Foot straps? - not for me.
I'm giving up trying to love footstraps. Since first lessons in surfski were always, “when in doubt, feet out” I've been used to throwing feet out to the sides in order to rest. Today just iced what all footstrap proponents try to tell me: “great for extra power via counter pull on the feet.” “Keeps you in the boat when it gets rough.” yadda yadda yadda. I just don't know how you guys can stand it. When you stop paddling and want to sit and chat or check gear, no way. When you take a swim and get back in, that little yoga move to get feet back under is nutty. Yes, I've had that rare hydraulic out of my seat experience, but so rare it's not worth giving up the whole safety blanket of feet out. I've got sticky-step on the footbrace and some on the sides of the cockpit where I can lock in the hips. Footstraps are coming out.
Soon. I've been working on this all morning. I remember Jeff Hedgedus mentioning this was non-trivial. Heads up: if you just razor-knife the material out, no big deal. But on Huki if you undo any screws you'll have to keep going until you've pulled the slide rails and all moving components out of the cockpit. The footbrace screws go into machine nuts that are not captive. There's no way to re-assemble until you take it all back out and reverse engineer. The tolerances are close in there. I'm having to grind off excess machine screw inside the track. Since these are SS that must be done with care. (Stainless steel likes to work-harden or anneal which will cause the threads to gall, plus invites corrosion.) I notice that this was all hand assembled at manufacture, including custom grinding for clearances.
It's a clever design. Bomb proof and transparent to the user. But, you know. If you pull something apart and little ping sounds start happening. Just maybe you have engineer-itis. I'm diggin it. Waiting for my dremel tool to re-charge so thought I would post and share the love.
(Deb: this will delay me helping you get a rear-leash system together.)
Reivers – you just pull your legs in a bit and throw them over. We need to have a timed event.
Ha! I could have written this exact same post last week. I kept the foot straps on my new boat all summer because it came with them, but I can not stand them and I cut them out last Saturday after the morning paddle in the waves. Like you, I like kicking my feet out, for a variety of reasons, but I know that many never do and a good few can't…they just don't bend that way.
I'll never win a timed event against you.
Except getting feet out is only half the deal. Getting feet back in while boat is not moving sitting in chunky munky is the big pucker for this cowboy. Do you put your hands back in your pogies before feet-in-straps or after? Because this particular fiddly-bit had my brain on 78 rpm instead of the preferred 33-1/3 rpm. At least on that big Saturday when sitting upright was rickety.
You guys haven't seen my struggle putting socks on my feet in the morning. I don't bend good so much anymore. Sorry for the fugly images this probably puts out there. Imagine un-sexy twerking only with a beer gut and lots of old man grunting.
I can't imagine a ski without foot straps. They are essential for controlling/bossing the boat on a wave, like the bridle on a horse.
I think Beau could have used foot straps to keep him in the boat today…..This was his third swim of the day!
I would like to hear your description of using the straps to boss the waves, sounds cool…I am kinda on the fence on this one. I do believe in the long run, foot straps do a good job of connecting one to the feel of the ski, control wise esp. in big conditions like the gorge, where as Yost is not hesitant to state that he does not use them particularly going through the break on the coast…..but for crazy mixed up stuff like what we get around here, after 25 years of paddling ski still undecided, but do use them. Kurt could weigh in on this…And how about you Greg B.?
What David, you didn't ask me about this? Guess I'm just chopped liver. Anyway all you strapless wonders, keep doing it because you go slower, and thats a good thing for me , or Google footstrap use in a surfski. It brings up surfski.info's discussion on them. Heck in rowing you put on a entire running shoe,bolted to a footplate. When the time comes, you'll get out. They help with everything, contact with the boat, balance, (much needed in my case) and power, I need that too, Reivers, not so much.
My straps have been cut out on the Hukis for years. I tried them again on the V-10, but couldn't even get my feet under them at the shore when starting out. I do have a bad knee, but geez. They never seemed to do anything for me. They're now gone from the Epic too.
Duncan, we're not worried about getting out of them, but of getting back in. Different problem in a shell, the water isn't as rough
For me, in bigger waves like at the gorge, often times it only takes a lean back or forward,or a hard tug left or right mixed with a push from the hips to carve the ski into the next sweet spot. It's pretty hard to throw your weight around in the waves if you don't have positive force in all directions from your feet. I also use them extensively on re-mount, tugging against them as I swing my second leg in the boat, then pull on them to lift my rear up and get it in the right spot in the bucket. I also use the strap and feet in conjunction with bracing to eliminate the need to put out a foot, pretty much a different line of thought. Just my opinion though. Everybody's got their way. I could see them being an extreme nuisance if you didn't have them when you started.
Second that Steve. Three points of contact with the water, working in concert.
Also, open invite: at the next meet up, feel free to check out or borrow one of my neoprene strap covers. No foot cuts or abraisions, and it makes the footstrap stay in place, so remounts are far easier because you dont have to fish your feet into place under the strap. It also makes the strap much easier to put your GPS on without cutting your feet.
Ill be back from from my CA paddling trip on Monday. Give me a holler if youd like to try one.
I am in Scoggin's camp. The straps increase control over the boat for me. When you are leaning way back and dragging a blade to keep the boat back on the top of the wave they are a plus. I like them snug. Often if i tip one foot stays hooked under the strap. Keeps the boat at arms reach. I can whip the foot out if i want to so it is not an entrapment risk. My 2 cents. Then again, i have never paddled ski without them.
Part of the problem around the Bellingham area is that a lot of guys when they first tried surfskis, (just after Roosevelt was president) they started with Huki's with a screwie strap system and double footwell. So you'll note that most if not all who say they can't use footstraps are early Huki owners. Hardly ever hear that sniffling from Fenn, Think, or Epic people that have learned paddling lately. At least in the last 10 years or so. Change is so hard for old people.
Hey now. I don't object to change. As long as everyone else goes first.
I don't really use foot straps in a surf ski because I really don't paddle a surf ski but in the canoe I find them valuable - especially handy when fine tuning your heading - like when your sliding up along side another boat for a ride - A slight lift of the foot will steer the boat - it's really easy to remember - even for you double bladers - lift left turn left lift right turn right, lift left turn left lift right turn…..I hope that helps rd ts
ps You still owe me a beer
oh yeah. A beer for Ted. With the vigorish that's probably up to two beers now.
As a retired lower-midpack ambassador for Seattle (any in my cohort please feel free to dispute),
footstrap means hip rotation –> better stroke placement –> more stability –> forward power –> happy paddler.
I was told by a flatwater sprint coach, regarding this very question, that one training method is to temporarily remove the strap to tune up one's rotation.
It appears that some of the paddlers that had not started out using foot straps have been put-off by the inherent idiosyncrasies of their use. Those paddlers that are accustomed to foot straps swear by them.
In all fairness, early on, most North American manufactured surf skis were not equipped with straps. Flatwater racers had used foot straps for quite some time and it took a flatwater racer to bring proper foot straps to modern surf skis. That would be Epic Kayaks and Greg Barton.
In all likelihood, if one were to discuss foot straps with an expert surf ski racer, the would tell you that they have better control using foot straps. Not too tight, not too loose, “snug them down just a bit”.
Please, I am not saying one can't paddle a ski without using foot straps. I do think that with practice, proper foot straps will lead to a higher level of performance.
guess that topic lit a fuse. getting that itchy feeling of being RONG AGAIN.
Oh well. I have a footstrap kit ready for installation whenever I get converted back to footstrap religion.
Meanwhile I got a private email from a member who has the shorter screws that go in a Huki setup w/o footstrap. So if any huki owners pull their system apart and want to re-assemble without the strappage post up your need for the special screws here.
Which by the way: if you are one who doesn't post because there is such a lofty standard … uh, not really. We might have to drag out LG's old posts about farting in full wetsuits or something so that all sundry and wide realize that this a fine place for goofball ideas. Like cutting out footstraps.
If you are one who just prefers to lurk that's cool too. It's just better if there are more posts on here than just a few of us pouncing on each other. There's no flaming on this site.
Foot straps? - not for me.
If we really want to have fun with this, someone should mention using the foot straps as a leash attachment point. Then we can go over the variety of leashes again. :)
At the risk of someone's head exploding i will unite these two controversial topics: if the leash is attached to the foostrap, a simple tug on the leash lifts the strap to allow the feet to easily slide under after remounting.
Much easier said than done when remounting in windy choppy conditions……take one hand off of your paddle that you're using to stay upright, tug on the leash until it pulls out enough to slide your feet under. Hmmm, no thanks!
Nicholas Cryder would love to see some pictures of your neoprene strap cover. Did you make it yourself of buy it?
Here's the neoprene foot strap covers we make.
MARC ROBERTA WHITLOCK
DJ, do you have any of these?
I make them for all my skis. 10 minutes and $3 worth of material. 5 mil Neoprene and 2“ velcro. Here is a post I did a while ago for one of my custom touring ski's with a picture of the strap. I like a little thicker than obvious neoprene because it forces the strap to stay up (no tugging or fishing needed).
Simple Upgrades & Modifications
Decided to upgrade the bailer on the Ego Smuggler to the new style Epic bailer. It's not cheap at $70, but it's usability is dramatically better and unlike …
The ocean sports ones look nice too.