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The Howley Boot Setup


ozski
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Would be interested to hear peoples thoughts on Joel's interesting and creative boot setup. As far as I can tell its snow boot of sorts, maybe the rear is as well. I am 99% certain that it does not release and from what I have seen there is a fair bit of freedom with the front back movement where it pivots. Clearly its working for JH and I applaud his willingness to go outside the box with binding tech. Maybe we will all benefit from this one day. @JoelHowley feel free to enlighten us mate.

 

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Looks like he cut the sole clean off and mounted it to a plate with shelving brackets. A soft rental boot or maybe an AT boot. Back might be a cut-down Connelly Stealth (was it?).

I'm going to guess this will not revolutionize water ski boots. I used to jack around with lots of boot ideas taken from snow skiing. Usually had to detune all that lateral stability with a thick, gushie Intuition liner. A binding that can release both feet when necessary will allow for innovation in boots, the fancy new AT boots look promising, but until a better mousetrap is out there, it's just a different trap (literally).

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I’ve heavily customized my bindings for over 35 years and have used home built non-releasable hard shells for at least the last 15 years. I haven’t come out of my ski in more than 20 years. As for injury likelihood, that’s a very personal thing. I’ve only had 1 fall where I would have better off releasing - a minor ankle tweak - over that time. I’m very comfortable being locked in to the ski, but everyone needs to make their own decision.

 

As for performance benefits of Joel’s setup, it’s a mixed bag. The connection to the ski is great and allows excellent leverage - as can be seen by how he makes up ground once he gets the ski back in the water and sets his angle. However, the extreme height of the front boot effectively makes the ski an extension of the shin/lower leg and I believe is the direct cause of the extreme “wheelies” he does. In general, a high boot is a bad thing.

 

Bottom line is that bindings are a very personal thing and once you get use to a particular setup, making drastic changes is nearly impossible even over a long period of time.

 

Based on my experience, I think the highest performance AND safest setup is a reflex and rtp.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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I'll echo Bruce. On home built non releasable from 2001-2016. Only one fall did I wish I had releasable..scorpioned once where my back bent the wrong way. Other then that, every crash know to skiers and 0 foot ankle or knee injury. Never released or broke off of ski. I think there's an element of safety in both feet in at all times during a crash. My boots had crazy stiff and very tall upper cuffs. Great advantages and distinct disadvantages as Bruce says. Currently on Reflex and Rstyle.
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No "norm" whatsoever, but his stand height is good! @jimbrake , don't waste your time, we have good choices these days. I do think those new superlight AT boots might work, but still no release and they cost thousands. I used to think both attached was safe, like a snowboarder, had dbl hardshells on a plate.

 

...My ortho told me my dusted navicular was just like the hundreds of snowboard injuries he worked on. That was 15 more buoys ago.

I'm sticking with T Factors.

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