getting in the footstraps
I'm not nearly as tall as you ( 6 ft ) but when it's really windy I struggle with the straps too. I have had some hard crashes getting in the back one at speed.
What I do when I'm nervous that seems to work is to get in the back strap first.
Just be sure and don't do it too early or the board will round up. If you have just tacked be sure to push the nose off the wind before getting hooked in. Get some speed and move back. Sail a few seconds with your feet next to the straps, then gently get in the back one. You might have to lean the sail forward to bear off if you round up a bit. Then when everything is under control you can easily get in the front strap and shift into 5 th gear.
One of the the best tips I got in my ABK clinic in Bonaire is to sail with a rigid stance - arms and legs straight and my body makes a figure 7. I think that would be even more important for someone as tall as you.