Should you use footstraps for Sup foiling?
It’s a new question in Sup foiling: To strap or not to strap. In foiling’s early days, pioneers like Laird Hamilton were fully committed. They strapped themselves to their boards with snowboarding boots and towed into freight-train sized waves that few people had ever surfed. Now we see foilers like Kai Lenny pumping in circles from wave to wave and Fred Hope jumping the height of a three-story building, with nothing but bare feet and a little surf wax on their boards.
At Slingshot, it’s a question often asked, usually by entry-level foilers anxious to get started but unsure of what setup is right for them. To strap or not to strap?
Should you use straps for SUP foiling?
We say…Probably not unless you really need to. We’ve seen guys using straps to stay locked in while Sup foiling. The reality is, nobody really ever wants to ride straps. When you dig into why there is typically a good reason. Sometimes those reasons are good, sometimes they are not so good. For example, if you want to jump your windsurfer straps are pretty good. Let’s examine foiling on a SUP. You don’t see people using strap without a foil, so why would you need them with a foil? The main reason to use straps is to fix a design problem. Huge foils have some issues. Big slow high lift foils create a ton of leverage. That’s cool when you’re taking off or going slow. When things speed up, the foil turns into a difficult beast to control. Turning a big foil may require the extra power straps give you. So in this case straps are fixing a design flaw of the foil. Our foils our efficient, smooth, fast and turn great. They don’t create a problem in the first place.
While straps may solve a foil design problem, you may create an even worse problem. Here is why. Straps lock you into a stance. This stance will be dictated by the position of the foil and the footstrap. To balance out your set up, you might have to change your stance. That always sucks. Not using straps lets you keep your natural stance. All you have to do is dial in the position of your foil. That’s why adjustable foil tracks are so awesome. Your freedom is really worth it.
This means if your gear is balanced and set up correctly ride strapless. If it’s not your going to be riding straps and it may be possible you will be changing your stance to find the right balance point. Simplicity and Freedom are way more fun. That’s why we encourage you to get informed. Do your homework. Learn how gear really works. None of this is easy. You’re going to have put in the long yards, so learn as much as you can, get out there, and don’t just blame your gear when you just need more time on the water.