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Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

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Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby Seabizzle » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:31 am

I am looking at getting into some foiling and was wondering if it would be better to use straps when learning or not.

My main style of kiting is strapless in the waves and I am at a pretty good skill level. I have never really given straps much of a go as when I first learned to ride a directional I just grabbed an old surfboard And went for it.

I am definitely leaning towards learning foiling strapless as I don't like the idea of being strapped onto that much gear and the potential for foil bomb wipeouts seems like it would be much worse with straps on.

Are there some actions of foiling that specifically require, or are just way easier with straps, such as positioning the board for water starts or pulling the nose of the board up with your front foot?

Would trying to learn strapless hinder my progress? Would it be more or less safe?

Thanks guys- looking forward to some gliding

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby Peter_Frank » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:36 am

You will learn way faster with straps, no matter if a strapless expert on surfboards :thumb:

But it can be learned strapless, it just take longer, or extremely long (individual).

Some might say "they learned without" yes, but in general noone learns fast when trying without, and here everybody who thought "I can do that" because they are excellent surfers strapless, mount straps after having wasted the first day doing NOTHING at all.
A few will say I am wrong, but I know, looking out over all the new hydrofoilers, it is so in general.

You need the straps, at least the front, to position the board and yourself.

You also need the straps because the timing when starting is essential, you HAVE to dive and get up at the exact perfect instant before the foil sinks more vertical - which takes time to learn so you will mess around going nowhere while learning this.
With strap(s) you can just position easily and comfortable, keeping the board tilted, and you got all the time in the world and can try with small dives from the kite, to avoid being pulled over or getting too much speed - a soft and less risky start :D
Or you can of course go full on full power with speed, using the straps to keep everything "right" - but would not recommend this ha haa - but some does it this way (and take the beating, but they learn) :naughty:

Straps are risky indeed, not on a surfboard or TT where they are harmless, but on a foil with the lever (it does not move if you do, like the other boards), your ankles are at risk - particularly when learning and discovering this for the first time.

Have you ridden big finned raceboards earlier ?
If, then it will be pretty easy and not much risk,as they behave almost the same way.

There is another solution called "Foothooks", which is half a strap, and you just slide out instead of getting stuck.
One or two of these, and you will learn fast and without the risk.

Only problem is, not many (I dont know any, but there are some on this forum) use the hooks WHEN they have learned, it is either strapless, or straps for jumping and freestyle (and speed/race) - so many dont get to them as not easy to find.

So yes, learning strapless will hinder your learning, some or a lot - but be more safe no doubt.
Hooks (not too short) will give both: You learn as fast as possible, and safe :rollgrin:

Welcome to a new fantastic world - and dont be put off by how difficult and sensitive and impossible it seems when learning and your foil goes rodeo, suddenly over time your body and muscle memory will click and you can do it easily later, no problem strapless.

8) PF

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby Regis-de-giens » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:33 am

I am 100 % with Peter . Personally I had to accidently swap to strapless just after waterstart aquisition and surface rides foil down (due to strap breakage). It worked but i was happy to have started with one strap.

So for people looking for strapless , I also recommend to learn the waterstart and first rides (foil down) with one strap. Risk of injury is limited because limited speed when foildown. Then, as soon as waterstarts are ok and rides in several directions (and even before the first foil-up trials), you can remove the straps ; it just requires some (5-10 in my case) waterstarts failed again, then ok : ride is very similar excepts gusts.

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby Kamikuza » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:49 am

Single front strap, set as wide and as loose as you can. You only need it for water starts really.

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby kruzlifix » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:52 am

If you value safety more over may be a bit more time to learn, you should should use as little straps as possible.....
The so called "mushroom" or "flip-flop" gimmick has helped me a lot during my first attempts. I had enough grip on the board, could let got of it in a millisecond and therefore never came even close to being injured.
Last edited by kruzlifix on Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby Flag53 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:05 pm

Hi Seabizzle , I was similar to you with riding a strapless surfboard.

I learnt Strapless and glad I did as I liked the feeling of clearing away from the foil when it all went pear shaped.

It might take a bit longer to learn but yes it can be done
Ps I can't see me ever using straps as I like the freedom of moving around the board .

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby tswierkocki » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:28 pm

For me learning with 2 straps was very sketchy. During my first session I tweaked my ankles a few times. After the first session I went with a loose single front strap. After a few more sessions I switched to a single front hook which I liked the best. 8 months into foiling I'm still using the single front hook but ready to go full strapless. ... tegory=203

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby Starsky » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:33 pm

I had a good 6 years years of strapless surfboard experience and was very resistant to the idea of using straps to learn foiling. but I had a really hard time just getting up on the board strapless the first time out and didn't want to waste more time wrestling with the waterstart. Realized quickly that using a front strap simply to maintain the board on its side was going to save a lot of time and effort. Opened up as far as possible, the strap helped a lot and I was on to the bucking bronco stage the next time out. Had no issues coming away from the board while falling. Dropped the strap after about 10 sessions, once I felt I was no longer using it. Have been strapless ever since but am glad I listened to advice from here and used it to speed that first part of the curve.

Try it without. If you manage it, great, but its frustrating to repeatedly fail to even get standing, when your used to simply popping up and riding away! The habits learned for strapless surfboard starts are actually a bit of a hurdle to unlearn. There is a whole new aspect of timing and board angle to get it right with a foil. Once you get that you no longer need the strap. Really glad I wasn't stubborn and let the strap help me learn that part. There is plenty of eating crow in learning to foil so there is no shame in using a simple aid. No different that people using short masts. You will know soon enough when you no longer need it.

The learning curve goes much faster once you surrender to the idea that you actually don't know it all and that there are loads of new skills, timing, balance points to learn. Stay flexible and the process can be a tough joy!
Last edited by Starsky on Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby DukeSilver » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:40 pm

Hi there,

This is my first post on Kite Forum but I've been lurking since the foiling bug hit me. Lots of great info from experienced foilers.

I say go for it strapless. Like you, I'm more than proficient on a strapless SB having also learned on an old regular surfboard. I didn't find that hard and I certainly haven't found foiling strapless all that hard. Sure, it's tricky at first, but once the muscle memory develops you progress FAST. In saying that, I am using a short mast system to learn, so the leverage factor of a 100cm mast will make a difference compared to the 60cm one I'm on and will likely make water starting a little more difficult if strapless.

If you find the early stages too hard without the straps, it's easy to attach one. Once I move to the longest mast on my setup, I'll definitely consider putting on a front strap (I feel dirty just typing that :cry: ) if it gets too frustrating for me to position the board correctly. But while I'm comfortable going strapless, I'll persist with it.

I like the freedom of no straps and the safety factor of not being locked into the board by one foot if things turn to custard. It just feels natural to me. Enjoy the journey. :D
Last edited by DukeSilver on Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Learning to foil- strapped or strapless

Postby tmcfarla » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:09 pm

I tried learning with a single front strap but I ditched it after 2 sessions. It is definitely helpful, but the torque it generated on my knees and ankles in the falls was scary. The timing on strapless starts is very different, but I think you can definitely learn strapless. If you struggle with it, use a front foot strap for a few sessions to figure out foot placement.

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