Plug & Turn review:
I am always interested in new ideas and so I decided to give this product a try. I had all the usual misgivings about whether it will work or not - Will it break? Will it get clogged by sand? Will it make me lose contact/control of the board? etc. etc.. but I still approached it with an open mind since it seemed like a nice idea.
I have tried the Plug & Turn pad with 2 different boards - a Spleene Zone (159cm) and a Firewire Taj 5-11. Only one rotating strap/pad is really necessary and I placed this on the forward strap position. From my testing over the past 6 months in every type of condition imaginable I have the following comments:
(Not to mix subjects, but I confess that I enjoy riding strapless as much as possible, but I would say 30% of the time I am still riding strapped (usually on the Zone, occasionally on the Firewire) when the water is super choppy but still some nice waves to be had. I ride my Firewire strapless 95% of the time and I have other surfboard shapes - that do not have inserts - as well depending on the conditions. I have been riding for 11 years and riding directionals for almost 5 years. Style preference: WAVES!)
The Plug & Turn works fine on the Firewire and I can easily see myself using it on that board when I want straps in really big but messy waves, or when the wind is so strong that it literally blows the Firewire off my feet - although I much prefer the Firewire board strapless in general. I have been using the Plug & Turn extensively on the Spleene Zone and I have now decided to keep it on that board permanently because I like it so much and it is working with no mechanical problems.
The advantage of the rotating strap is that it allows you to switch stance and have perfect foot position in either direction. This comment applies especially to smaller boards where changes in foot position are minimal. Just as with standard straps the placement of the inserts is really critical to optimize strap position/board trim. I normally have my front strap “ducked out” and do not like the in-line strap position as much - so the Plug & Turn allows me to “duck” or square my stance effortlessly anytime I want, on either port or starboard tack.
Also, perhaps most advantageous for me, is the ability to switch stance comfortably and avoid really long toe-side tacks when trying to go upwind. I love riding toe-side, but I can usually gain several degrees of headway when riding heel-side…so it’s really nice when I have just enjoyed a long down-the-line ride and want to get back upwind comfortably.
The other nice thing about the Plug & Turn is that you can really fine tune the fore/aft position because there are more options for locating the plate on a typical board that only has a few insert options.
Disadvantages? NONE… To be honest I could not come up with any disadvantages to this product. Most people don’t even notice it unless I point it out to them.
The rotating movement of the pad works very easily - it turns when you want it to by taking slight pressure off your foot, and it does not rotate inadvertently or cause any accidental change of stance. I have jumped and landed hard with this product and it has held up with no problems. I have dragged it thru fine and coarse sand and have never had a problem with the plate jamming.
The pad and plate are quite light and there is no significant weight issue. I have been using a Dakine X-lace strap with the Plug & Turn and that works fine. I think any simple strap with wide webbing (for 2x screw mounting at each end) will work fine.
The pad comes with everything you need to install it, except for the 2x screws which will attach it to your board inserts. You may need to use a different length of screw to match the thickness of the plate/depth of inserts…but that’s a simple problem. It might take a little time to figure out the exact position you want the pad in especially if the original inserts are placed wrong. But that is a simple problem as well.
If anyone has any questions I’d be happy to respond.
Good winds and waves to all.