HYDROFOILS – A TREND FOR EVERYONE OR JUST FOR EXPERTS?
Foiling – a trend for everyone or just experts? Learn more about the new hydrofoils and for whom these boards are suitable in the first place.
Foiling or the hydrofoil has existed for quite a while now. But during the last two years this special way of moving over the water – especially in sailing and kite surfing – has developed into being quite the cult. There has been a spectacular development with racing sailing, where millions have been invested into modern foil catamarans. The “flying” miracles have performed like never before during the Americas Cup. But also in the kiting scene many of the top producers jumped on the foil bandwagon. Accordingly, there’s a multitude of concepts.
But what exactly makes foiling so interesting? And where is the difference to twin tips and wave boards?
Above all foiling is considered as a silver bullet by pros in the racing field. This is due to the extremely low water resistance below the board and the crazy angle you can use to stay upwind. This makes every conventional board inferior.
Anyone thinking “Okay, this will remain a niche thing!” will probably be mistaken, because foils are also a lot of fun when being used for cruising. Especially with low winds these boards are crazy fun and with some experience it is possible to kite as soon as it stays in the air for just a little bit of time.
The big difference to all the other types of boards is of course the foiling, meaning the hovering above the water surface. This hovering state is achieved by fin reaching under the water surface, which can lift the kiter out of the water when a certain inflow velocity is reached.
Is it all worth it? Since the first time I have tried foiling I’m addicted to it. The experience of weightlessness you know from kiting suddenly gets a whole new dimension. Being able to have fun even in low wind conditions while other people are just bobbing up and down in the water or don’t kite at all and also the rush of speed has got me hooked. So to all experienced kiters I can only recommend: definitely try it out!
So it’s something for everyone after all? Probably not really. Firstly, foil boards are quite expensive and secondly, foiling is far from easy. Even advanced kiters feel like taken back to their first days of kiting. Up and down and up and down like a rodeo. To fully control the board, it takes a couple of sessions.
So this is my recommendation: despite the higher potential dangers and the more expensive equipment it’s worth doing a foiling course. You will learn a lot quicker and avoid making painful experiences and mistakes and will be able to tell if foiling is for you or not – before spending too much money. But even then the willing foiler has to be very confident with their kite and ideally already have made some experiences with a directional board.
The ride feeling is entirely new and not all comparable to any other kite board. Also the riding technique is completely different. It feels like the kite carries you over the water like cotton. Any type of water water noises become silent and you only hear the wind whistling around your ears. A whistling that will turn very loud as you achieve high speed!