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Losing the front hook

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Kamikuza
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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby Kamikuza » Thu May 09, 2019 11:45 am

tomtom wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 8:28 am
Strapless was very easy for me - and i think most of SB strapless riders can do it "right away". Im able to position board with just legs - no hands. My setup is slowly sinking one.

So my advice is -
low volume board ca. 120 max 140 cm - with good grip - full EVA pad is preferred.
Floating or slow sinking foil.
Some strapless experience on Surfboard

AND easy medium powered conditions
My issue was water starting -- especially in light wind. Then I broke a strap and didn't replace it for a couple of weeks, then when I got a replacement ... I didn't put the new one on :D Strap was a crutch that stopped me learning to adapt.

Actually riding strapless is easy and far more enjoyable.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby jumptheshark » Thu May 09, 2019 12:36 pm

Peter Frank said all the key points.

Lower volume boards are easiest imo. Have switched from a really low volume wood board to a foam core board and it's taken some time to get used to, but mostly its about learning how a foil moves through water and how to swim things into place using the foil to your advantage.

Helps to really memorize where you plant your feet on the board for perfect take off. Learn to ride the foil even when the board is underwater or on its side in the water using just a bit of kite assisted foot pressure. Your always looking to line your COG up directly over the mast and use your foot pressure to maintain the angle of the mast and drive the foil where you want it to go. Eventually the spot you grab the rail is consistent, and then the spot you put your back foot becomes consistent. You end up with a pretty good feel for where your foot is in relation to your grab and it all starts to happen the same way every time.

Things to think about in getting away from using a "handle" to position the board.

Your always "swimming" the board into position. In doing so, everything is fluid and progressing. you don't hold the board in one position any more while you get a kite into the right spot and waterstarting from a dead stop. Its a choreographed swimming of board and kite through the steps in progression with no static spot where your holding things. It's one big long move from approaching the board to riding away where you are already "riding" the foil while in the water as it moves into the waterstart.

To do this you have to get away from muscling your board onto its rail with a forearm or worse your knee. This is hard with high volume boards, but once you get any foil swimming forward you can angle it so the mast will "swim" the board onto its side. When I drag myself to the board, there is a plan upon approach to waterstart into the opposite direction. Try to use the pull from the kite to get the board and yourself moving slowing on one tack, then use the kite's pull and the foil itself to help swim your board onto its side with the foil coming up to the surface on the upwind side. Takes little effort with a grip on the rail somewhere aft of the mast near the upwind back corner of the board. A tiny combo of slightly sinking the tail and angling the nose of the board into the wind will angle the mast to swim the foil up. As the foil surfaces to the upwind side, begin to U turn the board and bring your back foot up to plant in that familiar spot in relation to your hand on the rail, still using the kites slow pull to pressure that back foot onto the board, Push the board through the U turn that will see you pressuring both feet into the board for the back half of the turn and into a nice controlled waterstart onto the opposite tack. If you drag up to the board on starboard tack, you get up and go on port and vice versa. Kite redirect is coordinated with foil positioning and body getting up over the foil as the board completes the turn and the kite is coming across/down through the power zone and onto the other tack. ie, sort of a transition from dragging up to the board on one tack and riding away on the other with the start in between during the transition. Did I complicate that enough?

Advanced technique: Get the above figured out and its crazy how many weird positions you can learn to watestart from. Eventually as mentioned using only your feet and not touch the board with hands at all. Still figuring it out with the new board, but its all doable. Getting the board into position takes a slightly different technique. Instead of grabbing the leeward rail at the back, the foot will sink the rail from the opposite side. The mechanics are all the same, but the spot I put my foot to angle and swim the foil into position is different as you have to push everything into place. As long as the kite has a little pull to work against, you can sink a rail and get that back foot into position to control the board and swim the foil where you want, get the front foot in place, get your COG in line and go. Straight downwind, toe side, with the board on almost any angle, as long as your lined up, you can pop up to foiling. The only time I absolutely have to use a hand on the rail to "hold" things in place while I get the kite in position is in the absolute lowest of wind where it hard to keep the kite in the air. There is no extra pull from the kite to work with, and you have to use absolutely every newton of force just to get up.

What has mostly helped me get consistent with this stuff, is insisting on always trying to ride out of every mess up no matter how bad. As long as there is a toe on the board, you can assert some control on where its going. Many many many failed or partially failed transitions, starts, whatever, where the board sinks, or you fall back into the water, but your feet don't entirely lose contact, are recoverable. No matter what, keep driving that foil back into position underneath you. Use kite pull to press your feet into the deck and swim that foil into a position you can get balanced on. From there power up and ride away. I have done this on surfboard for years and it has saved me hundreds of trips into the beach to collect a lost board. At worst you fall right off, but mostly you end up half falling and contorting your way through some form of recovery. Eventually this philosophy helps you recover from most random miss haps, sometimes before they even really happen.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby junebug » Thu May 09, 2019 1:15 pm

I’m just making the transition from 2 front straps to strapless. I made a home build board out of paulownia that is about 33 inches long and has very low volume. I’m figuring out the timing, but I’m learning that the timing is less critical than keeping the board perpendicular to the wind and keeping pressure on the back heel. I can actually sink the board on a water start that didn’t have enough power so much that my knees are under water, and, so long as I keep pressure on the back heel, if I keep looping the kite I can complete the water start.

Flat water and low current help immensely.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby Laughingman » Thu May 09, 2019 1:37 pm

revhed wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:33 am
As said,
Fix front foot hook 3 or so cms in front of sweet stance spot.
Then if conditions are a little hard, strong gusty wind, waves, chop use it.
If not then just forget it is there and strapless.
I still after MANY years have small, half cut horizontal part, f foot hook cause where I live is often super strong gusty and sometimes chop mixed in and like to be lazy and water start easy.
Also try having heels, both, nearer down rail to balance foil assembly better, more lever.
T I M I N G
R H
+1 for what Revhed said. Try not to use it for water starts etc... unless the conditions are such that its necessary. eventually you will get it but it takes time. In the mean while you will limit the frustration by using it when you absolutely need to. When I made the switch for me it was like relearning to water start... and I don't know why but it took 2 weeks of practice to get my flying foot switch back to 99%... not having a spot to aim my feet was a real challenge for me... I did not take revhed's advice but I was highly motivated as I purchased a new Kanaha shapes board which does not come with straps or a spot to install them... then went to Cuba for 10 days.... so I didn't have much choice but to figure it out. it took about half the trip till I was water starting consistently again.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby TomW » Thu May 09, 2019 2:34 pm

revhed wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:33 am
As said,
Fix front foot hook 3 or so cms in front of sweet stance spot.
Then if conditions are a little hard, strong gusty wind, waves, chop use it.
If not then just forget it is there and strapless.
I still after MANY years have small, half cut horizontal part, f foot hook cause where I live is often super strong gusty and sometimes chop mixed in and like to be lazy and water start easy.
Also try having heels, both, nearer down rail to balance foil assembly better, more lever.
T I M I N G
R H
This what I did. I had front hook more like 100mm(4") forward. Did 10-20 sessions like this and was barely using it. It was a mental thing. My strapless foiling buddies were telling me to get rid of the nappies ( diapers).
Then I ripped out the inserts ( homemade insert experiment) and was in Brazil, so just took it off. 2 sessions ( one day) and I was doing it.
Discovered how restricted you are with fixed foot position. ( how could I be so obstinate)...

By Day 3 i was confident going out in messy side onshore waves, windwaves in 100 m
Zone, longshore current, pretty tough to get going. I'm not super talent, just average Joe with perseverance.

I have floating on side setup with moses Onda 633 and 120 low volume board. I keep kite positioned in opposite direction to start, fairly low, and that keeps my feet against the board, mostly rear foot pressure, then bring kite back over to direction of travel, transfer pressure towards front foot, quick in light wind, slower in higher wind. Pop right up.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby DukeSilver » Thu May 09, 2019 3:34 pm

Here is a short clip showing how I do strapless starts. I hope it is of some assistance.
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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby alowishus » Thu May 09, 2019 3:37 pm

I started learning with two foothooks, one at front and one at back, but took off the rear one after a few sessions. The front one stayed on for almost a year. I ended up turning it around at one stage, the pointy bit pointing forwards, so my toes didn’t touch it (I broke a toe once crashing before).
The main thing I like about strapless is that it’s much easier to bolt on/off the foil with the board lying upside down. Otherwise I’d probably still have the front foothook on there, even though I barely used it, it came in handy in choppy conditions.
Without it though it is surprising you can get used to it pretty quickly. A few flat water sessions would help before swell/chop to dial in the timing of diving the kite with one hand and letting go of the board with the other. You will probably crash your kite a few times and this will remind you of your early times learning to kite.
Good luck. Strapless is a good feeling and worth a bit of frustration.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby grtlakes » Thu May 09, 2019 5:47 pm

Thanks great advice. I like the idea of putting the hook forward. I can then use it to get away from the shore. After that I can take more time to get setup and use what I have learned here.
I also like the idea of 10 days in Cuba.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby jumptheshark » Thu May 09, 2019 6:29 pm

Start maneuvering your board around in the water from a grip on the rail at the back corner. The smaller the board the easier. Learn to steer it around to the positions you want without muscling it and pretty soon you won’t need the foot hook.

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Re: Losing the front hook

Postby geokite » Thu May 09, 2019 7:38 pm

I'm down to a simple piece of strapping. It runs perpendicular to the length of the board, just enough slack to put a bootied foot under. All the way forward, foot comes out once I'm up. Came from years of strapless SB, so it feels fine.

I'm really lazy; this is on a 42" DC with a carbon foil, flat water.


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