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HO Approach Boots -- Safe???

bbrannan127bbrannan127 Posts: 38
edited July 2011 in Skis Fins Bindings
Hi all,

I recently bought a 2011 Radar Strada, and I'm having problems deciding on which bindings to put on it. Without doing any research, I bought a 2009 HO Approach binding for the front and a Radar RTP for the back. Since then, I've realized that this is possibly the most unsafe binding combination ever to be mounted on a waterski. I am definitely sending back my RTP, but I was wondering what to replace it with. Would the bindings be much safer if I got a rear Approach (same binding, same release tendancies...?) Or are the Approaches really the "ankle-breakers" they're made out to be?

If this is the case I guess I'd have to start from the beginning and order a totally different front and rear boot. I've heard the Stradas are excellent bindings, but being 16 years old and very short on money, they're almost out of the question. Any suggestions as to a safe, yet high performance binding set up are appreciated.

I'm not sure if it matters, but I ski around 22, 28, and 32 off at 36 mph. I am 105 lbs now and growing quickly.

Thanks for the help,


  • Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into those. Maybe I'm being a little over-cautious, but this morning everything was thrown into prospective when my Dad punctured a lung in a crash while I was driving...
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    There are definitely other and arguably better options, but I feel it is more important that you be confident in your equipment.

    One option would be to do some wheeling-and-dealing. Trade out of the Strada for a Vice and use the difference to redo your decision on the front boot. There are enough skiers that don't like their purchase as much as they expected that is littered with lightly used and steeply discounted gear.
    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • HO-410-

    First off, I appreciate your advice, but I don't the trade would work very well because I did some wheeling-and-dealing myself and got the Strada for 700, which is the price of the Vice (I think). There are no Vice's on SIA yet, either I don't think.

    And to clarify, you think staying with the Approaches would be a bad idea as well?


    I didn't really care about safety until this morning when my Dad crashed and I started reading some stories on forums like these. One tweak of the knee and I'd miss my second straight year of soccer (broke my leg last year).

    Thanks again everyone.
  • Old MS AccoutOld MS Accout Posts: 2,114 Baller
    I have been on a front Approach with rear wiley set up for the past 7 years. No injuries. Anytime you ski with a RTP you risk the 1 leg in and 1 leg out problem. I have seen many approach/RTP set ups.
  • That certainly is encouraging. I talked to a guy at Wiley's who said he wouldn't mix and match front and rear boots (1 in 1 out problem), so if I went with a back Approach I would have some more peace of mind. I just want to make sure they're not super terrible in terms of safety. If the newer, Strada/Exo boots really are that much better/safer I'll step up, but if not I'd like to stick with the Approaches (love the forward cant, forces me to bend my knees).
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    I think that the most important thing is that your ski and bindings are not an obstacle to you skiing well. If you are comfortable and confident in what you have, I'd say run with it.
    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • Ok, at this point its looking like I'm going to return the RTP that's being shipped and order a rear Approach. If anyone's against that speak up, I really don't want to make the wrong decision here.
    Thanks for all the advice.
  • BdeckerBdecker Posts: 316 Crazy Baller
    Personally I would find a way to get on something different. I ran dual approaches for many years and had many ankle tweaks due to the total lack of release. There is no perfect option, and far less if you can't come up with several hundred bucks. On the other hand, orthos and PT aren't cheap either...
  • ntxntx Posts: 835 Crazy Baller
    Go with good old fashion Wiley's. At 16 years old, and only running into 32 off, not worth the risk of injury. I did not allow my son into hard shells until he was into -38. Even after 3 months, there has not been a major increase in scores. The only benefit has been that his feet don't cramp. You are at a level and age that you should be safe. If you have to go to hard shell look hard at the EXO's
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,445 Mega Baller
    I skied in approaches for a couple of seasons, had lots of crashes and both feet stayed in because I tied them good and snug. They have good lateral support, and are comfy if they fit well. You can get hurt in any binding, the key to not getting hurt is to ski smart, and avoid the OTF and the Ragdoll crashes.
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • If I go with double Approaches, should I cinch them down tight so that they won't come off, or loosely so they will?
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    Before you tie up money on the second Approach, survey what other options you have. It's not that double Approaches is a bad way to go, but you've got a chance to go another direction if you like the idea of another approach (pardon the pun). New designs have come to market since the Approaches were designed. Newer isn't always better, but its the same advice I'd give to someone trying to replace older tech like a Monza.
    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • Old MS AccoutOld MS Accout Posts: 2,114 Baller
    edited July 2011
    Just put them on so your feet are comfortable. There are injury risk with all bindings and approach are no differant than any other. IMO, they are much safer that any of the hardshell set ups and if you look at all the rubber bindings (T factors, leverage, bios, stookers, hinge) they are just as safe or better.
  • east tx skiereast tx skier Posts: 598 Solid Baller
    I'm the type that likes to come out of the boot in a bad fall. I spent half a season on the Approach boots, had two nasty OTF falls, and did not come out. I felt considerable pressure on my ankles afterward. I did not like the way these boots felt if you ran them lose laced, so that may have been a contributor. I switched to Wileys for about 4--5 seasons and only last season switched to the Stradas, which I run "loose" on the top set of laces. They took some getting used to, but I really enjoy them now. Very comfortable.
    Perpetual Longline Baller and curvy ski boat owner.
    My real name is in my profile.

  • Alright,

    Just sold my old ski on SIA, adds $175 to the binding fund. This leaves me with $240 to spend, plus a front Approach. If I can sell my Approach for the $90 I got it for I should have enough for some used Stradas. Here's the problem: My brother uses my ski as well. He funded about half of what I paid but it's still partially his (I am 6 mph and 2 line lengths better and ski twice as much). He has a 10.5 foot, I have a 8.5/9, and we're both still growing. I'm wondering if buying the Stradas, which form to your feet, would be a good idea. He has my Mom's feet (wide), while mine are much narrower (Dad's).

    If the Stradas won't work for the above reason, what suggestions do you have?

    MS- Thanks for the re-assurance on the Approaches. I'm still seriously considering buying a back boot for $75 off SIA, I told the guy I'd send the check Monday so I have till then to decide.

    Thanks a lot for all the advice so far.
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,445 Mega Baller
    stradas are more size specific than rubber, so you and your bro wouldn't be able to share
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    edited July 2011
    You might be able to share. Get the bigger boot and give the brother the stock liners. You pick up some Intuition liners which are thicker than the Strada liners. Plus they are more comfortable. Or you could pad the Strada liners to fit you. Those foam camping pads work well for padding.
    Personally I think the Radar boots are the best factory boots. For a rear toe kicker the Reflex hardshell might be a better call. There are performance advantages to the toe kicker, I wish I was still on one. Your Approaches are probably not toxic for you. Us old guys have age compromised Achilles tendons and are at far higher risk of ankle injuries than a youngster like you. Just get out and ski, all the equipment will work for you. When you get old you can worry about equipment.
  • stone88stone88 Posts: 92
    Im confused reading this thread. I thought the whole point of the reflex system is it's safer than rubber boots?
  • Hmm... I've gotten 50/50 advice for keep Approaches/get rid of Approaches. And 50/50 for use RTP with front Approaches and don't use RTP for front Approaches.

  • stone88stone88 Posts: 92
    That's because there is no right answer. Everyone skis differently and everyone has different shaped feet. There are lots of different boots and none of them are perfect, especially if your sharing a set up with someone.

    Before I read this thread, if you want to stay rtp, I would have said look at the reflex system cos your more sure that both feet come out. With 1 foot in you risk to twist your ankle which is what happen to me and it was 6 months till full recovery. I moved to double animals which ive been on for 2 years and they are great for skiing but I have never released and I've tweaked my ankle a couple of times as its much more suceptible after the 1st accident so I'm now looking at the reflex rstyle system.

    If you want to go double boot most people seem to love the stradas and say that release is good as long as you don't tighten the top strap too much but it's expensive. Changing to double boot is very strange at first and your always going to paying more as you need 2 boots.

    There is no perfect option, there is alway a risk!
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,423 Mega Baller
    Go with Wiley bindings. As your feet grow you can adjust them very easily. They release and are safe. The set up is a lot less technical and you can share with your brother very easily. There is a reason they have been around for so long. They work and last forever.
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 1,082 Mega Baller
    Given you're trying to accommodate two different foot sizes and on a limited budget I'll second the Wiley recommendation.

    Good release characteristics, not expensive and parts are readily available.

    I was on Wileys, then moved to RS-1 bindings. I was very happy with the Wileys, just wanted to try something different.
    Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    edited July 2011
    If you like what Radar is making, the Vector (previously called Rail) fits size 7 to 11.

    The hurdle you'll run into with a shoe style binding is that they need to fit. Call Radar for details or maybe h2osmosis, there might be enough space in a size 9 shell that you could track down a second liner to heat mold enough space for a size 10 foot.
    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • ski6jones, disland-

    I think the Wiley's would be a very good choice. My only concern is that they won't have enough support (especially compared to the Approach)... I don't want my feet/ankles flopping around. But then again all I'm going off are the pictures, maybe they're more rigid than they look? Do you think I could ski into 32 /35 off in them?

    I'm also much more comfortable with a Wiley/RTP setup than an Approach/RTP.

    At this point I'm looking at 4 options:

    -Wiley/RTP or double Wiley's, don't know.
    -Vector/RTP (Personal favorite)
    -Stradas (Don't think I have the $$$...)
    -Buy a second Approach (Least favorite).

    Thanks again, this is harder than I thought it'd be...
  • ntxntx Posts: 835 Crazy Baller
    I know PLENTY of people that ski WELL past 32/35 off on Wiley's. Don't get caught up in all the hype that you have to have the latest and greatest bindings or skis out there. I ski with a guy who runs 38 off every day at 36 MPH on Wileys and a three year old ski.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,117
    I agree. My ski partner has run into 41 off at 36mph on Wiley's. He's now switched to Powershells, but he ran Wiley's until this season.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • I called someone at h2oproshop and with their recomendation I think I'm gonna go with a Vector/RTP setup. Found one cheap @ SIA, but if I don't like it I'm gonna go with Wiley's.

    Thank you everyone for your advice!
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