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Binding advice if you're willing please

SkiBeKausSkiBeKaus Posts: 7 New Baller
Hi. I'm kinda a long time visitor to some of the discussions and this is my first post, so I'm sorry if this is a overpopulated topic or a not so acceptable use of the forum, in which case I'll learn better for the future. I just figure before I invest money in a new binding setup, I'd be stupid to not at least try to reach out to some clearly knowledgeable people for advice.

I'm looking into getting a new binding setup to hopefully prevent future ankle sprains and injuries. I'm mainly considering either a reflex and rtp or double wileys (these are what two people recommended to me), and greatly appreciate any advice from y'all if you're willing to offer it.

(If this is not a good use of this forum, please let me know and I will do whatever I can to rectify it if possible)

A little background info if it helps:

I currently ski a 66" vapor lithium (5'11", 155lbs) with a vector front and wiley rtp and have become rather comfortable running 34 mph (my only two times trying 36, I got 4 buoys each) (no tournament scores, so no official PB), and with my rather limited access to course skiing (pretty non-existent this summer), I know I could be running into 22 or even 28 off soon given the opportunity for more practice.

I've had two ankle sprains, both on offside (LFF) 4 ball turns (one overturned [on a community ski] and the other I was working on looking to the next buoy sooner and hit the one in front of me, both times resulting in the ski dragging the water behind me, a situation I'm confident a reflex would've released; And after the second sprain, I know that I need to change something to ensure that I either keep both or no feet in.

I know bindings are to be considered the last line of defense against injury as smart skiing and not pushing it when your already behind is the best method, but I can't deny that occasionally, crap happens and I get dumb; But I'm usually pretty good about backing out of, or circumventing a bad situation. I also realize there is no perfect setup for preventing injury (other than staying on the dock).

I know the release mechanics of wiley and reflex, and I know that some consider reflex to be only for extreme short-line skiing and some don't. As a fan of the rear kicker, I'm more than willing to do the maintenance and regular release test with a reflex (thanks to Mr. Horton for making demonstrating very valuable info). I know switching to doubles or reflex will take a transition period, but I also know that I need to change something for the sake of my ankle.

Sorry for the long post (holly crap I'm sorry, just want to include as much detail that might potentially help), and thanks in advance for any advice y'all are willing to offer! I greatly appreciate any help and advice y'all provide.



  • ballsohardballsohard Posts: 270 Solid Baller
    Definitely go for the Reflex! I love mine and it has released like a charm for me!
  • brettmainerbrettmainer Posts: 273 Crazy Baller
    I skied right to my ability the first time I switched to a Reflex front. I struggled with Fogmans and the Goode hard shell when I tried them 15yrs ago. I like the Reflex, but the release bar does interfere with the back toe using a kicker. Maybe the newer orange top Reflex release is better for the rear toe, but I haven’t tried it.

    I currently use the R Style rear and Reflex front to make sure the back comes free if the Reflex releases, but am considering switching back to soft boot rear or kicker due to back pain. But, if you are younger (skiing 36) and in good shape, this set up might work for you, but if you currently use a kicker, I advise you to stick with it. Bottom line is that the Reflex front works for me.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    I'm using Reflex with R-style rear. I switched back when I was at 15 off for the same reason as your talking about. If you comfortable with the rtp might as well stick with it. From my personal experience I'd recommend a releasable binding. Reflex, HO, MOB. Your ankles will thank you. MOB you can use any binding. The supershell and HO have more room for big feet. The white cuff reflex to me are closer to a rubber binding because they flex well. I'm using a intuition Aqua liner that is heat moldable.
  • skialexskialex Posts: 1,007 Crazy Baller
    Hard shells are high maintenance (you know that already) rubber are almost maintenance free. Rubber require no special skill, hard shells need to be properly setup, frequently inspected, kept out of moisture when not in use and spend some time to lube or clean and tighten metal parts.
    If you do that, then hardshells are much safer than rubber.
    As far as rear binding choice, mechanically release systems work better and safer in conjunction with an RTP. A lot of skiers and most of top pros are skiing RTP or moving towards an RTP or similar.
    You already use an RTP, so why change?
    Good luck anyway, boots are more personal than skis and when you find your perfect setup stick with it for long time.
  • dnewtondnewton Posts: 94 Baller
    I made the switch from a vector boot to a reflex this year for the same reasons.The first month I could still get the same buoys it was just uncomfortable for me. 3 months into the season and there is no way I would ever go back. I feel much safer and confident in my boot. FYI I am on the same ski as you and am about the same body type. Not sure if that means anything or not.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 919 Crazy Baller
    Highly recommend the MOB. About the only system that will release in all directions (OFT, rotating, out the back) As mentioned above, you have multiple boot options to mount on the MOB, leading candidates being the Radar Vapor or the Connelly Sync.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    After an ankle sprain and break, I was in the same place you are now. One option is to get the MOB and keep your current Vector and RTP setup. Either send the Vector to Mike at MOB to have him make the small modification or, if you are handy with a router, you can do it. Just make sure to swap the bungee with a paracord on the Vector so it stays on your foot in the fall and the MOB does all the release work.

    In the end, you have one body and all of these systems cost less than a hospital visit with xray (at least with my med plan they do). I went with the MOB since two of my ski partners have broken tibias and fibulas in twisting accidents that a Reflex likely would not have released during. In the end, the choice is personal. No matter what you select, there really isn't a reason to ditch the RTP if you get a release binding in the front.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 919 Crazy Baller
    I would definately talk to Mike about boot choice. Not sure about the Vector, I would think you may want at least the profile (in the radar line) on the MOB, but Mike can assist in that.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2019
    @ScottScott is right that it's good to talk with Mike before buying. That said, I have an xMax binding on my MOB setup and it works great. It is really nice being able to lace the boot up tight instead of worrying if I have it tight enough to feel good in the course and loose enough to release (though I found that even really loose my size 14 foot only came out half way in a fall). I love that the only maintenance I do is to check screws and the lock nut on the release (that one after each set) and I drop a bit of silicone lube in the release every couple sets. I try to get silicon free of any petroleum when around plastics and resins.
  • skiboynyskiboyny Posts: 231 Baller
    Wileys offer very little lateral support. I would think that might be tough on a compromised ankle. If you want both feet in, try Goode powershells. (I can see people cringing from here) If you want to stick with the kicker go with the reflex. You seem to already believe that it would have released in your falls.There is no option that will guarantee your safety. I have seen no data showing any system to be superior over the others.
  • JBBJBB Posts: 92 Baller
    @SkiBeKaus - it sounds like you are a better skier than I am currently.

    A couple years back, i have an OTF crash and didn't come out of my boot. It resulted in a horrible season ending sprain. After rehabbing my ankle, I found I was too timid to really push myself. I ended up switching to a syndicate hardshell, and later added on a r-style. I feel that the piece of mind that they provide allows me to ski a bit more aggressively.

    One last option to look at (referenced above) is a MOB.

    Good luck, and ski hard.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,634 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Reflex and rtp is the safest and best performing setup that is used by a very high percentage of tournament skiers. You are well past the “minimum performance point” to make the switch from rubber to hardshell.

    I don't have experience with MOB but seems to be a reasonable option.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • MuskokaKyMuskokaKy Posts: 445 Crazy Baller
    I run a reflex supershell front and rubber rtp. made the switch after a knee injury; and will never change.

    MOB has great reviews also.
  • Ski_DadSki_Dad Posts: 432 Baller
    I'm sure reflex would be awesome but i wonder how tight you are tighting the top laces on the Vector - i just do mine lightly and always come out on a yard sale.
  • parkerc2112parkerc2112 Posts: 127 Baller
    Reflex with RTP
  • GarnGarn Posts: 523 Crazy Baller
    HO Syndicate Hardshell.
  • SkiBeKausSkiBeKaus Posts: 7 New Baller
    edited June 2019
    Thank y’all so much for your input.

    That’s actually what I did wrong with a ho animal on my first sprain @Ski_Dad - last sprain I didn’t tighten at all for that reason and came only half out (my boots the right size, maybe I just have weak feet).
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 586 Solid Baller
    edited June 2019
    The safest setup may be a hardboot with Silvreta at the back and MOB unit at the front of the boot. Similar to alpine bindings setup - two independent units. The one at the back - for falls with OTF component and the front one - for helicopter and falls on the back.
    Pure IMHO caused my helicopter fall resulted with fractured tibia and torn ACL in a popular hardshell with properly adjusted Silvreta.
    Currently skiing in Animal with loose laces and thinking about MOB.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,139 Mega Baller
    As with @OldboyII mine was a twisting fall that snapped my femur. It was in a rubber boot similar to a Wiley.

    Reflex may not be so grand when you spike a ball straight on the tip either.
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 358 Solid Baller
    Have to give a hearty recommendation to D3 tfactors. Well made, great support, comfortable, easy in and out, and release very well. In your efforts to make a well informed decision I would certainly give these a look considering you're clealry open to rubber.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 919 Crazy Baller
    @OldboyII MOB releases in an OFT as well as any of the other directions. The heel releases both as the forward momentum will push against the plunger clearing the rear wedge, and by the wedge pushing forward as it lifts. No need for anything else on the heal. I have had oft, twisting, and out the back issues.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 665 Crazy Baller
    @SkiBeKaus your sequence of events is exactly the same as mine. I broke my ankle because I had the laces too tight. Then I sprained the same ankle the next year when my foot came half way out even though my laces were super loose. I decided that was enough and got the MOB. Now I ski with more confidence. Get something you trust, know you are never perfectly safe, and get on the water.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,585 Mega Baller
    edited June 2019
    Surprised not much mention of the Radar Vapor boots? Since the Carbitex model came out, these boots are super comfortable and great lateral support.
    Laced properly, feet come out in hard falls.
    And, the BOA to snug down the forefoot is awesome.
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 636 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @Zman the Vapor boot works great on the MOB system, tighten as much as you want.

    @OldboyII as @ScottScott said the MOB system releases from the rear in an otf fall.
    Mike's Overall Binding
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 919 Crazy Baller
    I'm using the Vapor on my MOB setup. The Vapor is like most of the other boots mentioned when used by itself, which I did for a short time before I got my MOB. Key word is "Laced properly".... how tight is not too tight while still giving you the support you want, and will still let your feet slide out when needed. Put it on the MOB, replace the bungee on the ankle with string, and crank it down as much as you want. Great setup.
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 586 Solid Baller
    edited June 2019
    @mmosley899 could syndicate hardshell be mount on standard MOB plate or some extra hardware is needed? (except making a space for heel wedge)
    PS I know that MOB is released at OTF. My concern (after recovery & lost season) is to have a possibility to make release test (dryland or in the water) any time I want w/o torque wrench and test plate). In my humble opinion impossibility to do this is one of the obstacles for certain number of potential customers who are used to test everything by hand :smile: )
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,139 Mega Baller
    @OldboyII arguably the testing of a Silvretta doesn't tell you what you think it does. Your ability to yank free isn't really a setting.

    The torque wrench test was OB4 I believe he now recommends setting by using a caliper as he is tuning the springs.

    FWIW properly designed mechanical systems should not require a yank test.
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 636 Water Ski Industry Professional
    edited June 2019
    @OldboyII you can use the Syndicate boot on the MOB system, but I have not tried to mount one, so I don’t know exactly what might be needed. You probably would want to use the Syndicate cradle that the boot sits in, as that boot has a very high heel lift molded in, which is why I rejected that skate boot as an option to use years ago.

    As for testing the release, how do you test snow ski boot releases before you go snow skiing? The torque wrench gives you an exact value of the tension required to release. Once that is known, adjustments are up or down from that point. My springs are each tested to fall within a very close and specific range. Knowing the specific compression length and the specific resulting pressure allows me to measure the compression using calipers. My chart gives you a guide based on height and weight, then each skier can determine his best adjustments from there. After you determine that setting, it is not likely to change. I test my release for proper operation every time I ski, but I only check my setting with my calipers occasionally. I seldom do more than a visual check of the scale on the adjustment screw. FYI this is an adaptation of a snow ski style release system, but I manufacture my own parts.

    Please note that I have used this release system for twenty five years with no ankle or knee injuries.

    I agree with @BraceMaker, you should never have to yank test a properly designed mechanical system!
    Mike's Overall Binding
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 586 Solid Baller
    @mmosley899 Thank you for clear and unfolded explanations. If I can read between the lines it would mistakeproof to use boots specifically designed for waterskiing...
    @BraceMaker thank you for info and your thoughts.
    @SkiBeKaus my apologies for invasion into your thread! My excuse is that this info may also be helpful for you to make proper decision )
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 636 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @OldboyII molded hardshell water ski boots do not exist, they are all adapted skate boots. The boots I use are ice skate boots(the Supershell). Radar and Connelly both make a great soft fit water ski specific boot. I am in the process of having a new customized hardshell boot developed, but still derived from a skate boot.

    The need for comfort and fit for so many different feet makes it hard to make the perfect boot for every skier!
    Mike's Overall Binding
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
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