Since bindings attach the board to the rider, it is important that they are both snug and comfortable. The quality of the material will make a big difference in how comfortable the binding is, which will really affect how long you can ride. A binding should curve in to support your arch and out to accommodate your toes. There are several components of a binding: overlay, underlay, footbed, hardware, baseplate, and adjustment. Consider these before you purchase wakeboard bindings.
OVERLAYThe overlay provides firm foot support by snugly holding the toe and heel pieces together and pushing the heel down towards the board. The overlay is usually made of thick material to provide enough support, but still allows for some stretching. If the overlay is too firm, it will hinder movement.
UNDERLAYThe underlay is the soft material between the overlay and the top of the foot. The underlay should prevent any areas that pinch or bind the rider's foot.
The footbed is the cushy part that supports the bottom of the foot that both absorbs shock and secures the foot. It should hold the heel a little higher than the ball of the foot to relieve pressure on the ankles and knees. Many footbeds have a ridge under the toes and arch support to maximize leverage for the toeside
FOOTBED - PART 2Remember that the binding may feel too tight before it is worn in. After the overlay and underlay have been stretched out from use, the binding will feel both secure and comfortable. There should be enough support to keep the feet from slipping around.
HARDWAREHardware keeps the binding pieces together and supports the side of the foot. The hardware should ergonomically support the foot by curving into the arch. The hardware includes the bolts that hold the binding to the board. Make sure the bolts securely lock the baseplate down. Most bolts come with countersunk washers that spread the load of the bolt.
BASEPLATEThe baseplate lies between the board and the binding, and is usually adjustable to allow many stance options. The baseplate should be stiff, with minimal flex to maximize control, and should be adjustable to within a fraction of an inch of the rider's desired stance.
ADJUSTMENTBindings can usually be adjusted by tightening the ties and straps. If the bindings are difficult to put on lubricants such as liquid soap or specially made binding lube can make it much easier. Another way to adjust the bindings is to take the boot apart and tighten or loosen the overlays. Keep in mind that the boot can be difficult to reassemble.
SHOP FOR BINDINGS
Bindings by Hyperlite, O'Brien and Liquid Force may be purchased at Wakeside.com