant and diverse. Just like construction, it’s all about a strong foundation.
Can you explain the technology to me in human terms?
Think of a skateboard upside down, the deck is the snowboard, the trucks are the bindings and the wheels are our bushings. It’s all about leverage and directing energy straight to your edges instead of losing it in the baseplate/disc area.