Should you use straps for wakesurf foiling?
It’s a new question in wakesurf foiling: To strap or not to strap.
In foiling’s early days, surf foil pioneers like Laird Hamilton were fully committed. They strapped themselves to their boards (converted old airchairs) 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 our own foil freak Fred Hope jumping the height of a three-story building, with nothing but bare feet and a little surf wax on their boards.
Somewhere in between, there’s the rest of us.
At Slingshot, whether we’re on the dock with a beer after a day of playing behind the boat or in the office answering e-mails, we’re always happy to give helpful advice on the gear we make and the sports we love.
Should you use straps for wake foiling?
This is an easy answer: No. Not to start with. Once you’re a solid foiler, you can experiment with straps and advanced riding, but until then, there’s no reason to use them and good reasons not to.
- The slow, steady pull of a boat or jet ski is all you need to keep the foil in position as you start, and once you’re up and cruising, there’s no reason you need to secure your feet to the board.
- When you’re learning, you will crash (it’s a guarantee). Learn to crash properly (by going with the crash not resisting it, and kicking away from the board) and the risk of injury is about the same as learning to wakeboard. The last thing you want to do is wedge your feet in straps and scorpion backward into the foil because you can’t kick free.
- One exception is if you struggle with keeping the board in position and the foil at the surface of the water as you start. If you’re not flexible or have hip or leg issues this can happen. In this case, get a set of half straps. First, try just using the front strap facing outward. This is essentially just a handle that helps provide leverage to keep the board in the right position. Once you’re up, it’s out of the way and you’re basically strapless. If that still doesn’t work, switch it around and you can use your front foot in the half strap. If that doesn’t work, add the back half strap and you should have all the leverage you need.
Once you master the basics and you think you want to jump. Then you can start to explore some options. For example, Check out Louise Floyd. He is doing aerials. You need straps for these kinds of tricks.