The Future is Now (Bindings, that is)

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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.

27 replies
    • admin
      admin says:

      Actually boom, we have to send the bindings back and Now (or Nidecker) for that matter has never given us a cent. But keep trying, there’s definitely some stuff on here that’s paid for.

  1. local mt hood rider
    local mt hood rider says:

    I’ve personally seen a couple of now bindings in govy and I can say they fuckin slay! It feels like riding a drop through longboard to me. But toe and heel response is way less effort popping is ferocious too. If I had the cash id get a pair. I’m pissed the rep I knew left hood

  2. steezymatt
    steezymatt says:

    I think it’s a dope idea. Like they said, there hasn’t been any major change in the design of bindings in a long time. I’d try them!

  3. Benny West
    Benny West says:

    We did a review of the NOW select on michiganboarder.com if you want to just read a standard snowboarders opinion with out affiliation.
    They are a fantastic binding. We put em
    On a board we were reviewing that we thought was a piece of dead fuckin shit. The bindings added a ton of life to it. Just saying…. But hey we are from Michigan meh meh meh

  4. Curious
    Curious says:

    I hate gimmicks, but this sounds interesting.

    Will there be any test ride/demo days throughout the season? (I am in Japan)

    Also, I noticed almost all riders mentioned in the article are back country riders, will they be decent in park/resort?

  5. David Z
    David Z says:

    I bought a pair of the IPO last season and rode them almost exclusively except for a few demo days I think; everything from bullet-proof ice to knee-deep powder. The technology is legit. I’ll never go back to traditional bindings.

  6. the_milkman
    the_milkman says:

    Cool concept. Shitty article. I still have no idea how these things work. It didn’t occur to any of you to actually put them on a board and demonstrate them? I know some of you chads went to college. Use that expensive brain.

  7. JoeF
    JoeF says:

    Now’s are so proper. Got the IPOs last season, best binding I’ve ever ridden. The bushings also have different densities so you can load the outside with stiffer ones for pop, and gooey ones on the inside for pressing/canting. Thought I would hate them because of the short looking high back, but the heel cup is actually high enough to provide you with ankle support, and the soft hinged high back doesn’t bite your calf, but still gives great response.

  8. devotid
    devotid says:

    i come here just for the comments… and they never disappoint. “pis jug high back prototypes”…ha

  9. Duke Lacrosse
    Duke Lacrosse says:

    Seems counter productive to me. Like putting soft suspension on a car and expecting it to handle good. They probably ride good though, because the thin little bushing is so small.

  10. dicksquad
    dicksquad says:

    Thank you for finally explaining these things. Last year all I heard about them is how revolutionary they were but I couldn’t find a decent explanation to save my life. NOW I understand and really want to try them but $300+ is a way out of the budget. I’d rather get my Mount Snow pass and ride the same shit I had last year

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