Bindings are a very important piece of equipment when finding the optimal wakeboarding gear. Not having the correct bindings could ruin a perfect day on the lake by making the ride very uncomfortable and frustrating. It is vital that when looking to buy bindings to find the right fit, style, and functionality that is conducive to a wakeboarder’s level of skills and works with their board of choice. There are a variety of different binding options on the market that will provide the best possible set-up for any person looking to shred up the water.
Comfort is a key ingredient in making for a great day behind the boat. Being uncomfortable on the wakeboard can cut a day short and take all the fun out of riding. A good comfortable fit for a binding should be snug but not too tight that it causes discomfort or cuts off circulation. The overlay, which holds the heel and toe parts together, should be made of substantial material and be flexible enough so that movement is not obstructed. The material in-between the overlay and foot should provide enough cushion so there is absolutely no pinching. Initially, a rider may feel as if the binding is too tight, but they must allow the overlay and underlay to stretch a bit. This will provide enough support so that the boot is not sliding around in the binding.
Another very important aspect of the binding is the footbed. The footbed is the substance underneath the foot that provides a cushion. It should work as a shock absorber and be shaped in a way that will relieve pressure from the knees and ankles. The heel will be positioned slightly above the middle of the foot and have a ridge around the toes. With the right fit, the boarder should experience the best possible leverage for making cuts and turns.
The binding will be attached to the board by the baseplate. A baseplate will allow for a boarder to alter their stance based on the way it is attached. There are pre-drilled holes on the wakeboard that will allow the boarder to change the angles in which the binding is secured to it. If just starting out, it is important to research and find what the best possible stance prior to bolting down the bindings. Slight changes in the degrees in which the bindings are attached to the wakeboard can significantly alter the ride. As the wakeboarder becomes more accustomed to the sport they will be able to decipher which angles best fit their style of riding.
The hardware, or the nuts and bolts of the binding, is also very important. They should be of good quality because they ultimately are what hold the binding together and support the side and curvature of the foot. It is vital that the hardware holds the binding securely to the board and are tightened down well. A lose binding can distort the feel of the wakeboard making it almost impossible to have a good ride. The binding will also have straps and ties that can be adjusted. Prior to jumping in the water, the rider should have full knowledge of the operation of the straps and have an idea of how tight they should be. This will save in a lot of frustration while floating in the middle of a lake should the board come off. Also, adding some sort of lubricant such as liquid soap or binding lube will help with getting the foot in and out of the binding with ease.
The importance of having good bindings can sometimes get over looked. It is vital that the entire set up works well together, but in the end it is the bindings that will determine the comfort of the wakeboarder’s feet and how long their day will last.