Are footstraps really needed?

7 years 1 month ago #22746 by Uncle Frosty
Are foottraps really needed? Its winter and I am wearing neoprene booties. The booties do not go in and come out of the straps as easily as with bare feet, even with the straps adjusted to make a large opening. This makes me a little nervous about foot entrapment.

I am a newbee and have never really been tossed about in waves yet, but still, I can't picture my footstaps saving the day in conditons big enough to toss me out of the ski.

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7 years 1 month ago #22747 by Kayaker Greg
While they don't need to be tight, they do give you more control once you start paddling in bumpier conditions, they are another point of contact and allow you to shift your weight around forward and back and from side to side as needed, so I would try and get used to using them.
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7 years 1 month ago #22750 by Mjwashington
I'm no expert but agree with Gregs comments. I find that with the "pumping" of the legs that I end up at times pulling back on the strap which assists my paddling. If you have a good strap adjustment and you don't go too tight you'll find that slipping out of the straps no issue if you go for a swim.

Also you might want to consider the consequences of being in the water or having water in the cockpit from spray and wave wash without booties. Winter here in NZ the water is about 13 degrees and having that temperature water on the feet makes me cringe even thinking about it.
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7 years 1 month ago #22752 by sAsLEX
Why not a pull bar, as you can have a more square opening they can allow more room whilst still giving you something to pull against
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7 years 1 month ago #22754 by Marieski
Yes, they are.

When I started paddling skis I didn't use them either, having once been trapped upside down on a sit on top. After 6 months I finally got up the courage, starting with them really loose and doing repeated practice remounts to prove to myself that my feet really do come out.

The difference in my balance and hence speed was amazing. I felt much more confident and in control of the ski, especially in rougher water. (This may have been enhanced by the fact that my cockpits tend to be too big for me so my contact with the ski is not optimal to start with.) But still, so much better balance!

So put your thick wetsuit on, loosen the straps right up and take some dives in the water. You'll find they come out much easier than you think.

Then after paddling with them for a month, try without!

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7
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7 years 1 month ago #22762 by kevin brunette
For me, the principle use of a foot strap is in downwind following a capsize, being able to hold onto your craft while alongside in the heaving water, and also using it to pull yourself up in the remount.
As has been suggested, perhaps loosen the straps and learn to pull your feet backwards if you are nervous of getting your feet caught up.
The foot strap plays no part in my paddling movement, meaning that my straps can be loose.

FENN Bluefin, XT, Swordfish S
Author and publisher at South Easter Communications of books in the SURFSKI series, aimed at recreational to advanced paddlers. Look at the Facebook page Surfski know-how and visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/southeastercommunications
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7 years 1 month ago #22771 by epic5253
it's an awesome place to mount your Garmin.... :)
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7 years 1 month ago #22797 by Fath2o
They are a good way to hold on to your boat when you eat it inside the surf zone and don't mind getting water up your nose. Puts some major strain/stress on you and your ski though. But, I figure it is either that or have your ski wash up on the beach/rocks. I have had my foot caught in the straps and keep them a bit looser now.
They also come in handy as a near mid point handle. Other than that, I don't know.
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