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Footstrap adjustment: loose vs snug
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14040

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:34 pm    Post subject: Footstrap adjustment: loose vs snug Reply with quote

As a spinoff from the swell-riding thread, am I overly concerned about loose front straps?

I've injured my metatarsal joints and gotten turf toe -- each of which takes months or years to heal -- from falling forward in my tight front straps. I also have no arches, so a few extra mm in strap adjustment lets my feet go in almost up to the ankles because there's not much to stop them except my leg; this makes front strap adjustment critical for me.

Both of those problems would be solved if I thought it was safe to loosen 'em up and slide 'em in a lot further, as I do with my back strap. I've not tried that up front because internet and magazine discussions have cited extra risk, my ankle ligaments are loose and compromised from decades of ankle injuries, and I crash often, sometimes too quickly to reach the ejection handle. The idea of deliberately windsurfing with the back foot unstrapped makes me shudder.

I'm not sure whether I'd have experienced more, or fewer, foot/knee injuries with tight vs loose straps. Do you folks who run 'em loose think it works for you because:
a. You don't crash much, especially straight forward?
b. The looseness lets your feet come out better in a crash than snug forefoot insertion?
c. Your ankles are stainless steel rather than cheap plastic?
d. You've never wiped out an ankle and don't know how serious it is?

I've always facilitated front foot extraction by setting the screws widely enough that I can twist out easily ... fine for twisting falls but not for forward pitches, and I still can't get my front foot out while switch-stance. I'd love to gain the benefits of looser front straps if you guys can convince me it's not significantly riskier than snug ones.

Mike \m/
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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 1995

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I normally wear booties-I know, donít go there-but recently bought a board that has the straps too close together for booties so I have been going barefoot on the new board. I have also been experimenting with looser straps on the new board. The strange thing is I can get my feet out quicker and easier with tight straps wearing booties then I can with loose straps barefoot. The looser straps require me to add one more thing to my pre-jibe checklist, loosen my foot out of the strap before I jibe. After a day of blown jibes because I couldnít get my foot out in the middle of my jibe and a twisted, slightly sore ankle I decided it was better to keep them a little tighter.

For me the trade off to tight straps vs. loose straps is this. Tight straps leave you at a greater risk of a catapult trying to get into the straps then loose straps, loose straps greatly reduce the risk of catapulting while getting into the straps but increase the risk of feet getting stuck during transitions. I think Iíll keep them tighter.

Coachg
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bobgatpdx1



Joined: 13 Oct 2002
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coach - try thinking much looser!

Try this experiment on land:
- Put your straps so loose that you foot goes in all the way to your ankle.
- Set the width of the straps so they are just touching the sides of your feet, but now the straps are so loose that you can easily wiggle a finger between the top of your foot and the underside of the strap
- I use booties, and I find this setup allows me to easily get my feet out during transitions. For boards that have the holes too tight for booties, you can improvise by using the 1st mounting hole on one side of the strap and the 2nd mounting hole on the other side. This angles the straps a bit, but I use this setup just fine on my Starboard Evo.
- For jumping, you do need to lock in your feet by lifting your toes so the board doesn't come loose in midair. Once you sail like this a couple of times it becomes instinctive.

Try it - you'll like it!
bobg
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14040

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob,
How easily does your front foot come out of its super-loose strap when you go over the handlebars without warning? With my front foot in just to the ball of my foot (toes barely protruding in front of the strap), I rely on toe flex to let my front foot slip out. Of course, that's how I got a year's worth of turf toe, so it's not foolproof. If my arch -- well, the top of my foot where some people actually have arches and we all have many tiny joints -- were in the strap, it would get crushed if it didn't slip out.

Mike \m/
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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 1995

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob,
I'll try making them even looser. Funny thing about the width, my board is a Starboard as well. Maybe they didn't plan on anyone using booties? I also thought about moving the front part of the strap to the next position up, but that may make the strap too wide. I'll give it a try and see how it works. I'm still dialing in this board.

Coachg
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14040

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually stagger/slant/offset my front footstrap screws at least one step; on one Fanatic wave board I had to stagger them by all four holes: front outboard and rear inboard screws on each side. The extra width helps me twist out when I need to. My Evo is fine staggered by one. If I touch both sides of a strap at the same time, any lateral twisting (of my foot) locks it in ... if I'm anywhere near switch-stanced then, that front foot may as well be in a bear trap.

Mike \m/
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5762

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"switch-stanced"?

Isn't that a kiting thing? I know why kiters do it, but why in Windsurfing?

Regarding straps, we all do what's necessary for control and fun. Of course, that's different for many folks. No doubt, certainly subject to human nature and many other considerations.
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cgoudie1



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 1228
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve,

I swell ride switch stance all the time, mostly because I like the feeling,
and it allows me to change back to my former direction almost off the lip
if such a thing were possible on swell. I'm also in the Jim Oaks camp
of loose straps. The only foot injury I had was before I started
loosening them up. This is not a recommendation for other sailors,
just a personal preference of mine. I have normal arches which keep
my foot from sliding all the way into my leg.

-Craig

swchandler wrote:
"switch-stanced"?

Isn't that a kiting thing? I know why kiters do it, but why in Windsurfing?

Regarding straps, we all do what's necessary for control and fun. Of course, that's different for many folks. No doubt, certainly subject to human nature and many other considerations.
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sailingjoe



Joined: 06 Aug 2008
Posts: 1087

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch the top notch ski racers after the race. The first thing most of them do is unbuckle their boots. The tighter the boot fit, the more control one has over the skis. I can't see how windsurfing is any different. I think that you face a bigger potential for injury with loose straps. Earlier this year I started using a thicker pair of booties. When I sailed with a board on which I hadn't adjusted the straps to fit, I had the hardest time getting in the straps on my first blast. It was so difficult that my calves were cramping up. Now that was just too tight. However, a snug fit seems just right. You just have to be quick about getting out when needs be.
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2632

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:32 am    Post subject: brain cramps Reply with quote

sailing wrote:
...my calves were cramping up. Now that was just too tight.

Guess that explains why your brain cramps up, Brucie.
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