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  1. #1
    Senior Member Witchcraft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Foot strap tuning

    Ive noticed there are still a lot of misconceptions or lack of knowledge of what footstrap positioning does to a board,

    Footstrap positioning is very important, more than fin positioning. You can make or break a board with foot strap positioning alone.

    Moving straps back mean the board will become faster, looser, more exciting but also more technical, less forgiving. Moving straps forward does the oposite, the board becomes easier but also stiffer and a little slower (top end)

    Basically moving straps forward will make the board feel bigger because you increase the planing footprint, moving straps back will decrease the planing footprint.

    Off course we also have a 3rd foot, our mast foot. With technique you can overcome the smaller footprint of backwards placed straps by giving mast foot pressure, like this the range of the board becomes bigger.

    But it also depends on where the plugs are placed on the board and the range of adjustments you have. Where the shaper puts them depends on many factors, width, rocker, and purpose of the board. Some boards/brands do tend to have them more back, others more forward.

    I once had a customer from Sotavento, more a grooverider than an excellent wave sailor who had had a flat rockered wave board for various years and on his new board he had wanted more rocker since he had seen someone ripping on a rockered board. So we made him the board and set all straps up forward. After the first day he called me and said what a piece of sh!t and the sahpe was wrong and he could not sail it, it wouldnt plane and kept losing control. I asked him to come by the next day. Lateron I heard the conditions had been quite difficult that day, 90 off shore wind with a 1m swell running directly against the wind making it very hard to get over them. And when he showed up I saw hed moved all straps 2.5cm back. I asked him why he had done that, he said thats where had always had them. So I explained I had them put forward because of the higher rocker. Moved the straps forward again and the next day he called and said brilliant board. So it can really make or break a board.

    Whenever we set a board up for a customer, we tend to place all straps forward when it is a new shape for a known customer or if it is for a new customer. I would recommend this for most people with any new board. Then in time when you want to make the board faster or looser, you can move them back.

    Jumping vs riding.
    When moving straps apart you can widen the range of the board, with forward front straps you can accelerate and with a backward back strap you can turn tight. Surfers stand around 5 to 10cm wider than we do on a wave board but off course they do not have a mastfoot. However for jumping and especially forwards, you need to tuck up and for this a narrower stance is better. Also for grooveriding when you stand longer in one position, a narrower stance is more comfortable. So fx on a board like our Wave V3, the straps are most apart where the Shaman and Chakra are a bit closer together again. For some riders who only sail in one tack, it can be usefull to put the straps asymmetrical, the front strap back on the jumping side and forward on the riding side.

    Footstrap opening.
    Whenever you want to turn the board you can/need to use the straps to tilt the board over and either push with your toes or with you heel.

    Normally with you foot in half way, you have the same leverage on both heels and toes. But since you have more force in your heels and on top, the leeward rail is further away when pushing on your toes, to turn in both directions equally well, youd need to have your foot in more than half way.

    Another example of 2 friends who had ordered both the same board, some months later one I met one of them and asked how the boards were and he said excellent. But he said that one day they swapped boards and the funny thing was that his friends board turned a lot better. I said that could not be, the shapes were exactly the same up to the mm, so kept asking. Then he said that what he did not like was that his friend had the straps bigger. So I said aha, can I see your board please. So it turned out he had set his straps so narrow that only the toes were coming out on the other side. Next week he called and said he got used to the wider straps and the gybing was going a lot better and he had started to wave ride.

    Off course there is the part of injuries. Possibly wider straps are more dangerous for injuries but there is no other way around the above.
    Also there are examples where you can say wider straps are better against injuries. I always think the bigest danger is whan one foot comes out and the other stays in. The one time Ive injured my foot was when landing a table top flat and the back foot had come out of the strap and landed with my heel of the rail. So whenever something goes wrong I try to get both feet out or keep both in. The latter is easier with bigger straps. Ive also been thinking about some kind of release or safety system like you have on skies but I think it can also be very dangerous if such a system releases unwantingly. Over 10 years ago, I tried something someone had invented but exactly that happened, that it would release too soon, giving some awfull crashes. And I cant think of another solution.
    Witchcraft Windsurfing Fuerteventura

  2. #2
    I think it's very simple.
    Moving footstraps backward or forward shifts your weight on the board.

    That said, whatever position you use, you lean forwards to unweight the tail or back to load the tail or fin more.

    The spread between back and front straps suits your leg stride and your leverage over the board.

    The rule of thumb for a wave board is your back foot should be over the fin (or centre-cluster for a multifin board) and your front foot should be nearer the mast foot than it is to your back foot.

    Most boards give you just three hole options, so using in the centre-hole pairing is an obvious starting point with a new board. Then experiment from there.
    Last edited by basher; 19th August 2013 at 08:28 AM.
    Main boards: Flare 101, NuEvo 86, UltraKode 80, Reactor 82, NuEvo 73. Powered by Severne Blades and S1s.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Derek Rides's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    La la land
    Lots of points in that post Boukey boy.. to many to answer in one go, but obviously viewed from a custom builders experience and capability of being able to tailor those footstrap positions to the individual, whereas most manufacturers have to cope with the liklihood of multiple sizes and shapes on their production boards, hence back in the day, two footstrap positions plus multi screw inboard outboard options. Which, board testers seldom changed and opted just as the poster above has, bung it in the middle and hope, the board would then be judged accordingly.

    As to tight or loose straps, I'm of the keep them tight so you can exit quick school, one of the features of those Dakine contours was the deliberate narrowing of the strap at the front so your foot couldn't go right through to the ankle when say landing badly from a jump and one of the orignal plans that never came to fruition was to build a heel cup, from urethane like salom water ski's used to employ years ago when you trailed a foot to water start yet wanted it secure to cut at high speed.

    That never made it to windsurfing yet something similar got built for kites in the shape of heel straps, but it depends on the rider do you ever feel you want to be locked in windsurfing? Could you consider say binding style lock in? Certainly unlikely in waves, but speed sailing, slalom? Possibly...

    As to break out, that was tried years ago and as you spotted the problem came when they broke out when you least wanted it to happen, (early single velcro straps)...

    Interesting post, I wouldn't want your job, I mean what would you do, some ageing 50yr old lobster turns up for his birthday board wanting footstrap positioning accurate to the very Weston Super Mare, shred ready, decree?

    Think I'd have to shoot myself..
    Last edited by Derek Rides; 19th August 2013 at 08:05 AM.

  4. #4
    I think another key point is that certain sailors on certain board suit a back strap approach, whereas other sailors prefer their straps set forwards.

    If you are on a FSW type board you might well use it for blasting over flattish water with maybe jumping also being your priority.
    For that you may sail the board fast and free and at full tilt when fully powered – with you the sailor more under the rig. For that you may well like your straps set back on the board, mostly to load up the fin for top speed.

    The reason to shift the strap grouping further forwards is for a wave riding board where the stance emphasis is more having the mast upright and in keeping your weight well over the board and loading up the mast foot.

    On my smaller boards I use the front hole for the front straps and middle hole for the back straps. That gives me a wide leg stride (despite my short legs), but also allows me to get over the rig – with my mast foot relatively near my front foot.

    I also set my straps very loose in terms of height but tight to the sides of my feet – you can do this on some straps by virtue of an asymmetrical pressure plate.
    This means you set the strap anchorage according to your foot width, giving a snug fit, but the straps themselves are set loose so you can vary how far in you push your foot.
    That in turn means you can get your back foot well over the rail when DTL riding, and also allows the front foot further outboard for when tanking upwind.

    This is all pretty basic waveboard stuff – although I guess we don't talk about it often.
    Main boards: Flare 101, NuEvo 86, UltraKode 80, Reactor 82, NuEvo 73. Powered by Severne Blades and S1s.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Derek Rides's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    La la land
    Not that he would buy it, nor even take it to ride if you gave it to him, but hypothetically Bouke, how would you go about making a board and positioning a set of foot straps for say a Grooveriding Walter Mitty character like basher, who would come in and bullshit for Africa about his wave sailing prowess, yet you know the truth, so how do you go about that, it must happen a lot?

    Just where do you set those straps for those stumpy little legs, to set him up to step gybe all over your island?

  6. #6
    Senior Member IRL-250's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Tralee, Ireland
    Good informative post from Bouke, but the mistake he made was to try to give advice on Basher's forum as we all know he is the only one that gives the right advice on

    Seriously though I think most people on here will always listen to advice from someone who actually makes boards and sails in proper waves rather than a grooverider that travels every year to South Africa to sail on a lake

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  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    OK so the OP seems to talking only about wave boards, but footstrap positioning is just as critical on a slalom board. I am not sure Basher's rationale totally holds true on a slalom board. Everything about the design and set up is geared to getting the board flying off the fin and finding a balance point that enables good control is to my mind the most important aspect of strap position ( given the limited options provided on most slalom boards these days). Getting that control can be affected by the weight of the rider and of course all the other variables such as fin size/design, mast foot position, harness line length and boom height. Seems to me that a short, wide planing area coupled with a powerful upright fin does not need the rider to use the most rearward strap positions in order to gain max speed..........but I am no expert...just going on what I have found on my own boards.

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