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craig gates
Reply with quote  #1 
Nate and Freddie both out with classic ankle injuries.

Freddie was on DualLok, so not much of interest there. You play Russian roulette eventually the gun goes bang.
Although, I had kind of assumed from all my research that if you were an insanely talented, strong, and flexible young athlete you'd avoid a season ending crushing OTF by virtue of your ability to avoid being crushed.  Data now says "not so much".  The skier that still amazes me is Regina.  That woman takes some violent falls and so far the gun hasn't gone bang.  The stuff she hangs on to is just amazing.

I talked with Nate awhile at the Nationals, and his story is very interesting. He said "No binding in the world that anybody can think of could have saved me."

He hit a ball at 41 off with either his ski or shin, he's not sure which.  The ski skipped and grabbed, Nate got crushed onto the ski.  Being Nate instead of a normal human, he didn't fall "I just got crushed onto the ski, felt a pop, let go and sank into the water.  My heel didn't even try to come up out of the binding".

I apparently was not the first guy to talk to him about bindings.  He said "I just knew everybody would get all wound up about me switching bindings, and I can tell you right now I am not changing bindings, I don't want to talk about it, there is nothing out there that could have saved me."

So, since Nate is a great guy, and I didn't want to upset him any more, I shook his hand, told him I was a big fan, and left him peg-legging down the dike in his walking boot to get a better view of slalom.

But, that was pretty tough to do, since gatormod WOULD have saved him, and his injury confirms my theories about crushing falls.

Reply with quote  #2 
thanks for posting the story. I thought as much. 

Regina is "like a cat" in and out of the turn. She's all-in too,  but I've never seen her stuff the ski.  However through the wakes @41 [eek] is where sometimes things go sideways. 34 mph is a bit more forgiving.

Ripping 41 at 36 Mph is like going mach 10.

If you clip a ball full on @ high speed,  the binding system needs to react in milliseconds. So a large, stiff single plate, forget it -  no matter how it's connected or modified.

And in Nate's case, listen to man! Very often there is a flat impact (like jumping down off a wall). I had that once in double Wiley's. 1/2 sec later I did come out of them as the ski tip whacked my knee cap!


Reply with quote  #3 
Nate's the world's best skier.  But he's not an engineer.  He is able to give a detailed and chronological account of what happened.  Most people say something like "it wasn't that bad a fall, I heard a pop and then I was in the water".  Nate's account confirms again the theory behind gatormod.  Gatormod is designed to save you in what you call a flat impact and I call a crushing OTF. 

It allows your ankle to bend 40 degrees and no more, then rips the heel of the binding off the ski.  The only way to overflex your ankle in a gatormod is if you actually break the gatormod.

Granted, you may run into the ski on your way down, as you did in your rubber bindings.  I can't fix that.

A binding that uses heel lift force as a release mechanism cannot save you in a crusher.  As Nate's comments illustrate, there is no heel lift as your knee is being crushed onto your front toe.  Every binding available today operates on heel lift force. 

In every binding available, if you get into a crushing fall, you are toast.  Some are better than others.  Due to the mechanics of your foot, ankle, Achilles and calf, the shorter the lever arm is from your heel to the front contact point under your foot, the better chance you have of surviving a crusher.  That's why Reflex works most of the time in most crushers.  But, not in a perfect crusher like Nate's.

That's also why rubber works pretty well.  The fulcrum for heel lift in rubber is the ball of your foot.

That's also why full plate bindings like Powershell are so dangerous.  The fulcrum is way out in front of your toe at the front edge of the plate. 

A binding needs to get you off the ski in twist, OTF, crusher, and out the tail (OTT). While keeping you on the ski until you are about to get hurt.

Reflex doesn't release in twist, crusher or OTT, but does have a short fulcrum for a crusher and OTF.

Mosley does twist, OTT, OTF, but has a longer fulcrum than Reflex in a crusher.

Full plates with two hard shells are great in twisters, no way to twist your ankle if both feet stay in the boots.  They do OTF and OTT.  But they are horrible in crushers. The fact that so many people use them is testament to how rarely a perfect crusher comes along in a skier's life.   

You can put a gatormod on a mosley and be covered for all 4 modes.  And, increase your margin against pre-releases.  Still kind of heavy and thick, but getting there.

You can put a gatormod on dual boot plate, and be covered for all 4 modes.  Still got to deal with Velcro PITA, which I'll fix this winter.

Other than those two options, you're playing craps with your ankle.  Talk to anybody who has torn an ankle up badly.  They never heal completely, and many of them stay so bad your life is permanently affected.  Out of the 8 guys I ski with, 4 have had surgery.  3 of us now have our activities permanently limited in some way.  My brother is the worst, at 42 he was permanently limited to walking post op.  No run, no jump, can't even bird hunt unless the ground is flat.

Of the two, Freddie is the luckier.  Broken bones usually heal up with no limitations. 

Reply with quote  #4 
How do I order one and how much are they?
Reply with quote  #5 
Late to the game and to the discussion.....Someone please elaborate on gatormod.
Reply with quote  #6 
Curious:  I'm not sure you'd want one if you saw it.  As per normal when I invent something and it works well, I just use the prototype and never make it pretty.  The 8 I have made for the walking injured all look like the prototype, which means like Frankenstein meets transformer.

I don't want to make any more of those, they work great, but are a PITA to make (three hours in the shop, and I need your boots and plate) and kind of an embarrassment.  Every time I say I'm done, another guy shows up with xrays and a tale of woe and I end up building another one and giving it to him, but I've gotta stop that. The ortho surgeons in town are sending their patients to me after they get done reconstructing their ankles, so I need a better answer. 

I trolled around the nationals with my ski after I skied and most of the industry guys were intrigued and polite, but certainly not interested in adapting it to their binding.  "too mechanical"  "too scary" "too ugly".  I got into a bit of an exchange with Dave Goode, who ended up saying he agreed the concept made sense, but was afraid of unintended consequences.  He couldn't come up with any, but its hard to disprove a negative so I gave up.  All I can say to that argument is that I've been using this version for 2 years now, I get into 38 off, and it works perfect.  I got a little bent and told him the only unintended consequences I've had was when his damn Velcro prereleased at the toe at the wakes and busted my rib.

Mosley is convinced his binding will release in a crusher, but can't/won't tell me how.  That's because in a perfect crusher, it won't.  But, it comes pretty close.

This winter, I'm going to finish another invention (hearing protection for hunters) then force myself to adapt gatormod to a powershell boot.  That way people can buy the boot from Dave, buy a kit from me, put the boot on a Mosley and bolt my kit on.  Or, buy the boot from Dave, ship it to me and I'll put it on my G10 plate with exploding bolts.   So, if I get my ass in gear and do what I should have done a year ago, you should be able to get one somehow next spring.

JB:  look at "binding contraptions"  on this site, or search BOS for Gatormod.  On the BOS site, you want to look at version 3.0, the one on Velcro.
Reply with quote  #7 
Have you ever tested or tried FM Quattros?
Reply with quote  #8 
I've tried a FM binding where the cuff comes off in at OTF.  Also tried a FM double plate with a serious mechanical release.  Are either of those a "Quatro"?
Reply with quote  #9 
Yes.   If they are the one I'm thinking of: two boots on a single plate with a spring loaded pin in the rear.  It that is a quatro they are nothing more than a copy of the fogman/stealth
Reply with quote  #10 
What exactly is copied on this? Every single part on this split plate or single plate system is totally unique to FM. It allows for front ankle relief btw.

reality check required...


Reply with quote  #11 
It's a spring loaded pin working on an inclined plane attached to a plate. It has the exact same release characteristics as a Fogman in two boot version and the same as a Mosley in single boot version. Which, are both derivatives of the old Besser plate binding used in the snow ski industry in the late 70s.

Just because the parts came out of a different mold and have a different logo doesn't mean they work differently.
sprung nuts
Reply with quote  #12 
There is far more elasticity, shock absorption, release travel, ski contact, sole plate flex and available range of motion (ROM) in a Quattro system. Quattros are also fail-safe design, with step-in convenience vs:

Now defunct:
Stealth/Fogman - Long, rigid 1/4" Alum stock plate with narrow-gap pins at each end driven by high spring rates.
EXO - Also a long rigid channel, elevated soles, toe nib with short travel switch/cam sprung release 

G10 Plates (powershell etc.) stock made semi-rigid by full length dual lock connect with no adjustable release, or easy reconnection available.

No gator-mod required on Quattros, the safety record is exemplary.   

Reply with quote  #13 
Tell us how a Quattro releases with no heel lift force.
Reply with quote  #14 
Fogman is not defunct.
Reply with quote  #15 
Well, looks like Paul has grown tired of spouting his legally toothless brochure at us. "Ankle relief" "exemplary safety record". Meaningless marketing drivel.

No answer to the key question: how does a Quattro release with no heel lift force as is required to survive a perfect crusher?

And the fact remains that a Quattro (name stolen from Audi) is a warmed over version of a Fogman or a Mosley. With the same advantages and limitations of those.

I'll know when I've made gatormod pretty enough when I see the FM copy of it hit the market.

And Paul, don't ask my opinion if you are going to get pissy when I give you the answer.

There's your reality check
Reply with quote  #16 

Once again, let me state that water ski boot-type bindings are still in about the stage
where snow ski bindings were 50 years ago.  In my opinion, as the guy who was 3rd place
in Men Jumping in the 1969 Easterns using Lange ski boots and Look Nevada bindings.
Reply with quote  #17 

Revision:  make that 60 years ago.
Reply with quote  #18 
Ed, I'm not sure snow ski guys are much further than they were 60 years ago. The current hot binding is a marker which uses the look heel binding without the rotating table.
Reply with quote  #19 
You guys should tele ski. We've had great strides forward in bindings since I started with three pins 27 years ago.
Reply with quote  #20 
Is there video of Gatormod in a actual release on the water ? I may be misunderstanding how it works but is seems like the ski would be kept close to the skier in a yard sale which could be ugly [frown].

Gatormod reminds me of Alpine ski breaks in it's design ,I realize it's purpose is releasing the boot before a injury in a forward trajectory .
Reply with quote  #21 
I have not had any binding issue since being cranked way back, on one of the now-defunct systems. 

Firstly, we have world-best liner/foam technology. FM w/Intuition introduced that 15 yrs ago, and I think most everyone has jumped on board. Now there are other foams and products are pretty close as well.  That stuff is brilliant and held every record except jump. 

From there we are looking at what I call a "liner transport system" or shell and attachments. I personally don't have issues with either shells or attachments, even riding the new SubZ it's been awesome this season. 

Some of the details we'd like to improve, like eliminate all coated steel for stainless steel, that sort of thing. And encapsulate the aluminum parts in polyurethane for a better production look. 

Nobody has their very own boot mold done, and if we did I would tweak it slightly but not much. Hard to argue with the PU formulation as it lasts for years vs rubber or a PE (polyethylene) boot.

Lastly regarding heel lift - healthy lower legs, ankles etc. can support a pretty good force. So if the boots can release, and not exceed a reasonable upward force before disconnecting, e.g.  DIN 2-5, or ~60-120 N,m (depending on skier size of course) the skier will be OK.

In theory you don't need that much downward heel force to stay on a ski in a waterski application, as indicated by typical low-profile rubber bindings. 

Problem is if you attach both feet in a rigid plate system attached to the ski, the front foot force can get very unreasonable in a hurry. Karina was able to limp a bit away from this one, but if she had more speed into it, or wasn't as strong and good at compensating... 



Reply with quote  #22 
Paul. Please take some video of you telling Nate he would have released in your bindings. He's pretty confident there was no lift at his heel.

Then, more video please. Stand on one foot. Knee slightly bent. Weight over heel of front foot. Front foot in your binding sitting on the floor. Not attached to anything. Now, have somebody jump on your shoulders. Simulating 2g of force when the ski jumps the ball, skips, and bites. Make sure the video is recording sound so we can hear when the tendon pops.
Reply with quote  #23 
You know, when you two get together at Thanksgiving and Christmas, there must be a lot of love in the room!  Kind of gives me a warm fuzzy feeling right now....
Reply with quote  #24 
i've skipped the ski, hit buoys etc. and while it's pretty violent impact, for me there was a forward pitching action in the mix as well.

In any case, the best protection is to be in good foot wear (line/shell), so the forces are distributed as evenly as possible. Then from that release with reasonable torque. Aside from all the bs'ing, the bread and butter OTF has be covered off! 

To get a 100% downforce into the ski would be difficult, in not rare. 

In any case, the injury/MRI (or x-ray for breaks) results would yield exactly what happened in a specific situation.

In other sports such as hockey, players suffer ankle sprains & breaks from time to time - no ski involved just a skate blade. Mostly high ankle issues. 

Glass ankle
Reply with quote  #25 
Have/do/still ski a 7ish year old Quattro system with a variety of home mods.

Rear pin, center hooks whatever those are called Z plate? The center heel retention clips I've used a dremel to reduce and contour. Less than 1 lb of hold as adjusted wo velcro, Velcro (original and very worn) on boot plates.

It won't stop the perfect storm pegging a ball. Hit 3 ball offside last summer hard enough to get the cuff over the trimmed down shell ears. I had to take the boot off to get the cuff released and my ankle swelled like crazy. Hx of high ankle sprain there before and same feel. Cuff cane over shell with no rear ankle stress and no release. Pin gap at rear was on tolerance for FM and central retention doesn't let me carry ski by front boot.

I tend to agree with gator front ankle has no reason to lift from the ski in a ball collision event. Maybe MOB can if the front plate slides forwards and therefore the lift pressure is overcome by forwards pressure skipping the heel release. - however with my FM's I can get onto my ski again in about 10 seconds so that's a plus.

Perhaps if the boot can slide forwards when a ski hits an obstacle that could slide it up a cam plate or release a retention plate

Fyi still using Quattro's. May D/C to go with a different system to try RTP. But sliced my heel on trick ski with my Revo so may try to convert to a diff system.
Reply with quote  #26 
After a lengthy interchange, in which Paul has done everything except answer the question, I think it is safe to say FM bindings, like all others, do not release without heel lift. I asked him that simple question what? 4 pages of discourse back? Since then we have Paul's views on comfort of liners, useful life of foam, healty youthful ankles etc. But no answer.

So, I call Bullshit. Paul if you believe your bindings release with no heel force in a perfect crushing fall, say so now.

I don't speak Canadian, but I believe by typing "the bread and butter OTF has been covered off" Paul means that the average, common OTF is managed well by many bindings. This is true, but not the point.

It is the uncommon, perfect crusher, with no heel lift, that is not managed at all by today's bindings, (including Paul's latest, a Reflex knock off wherein the release mech is replaced by a rubber band), that causes the grief.

And the confusion. Many of us have skied 20, 30 40 years without experiencing the perfect crushing fall. We think our bindings, our strength, our balance, our studliness has kept us safe. In reality, we have been lucky enough to always have a little forward roll as we get crushed.

But, luck doesn't always hold. I skied 35 years, sprained an ankle once. Then, my luck ran out, I skipped the ski at 2 ball, got crushed down onto the ski with no chance to roll out the front or off to the side. Tore my Achilles off my heel, dislocated another tendon. Needed two surgeries and 9 months to get out of casts.

Nate only made it to what?25 years old.

I get so irritated with manufacturers who won't admit there is a systemic problem because I and my buddies are permanently disabled by this fall. And they're not going to fix it until they admit they need to fix it. Which leaves me having to build crappy looking solutions in my basement.

Of course, Paul's suggestion that reviewing MRI's will tell how the injury occurred is
total bullshit. A ruptured Achilles looks the same on an MRI no matter if you hurt it playing hoops or if you got crushed at 2 ball.
Reply with quote  #27 
Glass ankle, you are on the right track. But, often in the crushing fall there is not much deceleration of the ski. If there was, you would tend to roll OTF, instead of getting crushed.

So, you can't count on the boot sliding forward and reducing retention force to get you off the ski.

On the other hand, you cannot overflex your ankle unless your knee travels past your toe, and keeps traveling.

Gatormod does what you suggest (decreasing the retention force) by using the position of your front knee to drive a cam which partially defeats the retention device. Be it velcro, fogman plungers, or next years "exploding bolts".

Then, in case a reduced retention is still too much (as you say, you got hurt in bindings with such low retention that they won't even support your ski's weight,)and you have no heel lift, the gatormod stops your knee from traveling forward as the cam bottoms out. At that point, the posts from your shin guard, the plate under your boot, and your shin become an "iron triangle".

If you keep getting crushed, either the posts break, your shin breaks, or the goddamned plate, boot, and you come the hell OFF THE SKI.

The post won't break. It's a carbon fiber ski pole. Your shin won't break, it has way too much leverage over the plate. When you need off, you are coming off.
Reply with quote  #28 

You are misunderstanding how it works. There's a video on BOS of a dry land release. I'll post a new vid with exploding bolts when I get that version done.
Reply with quote  #29 
a final point on FM bindings:  If I had to use a fixed hard shell with no modifications, I'd use the FM with the bungee laces and the cuff that comes off anytime you release.  Its a better solution than the Radar etc pseudo hard shells with bungees and liners that come out when you release.

Of course, you have to get back in the boat and put your reading glasses on to rebuild them any time you release, but at least they do a good job of replicating rubber release characteristics while providing some hard shell support.

My buddy , who has the FMs I'm talking about, and I have a competition going: who can collect the bits and pieces after a fall and release, get in the boat, reassemble (or pound with stick and mallet) their binding back together, get the ski back on his feet, and get back in the water the quickest.
Reply with quote  #30 
Have you any theories of a non-dual boot system?

More and more I am wanting to use a rear kicker or R-style rear.

I've gone as far down the road with low profile cuffs, cuff mobility etc. as I am comfortable with doing, and the real challenge with a quattro is getting the rear boot up on the front boot.

I believe I could have a minimum ankle to ankle spread of about 12.25" however as mounted with the size of the shells etc. I'm closer to 13.5 ankle to ankle.

Further I feel like canting the boots is more and more needed, and it is difficult to accommodate that on a quattro as the plastic sole plates will be deformed when torquing the boot down with a shim.

My next thought would be an extended rear release with something rigid up the posterior like a strut, that strut would connect to a shin cuff as high as possible, and would either lift the rear of a front only boot system (velcro/MOB/Reflex)

Arguably a reflex style release could simply be forced off its heel ledge and you're loose.
Reply with quote  #31 
Glass Ankle:

You don't need to cant the whole boot.  As you say, just causes problems with rigidity.  Drill out your ankle hinge bolt, and make yourself an eccentric insert, like they used to use in ski boots.  Use it to cant the cuff.  In fact, you want the sole of your foot as close to the ski as you can get it, and canting the whole boot moves it away.

I ordered a reflex when I was still in a fog of pain pills and rehab.  Seemed like the thing to do, since "everybody" was using them.  When it arrived, I pulled it out of the box and could not believe the damn thing doesn't release in twist.  What the hell?!  That actually was when I first started to get really pissed off about this whole binding situation. I gave it to a buddy of mine who uses it to trick.

Sure enough, you can find people who have suffered serious spiral fractures in Reflexes, along with those who have gotten crushed. 

So, with a RTP, now that he has got his stand height reduced, I'd go with a mosley.  His releases in twist as well, and you should check, but I think you can snug your back foot up nice and tight with his system.

You sound like a handy guy.  You could tack a gatormod onto a mosely pretty easily and it'd look relatively non-threatening, and it'd ski like it wasn't there.  Also, you could profile the rear receiver like you did on your FM, and then add a bit more spring force to walk yourself a little farther away from pre-releases in the front, and count on the gator to pry you out of the rear.  Then you'd have the safest single boot rtp water ski binding ever made.
Reply with quote  #32 
Remember the reflex product uses only one part of the silvretta binding - if you examine a 404 release you'll see that there is an arc shape to the metal plate.  FM copies this contour into the plastic sole plate on the Revo product line.  But Silvretta knew they needed to twist.

The silvretta proper has a set of 4 bearings which the heel release unit twists out of with a detent.  Allows the heel to blow out sideways.  That whole unit along with the heel release are on a rod which connects to a separate heel release to allow skinning/climbing.

But we're of course smart enough to eliminate that for waterskiing.

Reply with quote  #33 
"FM copies this........"

Careful there glass. You'll set Paul off again and he'll need another reality check.
Glass ankle
Reply with quote  #34 
Hope he wouldn't care. Being that I have a Quattro 2 Revo systems and a few parts system Quattro's in the parts bins I'm pretty invested in his Products.

Maybe duplicates? Follows the contour of? Pays homage to?

My point being every 404 release out there on the metal heel pad has that curved surface which is an arc that it releases around.

But seriously are we not doing Phrasing anymore?
Reply with quote  #35 
couple of notes:

OTF in rigid plate systems are not covered well. Are we looking at the same Karina video?? Same thing for high ankle, lace up boots like the old Approach, and the wakeboard-esque offerings that are out there. Getting regular reports of non-release injuries.

To come off a ski you have to lift your heels. Just like to walk to the dock you would have to lift your heels. Unless you were a duck. Maybe he's a duck? or did I spell that right? [tongue]


Reply with quote  #36 
Duck you Paul. Karina vid is not a crushing OTF. Watch her front knee bend (lack thereof). You're a waste of time. Gator out.
Reply with quote  #37 
If you can find/post a video of a crush OTF, that'd be great.

In any case the trend in slalom is to single front, rear kicker or hybrid. Skiers like Nate have a mainly front foot bias, tall stance (on ball of foot). It's a distinctly different style of skiing vs a double booted, load-up, rear leg driver who is ready to hammer old-school wakes.

Not sure how that fits into the gator plan. 

For gosh sakes,,,
Reply with quote  #38 
Dont get the bully started again.

Dudes all talk.
Reply with quote  #39 
Pop quiz time: who can tell us why reflex is only showing the toe of Sasha's boot in their publicity tweets?
Let me guess
Reply with quote  #40 
You don't know either!

But really my guess is he is on some kind of preprosuction/custom unit that's not gatormod

Originally Posted by Craig
Pop quiz time: who can tell us why reflex is only showing the toe of Sasha's boot in their publicity tweets?
Crocodile Dundee
Reply with quote  #41 
What's a gatormod?
Now that's a knife
Reply with quote  #42 
Gatermod is a serious brace, linkage and lever system, that puts the automatic hat tipper to shame. 

Seriously though, it works in same principle to correct the issue on rigid plate double boot systems - that is the rear foot can't lift (because the plate is too rigid) to create a proper release.

So the "mod" attaches a lanyard to your front knee, and when the knee hits the flesh & bone limit of ligaments & tendons, the lanyard pulls a lever (like a gate latch) at the back of the plate. This forces or pries the rear plate section off the ski - and foster a release.

The whole problem to start with is key word here : rigid plate. If both heels are cemented to the ski you are going to be in trouble in a quick-onset OTF type fall. That applies to any binding system including stoutly built lace-up boots.  

There is also a youtube video out there on it. 

Reply with quote  #43 
Interesting. I run a fogman setup mounted on a plastic plate, stays on where it needs to stay on, releases fairly easily in all directions. The tip stuffer was one area of concern with the fogman setup. This mating setup seems to fix that.
Reply with quote  #44 
I got the same response as Craig from Nate at Nationals! But in any hit of the buoy, the MOB system would release. I agree with Paul, that it would be very rare for any crushing fall to be 100% straight down through the ski. With any significant force in any other direction my system does release. Any kind of stuffing the front or forward body motion will release the boot from the back. With the MOB system release your heel does not have to come up in order for the boot to release. But in the crushing out the front fall, as your knee moves forward, you reach the flex limit of the boot/shell before the ankle joint is over extended, causing the MOB system release to pull up and out at the back.
Reply with quote  #45 
That's pretty funny. Poor Nate goes to the Nationals to enjoy the tourney and instead gets hounded by binding guys Mosely and Gates. Maybe more than that. I wonder which of us talked to him first; he seemed pretty harassed by the time I talked to him.

It appears we have agreement between the three of us. The type of fall that Mike's and Paul's bindings don't protect is very rare. I guess you could say Nate agrees too since he is willing to risk it again in the same bindings that didn't work the first time.

Where I don't agree is my willingness to accept "very rare" as my chance of a season ending injury that often results in permanent disability. Once in 30 years was too many times for me. If I can turn that into "never again" by using a gatormod, even if I have to build it in my basement and it looks like a Rube Goldberg device, that's what I'm going to do. I wish someone made a commercially available binding that protected against the rare crushing OTF. I'm tired of hacking them together for people who've been hurt.
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