Enjoy our Tips & Tricks to foiling!
Here at Wave & Wake we reckon foiling is the next ‘big thing’ in the watersport world - whether it be kitesurf foiling, wakeboard foiling or SUP foiling. Not only do you feel like you’re flying as you glide above the water’s surface but you’re able to utilise super light wind once you have the basic skills figured out.
(Copyright & Credit: Progression Sports)
To get started you need to understand the mechanics of foiling, how the wings work to generate lift and how to best control the foil board.
Foil boards have a mast and a wing that go deep into the water. This helps give you lift and direction further down. A great foiling technique is all about balance – use more front foot pressure to direct or turn the board while also switching weight back & forward over the front wing to control your board height.
Balance is key to foiling and you might feel a little on edge at first. However, once you relax we reckon you’ll get your head around the motions fairly quickly.
- To start off your learning, we recommend trying it behind a boat or jet ski; this will allow you to focus on the hydrofoil rather than trying to pair it immediately with a kite. Understand how the foil reacts to your motions and the control you need before comfortably introducing a kite to the mix.
- When the time comes to add the kite, the best wind conditions are usually between 12-15 knots. A larger kite in lighter winds will help give you plenty of lift and support. Ideally kite movement will be minimal allowing a steadier pull without too much effort.
- As we’ve mentioned, having your feet in the correct position on the board will help you ride flat across the water and get used to how the foil feels. Use only a front foot strap to allow you to keep your back foot above the mast – this will help you get the foil board off the water. Once you have the correct balance, move your front foot back slightly and start lifting off the water!
Foiling is counter intuitive to most board sports where you instinctively put more pressure on your back foot. It is important that you practice using more front foot pressure then slowly move your weight backwards, until you feel the foil lift underneath you. Once you feel the foil board lift off the water, shift all your weight forwards again to try and get the board back down. Make sure to take time and focus on this step. Getting the foil up and then instantly working to get it back down will speed up your progression. You’re trying to find a balancing point of shifting pressure between your front and back feet.
A common side effect of learning to foil is that you will often breach. A breach is when the board lifts too high, and its front wing comes out of the water. When this occurs, you lose all of your lift, and will instantly drop back down to the water. Breaching can continue if you have too much instinctive back foot pressure.
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Direction is Important
Try and ride directly across the wind when you’re first learning to foil. Position your weight straight above the board and avoid leaning back too much. By keeping your weight balanced on the board – rather than relying on a kite for support – you’ll avoid generating too much power and speed.
The next step to concentrate on is the kite and where it needs to be positioned. While learning, try to keep the kite travel above 45°. The risk with the kite being too low is that you’ll pick up too much speed and risk loosing control support of the kite. A higher positioned kite will help maintain your balance and stability on the foil.
(Credit: Zephyr Kite Tours)
Once you’ve mastered some nice long glides on the foil, you can start directing the foil upwind. This can be done by either steering the foil board using your front foot, hips and core or by angling the wing away from the kite and resisting against the pull of kite, directing the foil upwind.
Like when your first learned how to kitesurf or wakeboard, you’ll need to learn how to go both ways. The majority of foiling students learn how to foil, in each direction, on their heel side. Dependent on your board preference and previous experience this may not feel the most natural. It’s our recommendation to start on the toe side edge and go through the same steps as above. Get up on the board, ride it flat, front foot pressure, and then slowly get up on the foil and direct the board upwind.
Another key component to learning how to foil is selecting the right equipment to get you started. At Wave and Wake we have a number of foils, foil boards and foiling packages available. Try our Exclusive Online Foil Selector to find out what would suit you best or speak with one of the team here at Wave and Wake.