Boots, straps or strapless: Find your style
Pro rider Lasse Girolstein’s views on boots, straps and strapless
The connection between you and your kiteboard generally falls into three broad categories: bindings, straps or strapless. So what makes kiters choose boots over straps? Or strapless over straps?
Not so long ago, fixed bindings were quite exotic. Today, they are a common sight. It makes you wonder whether fixed bindings have suddenly become fashionable. Are they more functional than straps? Or, is strapless the holy grail of kiteboarding?
I’m asked these questions often. And the answer is simple. They all work for different reasons. The question you should be asking is which method is best for your riding style? Now that we have a better question, let’s discuss some considerations.
The fixed binding trend can be seen at...
the Kitesurf World Championships and just about any other freestyle competition. And there is a reason for this. Boots work best for extreme unhooked freestyle. Just like wakeboarding, you can edge much harder in boots. This provides huge pop with a low kite. The additional leverage boots create also explains why bigger boards and smaller fi ns are used. I am a good example. I ride a 140cm Bolt with fixed boots. Yet, I ride a much smaller 134cm Choice with straps.
On the other end of the spectrum, you see strapless kiting on surfboards, wakeskates and skimboards.
Going strapless is more a question of choice. Some riders prefer the challenge. Others prefer the freedom and the feel. And for some, it’s a lifestyle thing. Going strapless requires a bit more experience and board control. But not much. Strapless wave riding is as close to surfing as it gets. And the feeling is magical. The idea that there are no “feet belts” to save you makes your connection to the board and water that much closer. Strapless is mainstream. And it is here to stay.
However, strapped surfboards are preferred by pros in huge waves and some experienced riders in smaller waves.
They provide pros more control and safety when getting tubed by a 50 footer. And straps allow experienced wave riders to, in part, jump bigger. Straps are still the most common sight in kiteboarding, though. In a way, straps are the middle ground for many reasons.
Straps generally come standard on most boards.
They are much easier to slip into and out of than boots. Straps are easier to exit if you expect a hard landing. Straps also allow the ankle to share some of the impact with your knees.
I still prefer straps for freeriding and big air. Straps give me the freedom to pull off sick board-offs, one footers and other air-style tricks. I wouldn’t even consider boots for this.
Kiting culture encourages individuality and creativity. If you have not found your style yet then try boots and give strapless riding a shot too. And if you are like me, you will end up with a strapped freeride twin tip, a longer freestyle board with boots and a surfboard with strap inserts. Because variety is the spice of life.
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