How to get into footstraps in windsurfing

Footstraps: a critical accessory to plane faster in windsurfing | Photo: Indra/JP Australia

Footstraps can be helpful while carrying a windsurf board all the way down the beach to the water. Still, they were designed to maintain control and security on the board in planing conditions and to help perform advanced maneuvers.

Windsurfing without footstraps is a bit like surfing without wax. You can do it, but it won't lead you anywhere.

Footstraps can be forgotten while you're learning to sail, but they will be extremely useful at an intermediate level.

In other words, because your feet and legs will need to work harder to control the board at high speed, footstraps will help you to hold the perfect position for planing.

In light winds, you don't need footstraps.

And with footstraps comes the harness. You must be sailing in Force 4 winds (11–16 knots), hooked in, to effectively use straps.

Getting into the footstraps requires patience and training, but you'll be doing it after a dozen attempts.

Ideally, you'll fine-tune a smooth transition into the straps.

It takes time, and you'll notice that subtle movements of the feet have huge implications on the stability of the equipment.

Keeping the weight down in the harness and not pulling on the arms will help.

Never look at the footstraps, and keep the rig sheeted in. Feel it; don't overthink it.

Don't stand on the footstrap, and keep the toes touching the deck right next to the strap. It will be easier for you to get your foot in.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure the footstrap is tight but slightly loose.

Do the test: the little toe poking through indicates a comfortable strap position.

Getting Into Footstraps 101

Now let's learn how to get your feet in the straps.

  1. Plane at speed and in the harness;
  2. Place the front foot just forward of the front strap;
  3. Sit back down over a bent back leg and slightly incline the rig forward;
  4. Get your front foot in the strap;
  5. Continue sailing with the classic stance;
  6. Start sailing slightly upwind;
  7. Lean forward to unweight the back foot;
  8. Move the rig slightly back;
  9. Slip the back foot into the back strap;
  10. Sink down in the harness, and re-establish a correct stance;

Now that you're into the footstraps and planing at high speed, twist your hip and point your belly button towards the nose of the board.

This technique will help you keep your front leg extended and will reduce the chances of getting catapulted.

Learn how to install footstraps on a windsurf board.

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