Spark R&D Surge 2018-2019 Splitboard Bindings Review

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If more people realised just how different the experience of using splitboard hardware is to the fiddly, footery stereotype, we’d probably see a significant upswing in the number of keen tourers. That’s why everyone needs to know about Spark R&D, the splitboard bindings specialists who beaver away at their facility in Montana, in search of the perfect binder.

WIth the Spark R&D Surge splitboard bindings, they’ve already pretty much cracked it – provided you want a responsive ride for tackling the bigger, steeper, gnarlier descents (and there are plenty of other models in the range, such as the Spark R&D Arc, if you don’t).

“Light, durable and resistant to extreme temperatures, the Pillow straps will perform perfectly on every tour, and through every turn”

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The foundation of the Spark R&D Surge is the ‘Tesla T1’ baseplate. Simply slide it over the pucks you’ve mounted on your snowboard, and click the toe down to secure. Then do the reverse to remove it – it’s really that easy.

That toe ramp does the job when you want to enter touring mode, too, only this time you use the protrusions on the side to secure them into the brackets on your board. A quick click later, and you’re ready to strap in.

Once you’re ready to hike, a lever on the highback allows you to activate negative forward lean, giving each of your strides more length (meaning you use less energy overall). Built into the bottom of the Surge’s baseplate is a rectangular wire that can be flipped out to make steeper climbs easier. Depending on the climb, either the 12-degree or 18-degree options can be selected.

“A lever on the highback allows you to activate negative forward lean”

When you’re ready to ride, just stow it away again, and return the highback lever to its original state. The model on the Spark R&D Surge is the stiffest in the brand’s line, so when you’re hammering a no-fall zone it’ll give you the support you need.

While something called ‘Pillow’ ankle straps isn’t what you’d expect to find on a gnar-oriented binder, they won’t be found asleep at their post. Light, durable and resistant to extreme temperatures, they’ll perform perfectly on every tour, and through every turn. The strap found on the Surge is, as you might expect, stiffer and wider for increased support.

Splitboard bindings truly don’t get any better than the Spark R&D Surge.

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Tester’s Verdict


“For an inexperienced splitboarder who has previously only used regular bindings, the Surge was an eye-opener. They’re so damn light, so damn easy to switch between split- and ride modes, and so damn comfortable to boot.

The large, moulded ankle strap gave zero pressure points either going up or down, and the bindings felt responsive enough for anything.

“So damn light, so damn easy to switch between modes, and so damn comfortable”

The avalanche risk restricted us to mellower lines, but I have no doubt they have the stiffness you need to see you down steep faces. The only thing I struggled with was flipping down the riser for ascending steeper terrain with a pole (inexperience combined with exhaustion, no doubt).

At a price north of 400 shekels you might consider making do with your regular two strappers, but if you splitboard with any regularity these are an investment well worth making.”

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