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Unifier lightweight foot straps

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Created by Rob0104 1 month ago, 5 Apr 2019
Rob0104
45 posts
5 Apr 2019 5:29AM
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Hi all, over the winter I've been thinking about how to improve my slalom performance in marginal conditions. So after some major changes, board ,sail and fin I decided to try changing the supplied foot straps to the Unifiber lightweight straps. Not one to blindly accept brand claims I weighted 2 of each when wet, I included screws and anti twist washers on the scale. The saving is quite a lot, over 400grams for all 4 straps. When you consider the cost of knocking 400 grams off a board / rig changing straps is probably the most cost effective way to lower weight. So how do they preform. On fitting I had to use w wider spread with the screw holes to get my feet in. On the water getting feet in and out was tricky as the width of the straps created a lot of grip . I decided a bit of customisation was required. I trimmed 4-5mm off each side of the straps. Also on the inside I sanded a few millimetres of foam and roundeb the edged to facilitate easier entry and removal of the foot. (Note I do wear boots or summer shoes when sailing)
Back on the water and the changes definitely worked a treat, no worries regarding entry and no sticking on removal. Another benefit is if you accidentally step on the strap it won't flatten down preventing foot entry. The only downside I foresee is durability, I would doubt if they will last as long as traditional straps but if maximising performance if your only concern a small price to pay.
Happy sailing everyone
Rob


elmo
WA, 7883 posts
5 Apr 2019 6:06AM
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I've taken 6kg of excess weight from my board last season

tonyk
QLD, 31 posts
5 Apr 2019 8:23AM
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I have been using them too, sanding the foam to a full radius works great, this makes the straps a lot easier to get in and out of and more comfortable.
I have now done a couple of thousand ks on them on my biggest board and other than rounding the edges I can't fault them

5 Apr 2019 10:21AM
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Hi Rob

Thanks for the review on the straps.

We all spend a long time in the foot straps, - so yes they are important.

This is just my personal experience / view and I don't mean 'to shoot down' your findings :)

It is all about comfort.. -
The straps your feet are most comfortable in, is the winner. Wave / freeride / racing etc.
The straps that you can easily adjust (on the water) is great.
The straps that don't 'grip too much', so you can't get out of them when you need to, is quite a bonus.
The straps that last a long time, is also great,,

I noticed you said you sanded the edges on your lightweight straps, as they where sticking to much (good idea), as you want to could get your feet out easy. I have used light weight straps before ( or at least 1-2 days, before I changed them over), and as you pointed out the 'gripped' too much and made jibing hard

The weight: I fully understand the comparison on the weight of the straps. But,,
Did the saved weight make you go faster? or quicker jibing / earlier planing, even in marginal conditions?
If you didn't use your boots, - would that not save you about 400g as well? :) (as how I see it, is that the weight placement is exactly in the same place / spot as the straps?)

Anyway just my 2 cents, I use the same 'heavy' straps on all my boards (race, freeride, wave, foil board) and love them for the comfort and simple use.
Most likely they are close to the wight of you previous ones. I use the Simmer Style ones , but many other brands have the same type.


Happy sailing :)







Rob0104
45 posts
5 Apr 2019 1:54PM
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Hi sail repair guy,
a few points , I always wear shoes or boots, based in Ireland sailing with blocks of ice for feet 7 months of the year isn't much fun. Regarding ease of use and comfort did you finish reading my findings before writing your reply. As for saving weight on board /rig, since I started windsurfing some 25 years ago the general consensus is that lighter and stiffer boards plane earlier. Also it's estimated that 1kg of weight saved on a board is worth as much as 1 stone lighter for the rider in terms of performance, I cannot verify this but I can confirm that the 400grams saved with the straps is improving planing and acceleration out of the gybe.
will I be replacing the straps on all my boards, probably not , but on my light wind and medium slalom board where the benefit is more critical, absolutely.

Yves
WA, 123 posts
5 Apr 2019 8:24PM
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Rob0104 said..
I cannot verify this but I can confirm that the 400grams saved with the straps is improving planing and acceleration out of the gybe.


Of course

That's why I always keep my straps dry, as I really feel the negative performance impact when they get wet.

forceten
657 posts
5 Apr 2019 11:11PM
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elmo said..
I've taken 6kg of excess weight from my board last season


6 kg = 13.228 pounds, interesting

Rob0104
45 posts
6 Apr 2019 12:51AM
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forceten said..

elmo said..
I've taken 6kg of excess weight from my board last season



6 kg = 13.228 pounds, interesting


interesting indeed, did he ditch the entire rig and start using a kite

Stretchy
WA, 443 posts
6 Apr 2019 7:29AM
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Elmo is saying he now looks trim, taut and terrific!
It was a J..o..k..e

nice work Alby

forceten
657 posts
6 Apr 2019 8:00AM
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Stretchy said..
Elmo is saying he now looks trim, taut and terrific!
It was a J..o..k..e

nice work Alby


Is English his first Language , from my board or from the sailing weight. It's a funnnnnny Joke , from the board infers the weight loss from the board.
footstrap dry, 170 grams, wet after soaking in water 232 grams. 62 grams per strap, a whooping 2.1 ounces x 3 or 4.

a lot more weight saving , with a harness that doesn't absorb water.

elmo
WA, 7883 posts
6 Apr 2019 9:04AM
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When you are a bit of a fat FLICK it's quite easy to loose some weight from the rig, still reckon there's another 10kg to be taken out of the loop

Stretchy
WA, 443 posts
6 Apr 2019 10:30AM
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Select to expand quote
forceten said..

Stretchy said..
Elmo is saying he now looks trim, taut and terrific!
It was a J..o..k..e

nice work Alby



Is English his first Language


Aaah, there's the issue. No, his first language is muppet

Sparky
WA, 904 posts
6 Apr 2019 12:56PM
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The OP said he wanted to improve his slalom performance in marginal conditions.... so like a PWA sailor, or like the Australian Slalom champion, or like the winner of big events like ledge to lancelin or winning local WA events? "Sail Repair Guy" has been all that. His advice is worth considering.

Sparky
WA, 904 posts
6 Apr 2019 12:59PM
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www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Windsurfing/General/Righto-Im-sick-of-it?page=1

The unifiber are very similar to the ones that came with the isonics. How many isonic riders kept the original straps?

Rob0104
45 posts
6 Apr 2019 3:47PM
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Sparky said..
The OP said he wanted to improve his slalom performance in marginal conditions.... so like a PWA sailor, or like the Australian Slalom champion, or like the winner of big events like ledge to lancelin or winning local WA events? "Sail Repair Guy" has been all that. His advice is worth considering.




Hi Sparky, why have board manufacturers spend so much time and money trying to make boards lighter but still strong enough to take the stresses involved with windsurfing. At one point hallow boards were made , Mistral made the SLE slalom boards with no deck Pads to save weight. All sorts of crazy stuff has been tried . It's quite simple, a lighter board planes earlier from a standing start. So with that known fact, a carbon fin 45-50 cm long for your 9.0+ rig coupled with lightweight straps is reducing a lot of weight from the planing area of the board. Modern shorter wider boards require a different technique from the older slalom boards like the F2 Sputnik style to get planing. The quicker you can step back and into the straps on a modern board the better. It requires less wind to get planing if your fin and straps are lighter, they are part of the board not the rider, the weight of the rider, suit , harness , boots and anything else they wear are a different variable . When it comes to early planing a 1kg lighter rider will not make a board plane quicker on a 1 kg heavier board . On the other hand a 1kg lighter board (straps fin and all) will get a 1kg heavier rider planing earlier . If not what the fk has the last 35years of board research been about.
'Regarding your BF's comment on comfort ease of use, after I modified the lightweight straps performance is equal to traditional straps, the only difference is they won't squash down or need adjusted again. I can also confirm then are very comfortable , perhaps I neglected to stress this. Your BF obviously hadn't read the last paragraph before replying. I make a point of listening to all opinions on windsurf related matters, however you seem to want a bitchin session hence the OP. Is this because you're SRG's bitch.
Just courious
happy sailing everyone
Rob

Rob0104
45 posts
6 Apr 2019 4:59PM
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Sparky said..
www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Windsurfing/General/Righto-Im-sick-of-it?page=1

The unifiber are very similar to the ones that came with the isonics. How many isonic riders kept the original straps?


hi Sparky, I assume you mean the plastic finished with Velcro adjusters Starboard straps. If so they are nothing like the Unifiber straps.
I always changed the Starboard straps too, as did almost everyone I know including some Starboard team riders.

Sparky
WA, 904 posts
6 Apr 2019 5:47PM
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All the best then Rob

Rob0104
45 posts
7 Apr 2019 1:22AM
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Sail Repair WA said..
Hi Rob

Thanks for the review on the straps.

We all spend a long time in the foot straps, - so yes they are important.

This is just my personal experience / view and I don't mean 'to shoot down' your findings :)

It is all about comfort.. -
The straps your feet are most comfortable in, is the winner. Wave / freeride / racing etc.
The straps that you can easily adjust (on the water) is great.
The straps that don't 'grip too much', so you can't get out of them when you need to, is quite a bonus.
The straps that last a long time, is also great,,

I noticed you said you sanded the edges on your lightweight straps, as they where sticking to much (good idea), as you want to could get your feet out easy. I have used light weight straps before ( or at least 1-2 days, before I changed them over), and as you pointed out the 'gripped' too much and made jibing hard

The weight: I fully understand the comparison on the weight of the straps. But,,
Did the saved weight make you go faster? or quicker jibing / earlier planing, even in marginal conditions?
If you didn't use your boots, - would that not save you about 400g as well? :) (as how I see it, is that the weight placement is exactly in the same place / spot as the straps?)

Anyway just my 2 cents, I use the same 'heavy' straps on all my boards (race, freeride, wave, foil board) and love them for the comfort and simple use.
Most likely they are close to the wight of you previous ones. I use the Simmer Style ones , but many other brands have the same type.


Happy sailing :)








I notice you are a agent selling simmer style boards sails etc, as a customer giving an unbiased opinion with no motivation other than help other windsurfers make informed decisions to enhance their enjoyment of this great sport I don't really respect people who know better but deliberately misinform fellow windsurfers while using a public forum to advertise their products or businesses.

regal1
NSW, 91 posts
7 Apr 2019 8:53AM
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Where's a red thumb when you need it?
I agree with WA Sail repair. It's very, very personal. I've 3 lightweight foot straps & like the drakes the most.




Sparky
WA, 904 posts
7 Apr 2019 8:53AM
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Rob0104 said..

Sail Repair WA said..
Hi Rob

Thanks for the review on the straps.

We all spend a long time in the foot straps, - so yes they are important.

This is just my personal experience / view and I don't mean 'to shoot down' your findings :)

It is all about comfort.. -
The straps your feet are most comfortable in, is the winner. Wave / freeride / racing etc.
The straps that you can easily adjust (on the water) is great.
The straps that don't 'grip too much', so you can't get out of them when you need to, is quite a bonus.
The straps that last a long time, is also great,,

I noticed you said you sanded the edges on your lightweight straps, as they where sticking to much (good idea), as you want to could get your feet out easy. I have used light weight straps before ( or at least 1-2 days, before I changed them over), and as you pointed out the 'gripped' too much and made jibing hard

The weight: I fully understand the comparison on the weight of the straps. But,,
Did the saved weight make you go faster? or quicker jibing / earlier planing, even in marginal conditions?
If you didn't use your boots, - would that not save you about 400g as well? :) (as how I see it, is that the weight placement is exactly in the same place / spot as the straps?)

Anyway just my 2 cents, I use the same 'heavy' straps on all my boards (race, freeride, wave, foil board) and love them for the comfort and simple use.
Most likely they are close to the wight of you previous ones. I use the Simmer Style ones , but many other brands have the same type.


Happy sailing :)








I notice you are a agent selling simmer style boards sails etc, as a customer giving an unbiased opinion with no motivation other than help other windsurfers make informed decisions to enhance their enjoyment of this great sport I don't really respect people who know better but deliberately misinform fellow windsurfers while using a public forum to advertise their products or businesses.


Thanks for the review, you make good points. "Lighten" up buddy, we are all just giving our 2 cents worth. I trust that "Sail Repair Guy" is only giving his honest opinion too and not trying to corner the global footstrap market.

mr love
VIC, 1744 posts
7 Apr 2019 1:01PM
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Rob....You will notice that Jesper says in his final sentence that the Simmer straps are the same as used on other brands...so he is not plugging the brand at all but the virtues of the style of strap.

I have used a number of lightweight straps over the years, the old Drake ones they used to fit to the Formula boards, the Unifiber and the Kovalski. They are lighter when wet...no disagreement.
I did have some issues with them though.

1) Not as comfortable...the material is not as soft and can be a bit abrasive along the edge. Possibly your sanding fixed this.
2) Limited adjustment.....Hard to get them just right as you only have the hole spacing as a method of adjustment. The new Starboard Race straps could solve this but I have not used them to be able to comment.
3) Too grippy. I wear boots and have done for a number of years...just the lightweight Reef boots. I do so for sun protection and as I often sail in rocky places that also have sea urchins. I don't get sliced up feet now.
I found that the eva is quite grippy on the top surface of the boot and had my foot get stuck a number of times when gybing.

I now use the straps that come with my boards...so the Carbon Art straps which i am sure you will find are the same as Jespers Simmers. They are comfy, easy to adjust accurately ( important to me as I demo out my boards) and I am not concerned about a few 100 extra grams of weight as I am not a PWA racer. I think it easy to get hung up on equiptment details and not look at the big picture, I have certainly been guilty of that!!!! Unless you are trying to compete at the highest level comfort is a higher priority and there are more important things to concentrate on, like board trim, sail trim, fin selection, technique, PRACTICE...all these things will get you around a course faster than losing 200 grams from your straps.

My 2c

7 Apr 2019 12:02PM
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Hi Rob

Wow, wow wow hehe, this thread just got a lot more entertaining :).

Unlike you, I do respect you 100% on all the windsurfing related talk and your personal findings. + the added 'bonus' of your non related windsurfing stuff is just funny, (so make sure to make it keep coming ) :)

Your 100% right on some of your findings, (read on) ,

1) Yes I do sell foot straps here in my shop and 'was hoping to increase my sales with my advertising'. With the margin of around $5 each strap I sell, then this could be quite something,, :).
Like I mentioned those Simmer straps is very similar (if not the same) from other brands (Severns, Dakine, Flying Object and lots more). The picture (just like yours), was just to show the style I was talking about. Simple and functional and well padded.

By the way, then Unifibre is on my supplier list here as well. So if anybody want those straps, then by all means I can get them :)

2) I don't really know better than you or anybody else. But just shared my personal insight on the topic. It's not a lecture to do it one or the other way. Everybody is different. But I do hope all my experience through the years would 'carry some weight' (even if not, then no problem).

I guess what challenged me was your finding on the 'performance boost', by the lighter straps and that you could confirm the improvement on your planing + acceleration out of your gybe. I would have thought if there is just a small truth in this (lets say a 1% gain or even less) , then majority of all PWA sailors, national sailors (incl myself) would get those straps.

Look what I try to highlight is that still the comfort of the straps is the no 1. If your straps is the most comfortable you can find, - then great!. Actually with your boots on, and with your modifications then your ones might be making a bit of sense. if they make you 'believe' you accelerate faster, then even better (no joke),,

3) I think all sailors would agree that the lighter board means earlier planing. I fully agree. On the bigger race board, this defiantly have some great benefit for the performance.
But what also help on the early planing for the bigger and lighter race boards is that they are normally also stiffer. So the stiffness also helps to make it more responsive and accelerate. The lighter weight also makes the board 'float' out of the water (this is very minor though). You could also add a bit of 'less swing weight as well) All some small ++. The 1 kg lighter board is actually most likely something you can feel, on the acceleration.
So I do hear you and see where you are coming from,, (400g saving on the board with the light straps, sounds big)
If you had 2 boards and said one board here is 400g lighter, (the total board weight with no straps / fin), then it make a lot more sense.

But I think you have this mixed up with the light weight straps. Lets have a think about it. I'm not saying I'm right , but just putting it out there.
The placement of the weight: When you start to accelerate, you will then move your feets back towards the strap position / or into the straps.
Now you could argue that the weight of your body is exactly in the same position onto the board where your foot straps is placed (one side).
If you would be telling me that if your body weight was 400g lighter, then you would accelerate much better (something that you could actually measure), then I might be laughing,, - So yes, think about where the weight is placed,,

Oh yah I forgot the 2 straps on the other side of the board, so yes you might carry 200g extra there,,

Gybing and acceleration improvement is majority on the sailors skills . I would dare to say 99%. The weight saving on a bigger light wind board (1kg) might just give you a tiny advantage on top level where everybody is quite even. But remember it is also the stiffness and total weight placement on the board.

Look there is a lot of factors, but I can ensure you that is is not on the lighter foot straps, where you will gain a performance boost. (mentally maybe yes).

Don't get to hung up on the grams savings and 'overthink it' , that all I'm saying.

windsurftom
NSW, 251 posts
7 Apr 2019 3:04PM
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Just out of interest I had a look at the Pwa racing photos from last year.
I am sure the top riders in the world would be after these 'marginal gains' more than anyone else, however the vast majority of them appear to be using normal (velcro adjust) straps. Including the best racer of the last 15 years Antoine..
This would back up what (ex PWA/ Aus slalom champ) sail repair guy says above.

And you don't need to sand them.

Each to their own.

Mark _australia
WA, 19099 posts
7 Apr 2019 6:14PM
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Rob0104 said..
Is this because you're SRG's bitch.
Just courious
happy sailing everyone
Rob


Wow. You come here with your personal preference, a dead set expert who has won far more international events than you (I gather?) states his preference, now anyone who agrees with him is his "bitch"

Sounding all very familiar troll-like.
Brucey, Millsy, etc.

If you're into 400g saving, go for it.

I gather you also cut the extra 20cm off the harness straps, get custom boards with only one footstrap hole and unpainted, have a big poo before sailing, don't use footstrap anti-twist inserts, cut half the boom grip off as we don't grab the back end much. Just courious.

Get your hand off it.

Happy sailing Rob.

Sparky
WA, 904 posts
7 Apr 2019 6:47PM
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To be honest i would gladly be Jespers bitch. Caddy for him, apply his downhaul..... as long as he taught me how much.

Subsonic
WA, 1584 posts
7 Apr 2019 8:09PM
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It was a great write up Rob. If i was chasing lightweight footstraps i'd give the unifibers a go for sure.

I must say though, if you want to loose 400grams on those lightwind days, visit the lavatory before heading out. Same result.

forceten
657 posts
7 Apr 2019 10:18PM
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Robo104:

your test , weighting , is silly, using the screws and anti twist devises. No matter which strap you install the screws are needed, anti twist optional. Their is a weight savings here, the Kovalski Unifiber,and others ,Da Kine ...etc.
Even using 1 screw per end, rather than 2.

this is all meaningless, if you don't like the straps .Which you like the Unifiber. Since you are looking at Ultra performance, if these don't last long, you are paying for the performance not longevity.
just like tires on a car, the sticky ones don't last so long.

Rob0104
45 posts
8 Apr 2019 12:57AM
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Hi All,
just back from the first Irish event of 2019, sadly not ranked as the call was made last night that wind forecast was too light, but fun racing would take place. Delighted to say I won thanks to my super lightweight footstraps, no other variable counted, sail size, board size , fin size , tuning all of the above or hours on the water practising in all conditions, more tuning , more practise , yet more tuning and practise. None of that mattered it was all down to the straps.
I've taken the time to read all your lovely comments ,finding it all very amusing. loving that healthy discussion is alive and well. Clearly I've rubbed a few people up the wrong way by dissing Sail repair guy for plugging his gear on this forum, I was deliberately going over the top for a reaction. I do agree with just about everything he said ,and to clear up any confusion the only advantage with a lighter board , straps and fin is when getting planning once up and running the weight saved is only a benefit when carrying back to the rigging area. I cant even fault the guy for getting a bit of free advertising via this forum, I'd do the same if I was trying to sell windsurf gear. A penny saved is a penny earned and all that crap.
Regarding this type of footstrap, if the weight saved was the only advantage I wouldn't bother with then . tonyk who earlier in this friendly discussion confirmed that they are durable is nice to know. I sailed with them once before customising them and didn't like them at all. All of the issues listed by everyone were very apparent on that first use. However, trimming , sanding and shaping the inside of the straps has for me ,addressed these problems. The nature of their design allows for this, as I suspect the designers allowed for. After all we all have different shaped and size of feet.
Traditional straps Like the Simmer Style (brand plug intended) also need a bit of adjustment to get right when new. It is a big advantage that these adjustments can be carried out at the beach. However as they bed in and lose some of their rigidity they will need tightened and become prone to squashing down if accidently stepped on , or am I the only windsurfer this has ever happened to. I like most people prefer softer traditional straps and thought I'd give the unifiber's a go, I will be getting another set for my mid slalom board but wont bother in any other boards. The main advantage as far as I can see with the lightweight straps is holding their shape if stepped on.
I hope this clears up any doubts regarding my findings. I'm delighted to learn that our WA cousins are a lot more sensitive than we winey poms give you credit for.
Thanks for all your comments, great laugh, and if I get round to visiting WA I'll be sure to look sail repair guy up, even if the end result is a smack in the mouth.
cheers all Rob

JakeNN
16 posts
8 Apr 2019 5:31AM
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What's the weight difference when wet? They looked dry in your previous photo which is irrelevant.

JakeNN
16 posts
8 Apr 2019 5:58AM
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Rob0104 said..
Thanks for all your comments, great laugh, and if I get round to visiting WA I'll be sure to look sail repair guy up, even if the end result is a smack in the mouth.
cheers all Rob



Thanks for all the sarcasm.

Do you really need to threaten the guy?

I'm pretty sure he's a far better windsurfer than you ..
www.pwaworldtour.com/index.php?id=7&tx_pwasailor_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=674&cHash=8f555190ccd4376aba35d53e6bf7ebda

Rob0104
45 posts
8 Apr 2019 5:58AM
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JakeNN said..
What's the weight difference when wet? They looked dry in your previous photo which is irrelevant.


I'm a bit bored with these obtuse observations and questions. Do you really think they weren't wet.



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"Unifier lightweight foot straps" started by Rob0104