The all-new 'Plug and Turn' rotating foot strap system has been improved to fit nearly all production kite surfboards. Easy to install it's also simply demountable to switch between strapped and strapless riding. Also designed to be used on twin-tips, the benefit of this system is that you ride with a more relaxed, straighter foot position, better suited to your moves. Being able to move your heel position 10 ? 15cm means you can make fine
adjustments to your stance while sailing. Entry and exit to and from the strap becomes much easier than with a fixed system and knee pain is vastly reduced after many hours on the water. The risk of injury from one foot crashes is also reduced.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Just what we need, eh? An over-complicated foot strap! Surely we should be looking to simplify things, more like surfing, rather than implementing a foot strap and pad system that sits on a rotating disc and is operated by a piece of bungy cord? The bags of screws, bits of rubber and plastic spacers that the Plug and Turn foot straps comes with are all a bit over-whelming at first and enough to convince you that maybe riding strapless is the way forward after all! We tried the system on a 2011 Cabrinha Skillit and used just the regular screws that Cabrinha provide with their boards. Once you start reading through the instructions you can breathe a sigh of relief that you won't need to use all the bits and pieces provided. Such is the range of boards this system has been designed to fit, you'll find useful things like black rubber strips to attach to the bottom side of the plate if your board is particularly convex in deck shape for example.
A lot of attention to detail has gone into this and it shows as we were expecting the set-up to be a bit clunky; that there might be a bit of a rattle of the plastic on the water, but it is in fact quiet, solid, comfortable and smooth. The NSI strap that came with our system was soft and comfortable although wouldn't be able to accommodate a boot. You can more than likely just use your own foot strap, though. The pad itself is grippy and also not too thick, so doesn't reduce the feelings through the board. If your board already has a deck pad stuck on it then it's not going to be so easy to fit this system to your board, and if you can't peel off your pad the Plug and Turn system should mount onto your existing pad, as long as it doesn't have a bump where the foot strap usually goes. If so you'll need to shave that bump down as the ridge will stop the system rotating as it should. Full details of all fitting scenarios and boards it'll work with can be found on the Sports Gear Solutions website. We don't think it's really necessary to have two of these systems on your surfboard, although you obviously could do, but it's really more applicable to your front foot, which tends to need to make more angular movements and often, unless you're actually on the wave, most people's back foot tends to be placed in front of the back strap anyway to aid upwind planing. So when would you need to alter the angle of your front foot? Riding off the wave and upwind for starters.
When trying to get upwind you open up your shoulders into the wind when most straight set footstraps will be trying to bend your foot back in the other direction. Often when tacking upwind, we find that we just have our toes in the strap and our heels more on the edge of the board for this reason. With the rotating system you have the added security of being able to jam your foot in nice and securely while also having your foot face a much more comfortable, natural position. Riding in toe-side, perhaps along the wave in really onshore conditions, is another example of when you'd want a slightly off-straight foot position. The more we rode with this system, the more applicable we realised it is. It's not clunky at all and once you've found a comfortable position, your normal foot pressure will keep it steady and stable and you can ride as hard as you like with it. When you take your foot out of the strap a bungy cord pulls the straps back straight. To twist position, simply release a little foot pressure, twist and then put your normal weight back on your front foot. This slight gap that allows the movement when there's no foot pressure on the pad also means that after being left on the beach it's easy to rinse the sand out with water.
Faced with so many screws, bits of plastic and strips of rubber all seemed a bit unnecessary to start with, but actually there really isn't anything complicated about this system. Its beauty is in its simplicity, ease of use and surprising comfort. Sure the bungy might stretch eventually, but that's very easily replaced. The purists out there will still think this is a step too far and will stick to riding with oversized footstraps allowing them more foot movement but less support.
Good support and smooth ease-of-use.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
If you're used to a nice cushioned pad and strap set-up, this will feel a little basic. Plus we weren't able to position the strap as far forward as we would have been able to with the normal Cabrinha set-up.
Plug and Turn Foot Strap
Kitesurfing Test - Boards 2013
Nomad 136-Team series
Kitesurfing Test - Kites 2013
RRD Religion 9M
Kitesurfing travel directory