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How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

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crazysurf
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How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby crazysurf » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:34 pm

I am usually an early adopter of wind sport (windsurf when 12 in 1981 (46 now - to save you doing the maths) and kitesurfing in 2000) but family interrupted and sent me into sailing. They are now no longer interested so I am back.

Foil boarding is a nice new recent challenge which seems to be going pretty well so far...

Down to business! I am an engineer with some aerospace and fluid dynamics experience who has made many carbon kiteboards (don't make any anymore but still ride my own - as do a few others) and am now bored of my job. I am thinking about the kitesurfing business and know this is a bit fictional but how big is the Hydofoil market now?

I see the market split between:
- home build (well done you guys if you make it work)
- beginners
- experienced
- race

Anyone hazard a guess as to how many there are in each category (Peter_Frank???)?

Hoping to live the dream and work my passion...

wil
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby wil » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:46 pm

How big is hydrofoiling. Not really that big. Where I kite there are only a few. I think the cost and the very steep learning curve is putting people off. I have tried to make a DIY twin tip bi directional hydrofoil. I beefed up my twin tip with a bit of carbon and drilled 4 holes. Made a strut (mast) of an aluminium section and got a alu welder to weld an open U shaped fuselage. I bolt a square box section of alu inside the open U shaped fuselage. I have only tried it twice. It did not work that well. Will try again. There are only a few people interested in this concept. Hawaiss who has done quite a bit of work on the bi directional foil. His actually works quite well looking at his video clips and some guys in France.

Everyone seems to be obsessed with speed and high wind angles.

Why not have the freedom to be able to fly above the water at a lower speed. I see the Bi directional hydrofoil still as a good starter for those who want go get into hydrofoiling. I would be great if more builders would give this concept a go. It is supposedly a lot harder to get it right but if you compare the foils that were developed 10 years ago with those we can buy now there has been a huge progress in the foils.

Johhnn
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby Johhnn » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:52 pm

I'm the only one foiling at my local spot, but my beach is not that great. On a good day, you might find 15 kites in the air at one time. I have heard of one other guy who has a foil near me and one guy who rides surf style well wants to get one, but that's it. Some swear they won't do it--seems to dangerous to them. Others are simply devoted twin tip riders. I have only ever seen one other guy foiling and that was 2 years ago in Colombia. It seems like cost is probably the main factor, but also it's a different style. Way different from twin tip riding. Having done it for 2 seasons now I can still say I love it. I really enjoy learning something new, the performance of the board and the feel of gliding over the water. The better I get, the more enjoyable it becomes.

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Hawaiis
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby Hawaiis » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:57 am

When I started, I was the only one at Kailua. Now there are about 15, and growing . Most are free ride and low wind.

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davesails7
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby davesails7 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:40 am

I've been to all of the East Coast US races this year, and there are about 40 guys racing with more learning with the goal of racing. Florida has the largest concentration of racers on the East Coast.

For the West Coast, it sounds like there are more racers in San Francisco alone than the entire East Coast with other groups up and down the coast.

At my home spot, out of probably 40-50 active kiters in the area, 6 with hydrofoils now, 2 racing.

I would guess for the entire east coast of the US there are about 200 hydrofoilers, but no way to confirm that.

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Bille
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby Bille » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:06 am

crazysurf wrote: ...
and kitesurfing in 2000) but family interrupted and sent me into sailing. They are now no longer interested so I am back.
...

Hoping to live the dream and work my passion...
That , "Dream thing" ; Don't we ALL ? :D

Where are you located ?
How many years in sailing ?
Cat's or monohull ?
Speed kiting or boating around ?
Do you Fly ?

Bille

Mossy 757
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby Mossy 757 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:42 pm

Foilboarding is a niche inside a niche; kiteboarding itself is not a profitable industry for the most part, and many of the big gear manufacturers are heavily diversified into SUP, Surf, Windsurf, and Soft-Goods segments to help their businesses turn a profit.

Some of the major manufacturers are racing to the bottom end of the freeride market and most of the smaller single-product-companies are racing to the top end of the course racing market.

I think Dave's right, there's probably 100-200 active foilboarders on the east coast, probably about 25-30% more on the west coast and probably a few dozen in Hawaii. I'd guess there's well less than 1000 riders in the US and her territories, probably about 1k-2k abroad. Not necessarily a robust market segment. If I were interested in starting a business enterprise in this space, I'd expect to do it with one of the following goals:

1) Create the fastest racing foil and supplant Spotz/Taaroa from their current rankings with no expectation of turning a profit. Good luck with that, lol.

2) Do it for the love of the game and hopefully sell enough of your gear to friends/customers to help offset the sunk-cost of developing your own designs...basically just do it for fun and make enough profit to make it worth while.

3) Become a reseller of as many brands as you can without creating a sponsorship conflict of interest and focus more on lessons, training, and expanding the sport while it leaves its infancy headed towards its adolescence; I think the turning point for foiling will be in the wake of the 2017 Youth Olympic Games when the IOC and ISAF/IKA get together and decide if and what formats the adults will compete in at the 2020 games in Tokyo. If adults don't get to ride foils in a course racing discipline at those games, the sport will probably end up being a non-olympic discipline for quite some time and will likely focus entirely around the KFGC for the foreseeable future. That means you need to have the fastest gear out there to enter the racing space since it will likely remain developmental/open class rules.

I think a good case study in this kind of gear is the slalom snowboarding market...within the world of snowboarding, downhill boards have always been a novelty. I think foils are along those same lines right now, of course it's not a direct 1:1, but I'd want to read as much as possible about the infancy of downhill snowboarding before I launched a company that addresses a niche market segment within a niche industry.

Plus, and I hate to be a Debby Downer, kitefoiling is still VERY dangerous and while alpine sports are no picnic, nobody ever drowned on a ski slope because they got knocked unconscious in a crash.

revhed
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby revhed » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:30 pm

Mossy 757 wrote: kitefoiling is still VERY dangerous nobody ever drowned on a ski slope because they got knocked unconscious in a crash.
Drown on snow, no of corse not, but many deaths on ski slopes happen EVERY year, I do not know of 1 (one) specific to KiteBoardHydroFoiling death, does anyone?
If one has a very good level kite boarding and respects the wind and has good gear ( front foot hook, strapless) then learning need not be dangerous!
Sorry but also other than Max N (races) at the finish of a race, never heard or read of KBHFer knocked out, again, anybody else?
Sorry, back on topic.
I always thought KBHFing would take flight many years ago, but for sure where I am ( a kiteboard meca) 2015 was the expodential year for growth from 3 or 4 to 20 if not more.
R H
Last edited by revhed on Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

windmlv
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby windmlv » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:56 pm

Becoming pretty popular here in LaVentana, Baja.
Tired of hearing that is, "so expensive".
You can buy a foil for the price of one kite!
Then with a bit of help install it on one of your surfboards.
Or buy a used foil/board combo.
Lots of options out there.
It is great fun when 2, 3 or more of you are learning at the same time.
Like starting kiting all over again. Smiles/adrenaline rush/high fives etc.
Exciting stuff.
And hey, you don't have to be 21 to learn.

revhed
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Re: How big is Kite Hydrofoiling?

Postby revhed » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:03 pm

windmlv wrote: You can buy a foil for the price of one kite!
Lots of options out there.
It is great fun when 2, 3 or more of you are learning at the same time.
Like starting kiting all over again. Smiles/adrenaline rush/high fives etc.
Exciting stuff.
And hey, you don't have to be 21 to learn.
:thumb: :D
R H


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