Rider: Tim Humphreys. Photo: Ed Blomfield.
Nidecker Snowboards have just dropped the big news that it’s combining with fellow NDK Group-owned brand Flow. With these two iconic brands merging, its set to create one behemoth of a binding line that will cover every style of entry. We caught up with the group’s Brand Lead, Thierry Kunz, to learn all the details behind the exciting partnership.
What’s the thinking behind the combining of Nidecker and Flow?
Well first of all, they’re both iconic snowboard brands with a lot of shared history around performance and innovation – and in particular, making bindings that are more convenient. A lot of people won’t realise but back in the late 90s – around the time Flow started – Nidecker produced its own rear entry system called Back-In, which featured Active Straps that raised as you reclined the hiback. The two brands actually swapped patents at the time to be able to combine their technology.
Fast forward to 2016 and the partnership was rekindled when Flow came under the umbrella of the Nidecker Group. And now, after Nidecker shook up the market with the launch of Supermatic last year, we’ve decided to take the next logical step and fully join forces. The idea is to offer customers one comprehensive binding line that covers every style of entry: Supermatic, Flow Design and Two-Strap.
What was Flow most recognised for?
Flow has made its mark in a lot of ways over the years. In the early days it was all about the speed entry element, but as the brand expanded it became a key player within the scene; it built a great team with Olympic results and a distinct vibe. More recently, what’s kept people coming back is the unique feel of the Flow system – especially the Power Triangle, which is so much more than just a closure cable; it’s a way to transfer energy really efficiently from the edge of the baseplate to the top of the hiback as you change edge. That feeling, combined with the larger surface area of the Fusion and Hybrid straps, has won Flow a lot of fans. Speed entry is just the cherry on the cake.
Will the Flow name be maintained?
Yes. It’s one of the strongest brand names in snowboarding so we’d be crazy to ditch it completely. The Flow name will live on as Flow Design and form one part of the Nidecker binding line.
How are you planning to market the new Flow Design line?
The whole goal of consolidating the two brands is to simplify our sales pitch, so this will be the easiest ever line to buy and sell.
For starters, every binding in the Nidecker range is now unisex. That means every colour will be available in every size, without exception.
Next up, don’t worry – we’re keeping the most popular models. The NX2 and NX2 Carbon are the ultimate example of what a Flow Design binding can be. That bombproof aluminium baseplate is trusted by distros, dealers, consumers and team riders alike. The Fuse will also remain – it’s still super popular. And all of them will still be available in Hybrid and Fusion strap versions.
With Flow Design bindings being part of Nidecker, it will be easier for us to work with our dealers on board-plus-binding package deals. That’s super important at the mid-range price point, where Flow’s convenience has earned it a lot of fans, so we’ll be offering set-ups containing the Fenix and Nexus in the full range of colours and sizes.
Are there any sustainability benefits to the move?
Combining the brands obviously brings some economies in terms of packaging and shipping that will reduce our environmental impact. And more importantly, since Nidecker is a member of 1% For The Planet, it means that a proportion of every Flow Design binding sale will now be directed to non-profits fighting climate change.
Who’s in the team following these changes?
There are no changes to the office crew. We’ve been pooling our skills and experience since Flow came under the Nidecker umbrella in 2016, and we’re confident we’ve already got the best people in place to make a success of the R&D, sales and marketing going forward. And in terms of riders, we still have Tim Humphreys, Sarka Pancochova, Mike Basich and Shin Biyajima repping Flow Design bindings.
How will you differentiate Nidecker from its competitors going forward?
Nidecker’s USP is that it now has the most comprehensive binding line on the market. Period. This is a crowded space with a lot of different brands and models, but by combining Nidecker and Flow we’ve cleared the field a little bit. And with three distinct styles under one brand, we have a solid story for each customer. We can also tighten up the branding and colourways, which in turn allows for more merchandising opportunities. And last up, because our resources are now laser-focused on one brand we can really step up our marketing game – with clearer communication, a stronger riding team and a killer media strategy.