Hugh2 wrote: ↑
Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:25 pm
.....The whole idea of straps is both to provide extra control when riding waves, and boosting ability to jump over them.....
Way more to it than that, at least for a board under 6'-0".
Strapless forces you to move your foot on the board, then pressure the board there. Need to pressure the board in a different spot? - then you have to move your foot again. All of this takes lots of time, and still only allows you to pressure downwards or sideways AND downwards.
Strapped allows you to instantly pressure the board anywhere - without moving your feet. The ability to pull up on a strap, pry up on a strap, pull the board sideways without downward pressure, or apply torque on a strap, gives the rider instantaneous inputs to the board as there is no time invested in foot movement. Most of the "pre-planning" required when strapless is unnecessary when strapped. Moves are quicker, and decisions or changing them can be made on the spot when strapped.
When I started getting into directionals, I desperately wanted to be a strapless rider. And I became very competent strapless for a while. Then I realized that the handicap of strapless was not adding to my enjoyment of kitesurfing. I like riding fast, and doing more than just simulating prone surfing when kiting. I still like surfing, but I don't try to handicap myself with strapless anymore. I do like that most other kiters do fixate and hype strapless, though. It keeps most of them out of my way, or at least lets me know that their approach will slow them down to where I can get around them and have more waves to myself.
And in my time with strapless riding, I had just as many leg/ankle injuries as I have had with strapped. Both are risky, but the biggest reward for the risk is strapped.