German startup Dalion Watersports developed what they believe to be the world's first safety binding for water sports.
Around 80,000 athletes are injured annually in kitesurfing alone because their feet remain fixed on the board in the event of a fall.
But, according to Dalion Watersports, these foot injuries are said to be history in the near future.
"We have developed a force-controlled release binding that protects against rotation injuries in the foot area," explains Thomas Lischke, the inventor of the equipment and CEO of Dalion Watersports.
The binding with the patent-pending release mechanism also offers better board control and more stable handling than conventional bindings.
A Worldwide Standard
The startup's goal is simple, yet ambitious.
"Similar to skiing, the safety binding should become the worldwide standard, true to the company's own motto 'break records, not bones,'" adds Lischke.
It all started in summer 2017 when Thomas Lischke broke his lower leg while kitesurfing on Lake Garda, in Italy.
A little later, he developed a business idea as an MBA student at the Deggendorf Institute of Technology in Germany.
Since then, the water sports safety binding has become a business case that could also be further developed in Silicon Valley.
A company was founded in autumn 2019, together with MBA graduate and business partner Markus Zaglmann, the current COO of Dalion Watersports.
A Unique Release Mechanism
A patent has already been granted for the unique and particularly innovative release mechanism that opens the foot strap whenever it detects the movement that leads to the injury.
Current studies describe that 50 percent of all injuries take place in the lower extremities.
Injuries to prominent kitesurfers like Robby Naish, Nick Jacobsen, and Kevin Langeree also show similar accident occurrences.
"We are certain that numerous injuries could have been avoided with our safety binding," emphasizes Zaglmann.
The innovative project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the European Social Fund as part of the EXIST and WIPANO program.
The startup was also named one of the most promising newcomers at ISPO Brandnew, the world's largest competition for startups in the sports industry.
The kitesurfing binding will be presented at ISPO Munich 2020, the world's largest sports fair.