Footstrap setting is crucial, and varies considerably between a freeride, slalom or wave board set up … and yet it is still overlooked by a great many people. Firstly, for wave sailing, it is very important to have the straps set in-board. Secondly one of the biggest improvements in my wave sailing came from making my straps bigger; it still amazes me now when I go on other people’s equipment how small they tend to have their straps. I really struggle to gybe the board, let alone being able to bottom turn properly. Lets see what I mean:
As you can see by the images, for wave sailing you should be able to get most of your foot into the strap. By having bigger straps it allows you to get over the centre-line of the board, which in turn allows you to engage the rail and rocker of the board fully. If you think about surfing or even skateboarding, you wouldn’t stand with your foot away from the centre-line of the board if you were trying to turn it, would you?
I have a few tips when changing your strap size. Firstly, don’t make them huge straight away. Like anything, it’s best to make the changes little by little, so each time you go sailing make the straps slightly bigger. This way it is easier to get used to, rather than struggling with a big change. In response to recommending bigger straps, I often get asked, “But how can I keep my feet in the straps whilst jumping?” Well, it’s actually quite easy – all you have to do it scrunch your toes up. This pushes the arch of your foot up into the strap, locking your foot in place.
Give it a try; I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes!