Firefly A7 Supreme Snowboard Bindings
When I began snowboarding I distinctly remember my instructor talking about bindings and at the time I was standing there wondering what on earth he was going on about, so for those of you who don't know Snowboard Bindings are the two foot pieces which are attached to the snowboard to hold your feet firmly in position on the board. For some reason I had always assumed that these came with the snowboard when you bought it, however when purchasing my snowboard I discovered I was going to have to buy bindings separately.
I chose the Firefly A7 Supreme bindings as they were the same brand as my newly purchased snowboard and although there were quite a few different designs available the A7's were the only ones I liked which actually matched my snowboard. I paid 200zl (Polish Zloty) for the pair of A7 bindings which at the time of purchase worked out at around £25!
The snowboard I have is a mix of purple and blue swirls on a dark background, these bindings are made from a very strong back plastic with the same purple swirly-ness around the back of the binding. The heal area and base of the bindings have a rubbery lining to allow for comfort and prevent the plastic from digging into you as you move. The front of the bindings are made up of two straps, one which secures your toes in place and the other which goes across the front of your boots. The straps are also made of strong plastic, however unlike the stiff plastic on the back of the binding they are more flexible to allow for adjustment and movement. Both of the straps are protected by quality leather coverings which have the Firefly logo stitched onto them and the same swirly purple and blue pattern around the logo. Both straps are secured by the ratchet method and extremely shiny chrome clips, these clips are my only 'dislike' about this product as I think it looks a bit too tacky.
Fitting the Bindings
Ok, I confess I had the bindings fitted to my snowboard in the shop, mainly because I didn't have a clue how to fit them! The snowboard has quite a few holes in it where the bindings are fitted so I wouldn't have known where to begin! Plus the man in the shop offered to fit them for free! He did however fit them on an awkward angle and with my right foot as my lead foot, meaning that they were fitted as if I was going to be snowboarding down the mountains with my right foot in front. I am left footed though so this needed to be changed. Changing it was really easy as now the bindings were in the correct position on the board all I needed to do was loosen a couple of screws with a normal screwdriver and twist them around to the correct angle. Tightening the screws was obviously essential as I didn't want the bindings to come loose halfway down the mountain!
Securing My Feet
Before we left home for the mountains I checked all my equipment was ready and this included a few practice sessions securing and then releasing my feet from the bindings. I have to say this was much easier at home with my normal clothes rather than my bulky snowboard trousers and ski jacket! Regardless of this though the bindings are simple to operate and simply a case of placing you foot in position, securing the straps as tight as possible and hey presto you're ready to go! To release the straps you simply need to press down on the chrome clip and this will or rather 'should' instantly release the strap. I say should as it does work perfectly at home but I had a couple of issues once I was on the mountain.
On The Mountain
Using my A7 bindings on the mountain was almost as easy as when I was practicing with them at home, they were easy to secure and made me feel safe about my feet being strapped to a snowboard.On my way down the mountain I still felt secure and like I could forget about my feet and concentrate on the task in hand of actually getting to the bottom of the mountain without looking too ridiculous! I could feel the bindings were tight enough to hold me, but at the same time I felt like I was able to move and had enough flexibility to control myself suitably.
For the first few runs down the mountain I was able to release the bindings with ease, just like at home, however after a few runs I noticed a build up of snow and ice was making the release mechanism stiff and a little awkward to undo especially with thick gloves on. To combat this I took a little break at the bottom of the mountain to clear the snow and ice away and also saw this as a good excuse to stop for a hot dog! Once the ice was cleared the bindings were fine again for a few more runs but I did find I had to clear the snow more and more frequently as the day went on. A couple of times I found that after I had cleared the ice or it had melted away at the bottom of the mountain by the time we had reached the top the water had re-frozen and I had to clear it again at the top. I know this is probably a pretty standard thing to have to do, but I did find it a bit awkward to get in the nooks and crannies of the binding without taking my gloves off and freezing my fingers!
Aftercare of the bindings is more a case of common sense. Make sure they are clean and dry and any debris has been removed. Once you are sure they are thoroughly dry then you can fold them down until next time. The A7 bindings fold down almost flat, the back of the bindings fold forward onto the base of the bindings and I find it is more compact to secure the straps over the top of the folded down back rather than underneath it as this stops it from lifting up when you move the snowboard from place to place.
After searching online I cannot find these bindings in stock in the UK, they do have some in the US retailing at $70 plus any shipping charges. But my personal recommendation if you want these bindings is to get a cheap Ryan air flight to Europe as Firefly products seem to be widely available and very popular during the winter season, have a nice holiday and buy all your new snowboarding gear here as after looking around online I see that I actually managed to get my entire collection of snowboarding equipment for under £250! This is much cheaper than I have ever seen in the UK!
I do recommend these bindings, they make me feel secure and safe and I know I can release them quickly if needed providing I regularly dust the snow and ice off. They have stayed securely fastened even when I have turned myself into a human snowball and rolled down the mountain! The only part of the bindings I don't like is the chrome clip as I think it looks cheap and tacky and doesn't quite fit with the cool look of the rest of the binding.
Thanks for reading! :)