IT’S A BIND!
Choosing the correct wakeboard bindings
Don’t let incorrect wakeboard bindings get in your way. They can cause you untold misery if they are too tight or reduce control over the board if they are too loose. Simply, wakeboarding bindings need to fit properly to give the wakeboarder the best possible ride.
Most bindings are listed with US sizing. US sizing is approximately one size smaller for men and two sizes smaller for women when compared to UK sizing. As an example a US men’s size 10 is best compared to a UK size 9, and a woman’s size 7 binding would best be compared against a UK size 5. Some brands even offer half sizes to complicate things even further.
SELECTING A CLOSED-TOE WAKEBOARD BINDING
The first step in the purchase process is to select the design you like the most. Aesthetics can play a big part in adding to the overall look of the rider, so choose a design that will suit your individual style and that is the perfect fit. Start by opening up the boot completely by loosening the straps, laces and Velcro. New boots are usually stiff around the cuff and it usually means you have to push your foot with a fair amount of force into the boot. This is quite normal for new bindings. Once the boot is on, stand up and the boot should feel quite snug, even a little too tight. Next, tighten the laces and any other straps and stand up in the boot, rocking your leg forwards and backwards. This forwards and backwards movement will settle the laces, allowing them to even out. Once you have done this a couple of times, retighten the laces and straps to regain the snugness initially felt. Spend time standing in your typical wakeboard stance with your full weight on the boots and your knees bent, pushing forward over your toes. In this stance you should be able to feel your heel pushing against the back cushioning pocket and your toes will be near the front of the boot, without being cramped or curled up in any way. If your toes are being pushed into the front panel of the boot, then you will need to try on a boot that is bigger. If you find your heel is not held in place, then the boot is too big and a smaller size should be tried.
SELECTING AN OPEN-TOE WAKEBOARD BINDING
Here again, select the design and style that you like the best. Open the laces, Velcro and straps and push your foot into the boot. It may give some resistance around the cuff but this is common with new wakeboard bindings. Slide your foot fully into the boot and stand up. The boot should feel snug around the ankle. Now tighten the laces and Velcro quite firmly and then rock your leg backwards and forwards to let the Velcro straps and laces settle before retightening the laces and straps. Let your feet settle for a minute or two and then take on a common wakeboarding stance with your knees bent pushing forward over your toes. Your heel should feel snug in the back of the boot with evenly dispersed pressure around the sides and top of the foot. There should be no play, side-to-side or forwards and back movement of your foot in the boot when shifting body weight or moving positions. Bindings will always stretch a bit to suit the shape of the foot, so it is important to buy a shoe that is a very snug fit initially.
Would you ever buy a boat without a sea trial? Would you ever buy a car without a test drive? Purchasing wakeboard bindings should be treated like all the other assets you accumulate in your life – with careful testing.
To become a proficient and competitive wakeboarder, you need to start off with the correct gear, and by that we mean the correct bindings.