Windfoil footstrap

Windfoiling – Footstraps, When to Use Pro’s and Cons

Windfoiling…Footstraps, half straps or no straps- here’s a breakdown of the key pros and cons of each windfoiling type.

It’s a new question for Windsurfing: To strap or not to strap while windfoiling.
In foiling’s early days, surf 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 surf and windsurf foilers like Kai Lenny pumping in circles from wave to wave and Fred Hope windsurfing, kiting, and 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, it’s a question we are 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? At the risk of sounding a like a politician, our answer is, “It depends.” It really is a matter of personal preference, ability level, and your risk vs. reward calculator.

If you’re an experienced windfoiler, chances are you’ve learned many of these pros and cons already, and most likely you learned at least a few of them the hard way. If you haven’t, hopefully, this info will help make your decision- and journey foiling- a little smoother.

General pros and cons for Windfoiling:


Foot straps:

1. Secures your feet to the board is the perfect spot. Less crashing and more time riding
2. Keeps you locked-in during gusty wind, choppy water and when overpowered
3. Helps when learning to control the foil more aggressively
4. Helps with getting the board and foil into position when learning and with proper foot placement while you’re riding.
5. Necessary for most levels of jumping and freestyle

1. Feet can get stuck in straps. Increases risk of injury when learning and crashing
2. Back straps can get in the way during the first few days
3. Restricts freedom of movement around board
4. Can slow overall progression if relied on too heavily
5. Use with booties increases risk of getting feet stuck during crash


Windfoil Half StrapHalf straps:

1. Great option for the rear strap position. The best of both: provide support and stability while limiting risk of injury
2. Easy to slide your feet in and out of for on-the-fly use
3. Generally better with booties than full foot straps
4. Help’s keep feet locked in during gusty, choppy or overpowered conditions
5. Works as a “stopper” for proper foot placement

1. Poor option for the front strap. (regular footstraps seem to work best)
2. Less locked-in than full foot straps
3. Can get in the way during transitions
4. Still some risk of getting feet stuck during a crash
5. Rigid, less forgiving than foot straps


No straps:

1. Full freedom of movement
2. Less risk of injury when crashing

1. Harder to get board and feet into proper and accurate position when starting
2. More likelihood of crashing as you learn
3. Easier to get “bucked off” in challenging conditions
4. Can’t jump (unless you’re a pro)
5. Considered harder when learning than with some form of straps

Should you use straps for windsurfing foiling?

For most windsurfers, at least while you’re learning, the answer is yes. They help with proper foot placement, edge control, pumping up on a plane and on foil and rebounding off the water when you touch down. More than likely you’ve sailed with straps for years, so they’re not going to take much getting used to, and once you’re up and foiling they’re a big help in keeping proper body position and weight distribution.
• If you’re nervous about getting your feet stuck or if you have knee or ankle issues, half straps are a good compromise. They don’t give you as much leverage with the board as full straps, but they’re still a big help as a guide for body position and foot placement.
• If you’re stuck on strapless, Especially in the rear position. consider using half straps in the back to help as a guide for weight distribution. If you set it right, you can slide your foot into it without looking and you’ll know your feet are in the right position.

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