Straps and Highbacks
The rest of the binding ploughs a similar furrow of ‘low profile, light weight, tough as nails’. You’d be hard pressed to find a thinner, less substantial set of straps than the ones on the Spark Surge ST, but they are built to charge. It helps that the asymmetrical design provides the perfect support for your boot, and they remain unaffected by changes in temperature (as do the ladders). The butter-smooth buckles are made by Burton, another example of the brands playing off each other’s strengths.
The highbacks are also asym. Both flatten out towards the top, giving you longitudinal freedom whilst remaining stiff and responsive from edge to edge. You can tilt them as far as 22 degrees using the forward lean adjustor – then with a quick flip, it’ll change to minus 13 degrees. That gives you an increased stride length while touring, without the need for any fiddly adjustments on the move.
“We’ve long considered Spark’s system to be essentially unimprovable”
We’ve long considered Spark’s system to be essentially unimprovable. That’s never true, of course, hence the ST-flavoured upgrades. Still, it’ll be a while before we see a splitboard system so fundamentally adept at delivering for its passengers; it really does tick all the boxes.
More accomplished riders will feel seen with the Surge ST, offering as it does a stiffer, more responsive ride. Add in the fact that it’s utterly bomb-proof, and it’s easy to see why we rate this.
- Backcountry hellions rejoice; performance-wise, these are utterly without compromise
- The ST are all about durability and longevity, which is ideal for those who get a lot of touring done
- Unlike the Arc bindings, there’s no cutaway sections in the baseplate that let you adjust the pucks while the bindings are attached
Ed Blomfield – Whitelines
“I always believe that the best binding is the one you barely notice. No pressure points, no mechanical issues… it just works. That’s exactly the philosophy behind the Surge ST. The guys at Spark have delivered a masterpiece of industrial design here, stripping away any unnecessary bulk – even pointless padding – to focus on pure lightweight function. A case in point is the straps; they look spartan, but they wrapped perfectly over my boot and gave me all the support and comfort I needed. That’s even more crucial when you’re touring, since you’re basically strapped in all day.
Personally, I’m not a fan of really stiff highbacks – they make me feel like a robot – and these hit the sweet spot between response and comfort.. There’s a beautifully simple hinged forward lean block so you can swing it out of the way and enjoy greater recline in touring mode. The climbing wires also flick up easily with minimal faff. For me, though, the number one feature of these bindings is the rapid, idiot-proof system for switching between ascent and descent. During a solid 10 days demo’ing the Surge ST’s in Norway I transitioned numerous times, even during blizzards, and they never let me down. Flawless.”
Holly Burns – Snowboard Instructor
“My experience of splitboard binding set-ups often cause a few headaches the first time around and take an age to set-up, however I was pleasantly surprised with how simple the Spark system was to fit. Fitting the bindings to the pucks was super easy in tour mode with the pin system.
Skinning up, I liked the addition of the lever on the high back which you can twist to adjust the high back angle, this worked really well to lengthen your stride when you are touring on the flat. I was really impressed with the heel riser tab; you use your pole to push and pull when you want to adjust the height of your riser – great for on the move or when you are in a precarious position on the skin track and don’t want to bend down. During the test, the snow was soft and slushy with fresh snow falling higher up which meant there was no issue of de-icing pucks / bindings, I would like to test on a colder day to see how the transition fairs up with iced up bindings & pucks.
In ride mode, the pillow line straps contour your boot on both toe and ankle strap, so you have maximum control on the down. New for this year, Spark have added the performance baseplates for added comfort, I didn’t get to try these unfortunately. I didn’t think there was a lot of chatter on the downhill, and overall comfort was good. A stiffer binding, I liked the hold and performance this gave you. These would suit more aggressive riders looking for more performance on the downhill.”
Dan Ventura – Marketing Manager, Spark R&D
“The Surge ST is the hard-charger in our line. More robust, asymmetrical ankle straps keep riders feeling locked in, while the new Asym Rip ‘N’ Flip Highbacks are nice and stiff providing the perfect amount of support and response.
We almost renamed this binding completely as it has changed a lot from the original Surge, but eventually decided to add an ST to the end to denote the sweet updates to the model. The ST stands for smooth touring and calls attention to the touring bracket and climbing wire, both of which now feature overmolded thermoplastic components which reduce friction and increase part longevity. We’ve been working on the plastic blend and manufacturing technique for years and the new tech has drawn rave reviews from the Spark R&D Team Riders and Guides.”