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How do you teach foilboarding?

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windmaker
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How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby windmaker » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:55 am

I have now been foilboarding since 2005 and have taught a few friends how to do so over the years. Thought I would share my experience and hopefully also learn from others as my technique is the complete opposite of what I hear is done in kite schools these days.

Trend is as I understand that you should start with a high volume board with a short mast and high area low aspect wing ? You then work your way up to longer and longer mast? I believe that is the way most schools organize their foilboarding lessons?

I have tried this technique a couple of years ago and returned to my original way of teaching as the success rate was much higher and progression much easier.

Instead of using big high lift wings, I use a wing which is very small, less than 500cm2 in combination with a very short mast (45cm). The problem with very big wings is that they engage almost immediately after the waterstart often resulting in a immediate wipe-out for the student. They have no choice , either fly or fall. With a small wing they are able to waterstart and ride the board on the surface up to a certain speed (typically just above the boards planning speed) without lift off . This means they are able to ride almost normally back and forth and get the feel of the foil in the water as long as they stay bellow that critical take off speed. Experienced kitesurfers have no problem doing that! In every case they are able to ride a “foilboard” right from the start, stay upwind easier than with a surfboard (even if they are not flying), never have to walk upwind carrying the board.

When they are ready (their call), a little extra speed will engage the foil and get them flying touch and go but with easier balance than on a slow flying wing as they are moving faster. At this stage having a short mast and flat water really helps as it reduces the chances and pain of wipe-outs compared to a long mast.

Next step is using a bigger wing (up to 800cm2 max) and progressively increasing the mast length. Super big wings (above 800cm2) are not necessary when using this method unless you are super super heavy.

About the board I found that big (around 150cmx50cm) low to no volume boards like the ones they now make using TT construction were the easiest to learn on. Boards with high volume are more difficult to waterstart as they are harder to put on the rail and keep onto the rail+ you waterstart lower into the water.

Kite size used when learning is close to the size they would be using on a surfboard .

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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby Jyoder » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:50 pm

Teaching myself and don’t have exp with anything else, but I really like how my small strapless low volume board dives into the water and stops when I crash instead of jumping up and hitting me, running away downwind, or jumping through my lines. From a safety perspective, this offsets the cost of more difficult water start and surface riding for me.

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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby matth » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:50 pm

Very interesting. I have been thinking of buying a foil and want to go strait to carbon. What's your opinion on that?

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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby jakemoore » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:53 pm

Definitely agree with learning water start with a low volume board. Its way easier for strapped and strapless water starts. I like strapless to escape the falling foil.

A bigger board is less punishing during touchdowns and may be less intimidating when learning to fly. I switched to a MHL lift board. But I need at least a foot hook to water start.

Interesting idea about the small wings. I like it. I started with big wings and a normal mast. Is possible to practice taxi but there is a tendency to come up even in the first water starts and end up flying out of control. I'm still in what I would call a beginner stage although now competently flying up and down wind and about 50% success on surface jibes.

I would avoid a carbon foil for beginners even if you find a good deal. They are more likely to cut up your feet. I had a deep cut on my foot that took 3 weeks to heal. Would have been worse if I was not fast to heal. Then there are the dings on the carbon wings that I have caused that completely offset any good deal I got. I think dings inevitable, but for a beginner 4 x more likely.

Somebody should come up with an EVA covered smaller beginner wing to go with the flight school masts.

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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby gbrungra » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:08 am

I'm teaching myself right now. Ten sessions so far.

Setup:
Slingshot hoverglide w flight school masts, high volume board w tracks for mounting, w 2 front foothooks.

I wouldn't change anything about my foil setup for learning.

Front foothooks are enough for me to position the board and keep it tilted long enough to dive the kite. I water started on my first try.

Foothooks all the way forward on the board, and foil all the way back on the tracks allowed me to ride on the surface, no problem, from my first waterstart. It takes more than 1/2 my weight on the back foot, and plenty of speed to lift off. So no accidental lift offs.

I only did 2 sessions on the shortest mast (17"), am now on 24" mast, and I'm almost ready for mast number 3 now (30").

Maybe a low volume board would help a beginner w water starting, but with the foil all the way back on the tracks I don't seee a need for a smaller foil to avoid taking off. Definitely something with enough nose rocker to ride through rough touch-downs. If every touchdown is a crash the learning curve is much slower.

Aluminum and fiberglass are easier on the feet than carbon.

No regrets, and no carbon envy yet.

I still have longer masts to learn, and transitions. I'm the meantime, I'm foiling as far as I want, and in any direction I want, but with some crashes...

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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby Hugh2 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:28 am

Slingshot Hoverglide and the Flight School graduated masts worked well for me too. However, I'm struggling to move from them to a full mast and carbon foil on a short board, just get thrown off all the time. But the real problem is I'm too cheap to buy my own, so have been using friends, hence not enough time on the board.

gbrungra
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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby gbrungra » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:07 am

Hugh2 wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:28 am
Slingshot Hoverglide and the Flight School graduated masts worked well for me too. However, I'm struggling to move from them to a full mast and carbon foil on a short board, just get thrown off all the time. But the real problem is I'm too cheap to buy my own, so have been using friends, hence not enough time on the board.
Sounds like you're ahead of me on the curve. Did you work through all four flight school masts? (All the way to 36")

windmaker
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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby windmaker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:43 am

gbrungra wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:08 am
I'm teaching myself right now. Ten sessions so far.

Setup:
Slingshot hoverglide w flight school masts, high volume board w tracks for mounting, w 2 front foothooks.

I wouldn't change anything about my foil setup for learning.

Front foothooks are enough for me to position the board and keep it tilted long enough to dive the kite. I water started on my first try.

Foothooks all the way forward on the board, and foil all the way back on the tracks allowed me to ride on the surface, no problem, from my first waterstart. It takes more than 1/2 my weight on the back foot, and plenty of speed to lift off. So no accidental lift offs.

I only did 2 sessions on the shortest mast (17"), am now on 24" mast, and I'm almost ready for mast number 3 now (30").

Maybe a low volume board would help a beginner w water starting, but with the foil all the way back on the tracks I don't seee a need for a smaller foil to avoid taking off. Definitely something with enough nose rocker to ride through rough touch-downs. If every touchdown is a crash the learning curve is much slower.

Aluminum and fiberglass are easier on the feet than carbon.

No regrets, and no carbon envy yet.

I still have longer masts to learn, and transitions. I'm the meantime, I'm foiling as far as I want, and in any direction I want, but with some crashes...
Sounds like you are a natural ! Waterstart first try :thumb:

You pointed out some good things: Placing the front strap as far forward as possible and mast as far back as possible makes surface riding easier as it requires more back foot pressure, something beginners are more familiar with especially if they are used to TT .

On the down side that can develop bad habits making it much harder to learn foiling jibes/tacks in the future were some front foot pressure is important. Also some boards don't have mast tracks, forgot to mention it in my initial post I also reduce the AOA of the stabilizer to around 1 degree which also increases take off speed .

BTW low volume boards make waterstart easier for experienced riders too, especially if strapless.

This is the board I am using at present for teaching 156x51cm, a single front foot option would have been nice.
F-one-Foil-board-51-TS.png
F-one-Foil-board-51-TS.png (260.04 KiB) Viewed 335 times
Aluminium masts are more than ok , particularly the light ones. The one I am using weighs exactly the same as it's carbon counterpart (1.5kg mast only).

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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby joriws » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:33 am

Deleted accidental double post
Last edited by joriws on Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

joriws
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Re: How do you teach foilboarding?

Postby joriws » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:38 am

Here is my starting experience with lf foil fish. Normal mast and loose straps. Previous Experience with foiling 0, experience with directional 0.01 meaning I could ride directional from tt experience. Only watched lf tutorial videos 1&2 from youtube before the demo so I had an idea what to do.

This video my full first touch with a foil. Body drag out and then first dive. Too much twintip backfoot weight on first try although goung for rodeo. But after a few dives I could ride without too much rodeo-style for long distance until I wanted to stop.

So my thinking how to learn is not to use small fast wing because speeds are so much higher and errors happen faster. With proper front foot pressure you'll stay on surface for same effect.

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