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Noone riding hydrofoils ?

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby DrLightWind » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:23 am

ronnie wrote:Nico used the yellow Aguera board to dominate the Defi Wind, winning all 3 races.
I think he said he chose the bigger board because if you have to touch down its faster to get going again.
Probably that's the reason Carafino also has the latest,
Monaco Exclusive which I'm thinking about.

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby Johhnn » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:47 pm

Yesterday was my first day out on my new hydrofoil. I have the AlpineFoil, board and foil. It's very well built and goes together nicely. All the joints are firm and the finish on the mast, fuselage and wings is very good. :jump:

I'm in the Northeast of USA and we had a couple of 40 degree days with nice SW winds, so I thought I'd go out and at least learn about handling the board in the water. There was a bit of a shore break, maybe 1.5 feet, beyond that, just a few whitecaps. The wind was 11 knots, side onshore and I was on a Flysurfer 19 m deluxe. Water temp 40 degrees F. This is my 12th season kiting.

Once I had the board beyond the shore break and into chest deep water, I started trying to body drag to deeper water. What worked best for me was to place the hand of my lower arm in the footstrap and press my belly against the board. The board has a nice mat on it that protects it from the harness hook. Keeping the mast nearly parallel with the water surface, I was able to make good progress against the wind to deeper water. I went out on a starboard tack a ways then tried to position the board to get up on a port tack. Positioning the board is the hardest part. :angryfire: You have to keep the board away from you, with the foil near the water surface and a little to the left (for a port tack). As people have said, the foil wants to roll down under the water, so you have to use your upper hand (right hand in this case) to keep the board an arms length away, with the foil just cutting the water surface and pointed somewhat down wind. That right now is the most difficult part for me. I was able to get up on plane a couple of times before either falling over or having the foil pop out of the water. I spent about 30 minutes playing around like this before calling it quits. I figured it was good enough for a first session in cold water, though I was toasty in my drysuit. It'll only get better as the spring approaches. I'll try to make another report after I get out again, in case anything is useful for others.

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby Hawaiis » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:49 pm

If you adjust the straps tighter, you might be able to hold the strut horizontal with the footstraps.
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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby Arcsrule » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:12 pm

Interesting Johhnn. Kep us up to date with your progress.

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby Casair » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:31 am

Hi All,

I've been lurking on this forum for a long time and felt compelled to write in concerning this thread.

First, I would like to thank the following people for their contributions, both in person and via the intraweb, for their insights and postings. All which have helped me become a better foiler.

C A R A F I N O 2014: I bought my first foil from Mango back in 2005 and I still have it and use it from time to time. I've since moved on to other foils but his pointers, both in person, and through his videos have helped a great deal.

gmb13: Gunnar is the person who got me back into foiling last year and is a really nice guy. I wish him the best of luck with his foil and development.

ChristoffM: Great and upcoming website for this side of the sport. I hope he continues to improve his sight and thus help out new and old.

Bille: This guy has a real positive outlook on life and contagious personality. It's his motivation alone, that has inspired me to get out there on the water and persevere while trying to master my race foil. I hope to meet this guy one day.

holden: I've learned a ton from his videos and his writings. Not only on this forum but others as well.

As a result and having studied, I hope what I share here might help the beginners in their learning curve.

1. Get a balance board and spend a couple minutes a day to try and balance on the board without moving. This really helps train the small muscles in your legs and ankles to keep the foil quiet in the water. I spend 5-10 minutes a day now, in the mornings, and this has really helped my progression.

2. Pick a day that is roughly 12-15 knots of wind and take the same size kite you would normally take for a twin tip. I'm 185cm tall and 80Kg and would take a 13m kite for 10-12knots of wind where I live. This is important, since you really don't want to be fighting with the kite while trying to learn to foil. I initially thought I needed less kite which really made things much more difficult than I needed in the beginning. Today, I still ride with a 9m kite and High Aspect Foil in 20-25 knots of wind.

3. I've found it very helpful to have only the front foot-strap installed and nothing for the back foot. This gives me enough control of the board but also allows me to fall forward/eject without getting my feet tied up in the straps. Yesterday's foil session was a good example of why this is beneficial. I was foiling downwind at 33km/h when the foil hit a plastic bag in the water. I was thrown/ejected forward while the board came to an abrupt stop. I've come close to hitting the foil in the past and would rather give up some control than having both feet locked in. Just my .02 cents.

4. Keep the board on the water without trying to raise it out of the water for the first session. This will help you get used to the drag but also help your balance once you are standing up on the board. This also helps to retrain your muscle memory from twin tip riding. Most importantly, it will help you become more comfortable to stand up on the board from a water start. Just remember to point the board downwind as you stand up on the board and get your weight more over your from foot. Think balance board, with your weight distribution 50/50 rather than 40/60 or even 30/70 compared to a twin tip/race board weight distribution.

5. If you have the ability, start on a low aspect foil first before moving to a high aspect or race foil. You will need about 3, one hour sessions to be comfortable foiling before re-learning again on the high aspect foil. It's not impossible to learn on the high aspect/race foils but it could take more time and question your inner decision to take up foiling. Keep at it and be persistent. Once you've mastered the Low Aspect Foil it should take you no longer than 2-3 more sessions to transition to the high aspect foil. Biggest difference that I noticed is how forgiving the low aspect foil is to weight distribution while foiling. More on this subject later on.

6. I've seen a lot of people talking about how difficult it is to get the board into the right position to start. I also fought with this until recently. If you are in deep water, let the foil board naturally position themselves, which is to let the board point downwind (Tail of the board pointing into the wind). What other people have written about the board drifting faster downwind than a twin tip is correct. Best part of this is, you get to body drag downwind again like you did when learning to kiteboard for the first time. Have fun and this should bring back some great memories.

7. Approach the board from behind and on the side to which you want to ride. For example, if you want to be on starboard tack, approach the board from upwind and the board on your left. The kite bar should be in your right hand with the kite at 12 o'clock. With your left hand, reach for the middle of the board. Use your arm as a fulcrum/lever and tilt the board onto it's side. Slip your right foot into the front foot-strap and that will help swing the board perpendicular to the wind. Now you are ready to go. My current board is a surfboard so my front foot is in the middle of the board and I've found it helpful to have my back foot slightly favoring the heel side edge. Position your back foot over the center of the T-Bar or slightly forward of the T-Bar.

8. Biggest mistake I see people doing when they start to ride is to bend both knees. Sure this will get you to foil but you are also unbalanced. Try standing on a balance board in a squat position and it's the same affect you will find on the foil board.

9. From a water start, point the board downwind and stand up with both legs straight. Don't lock your knees but don't squat either. Also, there is no need to edge the board. It will be a strange feeling at first but try to keep the board almost flat (side to side and nose to tail). Later you can start to edge to gain leverage against the pull of the kite while riding upwind.

10. For people who have better balance, you can shift your weight slightly back (2-5%) and you will foil as long as the board has enough speed. For the people with less balance skills, I would keep the kite high (11 or 1 o'clock position, depending on the direction you are riding) and pull down on the bar slowly, like you would initiate a jump (just don't fly the kite over your head thinking it's a jump - just pull down on the bar). This will lighten the load, so to speak, and let you foil without needing much weight distribution change. I would suggest to try this slowly and keep the foiling distance short in the beginning. Then bring the board back down on the water to regain balance.

11. I have had the mistake of putting too much weight on the back foot too quickly and the board will try to shoot out the water like a wild, bucking horse. I've tried explaining this to many people but the best way to think of foiling, is that you are executing the longest jump you have ever ridden. I, among many other foilers, will tell you that foiling will exponentially help you with kite control. I've been kiting since 2000 and have found my kite control has greatly increased as a result from my foil experience. Meaning, that you will often find that you are over controlling the kite while foiling compared to what you would normally control while riding a twin tip. Think finesse rather than brute strength.

12. When it's time to move up to a race foil or high aspect foil, remember to keep more pressure on your front foot than you would normally expect. I spent one full day feeling the foil "stall out" because I was pushing too much on my back foot. This caused the foil to stall in the water just like an airplane wings stalls while flying and as a result the front of the board will slam back onto the water.

13. Remember, time on the water will help you progress the fastest and get over the steep learning curve. If you can get 1-4 days on the water consistently (back to back) then you will be foiling in no time.

Have fun and enjoy the ride!

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby Bradn » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:41 am

Awesome writeup and thanks for the tips!

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby LONG » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:51 am

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Re: Noone riding hydrofoils ?

Postby Bille » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:29 pm

Casair wrote:Hi All,

I've been lurking on this forum for a long time and felt compelled to write in concerning this thread.

3. I've found it very helpful to have only the front foot-strap installed and nothing for the back foot. This gives me enough control of the board but also allows me to fall forward/eject without getting my feet tied up in the straps. ...


Have fun and enjoy the ride!
NICE write-up ! :thumb:
Sorta wish you would have come on the forum Sooner !!!

On # 3 :
When i first tried to ride a surfboard as a way to someday learn the hydrofoil, i
tried strapless with the prosthetic(s) . It was hard, an only got up & rode once.

Next day i went back to Mohave with some straps in the center of the board
and found it kinda easy to do a water start ; i spent the rest of the summer
learning to ride a surfboard.

After reading your suggestions ; next time out, i'll get rid of the back foot-strap
and tell Ya how it goes. I "Think" i can Do that, because i only need the front
strap to start now, (then slide the back foot in while i'm getting pulled up.

Kite control is more than 75% of my balance ; i rely on sheeting in & out
on the bar WAY more now, than i did when i had legs in 2007.

Thanks for all the tips , and Wish i could afford to fly you to Vegas this spring ; because
i found a local with a metal Carafino foil, and he agreed to lend it to me to learn on,
and you'd make a Good instructor !!


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