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With a longstanding history in the sport, we catch up with seasoned-veteran Robby Naish to find out why he rides foostraps
People often ask me why I use footstraps when kiting. I also see comments on social posts about how “old school” using straps is. I’m not sure how adding power, control and speed to your riding could ever be a bad thing, but it’s a strange world and, as the saying goes, “to each their own”.
When we started experimenting with kites while riding surfboards back in the late 90s, kitesurfing was not yet a sport. My first ever experience was taking a nine-foot longboard out in Kailua Bay, paired with a four-line Sky Tiger kite, controlled with two handles. It worked. I went upwind, downwind and cruised around a bit. Fortunately I never dropped the kite in the water but it wasn’t something that would hold my attention. It was more of a novelty (but it was strapless).
The next step was doing the occasional downwinder from Hookipa to Kanaha on Maui using an old Wipika two-line kite paired with one of my Jaws tow-in surfboards. This was a lot faster and we were using straps. There was simply no way that you were going to blast downwind on a two-line kite with no depower without footstraps. I managed a few jumps here and there, but it still felt like more of a novelty than a real ‘sport’.