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Kiteboarding 101: Everything You Need to Know

A step-by-step guide to Silicon Valley's most popular extreme sport.

Foot Pads and Foot Straps

Pads and straps will almost always come with whichever board you buy, but understanding how they work and getting the right fit is just as important as the design of the board itself. "Think of it like trying on a running shoe," says Meyers. "It doesn't matter how much technology is jammed into it, if your feet are uncomfortable, your performance will be compromised."

Pads and straps that don't fit right, or are of shoddy quality can render even the best of boards worthless, stifling the kiteboarding experience and putting you into possibly dangerous situations should you lose control. You don't want you foot to slip out midair headed for rocky shore after all. Use this rule of thumb: quality, comfort, and control. "If you hear the words, 'Yeah I know it doesn't feel all that great, you just have to break them in,' that system isn't right for you," says Meyers. "The best way to find out which pad and strap system is right for you is to try them on. If you can't get to a shop or are shopping online, do some research on how the pad and strap system is made and how it works. Beginners should be looking to buy a system that has a wide range of stance options, quality materials (the EVA foam used is similar to that of running shoes), with quick and easy adjustability. When you slide your foot into a pad and strap system, it should feel as though you are giving your foot a hug."

The kiteboarding pros recommend these footpads and straps:

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