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 Post subject: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:02 pm 
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
What is this surfy-feeling that soft-booters talk about?

waltzingmatilda asked in Re: Hardboot setup? Why:
Quote:

How do hard boots like the TLT's with mods affect the surfy feel/part of riding? (ie slashing wind lips, powder turns, etc) Do you guys notice much difference?

The last time I used hard boots on a board was 15 years ago and I remember it feeling very stiff, although you could lay down an edge with ease. Seems like tons of benefits for steeps and touring, but man I love the surfy feel of soft boots and don't want to give that up


Can this Surfy-flex be quantified, so as to actually compare hard and soft boots?

Peeps talk about a flex rating of a Burton Driver or Malamute? Can such a rating be applied to HBs, so as to get an actually comparison?

My last real pair of soft boots was a pair of Sorels , riding a Sims 1500 FE. Briefly tried Mountaineering boots (at this time soft snowboard boots were just coming on the market). Then 1990, I jumped into the Alpine Carving and have been there until I started splitboarding in 2009 with Scarpa F1 boots (stock) with a ELIMINATOR TONGUE SHIMS See http://www.tognar.com/the-eliminator-custom-tounges-pair/

Note the stock F1 allows me a lot of adjustment in setting the forward and lateral lean, by tightening, or loosing the power strap.

This season I rode a 2007 Burton Fish on and off piste, with F1s and plate bindings. I had no problems riding Pow or hard pack at speed. The only trouble I have had is going really slow in Powder, I would be off balance on heel-side and could not flex my ankle up enough to correct my balance. Probably if I added a mod to for more flex to the tounge, this issue would go away.

Now this coming season, I am going to try softboots for riding powder. I found a pair of K2 Maysis boots for $12 dollars.

I am going to finish my Nitro Retro Swallowtail Split-project and I just obtained a Venture Euphoria.

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Venture Storm R 163 (2010), Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter, Scarpa F1 Boots, Bomber Sidewinder Bindings * Prior 172 Fissile (2012) Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter


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 Post subject: Re: That surfy-feeling: Soft boot and Hard boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:40 am 
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It's being able to keep your soft boots not laced up very tight because the snow is so good and being able to bank your board with your ankles and toes. usually occuring at over 15" fresh

also being able to lean way into a toe side turn before angling the board over.

being able to flatten out your board towards the end of a heel side turn in blower pow when you have over enthusiastically laid into it too far

just feeling as lot of ankle flex and medial flex while the terrain and snow consistency changes.

being able to bank your board to initiate turns or stay afloat without having to move your whole body;or being able to delay banking your board while you throw your weight over, then just stuffing a turn by banking the board real hard.

not necessarily impossible with unbuckled/barely buckled or modded hard shells, but maybe the loose medial flex suffers a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:36 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:18 pm
Posts: 939
Location: reiter hills
Nice description scooby!



A couple mods I have done for that surfy feel are egging out holes where the uppers connect to the lowers, and replacing the tongues with soft boot ones. I only have 2 buckles and leave it in walk mode.

I hardly feel a need to use the modded ride mode. When I do, it's in conditions that aren't gonna be surfy on either setup. I like to avoid this....

I still like to wear soft boots for minigolf fun boarding and resort sidecountry type stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:16 am
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Location: Salida, Flagstaff
That surfy feeling... I would describe it as being able to roll your feet and twist your board to make it turn in ways it won't otherwise; it's about being able to drive your back knee under your front knee in a heel turn, it's about being able to keep a super low center of gravity, quick lower body and quiet upper body when dicing trees, it's about being able quickly throw a flat-boarded speed-check or powder slash at speed without entirely committing your upper body, it's about being able to ankle-poke your board forward or backward in various situations for various reasons, it's about dampening and being able to safely absorb inconsistencies in snow texture at speed without being jolted, it's about feeling the board interact with the snow in a way that is softer, more immediate, connected and organic than with plastic boots.

That said, I don't know whether hard boots preclude "the surf;" I don't know whether any of what I've described above can't be achieved with a HB set up. I spent many years in HB, but that was for racing, and those systems were fundamentally different than those carefully-designed and -modified systems described in these forums--which I've never ridden. I'll be buying and trying a HB set-up in the coming year; but even given the obvious touring benefits (a long and significant list), my decision to stay with it will turn on the ride quality. I'm a bit skeptical because even among soft-booters I fall far out on the mushy end of the bell curve. But it's worth a try and I'm keeping an open mind.

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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:06 pm
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Location: Udapimp, Idaho
If you really want surfy, use sorels on a noboard every thing else is "wakeboardy" at best.
I started in the '80s in sorels but being a good skier already I preferred a stiffer interface for better board control.
my 1st hardboot setup in '87 was plenty surfy, more-so than the plastic mountaineering boots of the time
Image
Lace up boots run a stiffness spectrum from soft to stiff and buckled boots do too.

I'm on the mushy end of the bell curve too,

but its the plastic shell bell curve, I like to say "my hardboots are soft" and compared to race boots, they are; nearly as soft as my drivers like Barrows explained so I won't repeat.
It looks surfy to me, from this Feb.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:06 pm
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Location: Udapimp, Idaho
Elongating the cuff pivot holes is a good mod for more lateral flex and reduces that "locked in" feel the strap & lace lovers can't stand, my old raichle SB and nordica SBH have this built in to factory modified AT boots. They did it 20 yrs ago so it would be easy for dynafit or scarpa to do this and offer a softer tongue and modded forward lean bar (I don't find this necessary as walk/ride mode is fine for me) with out retooling; i.e. no million $ investment for too small a market.

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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:54 pm 
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I wonder if a single thread dedicated to "hard-boot mods" (modifications, not London modernists) would be useful for people to share different strategies...

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187 Donek Custom Split
181 Venture Storm Solid and Split
173 Rossi Race DIY Swallowtail Split


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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:38 pm 
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Location: Green Mountains
I started off snowsports as a kid in ski boots. There is a difference in range of motion. I don't think anybody would dispute that? There will always be some level of "play" in the soft boot depending on which boot and how you lace them. I think softboots allow you to personalize your style of riding because of the freedom of movement in the ankles and also the flex in the heel and the ball of the foot. With a beginning snowboarder instructors teach you to use your hips and lower body to initiate turns. I've never hard booted on a snowboard so don't shoot me for speculating but I would assume that is where most of your turn control is, within the lower body. With a softboot and it's ability to flex you allow your foot and ankle to broaden options of control over the board even if it's not always crisp clean control. For me that's the "surfy" feel. That minute amount of wiggle room.
This thought is all completely ride related. I've always felt comfortable skinning in my softies. May not be as quick and if you're a mountaineer, I am not, I imagine that opens a whole new can of warms. Guess I'd like to ride a hardboot setup just to see what it's like but I love my softboots! I really think I'd have a hard time trading them in.


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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Location: Colorado
I think it is really importnat to emphasize that ideas of "stiff" or "soft", and "surfy" or "not surfy" are really on a continuum, rahter than a black and white thing. Here are some examples from the softest to stiffest:

Skateboard with loose trucks-surfboard, no straps-Skateboard with tight trucks-No Board with Sorels-Big wave sufboard, with straps-Snowboard, no highbacks, very soft boots and loose straps-Snowboard with highbacks and moderate flex boots-Snowboard with highbacks and Driver Xs, loose straps-Snowboard with plates and modded Dynafit TLT5s-Snowboard with highbacks, Driver Xs, and tight straps-Snowboard with other AT boots-Alpine free carving board setup, highly angled stance with dedicated snowboard hard boots-Alpine race board set up with race snowboard boots-Alpine race board set up with overlap ski boots.

There is a very wide range of how much flex one can have with a snowboard setup. One thing I would say for sure, ankle articulation is necessary for good snowboarding performance in most backcountry snow conditions, and I cannot ride well with a system which does not allow for ankle articulation. If a system necessitates using the upper body to turn, there is a problem-good snowboarding generally (and of course there are exceptions for certain types of maneuvers) means keeping a quiet upper body, and turning the board from the hips down.

As far as a "flex rating" goes, if I had to I would rate my two set ups like this:

Driver X, Burton C-14 (carbon) bindings and Team Skybacks:

9

Modded Dynafit TLT5s and RacePlate/Voile Slider bindings:

9-

Yes, the hard boot set up is softer flexing than the soft, just a little.

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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:18 pm 
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Wow barrows! That continuum is one of the sickest things I've seen in a while.

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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Location: Fairhaven
It would be interesting to post pictures of snowboarders making turns but crop out the feet. I bet most of us could guess which are on hard boots and which are on softboots. I don't know that I could describe the "surfy" feeling but I sure could spot it.

It's not just hardboots though. I've seen plenty of people lose the right kind of flex with the wrong combo of softboots and bindings and riding style. It never looks good.

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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:19 pm 
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"It would be interesting to post pictures of snowboarders making turns but crop out the feet. I bet most of us could guess which are on hard boots and which are on softboots. I don't know that I could describe the "surfy" feeling but I sure could spot it."

The above represents exactly the kind of myth I am referring to. The statement is entirely innaccurate, and does not correlate at all with my experience of riding both systems. It is too bad that such ideas continue to be expressed by folks who do not have experience with a well sorted hard boot set up.
I would agree with the above statement if the rider(s) in question were riding boots that were too stiff, and as mentioned this could happen with a soft or hard boot setup, but hard boots do not have to be too stiff.

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http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: That Surfy-Feeling: Soft Boot and Hard Boot flex???
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:54 am 
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
Question for Hard-booters or for those who ride both soft and hard boots... Would you chose to ride your hard or soft boots on an epic pow-day? By epic, pow-day: I mean white-room bottomless pow, where you need a snorkle to breathe pow-day.

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Ride the Pow!
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Venture Storm R 163 (2010), Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter, Scarpa F1 Boots, Bomber Sidewinder Bindings * Prior 172 Fissile (2012) Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter


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