Word's by Rosanna Jury - check her out at https://www.facebook.com/rosannajurykitesurfing
Boots are great for the more wake- style riding. More and more people are riding them, they are the best for hitting obstacles and most people on the world freestyle tour are using them now too. I love the feeling with boots, they can help you pop harder and land more solidly and stick more tricks! Riding them in flat water is perfect.
You need to have good Kite control for boots. If you can nail raleys, frontrolls, backrolls and boosts you are probably ready for boots. Disclaimer: boots aren't for everyone. Give them a try but be careful as you are locked in!
Get some boots that are comfy and simple to do up so it’s easy to get them on with your kite in the air
Head out when there is good wind- sometimes in light wind it’s harder to make your way up wind with boots compared with straps. Go with enough power as you might find you need more than with straps (more rocker + heavier board = need more power)
Putting them on : keep your kite at 12, briefly look down to study your boots, do the laces up one-by-one whilst constantly checking your kite. If it's gusty, do it quick or try to walk out to a more constant position
Riding: have your front leg more bent than you would if riding straps. This will shift your weight to be in the middle of the board which is more aligned with wakestyle boards. When big gusts come, hunker down and lean back (you'll be suprised with how much more power you can hold down). Lastly, you need to be more cautious of edge catches (because they hurt), so pay attention and remember you are fully connected to the board!
Sometimes crashes can feel heavier because the board sticks into the water more, and one thing that can make crashes seem less heavy is to curl yourself up a bit as you hit the water. If you are coming down from a height, take the brunt on your bum and your board with your knees tucked up
If you put the boots further towards the heel side of your board you can get better pop. Stiff boots can make grabs harder since you can’t bend your ankles so much, so if you find this it might help to do them up less tightly and they will soften up a bit as you wear them in
Buying your first Boots: You've got 3 options:
1) Try borrowing a pair if you have a nice friend or otherwise
2) Buy secondhand
- If you have small feet you'll struggle, however, buy some that are too big and then put some inner-soles in to make them a bit tighter.
- Look for wear on the laces and the inserts. If they are looking knackered - stay away.
- Look on ebay/whatever for wakeboard boots too (bigger market = more options and cheaper)
3) Buy new
- Buy end-of-season boots and prepare to ride some weird colours!
- Ronix are expensive, their laces don't stay tight and they don't support kiteboarding (boo)
- Airush, Slingy, North and Cab all have Kite-specific boots now (yay)
Always wash your boots out in fresh water. Make sure you ride hard and enjoy how warm your feet will stay during the winter months!