Hard Shell Bindings - which type??

Hey guys;
I've got a Radar Senate Alloy (67) with double featherlite boots. I'm learning the course at 15 off, 28mph. I recently went out the front at the second wake and my rear foot came out, but the front foot didn't - which caused me to go over forward way past where my ankle was meant to go, and really tweaked it bad! :'( I instantly realize that I need hard shell bindings with a proper release mechanism (I never really trusted lace up bindings anyways). I just wanted your thoughts on the pro's and con's of the various setups available and which you recommend. I'm considering Reflex, Edge, and HO Syndicate (those are the only ones I know of). I thought I would keep my rear featherlite, and just get a front hard shell. I'd really appreciate your thoughts & advice. Oh, I'm 5'8", 154 lbs, and 61 years old, and usually ski behind a Nautique. Thanks in advance.
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Comments

  • ToddAToddA Posts: 50 Baller
    I give a resounding "+1" to the HO Syndicate Hardshell! I came from a Reflex, and had some pre-release issues (mostly b/c I wasn't keeping close enough attention to the plastic heel set-screws). Haven't had one pre-release with the HO.
    savaiusini
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 315 Solid Baller
    If you had an over the front like that and didn't come out, you are laced up too tight. Can you pull your foot out of the boot without loosening the laces at the end of a set? Not to discourage a release boot, but the lace up should be pretty safe if you don't tighten too much.
    OldboyII
  • amnesiaamnesia Posts: 15 Baller
    Well, they're pretty snug. I have never released - but I never needed to release either. I always keep my back boot "a bit" looser than the front - mostly so I can swivel my back foot a bit. I just remember the guys at Jack Travers and Sunset Ranch saying the reason they use hard shell bindings is its just too dangerous without the release mechanism. Granted they're going WAY harder than I am, but I don't want an injury.
  • skeeskee Posts: 9 Baller
    Amnesia I agree with ScottScott. I too, learned the hard way. At 60 I was having a helluva night and going for a personal best. Reached down and tightened my laces. BIG mistake. Malleolus fracture with screws, plates and cable in my left ankle. 3 years hence and it's still stiff but I have gone on to ski better and set new PB's. I now use a Reflex white cuff on the front and RTP rear on my Senate Alloy. It has brought me to a new level of skiing but more importantly took away the fear of getting back on a ski after a pretty serious injury. I have taken plenty of spills and the release is predictable. The HO Hardshell looks very interesting and would be a serious consideration if I were changing bindings.
    Good luck, use soap and don't tug on those laces, especially the top ones.
  • amnesiaamnesia Posts: 15 Baller
    Very good points Scottscott & Skee. I have to admit that as i've been progressing i've been tightening the top lace of the front boot ever so slightly. I seriously doubt I could pull my foot out of either binding without undoing the laces, but I always felt that was due more to the material and boot shape than the lace tightness. They really fit like a glove (ski glove!). I'm not really "reefing" down on them much at all, and it's always a struggle to get into the boots with the laces undone (even though they are plenty big - size 7-11 and i'm 9 1/2). Soap is of no help with this liner material.

    An interesting side note: the shop where I bought the set up are very knowledgeable and they told me that they had never had any foot fractures (not ankle/malleolar) prior to selling these bindings. In the first year they had a bunch of nasty foot fractures and actually contacted radar with their concerns. The following year the boots came with a warning tag on the laces saying not to tighten them more than some amount (30 pounds I think). Seems like a pretty inaccurate "release setting mechanism" to me.
  • KillerKiller Posts: 236 Baller
    The problem with the boots your in is they are a 7-11 size range and you're a 9.5.

    If I asked you to go walk around all day in size 11 sneakers, how do you think you'd do? Redundant but relevant.

    The better soft shell boots like the radar vapor are exact shoe size, so you don't need to reef on the laces like that. Liner comes out with your a foot and you can easily test them on dry land. I'm going on 10 years on the radar RS1/Strada/vapor boots into 38 off. I don't crash much these days but have taken plenty of OTF double ejections. Never so much as tweaked an ankle.

    Based on the fact all of the hardshell boots you mention are not Waterski bindings,but adapted snow and roller bladr boots is worth mentioning. I caution novice skiers looking at them - they are far more work to maintain and far more technical than you need. It is very much debatable if they are actually safer for a skier at your level as well.

    OldboyIIThan_Boganandjulesjerrym
  • amnesiaamnesia Posts: 15 Baller
    Interesting point Killer. These bindings remind me of my snow ski bindings from 40 years ago - but those released in many axes and not just heel lift. I realize the forces on snow ski bindings are much greater than on the water, but I doubt that any of the current waterski bindings would come close to passing snow ski binding liability requirements.

    But honestly, the bindings are so snug that I barely need to tighten the laces at all. If they were any smaller I doubt I'd be able to get my feet in them. I'm definitely not swimming in them, but your point is well taken. I guess there is a VERY narrow range of lace tension adjustment between too loose and too tight.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,526 Administrator
    Reflex, Edge, and HO Syndicate all use the same release mechanism. The biggest difference is the fit of the shell and the liner. From a safety point of view they are basically the same.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly / DBSkis /   Denali / Eden Ski Lake  / Goode / HO Syndicate / MasterCraft / Masterline

    O'Brien / Performance Ski and Surf / PTM Edge / Stokes / Reflex / Radar / Wakeye

  • slowslow Posts: 257 Baller
    If you want to go low maintenance Bd aren't very techy, vapor is the way to go
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 433 Baller
    edited September 19
    @amnesia I am somewhere in your level/age segment.
    Moved to hardshell this spring and immediatelly upgraded my performance. Enjoyed till august when very rare type of fall happened - flat twisting ski move without heel lift. Boot released but too late.
    Binding adjustment was Ok - dry land release test that morning was super soft. After skiing release needed much stronger force. Can only guess - why?
    My season is over and next season I will move back to soft or semisoft shell.
    Vapor release looks for me reliable - there are two sliding surfaces: shell-liner & liner-foot.
    I will wait when/if inductry standards for mechanical release will take place (same like in alpine ski).
    I want to point that it is not about that hardshell is not safe, moreover it proves that it is very safe option.
    This is only my personal experience with very rare situation, and my leg and knee will not stand another one.

    This summer I was skiing with senior lady who consistenly on16 meters rope and ocasionally on14 meters, she is in open toe soft boot and does greate. It was embarassing for me to be next to her in hardshell with my level ))

  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 315 Solid Baller
    MOB is one of the few that will release with that twisting in addition to heal or toe lift. Worth checking out. That is what I am leaning toward when I make that move. It will work on a variety of hard boots.
    mmosley899
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 392 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @ScottScott it also works with the soft fit or semi hard boots from all the major ski manufacturers.
    Mike's Overall Binding www.mobsystemrelease.com
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
    ScottScott
  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 96 Baller
    edited September 20
    I'm watching this thread closely. I've skied on open toed, lace up bindings up until now (my only 2 years skiing). I've crashed every which way possible, and I've come out of my bindings nicely each time I should have. Never felt any ankle pain since they felt like they came off plenty early.
    I tried a hard shell (HO Syndicate) for a weekend this summer and had a crash where I came out, but it felt really late, and while there was nothing major, I limped around for the rest of the day. I reckon it was one of these rare twisting falls.

    Everyone I talk to says the reflex/HO style release system is the safest,, but it doesn't quite match my limited experience. I'd like to make the switch to the syndicate but am curious to hear from others.
  • DeanoskiDeanoski Posts: 682 Solid Baller
    @david_quail the release was 1/4 1/2 turn to tight if It tweaked your ankle!

    ALSO Goode/ reflex system uses the reflex release!!
  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 96 Baller
    @Deanoski I'm definitely going to set them a bit looser next time. That said, it already set it looser than was suggested by my weight/speed. I reckon it was just one of those weird falls.
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 392 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @david_quail there is nothing rare about a twisting fall in water skiing.
    Mike's Overall Binding www.mobsystemrelease.com
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
    OldboyII
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 1,812 Crazy Baller
    @david_quail - I'd not be too reliant on the numbers on the scale vs. height/weight/speed. I've had settings on silvretta vary considerably in regards to the number in the window versus the perceived effort in disengagement of the shell.

    Since the boot itself is structural - it is under pressure from the release up against the toe bar/hoop/loop - the change in how the boot is worn is going to create a variable in the release tension. You have to test the tension with the boot on your foot tensioned how you like to wear it - and this may require you to dial up or down on the tension to get a release effort acceptable to you.

    @mmosley899 's products are in a different category where the boot itself has very little to do with the adjustments on the release itself. So long as it fits your foot securely the release is only experiencing the lift/twist force of the plate.

    DeanoskiMattP
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 433 Baller
    Looks like good transition to hardshell - decent lateral support, yet simple and easy to use:

    ALPJr
  • malski64malski64 Posts: 5 Baller
    I find myself laughing because I am agreeing with Horton… But in my view he's right on point. Having broken, twisted ankles, and torn Achilles, I can say that ankle injuries to happen and in about any type of binding. Stay on the loose side with the binding and work on being balanced over the ski and in the long run you're safer and better skier.
  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 96 Baller
    edited September 20
    @Horton Wow. Do high end skiers really only crash about once a month?
    I'm clearly not one of them, but have skied with folks who run 32+ regularly. They're no pros, but that's pretty decent. And they seem to take way more tumbles into the lake.
    EDIT - and I'd define a "crash" as anything that causes you to let go of the handle. Not just major OTFs ...
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 433 Baller
    Intensively skiing in Alps approx 40-50 days in winter season (not little).
    Never had major problems caused by ski bindings. That is what I would call "safe bindings".
    Can not understand why major ski manufacturers cannot sit together, agree and develop industry standards. That will attract more people in the water sports.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,526 Administrator
    @david_quail I define a crash as any time there is a lot of force on the body or there is a bounce or other stress on the body. If there is no danger then it is not a crash. Personally I crash maybe once a year and I would hope that is normal for guys who run 32 off or shorter.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly / DBSkis /   Denali / Eden Ski Lake  / Goode / HO Syndicate / MasterCraft / Masterline

    O'Brien / Performance Ski and Surf / PTM Edge / Stokes / Reflex / Radar / Wakeye

    david_quail
  • DanEDanE Posts: 782 Crazy Baller

  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 96 Baller
    edited September 20
    @Horton gotcha. Makes sense. Under that definition, I still have a ways to go before I crash once a month. But I'm close, rather than an order of magnitude off.

    I guess this photo would qualify as a crash by any definition(not me, but a ski buddy)?



    Should belong in the other "this is why we have Internet" thread but can't help putting it here now.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 1,812 Crazy Baller
    Walk around in those ski boots much?
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,053 Crazy Baller
    edited September 20
    @BraceMaker , I think you are talking about snow ski boots and bindings? I always put the boot condoms (rubberized sole protectors) on mine to preserve proper operation of the binding and boot interface.

    I don't have hard crashes once a month, but I do crash occasionally, and doubt that going hard shell is the right thing for me. I don't really know the standards for water ski releasable bindings. They might be fine. But I have no real way to know. And at my level, I personally choose the rubber (T-Factors in my case) based on a similar thought process as @Horton states above, even if I don't crash hard that often. I am currently increasing boat speed, and will be shortening line lengths which will increase cross course speed, and quicken up the timing of everything. So arguably there is an increasing risk.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 1,812 Crazy Baller
    @sunvalleylaw more so that downhill boots are so much more restrictive of ankle motion than would be permitted by a waterskier. It is a different animal, you don't see the ankle injuries in downhill boots but you do see ACL tears and tibial fractures. The boot protects the ankle.

    We use boots that specifically do not protect the ankle for waterskiing. However even low rubber boots can snap a leg. Its just about not doing stupid stuff when skiing.

    sunvalleylaw
  • LovellLovell Posts: 90 Baller
    There are inherent risks in water skiing, just like every other sport. Those inherent risks clearly include serious ankle/Achilles injuries. You don't have to "crash" to suffer such an injury. last year, I tore my Achillles in a fairly benign fall when I hit 4 ball on a fairly easy pass for me. I was in a Wiley's. I have switched to a Reflex and have not skied much this year, but I feel far more confident about my safety in the Reflex, but I have not crashed yet. I think that crashing should be in frequent or you are not training correctly.
    MickeyThompson
  • moskimoski Posts: 27 Baller
    I've been looking for new ski and boot system. Mine are both outdated. Anyway, I'm with @ScottScott I'm leaning towards the MOB boot system with a rtp.
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