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Beginners Guide to Wakeboard Bindings

The Basics

Wakeboard bindings are designed to hold your feet firmly to your wakeboard and to support your ankles, but in such a way that they will release in the event of a hard tumble. Many Wakeboards come complete with bindings and these will be carefully matched to suit the board. Cheaper wakeboards will have more basic bindings and the more advanced boards will have proportionally superior bindings.

Closed Toe or Open Toe

Wake Bindings are either open-toe or closed-toe. Open toe bindings (where the toes of the bindings are literally cut out and your toes are visible) are best suited to recreational beginner to intermediate riders as they offer slightly less rigidity than close toe boot type bindings. However, open-toe bindings are much more versatile as they are designed to fit a foot size range (e.g. UK 7-11) rather than just one size. This makes them perfect for shared / family setups (wakeboards that are likely to be used by more than one person). Closed toe bindings offer the best support and "feel" so are the best choice for intermediate to advanced riders that do not share their board.

Laces or Velcro

Bindings tend to be either lace-up or velcro (or both). Laces give you more change to get a nice tight "locked-in" feel but are more difficult to do up when in deep water. Velcro bindings won't offer quite the same level of locked-in feel as lace-ups, but they are much easier to do up when you're in the water. Many boards at most watersports schools have velcro bindings for exactly this reason, regardless of skill level.

Mounting Systems

Wakeboards have a row of metal "nuts" moulded into the top of the deck, known as inserts, which enable bindings to be securely screwed to the board. There are normally multiple inserts set in 2 rows to enable bindings to be mounted in different positions. Most wakeboards these days have inserts that take M6 screws, which are metric. These often have a red dot of paint on them. Older boards tended to have inserts threaded for 1 inch screws, which are imperial. These often have a blue dot of paint on them. Although they look almost identical, the threads on these two types of screws are fundamentally different, but more importantly M6 screws are shorter than their 1 inch predecesors. This evolution occured as boards became thinner over the years. Attempting to thread a 1 inch screw into an M6 insert will not only damage the threads, but the longer screw may push through the bottom of the board. If you find the screw you are using quickly locks up in the insert as you attempt to tighten it then it is almost certainly the wrong thread for your board. Unless specified, most bindings are supplied with M6 screws to fit the majority of boards out there.

Bindings these days tend to have a 6 inch base plate which is compatible with most standard wakeboards. Basic wakeboard bindings have tend to have various pre-drilled holes either side of the base plate for mounting to the board in a number of pre-determined positions to suit the required stance. As the price of bindings goes up these simple holes are often replaced with a more advanced toothed system, which enables much more infinite adjustment.

To summarise, the inserts on the board define how wide apart your feet are and the mountings on the bindings define the amount of toe-out you have for each foot (the amount of angle of each foot). The combination of these two factors is known as your stance.

IMPORTANT: - Some manufacturers have developed their own mounting systems. For example Jobe have a system known as EVO and Liquid Force have a system known as 4D. Hyperlite also have their own system. Manufacturers with their own systems will supply bindings that are specifically designed just for boards compatible with their specific system. THESE BINDINGS WILL NOT FIT ON NORMAL BOARDS. However, boards with a manufacturer's specific system will usually take normal bindings. In other words, if you're buying bindings, please check that they are compatible with your board. If you are buying a board, it is likely that most bindings will fit on it regardless of system. If in doubt, please get in touch and we'll be happy to advise you.

Binding Setup

Wakeboard Bindings MUST be properly set up as this will improve your learning curve and reduce the risk of injury. The 2 main objectives when setting up your bindings are ensuring a snug fit (but not tight) and being able to adopt a comfortable stance commensurate with your personal preference and skill level.

In order to set up your bindings properly you must first determine which of your feet will be positioned at the front of the board, and this is not necessarily the foot you would expect. I for example am right handed but lead with my right foot (known as "goofy"). Many other right handed people that I know lead with their left foot. The foot you lead with is entirely down to your own personal preference and what "feels right". Nobody knows why some lead with the left and some with the right, but when you are aware of which is your natural leading foot and set your board up accordingly you will feel more comfortable and in control and your learning curve will improve.

There are two good ways to work out which is your leading foot. The first is to stand with your feet together, eyes closed, and then get someone to give you a gentle shove from behind without warning. Which ever foot you move forward first to catch your fall will be your natural leading foot. Another even simpler test is the pants test! Whichever foot you lift first when putting on your underpants will be your natural leading foot. Funny, but true!

The next step when setting up your bindings is setting the correct stance. Wakeboard binding plates (the plate on which the binding is attached) come with numerous pre-drilled mounting holes that allow easily adjustment of the position and angle of the bindings relative to the board. The width at which the bindings should be set apart can be easily determined simply by jumping up in the air. However your feet land will be the way your body naturally steadies itself and is a good indicator of how your stance should be configured on your Wakeboard. Remember that you will be travelling sideways like a skateboarder so set the angle of the bindings so that the feet "toe out" by a few degrees as this will be more comfortable at first.

To fine tune your stance you need to revert to trial and error i.e. get out on the water and just see what works best for you!

Jargon Buster

Feature
Description
High Performance This is a high performance product that is built to high quality standards
Great for Famiies Perfect for families and beginners who need to share their board amongst a group of people
Ideal for Intermediates Perfect for intermediate level riders who require a more advanced ride
Ideal for Beginners Perfect for beginners who require a smooth and forgiving confidence building ride
Ideal for Experts Perfect for expert level riders who require an advanced ride and the ultimate in performance
Ideal for Pros Perfect for pro level riders who require the ultimate in speed and performance
Ideal for Experts Perfect for expert level riders who require an advanced ride and the ultimate in performance
Ideal for Beginners Perfect for beginners who require a smooth and forgiving confidence building ride
Ultra Durable Designed to take all of the abuse you can throw at it
FlexTrack System FlexTrack system (can only be used on a board with the Flextrack mounting system)
4D Mountings 4D System (can only be used on a board with the 4D mounting system)
Canted Chassis Canted chassis to slightly tilt the ankles at the optimum angle for comfort and performance
Open Toe Versatility Open toe design fits a variety of foot sizes and is ideal for shared or family applications
Open Toe Versatility Open toe design fits a variety of foot sizes and is ideal for shared or family applications
Closed Toe Performance Closed toe boot design for the best support and locked in feel
Closed Toe Performance Closed toe boot design for the best support and locked in feel
Ultra Comfortable Designed to provide the ultimate in comfort for even the longest of sessions
Very Quick Drying The materials used are designed to dry as quickly as possible
Very Fast Drying The materials used are designed to dry as quickly as possible
Very Hard Wearing The materials used are designed to be as hard wearing as possible
Excellent Mobility Designed to provide the ultimate in comfort and mobility
Perfect Anatomical Fit The anatomical design ensures that the fit is second to none
Shock Cushioning Provides cushioning and protection against shocks and bumps
Secure and Snug Designed to fit perfectly and keep you stay connected but still release safely during a wipeout
Power Arch System Integrated Power Arch system to support the arches of your feet on bigger landings
Velcro Fasteners Extra strong velcro fasteners provide a strong and secure binding closure with fast and easy entry and exit
Therma-welded Seams Therma-welded(heat and friction welded) upper seams for ultimate strength and long life
Mounting Kit Included These bindings come complete with the necessary mounting bolts and associated hardware
TPU Uppers TPU(Thermoplastic Polyurethane) uppers provide strength and elasticity plus excellent abrasion resistance
Alacantra Uppers Alacantra(a man made suede-like material) uppers for long life and great looks
Structure 2.0 Liner Structure 2.0 Liner for the perfect combination of light weight and comfort and control
Strobel Liner The Strobel Liner for the perfect combination of light weight and comfort and control
Ultralight Liner Ultralight Liner for the perfect combination of light weight and comfort and control
Comfort Liner Comfort Liner for the perfect combination of light weight and comfort and control
LUX Canted Chassis Lux canted chassis for rigid support and maximum comfort and response with no heel or toe lift
Off Axis Technology Off Axis Technology for equal heel and toe leverage with perfect alignment
Left and Right Specific Lasted Construction design shaped to the specific contours of the left and right feet
Honeycomb Flex Floor Honeycomb Flex Floor provides cushioning and protection against landing shocks and bumps
Power Strap System Extra strong velcro strap system provides a strong and secure binding closure with fast and easy entry and exit
4D Flextrack Chassis 4d chassis to integrate perfectly with any wakeboard with a Flextrack mounting system
CMEVA Uppers CMEVA(Compression Molded Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) uppers for ultimate comfort strength and long life
Free-Flex Tongue Free-flex tongue to enable the opening to extend for easy entry and exit
Comfort Footbed System Comfort footbed system helps your stance and keeps you in control
Dual Lace System Dual Lace System to enable the lower and upper sections of the bindings to be adjusted independently
Cuff Stretch Zone Cuff Stretch Zones to keep your feet comfortable and prevent excessive pressure build up
NEO Canted Chassis Neo canted chassis for rigid support and maximum comfort and response with no heel or toe lift
Sturdy Lace System Sturdy Lace System to enable the bindings to be adjusted perfectly
Impact Dampeners Integrated impact dampeners to provide cushioning and protection against shocks and bumps
N66 Nylon Chassis N66 Nylon Chassis for excellent comfort and support
IPX Nylon Chassis IPX Nylon Chassis for excellent comfort and support


We hope you found this article useful but if you have a question that is not covered here or you just need some advice then please do get in touch and one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff will gladly assist you.


Advice Centre and Buyer's Guides

Choosing the right Water Sports Equipment can seem quite daunting at times, but it's actually very simple once you know a few basics. The team at here at www.wakeboardsdirect.co.uk have therefore put these articles together to help you understand the differences between all of the various pieces of kit, what all the design features are for (and if you actually need them or not) and why some equipment will suit your needs and some definitely won't. At the end of the day, all we want is for you to feel confident that you are making an informed purchasing decision and are buying exactly the right gear for the job!

Advice on buying Wakeboards and Wakeboarding Equipment from www.wakeboardsdirect.co.uk


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