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Safest Binding set-up


ELDIABLO
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This fall I (healthy 21 yr. old) managed to splinter my tibia and fibula in my left leg and break my right ankle (LFF). Scary thing was that it wasn't a fall that caused the break. I was rounding 4 ball at 36-22 and my front left leg just gave out. Was it because i was pressing to far forward on the hard fiberglass tongue on my Fogmann Stealth release boots? I managed to get the fall on video so you can watch my left leg break under pressure in my offside turn causing me to fall where then i twisted and broke the right ankle clean. I would like to get back to skiing but i'm afraid to use the Fogmann boots again. The hard tongue on the front boot allows for excellent tip pressure but if the tip catches you can end up with a broken leg. Has anyone had experience mounting other hard shells or soft boots to the Fogmann plate set up? Should I ditch the set up completely? Will the white cuff reflex boots offer some forgiveness pushing forward to save your leg yet are still stiff enough to cause the Fogmann plate to release? I've always had good success in twisting falls with Fogmanns always releasing. Is it just a boot design flaw or is it the release mechanism. Anyone have any experience with OB4?

 

Anyone else break their Tib/Fib in their front leg skiing?

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Video? You need to push it to YouTube before you can republish it here.

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I guess it's hard to tell from that video shot. After 35 years of competitive skiing I had a terrible rotational tib/fib early spring 2017. Perhaps worse than the bone recovery with all of the hardware has been the recovery of soft tissue/ligaments/tendons/NERVE CONNECTIONS/POSITION SENSE/AGILITY/EXPLOSIVENESS. It happened in April...I still can't run or jump effectively.

 

My fall was a pure helicopter rotation with my front foot locked in place, rear foot out in the fall as I'm a toe loop skier...so my foot was basically rotated to face backwards during the event.

 

I've switched to MOB. I don't have many reps, but having the system in hand I can see where it releases in more planes than any other...including a pure rotation. I've had one release since getting back on my ski and in that circumstance I was glad it released.

 

I don't know what is safest for sure...but I'm pretty convinced that in the whacked up fall that torched my leg that I would have been clean were I in the MOB. I was in a D3 leverage front and a RTP.

 

Shortly after my return to skiing I ran a 6 round tourney in FL, a number of very good skiers were running MOB there. I look forward to dialing it in next spring and feeling like I'm safer.

 

@mmosley899 is very helpful and can mount your binding of choice to the release system. Hardest part for me is not getting used to the release but rather finding a hardshell to get used to coming from a rubber set up.

 

 

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Slow the video play speed on youtube to .25X

 

As for now, when i can get back to walking and skiing again I'll remove the hard front tongue on the Fogmann boot. I'll loose leverage from the hard front tongue on the tip, but people skiing rubbers don't have any tip pressure problems? Thoughts are now I'll still have rotational release, forwards, and backwards pressure relief, and then if you go out the front the plate should pop right off.

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I'm on Reflex SuperShell with R-style and have had good luck. I tried the OB4 set up when it first came out and had some problems but I think the MOB version has addressed most of the concerns I had. In my opinion there is good argument to say it if the safest set available.

 

There's some old threads on here talking about double boots such as the Fogmann or Goode where the boots are connected together and release together. In a crushing fall, which you kinda had there, they are a worst case scenario where the lift of the back foot drives the front foot into the ski. I think your safer on rubber bindings in a crushing type fall. PM me if you want to discuss any of this further.

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@ELDIABLO

Total bummer about your injury, and sincere wishes for a speedy recovery. I just want to comment on your concerns regarding the possible loss of tip pressure if you choose to leave the Fogmanns.

 

Tip pressure on a slalom ski isn't the same as it is on snow skis where most of the pressure comes from driving your shins into the front of your boots. On a slalom ski, just standing with most of your weight on your front foot puts more than enough weight on the tip. And you can overdo tip pressure if your rear foot is too locked down when you move forward. When the rear foot gets pulled up in a forward move, the tip of the ski gets levered down like a teeter-totter—a completely different dynamic from snow skis.

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Changing bindings will definitely present a challenging adjustment period regardless of which system you try next. But lack of tip pressure will likely not be an issue with any binding that makes you feel safer on your water ski.

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@SkiJay is right on about tip pressure. Years ago (decades?) I tried to switch to hardshells. Hated them. Tried Fogmans and decided to try again - because the old Fogman setup I tried was so much softer than what I had tried. I ended up on a hardshell that I softened up with my grinder. Definitely try the Fogmans without the hard tongue - you might really like them.

 

The MOB binding has a great theoretical basis. Plus you can use whatever shell you are used to. But even that setup will not prevent all injury.

 

I think that one of the best benefits of double boots is that you stay in in most falls. The ski doesn't twist just one leg in a fall. I like that safety aspect. You can still get injured in double boots.

 

I just switched to a toe kicker (couldn't get up two footed any more). I'm uncomfortable with my current setup - actually I'm not. I'm using an old Radar semi hard boot. I'm just running the laces VERY loose and I'd like to tighten them a bit. The one in, one out falls scare me (haven't had a bad fall since the hip so no experience to allay my fears). I picked up some parts from @mmosley899 a while back and now need to experiment with a superlight carbon/boron plate MOB release.

 

My trick binding isn't super stiff but it barely releases. Safer that way? Survived the summer with several nasty falls.

 

@SkiJay is most right! "Changing bindings will definitely present a challenging adjustment period regardless of which system you try next. But lack of tip pressure will likely not be an issue with any binding that makes you feel safer on your water ski."

 

Eric

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Very sorry to learn of your injury. I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

 

I agree there is no safest binding for waterskiing, each is a compromise.

 

After I broke and resprayed my front ankle(RFF) in Fogman’s I switched to Radar Boots(Strata and Vapors). Gave up some stiffness and water feel, but so far I have released when needed. From the group of four of us that ski together, three have broken out ankles, me in Fogman’s, one in rubber boots and another in Goode hard-shells.

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I don’t think there is a safe binding set up for the compitive skier. If you want performance your heal is held down and you have a high overlay that is tight around your ankles. If you have a front boot with a RTP you back foot comes out amd your front foot may not. Your reflex front boot may release and you back stays in.

What I’m getting at is to be competive you need responseive bindings and the trade off is you may not release when you fall causing injury.

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Just to be clear, the Stealth boot was not a Fogman product. The plate and release units (the gizmos that connect the plate to the ski) were licensed to Connelly. The boot was Connelly’s design, never really caught on and was discontinued a few years ago. The Stealth was actually a good choice for those folks that thought that the Fogman boot was too soft-flexing fore and aft. It had s lot of power, but was generally regarded as a pain in the butt to get on and off. While i haven’t yet had an opportunity to experiment with it, I’d like to try the new Connellly Sync binding on a Fogman plate.

Lpskier

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I cringe when I see a post about an injury like that. Agree with many comments here. Don't know there is a best set up. Glad to be an old guy (61) and not skiing competitively any longer. Just run the course for fun and form but not getting crazy at only 34 and maybe 22-28 tops. Hope to still be crankin it in another 20 years. My goal each day is to be able to ski again tomorrow. Hope you recover soon and get back out there.
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So sorry to learn of your injury. I too am LFF skier and virtually the same break/injury back in 2003 - no fall either. For me it was many surgeries, lots of rehab and 4yrs before I put on a ski again. It was not till the Strada ski and Strada boots back in 2012 that I gained the confidence in the equipment to start pushing the envelope once again. Still riding the Strada/Vapor boots which have yet to let me down. All the equipment has come such a long way is protecting the skier.

 

Keep that ankle elevated ABOVE your heart as much as possible for the first 6 months. Swelling is your enemy. Get back into the water asap and tread water. Allows you to exercise the leg without weight bearing. Movement helps restore circulation which speeds recovery.

You are young and have a lot of living and skiing in front of you. Take the time to heal it right the first time with the help of a rehab specialist.

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@ELDIABLO

I have run up to my BP many times in both Radar Vapor boots and in some version of the Reflex (Airkide) system.

 

At all times my safety is based on my ability to test the release. In any binding I use, if I cannot get out of it without loosening something I will not ski in it.

 

I always wore my Radar boots loose enough so I could pull the ski off without touching the laces. I never saw the importance of the top lace being super tight. You really control the ski with your foot.

 

The current Connelly product is pretty cool and will release a lot like the Radar IF you pay attention to how tight your laces are and test test test on the dock.

 

With any Reflex (Airkide) systems HO/Edge/Goode or the actual Reflex I will test the release on the dock and then periodically pop out in the water after a ride. I know exactly how much force it takes to release.

 

In some ways the MOB system might actually be superior to the other systems but the last time I used one I could not see how to test the release on the dock. I have learned a lot about bindings since the last time I tried MOB so maybe I just missed it but I do not think so.

 

I personally do not have much experience with the Goode PowerShell system. I guess to stay on the safe side you have to use just enough tape. Lots of Pros love them. IDK. Not for me but the boots that Goode uses are awesome and I would love to try the Reflex release on the Goode boot.

 

As for the forward pressure on the tongue - there is no other binding that feels like the Stealth. No one at the high end of the sport is using anything like that. Smith is in rubber. You were using an oddity. It was a very cool design and a well made product but .... not every idea is a good one.

 

 

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@Horton your insight to the various systems are of course right on! I can appreciate you concern over testing the operation of releasing both the mechanical and laced boot releases. Every skier needs to follow the manufacturers recommended procedures. Even then, every system will not work great for every skier. Too many different styles and needs.

 

The MOB release system does operate differently than others. In order to achieve the multi directional release unique to MOB, the high pressure used to retain the boot plate in position makes it hard to test the release on the dock. However you can test the operation of the release by pulling up the lever and letting it snap back into position. This should be a smooth and instant operation. The spring is extremely stout and resilient. If you have set the tension according to the recommended guide chart and made fine adjustments based on your results from skiing tests, it will not change. This is borne out in my never having to adjust my tension setting in multiple years of using the same release.

 

I have continued to work on changes and improvements to the system based on feedback from my customers. I have made numerous tweaks to the product since you tried out my first efforts and I am again working on new ideas for 2018. I should get together with you and @MattP for some more looks at the new product.

 

One thing that I am working on is a part to easily attach to your MOB system allowing you to bench test the release setting with a torque wrench.

 

Oh, and you can use the Goode boots on the MOB system. Ask World 45+ Overall Chanpion Tony Knight!

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Binding Setup is a personal thing, there are bindings that people struggle with and bindings that they can ski well on, it has been said many times before on this forum "There is no garanteed safe binding system"

You are never going to eliminate the possibilty of injury, look at Nate Smith and Freddie Winter, but working on good technique is probably the best way to avoid in jury.

Get to know when to give it up and back off, especially when skiing in a practice situation, competition maybe a different scenario.

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@mmosley899 have you considered if its worth the cost to simply ship a sole plate for testing purposes - so long as it has the same ledges and length dimensions it could simply be a bar with a 3/8" hole broached through it in the specific location you utilize to test the torque - one bar with two holes could test both releases. and you wouldn't need to remove the boots.
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@BraceMaker thanks for the suggestion. Those plates are expensive to make, but maybe a loaner that you could get from me when you needed? What I am working on would attach to your plate, saving excess cost. It is not likely that you would need to check the tension but once at the beginning of the season, mine never changes.
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@mmosley899 it seems pretty slick to measure with a caliper using your website as a guide...most of us have a set. Was easy for me to set tension.

Ski technique avoiding ankle injuries...dunno. I torched my tib fib on an easy opener where I was well ahead.

So far Mike tells me no foot/ankle, lower leg fractures on his system that he knows of...none on the prior versions of his system, either. No system is probably bulletproof crazy stuff happens...but if this isn't right up there with safest I don't know what is.

Needs more market penetration...then we get more usage and innovation.

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i watched your fall one frame at a time and i noticed it looks very similar to the kind of fall where a ski skips off of a buoy and then re impacts the water with enough force to injure the skiers ankle. i don't think your front ankle ' just gave out '. i think your ski skipped mostly out of the water first, and when the pressure on the bottom of the ski was temporarily released the resulting kinetic energy jumped way up right before your ski dug in again. so it was that sudden impact pressure that folded your front leg forward and broke your front leg bones.

 

most bindings are designed to release forward though an upward force at the back end of the system but in this fall that upward force didn't happen. by the time your ski dug in your upper body was already folded forward and your front leg was locked straight so when the pressure suddenly increased on the bottom of the ski something had to give and that was your front leg. at the same time the ski was turned almost side ways and digging in and your momentum was mostly straight down the lake which means there was little or no leveraging force trying to trying to lift the binding away from the top of the ski -if anything i think there was actually excessive force downward against the top of the ski.

 

under that scenario i don't think *any* binding would have released the way you wanted it to. a softer binding might have injured or torn your achilles tendon instead of breaking your leg but i think one way or another you were ' doomed ' by the nature of the fall itself.

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@mwetskier my release system will release in a sideways rotation. Normally if you hit a bouy with enough force to cause a fall it will release the ski. It is the ski catching in the water that creates the force that can break bones. @6balls and I saw Chad Hunter hit 4 ball at 35off in the Ski Watch tournament this fall. Only a bruised ego...
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@mmosley899 -no binding system i am aware of can release straight out through the bottom of the ski unless theres some kind of hand of God miracle involved. @ELDIABLOs front leg was broken long before there was any side rotation that would have allowed your binding to save his leg by releasing. when a skier breaks his ankle or ruptures his achilles because he hit a buoy its *not* from hitting the buoy. its from the ski impacting the water after first being launched into the air while skipping off the buoy. study the footage provided by this guy closely and you will see the same mechanics at work in this fall.

 

I don't think your binding could have saved him from injury because I don't think *any* binding could have saved him from injury. granted this only my opinion but i do have a good understanding of biomechanics and i have watched and insane amount of accident footage from many different sports and other human activities. from what i see in that video i do not think his injury can be blamed on the binding. again this is only my opinion so make of it what you will.

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@mwetskier I'm not sure you actually understood my post, I never said hitting the bouy was the cause. As you correctly stated, in most cases the deflection of the ski happens upon impact with the bouy, which would cause the binding to release in a sideways motion, before the leg crushes into the ski. With the binding release there would be no ski to crush into, decreasing the likelihood of serious injury.

 

I also did not blame the injury on the binding, it happened because he hit the bouy. Something I have seen end many fellow skiers' season. And something I avoid at all costs, but I count on my release system as backup.

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@ELDIABLO You're 21. You've a long life ahead of you. You have just sustained your 1st serious injury. My guess is you want to continue on skiing. Have you ever heard the definition of insanity? Do you hear what these guys are telling you? --THERE ISN'T A SAFE BINDING OUT THERE!!!!! THEY DON'T EXIST!!!! How do you feel about Russian roulette?

Ask yourself this question.. DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?

-----WELL DO YOU?----Just so you know you are talking to one of the insane. Am I trying to be funny? Yes I am. Am I serious in a sarcastic way? Yes I am. I'm giving you some advice take it for what it's worth. I wish someone had given me advice a long time ago about this sport. But I wouldn't have listened. Forget the ice fields - Full Speed Ahead!

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3 plates and 22 screws later I will get back to skiing, probably will never touch 36 again but will just ski for fun in the course at 32 or 34. I will definitely remove the hard tongue on the Stealths as a start but will probably end up getting OB4s or MOB. Thanks for all the imput and get well wishes guys!
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The MOB system looks like it would be very safe but just how much does the large, long aluminum plate reduce the ski flex and in turn reduce the skis turning performance. Or are the attachment points on the ends floating so as to reduce this?

Please provide insight/experience.

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@ELDIABLO I sorta know how you feel, I have been back on my stick over a month now, after breaking 3 metatarsal bones in my right foot (RFF) from a twisting fall after hitting something in the water. It has been kinda a long road, set me back for a while. Have slowed things down a bit behind the boat but working hard on getting back at it. Don't cut yourself short, you never know how far you can go.
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@Dacon62 the aluminum mounting plate is thinner and more flexible than standard binding plates. The attachment can be done in a manner to make the plate 'float' since there are slots instead of holes for the screws. There is also a provision to use the mikro-just device. The flexibility of the system is compared to a standard rubber boot binding in a video on the MOB website.
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@EFW Waterskiing is a relatively safe sport. The proof is in how many old guys are still skiing at a very high level. There's a big difference between reasonably safe and completely safe. You have confused the issue.

 

@ELDIABLO It is important to get a binding that suits your style and body. The fit, the release parameters and your confidence in the binding are huge factors in safety. Rehab your injury so you have the strength and healing to trust yourself. Get skills coaching to avoid the worst falls. You will recover well and have a long wonderful experience with skiing.

 

Speedy recovery,

Eric

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@WaterSkier12 maybe not guaranteed, but I have seen some pretty amazing recovery from a few tib/fib/crushed ankles. Both of whome swear the speed of their recovery was due to time spent in the chamber. Along with PT and everything else the doctor recommended. Please share with me or explain why you disagree. I always prefer a better understanding if I am in correct.

 

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@WaterSkier12 nice of you to respond. I am guessing you are a doctor. After discussing with doctor friend, I understand that hyperbaric chambers have not been tested by the fda. If the fda doesn’t say it works most doctors won’t say it works or prescribe it because insurance won’t cover it unless fda says it works. According to data shown by a local hyperbaric chamber owner, it does work. I have spoken with 10 people who have used it since I last posted and a few of their doctors. The doctors I have spoken to cannot deny that their patients had a faster recovery than expected and 100% believe it was due to the chamber. One of them now prescribes it tor patients regardless of fda approval. My step father(ER doctor) tells me, chambers are not used more because if hospitals had them they would be too expensive for the majority of people to use. In my area the chamber is privately owned and everyone pays an adjusted rate that is affordable, because the owner knows it works and wants to help people. I’m not a doctor, but if something works, it works.....right?
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@mmosley899 have been seriously looking at your set up since my injury in september. I read @horton comments regarding testing. Would it be possible for you to load a small video showing how you test either here on on your site...I know im asking for a lot here but i remember Andy Mapple a few years back stating how important dock testing is and it would just be nice to see..Thanks and will be in touch.
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@eleeski sorry Eric I wasn't trying to be rude by not replying to this. I just happened to see this. I don't look at this all this time. Since Thomas Wayne got kicked out it just became boring. How do you like that for Good Humor?

You say I'm confusing the issue. What issue is that? That water skiing is safe or that there are no safe bindings out there? There are no safe findings out there. I stand by that one. I guess they put those disclaimers on there for the hell of it.

It's like these guys that want to perpetuate that it's always out the front falls. That's the biggest joke I've ever heard. Let's design a binding where the front foot is fixed in a solid Loop and the rear is attached where only vertical upward motion releases it. Sounds like a real plan there. It's no wonder the pharmaceutical companies are making a fortune with painkillers with these bindings out there.

You want a release in all planes of motion that would allow each foot being able to be released independently. So that when one goes the other is released.

Sorry I can't be a conformist or one of the minions. But for an old guy you're cool.

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@EFW What? You aren't glued to a waterski site in the dead of winter?

 

The confusing part of this issue is that waterski injuries are relatively rare and recoverable. I've got lots of hours on bindings that weren't designed to release at all. Survived. My worst injury didn't involve a fall!

 

You do have to accept a certain level of risk to do anything. A few binding systems increase the risk, others reduce the risk. But risk does not equal injury. And low risk does not equal perfect safety. Enjoy skiing on whatever works and gives you confidence. There's a good chance you can still enjoy skiing as an old guy.

 

Eric

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