Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

12" White Stickers
BallOfSpray $5 Donation
BallOfSpray $10 Donation

Safest Binding System

OmlandOmland Posts: 49 Baller
I know this question has been asked before but I wonder if the info in the older threads is still accurate. I joined the ankle injury club this year. I had my first OTF in some time, and while I did fully come out of my strada bindings it was a little too late and I broke my ankle in two spots. Given all the extra time I now have since I can't ski and the fact I'll save a lot of money on gas I have been researching and thinking about buying a new binding system. My question is what is the safest setup?

In general I think this is the opinions I have read here:
  • Hardshell like Reflex -- good but requires you to stay on top of maintenance and testing the release and making sure you set it at the right level
  • Stradas -- requires you to make sure you don't over tighten the laces. I will say I'm well aware of this and never felt I was over tightening but obviously something happened. Maybe it's just my stradas but sometimes the tongue of the liner pops out and pushes against the laces and essentially tightens them.
  • OB4 -- Advantage is it releases in 4 directions? I assume same maintenance and testing of the release as a reflex?
  • There is no 100% safe system, if you ski you are going to run the risk of an ankle injury
My question on mechanical release systems like reflex or ob4 is what are the chances of a pre-release when you are crossing the wakes or something like that? When snow skiing I hate it if my bindings release when not needed and this would be scary waterskiing.

My question on the OB4 is if you mount strada bindings on the OB4s do you get both the mechanical release as well as the ability for the strada liners to release independently of the mechanical release?


  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,139 Mega Baller
    What you get in that last scenario is the potential for your binding to be at the bottom of the lake along with its plate...

    Depending on how much foam is in the binding/liner some float some don't.

  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,586 Mega Baller
    Your summary looks pretty accurate to me, at least as far as commercially available products. (If you are interested in something that looks like a Frankenstein project but probably offers more Achilles safety than any commercial product, send me a private message and I'll connect you with the inventor of Gatormod3.)

    Yes, the main advantage of OB4 (and now MOB) is the ability to release in all rotations. (I'm not sure where you get 4, though. There are 3 fundamental axes to rotate around and in each case you case release in rotation either way. So it's either 3 or 6 depending on how you choose to describe it.) Yes, maintenance and understanding of the equipment is critically important.

    Unwanted releases are absolutely a problem with any system where the entire boot can release. That includes a Dual-Lock release, Reflex, Fogman, OB4, MOB, and others. As much as I loved my OB4's reliable release in crashes, I ultimately had to abandon it because I couldn't get the pre-releases under control without setting it way too tight to release in a crash. I have a suspicion that my (permanent) Dual-Lock mount may have indirectly contributed.

    @mmosley899 can better answer your last question, but I'm almost sure he doesn't recommend a "double release" like that because you could actually lose the system entirely -- i.e. sunk to the bottom. Then again the MOB is a little lighter, so maybe that recommendation has changed.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 636 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @Omland when using your Strada boots on a release system, your foot must stay in the boot for the release to work properly. And as @BraceMaker said you could end up with you boot at the bottom of the lake if it doesn't. And yes you must maintain any mechanical release system for proper operation.

    My new MOB system release is the next generation of my OB system. It of course still releases in all four directions which is not available on the release systems that use the silveretta style attachment. The new MOB G10 boot plate is lighter, more flexible, and wider for stability. This will adapt to your Strada boots better also. I am also working on a Radar specific boot plate.

    As for safety, I have used my MOB style release system for over twenty years without a single ankle or knee injury, and never a pre-release. And I have had scores into -41off in competition. Also my kids grew up using this system, and they still use it in competition. Again, they had no issues or problems from using this type release.

    A pre-release on this system usually indicates some problem with adjustment, improper mounting on the ski, or improper skiing position. Any mounting of the system on a ski must not allow unusual flexing of the mounting plate, as could happen with dual-lock mounting.

    More info at
    Mike's Overall Binding
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
    jipster43BrewskiRalph LeeShakeski
  • lcgordonlcgordon Posts: 282 Baller
    I think when he said 4 ways he ment front back left right
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,139 Mega Baller
    I think prerelease is a misnomer. Releases are dumb creatures they don't know what you're doing (maybe gatormod does arguably) bindings reach the mechanical limit of the retentive force and pop.

    Failsafe would dictate loose from ski better than in but say that on a surprise face plant....

    If for instance instead of popping and swinging free a silvretta allowed the boot to drop back beneath the catch if the heel as still in position I think many people would ski away from times when the release pops. But it doesn't so you fly off the ski. Dual lock same thing if it reseated itself better.
    FM Quattro had some detractors also but some of the theories work well. But the front toe is not going to lift up and release and side to side pure torsion won't either
  • OmlandOmland Posts: 49 Baller
    @mmosley899 thanks for the info, it's a good description and i'll spend a lot of time on your site learning more. Might have some more questions for you.

    @Wish Agree. The day I got hurt I wasn't skiing good. I was failing to run a pass I had been running 80% of the time over the last 15 passes and I was frustrated. Should have just stopped but really I don't know what happened. I've never fallen like that before. I turned 3 ball, was late to 4 but not out of control. I made the edge change and next thing I knew my ankle was broken. That set I had a sensation of being too far forward, should have taken a break. Hard lesson learned.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,586 Mega Baller
    edited August 2016
    @lcgordon I don't want to venture too far off topic, but directions make no sense (to me) in this context. Almost all releases occur because of rotation relative to the ski. I can't think of a single system that can release in a front or back translation, and very few can release in a left or right translation. Indeed, I'd argue that none of those are desirable.

    I think most agree that the most critical rotation to release is the OTF, releasing from the heel to save the Achilles. (That's the only one a Reflex can do, but it's so critically important that the Reflex is a viable binding option.) In my opinion, the next most important are the two twist-out rotations. Then the OTB (release from toe). And finally, the two "bail off the side of the ski" rotations, which are super-rare but theoretically could break your ankle(s).

    *MATH ALERT* I much prefer to refer to all of these more precisely, as +/- rotations around right-handed axes defined relative to the ski. But I accept the fact that most folks will not be happy with referring to an OTF as a "-X release" (i.e. rotating in the left-handed direction around the X axis, which is defined to point toward the right in the ski plane).
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • lcgordonlcgordon Posts: 282 Baller
    I get ya im an engineer i get math. Just was taking a guess as to what he was referring to
  • JrbeeksJrbeeks Posts: 20 Baller
    So I am currently sitting with a broken ankle and been heavily researching the OB4 and MOB systems. I can't find any clarification on if there is any noticeable effect on performance. Just want to be one hundred percent certain on the system before I "take the plunge". Any and all insight would be great. Thank you so much
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    I running reflex supershell and I feel its saved my ankles over and over. I've hardly even had a sore ankle since I started using them. There are some good skiers on the MOB. @MattP @OB1 @mmosley899 might be able to give some insight into performance of MOB.
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 517 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2017
    I was on OB4's all last year. They are a solid system, but they do not handle hard use well in my opinion. While trying to dial in the release settings I was having lots of releases. The bottoms of the plates got chewed up really fast being released so frequently.

    OB4/MOB bindings are a awesome system if you stay on top of you maintenance and you are not the kind of skier that falls hard often.

    I am on Radar Vapors now and I am loving life - much simpler; strap em' on and ski. Not skiing past your abilities and being smart will save you from injury 100 times before a binding system will IMO.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,527 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    The Vapors are by far the safest set up out there. @BrennanKMN hit the nail on the head
    Shut up and ski
  • WishWish Posts: 7,982 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited June 2017
    There is always a story on every binding system of injury. EVERY!!. It's a wonder these ski companies ever take the risk of making them in the first place let alone push for safer or different. I think the last thing we should do as skiers is dog a companies system based on a single personal event. Since 2001 I have built my own binding systems. All but a handful of years was that system even releasable. No major injury that required a single emergency room visit or hospital stay and maybe 5 trips to the doc in that time. Is mine safer? Am I just lucky? Do I just know when it's time to let go? All of the above? I have no idea. But I'm just one guy with one experience. I would never promote what I use cause the next guy is not me. I have no idea how he will use it or how he skis or to what limit. You have to learn your system. Maintain it the best you know how, follow what the manufacture suggests in terms of use coupled with knowing your limits and cross your fingers or say a prayer. That is about all you can do. But to say one is significantly better then the other off one individuals experience is a bit of a stretch and can do more harm then good to developers looking for safer, and better. Keep making them look bad and all of us will be making are own.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,186 Crazy Baller
    Ive never had an issue with my Reflex (aside from the dealer sending me the wrong size plate which resulted in a few OTFs). Used to be on Stradas, but really like the control of the hardshell. I took one crash in particular last year that I would have torn an Achilles if I didn't release, and I had a few crashes on the Stradas that I felt should have released and did not.
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 517 Crazy Baller
    I think @wish makes some solid points.

    I am also a double boot skier so I either want to fully release or not release at all. If I was skiing on a RTP I would be much more concerned about my front foot and how it will release.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,358 Mega Baller
    Automatic, hydromatic, electromagnetic release system with pitch and yaw sensors maybe.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    One factor that is quite relevant with respect to injury potential is the ski design. Some skis are far more prone to skipping out (a frequent cause of ankle injuries). Unstable skis also add to risk. Choose your ski wisely to protect yourself.

  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,772 Administrator

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ★ Basta ★ DBSkis ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ Hobe Lake ★ MasterCraft

    Masterline ★ McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar 

    Stella Blue ★ Stokes ★ World WaterSki League


  • JrbeeksJrbeeks Posts: 20 Baller
    A lot Of really good insight guys. Really appreciate the opinions and experience. No one system is completely fail safe and we also have to factor that not everyone's bodies are built the same and react differently to different twists and impacts

    And I agree. There is no sense in tossing dirt on any company in my
    Opinion, no matter the circumstance
  • robertoroberto Posts: 85 Baller
    My personal preference , Animal front (Rubber binding) + rtp. Below 18c water temp I use Vaseline on my front foot. I do not do the laces up, never have. Front of the foot is plenty tight. I can release on the dock/in water without too much effort.

    Do what wish says, let go fight another day.

    Do what Horton says, You MUST be able get out of your bindings on the dock or in the water without loosening or unbuckling anything.

    My ankles are worth more than '2 bouys extra' on some system that requires a preventative maintenance programme. It still staggers me how many people I watch day in day out go ski without checking anything on their ski. Plenty of screws loose! I have seen the odd fin hanging on by a thread!

    Your average skier is not qualified/trained to run technically complex systems. Most people I have met don't even know where the bindings should be placed. Yet they will try and run the course with circa $600 of hard plastic locked down to their ski in the wrong position.

    Recently I watched a skier promote the virtues of a White cuff hardshell binding for skiing. He was learning to do a deep water start! 10 attempts later he got up. Only to pre-release on his first attempt to cross the wake free skiing. He hurt himself and did not ski again that week.

    I go as far as saying;- I would like to try a double RTP! Just for fun. Probably safer than a lot of systems.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    I agree with @Horton. If you can't pop it or pull out of it at the end of a set by simply grabbing the tip and pulling it toward you, then it is probably not set as a releasable system and is likely unsafe.

    And @Wish - basically, don't hold onto crap that ain't good skiing.

    Sure shit can happen at the tournament trying to get that last 1/2 buoy for a PB or a placement or bet with your buddy. Be safe, and if you choose to "sacrifice your body" for that buoy, well you may get your wish.

    Along those lines... If you ski correctly, you are probably not going to need to release!
    You are most likely exhibiting downward and lateral (leaning) forces on your bindings, with minimal twisting and only appropriate, nominal toe or heal lift. That's why Radar Vapor style bindings can be run with tight bottom laces and loose top laces. Even if the top lace comes off the lace hook, the binding still allows for cradling the foot under downward pressure, it allows for lateral/leaning stiffness, and it even still does a good job of allowing the skier to drive tip pressure into the turn. And, you can pull out of them with minimal effort at the end of the set by simply grabbing the tip and pulling it toward you.

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,327 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Jrbeeks sitting on spiral tib fib fracture here going to go OB4.
    Probably was a once in a lifetime wreck but going to change up. Never had trouble with my leverage front and rear toe in 35 years of short line...even when a ski broke between bindings...but sure did have trouble recently. I did come out but too late.
    I expect going hard shell will take some getting used to, may cost me a few balls initially but I'm not doing this again. 7 weeks out still using crutches and I'm one stubborn SOB that doesn't give in for anything.
    To each their own and best wishes to all
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,083 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    There is no binding that is 100% safe, it would be a brave person to make that claim, I think you need to have a combo, along the lines of some sort of predictability of release, coupled with knowing when to let go, how many of us have tried to hang onto something we should have left alone, too much slack line or coming off the bouy in bad shape = standing up or throwing the handle away.
    Is it worth risking surgery or something more permanent ?

    There are old skiers and there are bold skiers, but there are no old bold skiers!

    Maybe a few !

    If Only I Was Perfect

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    As the top Panda recipient on this site, I have a pretty good idea of a Panda worthy comment. I'm curious as to why matching a ski to a binding system is not reasonable.

    Wileys are close to optimal for jump skis, a non releasable hardshell for hand tricks, a stiff boot for a slalom ski that you need to work to turn, a soft boot for a responsive slalom ski. When performance is optimized, safety is enhanced.

    I've been around long enough to see significant differences in ski design and handling. One boot will not work for every ski and every skier.

    [Deleted User]
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 586 Solid Baller
    edited June 2017
    "Prerelease" is an unclear issue. You never know what it was - "Prerelease" or something that saved your leg/body.
  • JrbeeksJrbeeks Posts: 20 Baller
    @mmosley899 thanks for the info. I do know that MOB and OB4 are not the same company. I block them together, being that they are so similar, like I would with reflex/edge/syndicate
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    @6balls I'm running stock supershells. I was on D3 T-factors before and swore by them. I was back right up to my average in a few weeks on Hard shells. First few days were a little frustrating. Ski was a little more edgy in the turns but once I was used to it I liked the extra control.
Sign In or Register to comment.