Booties For Better Performance

Booties are a key to surfing in water below 60 degrees F. They keep you warm, give u grip when your feet would otherwise be too cold to feel, and protect your feet from whatever you might step on. Once spring rolls around, you typically ditch booties and go barefoot commando. Recently, however, I have noticed the worlds top free surfers, Noa, Dane, Dion, etc. mostly rocking booties, practically year round (Minus board short season). I didn't think too much of it until I read an article on Stab where Noa Deane essentially spills the beans on why he and his fellow pro's are sporting booties and front deck pads. It was after reading this article and after hearing him talk about how easy airs are, I decided to randomly sport booties for the first time in years. Boy... was I blown away. I have never, and I mean never, had so much air control, and so much grip. I felt I could pop my board off of any section, do any kind of turn, and land as hard as I wanted to. It is kind of the perfect storm of grip. It feels like your riding a snowboard that has two direction bindings rather than the three direction bindings we are used to now. What I mean by that is, side to side, you aren't goin' anywhere. The only way to come unstuck is to lift your feet up. This is a good thing and a bad thing. For an experienced surfer, this may prove to be a good thing. You can tweak out almost any air or turn to its full potential. For a shitty surfer, your feet are locked in, so if you can't handle the adjustment to that, broken ankles and shitty stay at home weekends will become a norm. I personally have what I like to call a float to wrap style of surfing. I either do floaters or carves depending on the section and I will go vertical if the wave calls for that. I also will go for laybacks on almost any section and my air of choice is a straight air with a slight tweak. All of these maneuvers are either very technical, or very hard on your ankles. For the technicality aspect, being locked in to your board means less worrying about slippage and more focus on the little things that make technical surfing challenging. For high impact, having a cushion barrier betweein your poor feet and your board is self explanatory. Moral of the story... give booties a go if you have 'em. If you don't like the feelin' of snowboarding on a surfboard, put 'em back in your garage and wait for the water to get cold. If you don't have booties, get some. They are pretty cheap, you can get Billabong ones for $39.95 and you can probably find ones for even cheaper at your local surf shops end of season sale. Don't be surprised if you see me out at Creek in the middle of July with booties on. ;)


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