WIDE FOOT STRAPS, ARE THEY ANY GOOD?
A couple of months ago I was presented two wide foot straps for testing.
These are the F2 straps used on the F2 Chilli Freestyle line in the past. So with this opportunity I went out to test them on the water!
First the straps themselves:
– Much wider off course.
– The adjustment is via a metal square ring and Velcro. Easy and fast adjustment!
– The inner lining is connected to the screw points. Super soft in the corners. But 6.5mm winter neoprene shoes in EU size 45 have a problem getting in deep enough because of the tight inner lining, no matter how loose you set the outer Velcro strap.
– The straps are nice thick padded on the inside, very comfortable.
– On 1 side an extra wider option for the holes
– Anti twist plates
So mounting the straps on my JP freestyle 107, I started with just one to really feel the difference.
Immediately I was surprised by the soft lining combined with the wider touch area. Although overall not so soft that it disconnects the direct feeling you have within your foot straps. Next was the increased comfort at the toes, normally you curl up your toes when sailing upwind and for control, but now the strap is there to support you more, so much less curling up, less muscle tension. Good!
So I put both straps on!
The problem with the ultra wide and winter shoes made me use the outermost screw points on the board. Later it became warmer and I could use my thinner shoes, use a better combination of screw points (but still because of the thick lining going all the way under the screw points I have to use a wider setting) and they are now even better. My foot goes in deeper and sits very comfy, load spread.
I also tested them on a freerace board, the same advantage of the curly toes and less muscle tension apply here.
Later I read an article in the German Surf Magazine about foot injuries with mostly freestylers. And why they use thick padded wide straps and shoes nowadays to prevent the injuries. A weird bump appears on the feet, called a ”ganglion” at the bony knob on the top of the bridge of your foot. It is an irritated muscle caused by always rubbing the (hard) strap, getting more painful and bigger as you continue. If it is really big you need to have surgery to cut it out… Among them young freestyle talent Youp Schmit. http://jp-australia.com/2013/blog/2012/11/youp-schmit-reports-about-his-surgery/
So straps like these are not only more comfortable, less stress, but also a must have for tricksters and long day windsurfers. I have kept mine on.
One downside, it is less easy to carry your rigged board with the wider straps.
In short: Very comfortable, easy to adjust, toe supporting, injury avoiding wide foot straps that just need to be mounted a bit wider than normal.
Thanks to TEAMMUIDERBERG.NL and F2 for supplying the straps for testing.