Regarding straps and strapless. I ride a mutant and love to jump high so straps for me.
But from the outside looking in at the surfboard riders I cannot tell the difference looking at the guys on the wave face from a good strapless rider to a good strapped rider. So there is no visable performance advantage strap/strapless from a spectators point of view
On the way back out the strapped rider can lay down way bigger boosts which is visually more appealing to me. The strapless rider. Even if he punts a more technically impressive strapless air it still is a lot lower than the strapped guy boosting in the same conditions.
Windtzu what about using flat thin straps you could stand on top of. You could then ride strapped or strapless as you please.
I don't know what you'd use for that. If the straps flattened out, how challenging would it get your feet into them, and then there's still those straps-bumps under your feet. It would need to be something that has a little tension to them so they don't flatten out completely but something that goes flat when you step on them. Hmm, sure it could work.
Strapped or unstrapped, I use both depending on the conditions and my mood. I keep one board, the 2010 Naish Global strapped and the Airush Cypher 5'6 unstrapped. The Cypher just doesn't feel right strapped. The narrow Global makes more sense strapped, can't really surf that board anyhow unless the waves are big and have some real oomph.
More the point I am getting at. Peoples desires of what they like defines coolness. Me personally I like anything that requires skill. That includes Airstyle, Strapless, Unhooked. Personally I would rather be riding flat water trying unhooked tricks. But reality kicks in. You really need to be under 25 maybe under 20. And at the end you'll be lucky to get away with needing knee and shoulder reconstructions and still needing to wear braces. I have been dissed a lot for the gear I use, the way I ride, things I do, I am at the point I really couldn't care less what the general group thinks, I ride for myself.
Windtzu I have actually seen the setup I talk of. I think you could spend a long time hunting for just the "right straps". I think it would be better to just make something out of wide nylon webbing. The trick would be getting the screws/attachment flat on the board. If you have to stop and put your feet in/out, it's hardly the end of the world. I was thinking more if the wind dies could go strapless or just mix the session up for some variety. Plain webbing straps used to be common in older boat dragging days, so they do work.
I ride in pretty big mixed up surf on the Oregon Coast, head-high plus with 9 second period. I've had luck with making older Slingshot straps extra wide by taking off the neoprene pad and simply taping the two rigid webbing together with Gorilla tape. The straps end up 6-7 inches wide and are super easy to get in, out, and shift your feet. They feel strapless until you're airborne and your board starts to fly away but doesn't. If boards had even wider strap mounting holes, I bet a foam strap with a plastic layer for stiffness could go very wide.