Lack of innovation in safety relevant components 

New techniques, materials and design developments have steadily increased performance in windsurfing, kiting and sailing over the years. Foiling in particular has made these water sports even more extreme.

If you take a look at safety equipment and its innovation over the last few years, you will notice that a similar steady development has not taken place. Athletes and their physique are being challenged more and more due to the constantly improving performance within these sports. The consequences are an increasing strain on the body and a higher risk of injury.

However, this is not only due to progress, but there is a specific inherent risk of injury related to the use of footstraps. Windsurfers, for example, can enjoy their sport for years without an accident. An unfortunate crash in which a foot remains uncontrolled in one of the straps can lead to complex and prolonged injuries to ligaments, joints or bones.

Studies have shown that when injuries do occur in windsurfing, they affect the lower extremities with 53%, and almost exclusively in connection with the use of footstraps. The feet and ankles are the most affected body regions, followed by the knees. Similar injuries occur in wing-foiling and windsurf-foiling or in Olympic boat classes such as Nacra or 49er. However, compared to ongoing performance optimization, the degree of accident prevention in these sports is very low.

A similar phenomenon can be seen in surfing, which has increasingly become a mass sport in recent years. The "leash", i.e. the flexible connection between the foot and the surfboard, is one of the essential safety-relevant components. Various articles and textbooks warn of the risks of a torn leash and strongly recommend the regular replacement of this component.

But even in surfing, the majority of innovation over the last thirty years has been focused on improving board performance, but not on increasing the safety and longevity of the leash. Innovation and development in terms of performance and fun are very important, not least for the continuation of a sport, but should also take place equally for safety-related components.


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