Footstraps or Strapless
The decision to ride strapless or strapped is more than a style choice. There are functional issues to consider and also risk factors too. Beginners should familiarize themselves with these issues before deciding one way or another.
Footstrap Inserts: Flyfoil Boards usually come with foot-strap inserts. However the choice to ride strapped or strapless is entirely up to the individual rider. The choices come down to safety and security. A footstrap is generally more “secure”, but strapless is considered more “safe”. But this really depends on how and when they are used and by whom.
Riding Strapless: All Flyfoil boards can be ridden strapless, and for many purists it is the only way to ride. Riding strapless allows the rider total freedom to move around the deck and find the best foot positions at any time. A clear deck allows for smooth foot changes and infinite positioning possibilities.
Other Strapped Sports: However, many people who have crossed-over from other “footstrap sports” (examples Windsurf/kitesurf) will often consider strapping their foilboards. They may even feel naked without them. There is a sense of security, and a modicum of increased control when using footstraps, but there is also some added risk.
Forces on a foilboard: Newcomers to foiling should be aware that forces on a foilboard are significantly different when compared to forces on other sport’s boards. So this makes foilboards different to all other “strapped craft”. These “differences” should factor into the decision to use straps or not.
Known Risk(s): Whenever you use a footstrap on any board (or binding) you are increasing the risk of ankle injury. This is a known risk, and the risk should be understood and accepted by anyone intending to use footstraps. How best to mitigate the risks of injury is a serious topic. To take a proper in-depth look at this subject, you should ask your professional foilboard instructor and/or foilboard mentors.
Foot Hooks: A safer alternative to a footstrap is the Foot Hook. The foot hook gives the rider a some of the “security and control” of a footstrap, but it will have much less chance of ankle damage. Foot-hooks are not totally without problems or risks, as they can tend to get stuck on things and they can break.
Flyfoil riders: Flyfoil boards & foils are generally not considered to be “beginner gear”. Why? because Flyfoil gear is made to be high performance and is ideally suited for accomplished riders. And most experienced riders (riding our gear) will have already made personal choices regarding riding strapped or strapless.
Everyone is a beginner at something: We are also aware that our gear may at times, be used by beginners, or by people “crossing” into new disciplines. Or even used by people trying new moves or learning new tricks. So what this really means is that everyone is a beginner at something, and sooner or later everyone crashes and everyone fails.
Every foilboarder (novice and expert) should continuously reconsider and reevaluate the risk factors: Be humble and remember that “Everyone crashes, and everyone fails, so you should always have a plan that can include, crashing and failing”.