After being hooked by a first great moment riding bindingless on a regular snowboard, two things were for certain.
1. I need more of that.
2. How good it can be with purpose-built equipment I can't imagine yet.
Thanks to the Absinthe movies I already knew about Äesmo and what i could tell by the footage, looked interesting and inspiring, but their boards were simply not available yet and other originators of the current powsurf movement like Shark or Grassroots I only dicovered at the ISPO tradeshow later on.
To make it short, I just had a go myself and from day one it was not just about creating a board, but also giving attention to all neccessary accessories and details. And i mostly mean the grip pads and leash by that, but there is of course much more than that.
There were existing products and lots of diverted products and makeshift solutions, but nothing that really did the job like i envisioned it.
When the boards got better, the problem became even more present. Having finished the first fully functional prototypes of what later became the Asueto powdersurfer for POGO Snowboards, i took one along on a trip to a remote caucasus area and went for the first bigger lines. Out there in such conditions and terrain, it was obvious how crucial the performance of the pads and leash really are. And how the fahrvergnügen for every rider in every terrain would profit from the intended improvements.
Since then a lot has been developed, tried and refined. And it's not over yet and it's only getting better.
The pads are pretty self-explanatory, stand on them and go for it. The grip pattern assures proper traction, while the 3D shape and the soft foam offer a great feeling for the board. The footguide has been mistaken for miniature hooks a few times, but simply helps you to position or shift your feet exactly like intended without loosing the focus on the ride.
The leash eye by the way, the black hook where the leash is attached to your board, is perfect to scrape away the snow under your soles before stepping on the pads.
The leash and the according footband are not complicated either, it's just good to know a few details. The footband should be attached around your boot at ankle hight. Please refrain from strapping it around your leg at knee hight, as sudden impacts are more likely to hurt your knee and your missing out on the cushioning of the boot. On top you increase the length between your body and the board in case of slams. The footband offers a velcro and a buckle closure, the buckle being only a back up option, so please use mainly the velcro to tighten the footband.
To make sure that the velcro works to it's full extent, try to keep it clean. For example just unhook the leash when you take a break from riding and leave the footband on you.
In case of heavier slams and according impacts on the leash and footband, the footband offers two predetermined breaking points and also the leash is developed to let go with certain forces. That might sound a bit harsh now, but such cases can occur and so the equipment has to be ready. To sum it up in case of regular slams your boards will stay attached to you, but in case of a real heavy slam the connection collapses. Both of it is to your goodwill.
The leash itself is a coiled stainless steel wire coated with polyurethane, therefore the leash is strong, thin, light, dimensionally stable and offers a low rebound. In case your leash gets tangled, simply stretch it to the maximum and it will go back to it's original form.
Another way to use the leash is to skip the footband and attach the carabiner straight to your belt or backback. Anyway is fine, just as long as you use it. For the safety of yourself, your board and your company.
Starting next winter season the Konvoi pads and leashes will also be available separately. Stay tuned.
Thanks to Martin Grobar for all the great pictures including this one.