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Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

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RickI
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Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby RickI » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:43 pm

or, hope in the calms of the South Florida summer for kiters.

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Damo LeRoy and Jon Modica doing their daily foilboard session off Jupiter, Fl in gnat sneeze breeze without a whitecap in sight. Photo: Damien LeRoy Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/damien.leroy.7?fref=ts


Damo tells me not only is it possible, he has been doing it off Jupiter along with a growing crew of foilboard riders. If it is blowing from 6 to 10 kts., they are out there. It sounds like foilboards are taking off with a vengeance. Case in point, Damo said that last year there were two foilboards at the Mondial du Vent in France last year, this year there were 40 in the race. He says that demand is exploding throughout the USA as well. It isn't just for the lightwind qualities but a good deal more, read on.


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Damo got the GoPro photo of the day recently with this image.
Image from http://lift.mhlcustom.com/index.html


Damo tells me the foilboard riding sensations are amazing. It can be light as anything and yet you are ripping at speed. The foil responds fast to control inputs and working up to jumping can be an interesting experience. He said that experienced kiters will have a good 45 minutes of bashing getting the hang of the board. The trick is to keep your weight centered over the foil and to not bend over. These can be counter-intuitive to experienced kiters so it takes some getting used to.

Damo rides MHL foil boards out of Puerto Rico and tells me demand for boards is intense. They are going at full retail, around $1850. as supply can't keep up with demand. This reminds me of the good old days, pre-2000 and four line kites, when I could usually sell my old kites rapidly for what I paid for them.



An intro to Lift Hydrofoil boards


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The Lift factory is located in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.


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Damo and Jon rip nearshore in light breeze
Photo: Damien LeRoy Facebook Page


Damo started out foilboard kiting with 18 m kites but has gradually been reducing the size. Once you are on plane you need little kite force to keep you there relatively speaking. Then again getting on plane can take some experience at the low end particularly with a smaller kite. He is currently using a 13 m transitioning to an 11 m and this is for low end, 6 to 10 kt. wind kiting! He said you need to use line extensions to get your lines to around 30 m to increase the stroke duration and control.


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Photo: Damien LeRoy Facebook Page

Damo is working his way through tricks with the board including this amazing board off. He described jumping as a fairly tricky process, initially anyway. Your planning surface be feet deep so it isn't like you can just pop and up you go. Although as fast as the board moves in response to control inputs I understand things transition rapidly. You need to get the board closer to the surface before launching. He said landing is more forgiving than you might think in part due to the relatively small foil area.


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Photo: Chasin A Dream Photography Facebook Page


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An adept kiter can even ride these strapless!
Photo: http://www.damienleroy.com/


I asked how fragile the foil assembly is to impacts as I understand it is a composite material. Damo said he has beat his demo board pretty thoroughly with lots of bottom impacts and about 80 demos in a variety of conditions. He said a lot of folks are training initially behind a boat but he prefers to do it beneath a kite in part due to the higher tow/support angle helping with stability.


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Photo: Damien LeRoy Facebook Page


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Image from http://lift.mhlcustom.com/index.html


I asked what the most wind Damo had been out in with the foil boards to date. He said it was around 25 kts. on a 7.5 m kite. Given the rapid response and low power requirements, high wind kiting can be particularly demanding. He has learned that 10 kts. offers more than enough power to rip and much above you start thinking about rigging down from a 13 m in his case.


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Image from http://lift.mhlcustom.com/index.html

So, there is something new out there with remarkable riding and light wind demand properties. Foilboards are likely coming to a demo near you at some point in the future.


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Get in touch with Damo for more information at http://www.damienleroy.com/site/

.

BigPaul
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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby BigPaul » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:59 pm

Now that's a work of art. :D

rightguard
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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby rightguard » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:11 pm

Really like the idea but REALLY scared if bottom strikes.

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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby ronnie » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:22 pm

How much fun is it to get it back in when the wind drops the kite out of the sky?

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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby JollyGreen » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:24 am

A guy in Kailua rides the same or similar board, I can vouch that he has been the only one out on a few occasions, my guess was 6 to 8 knots and he was able to ride upwind really well. He is on the lighter end as far as rider comparison and was using a 17m ozone when I saw him. No lawn is safe anymore, if the kiters don't mow it the sups will sweep it, haha

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jakemoore
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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby jakemoore » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:58 am

JollyGreen wrote: No lawn is safe anymore, if the kiters don't mow it the sups will sweep it, haha



:rollgrin: :rollgrin: :rollgrin:

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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby Westozzy » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:16 am

Well I can see for the average joe, this could be a real zen experience on those light days...will watch and see with this one...

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RickI
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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby RickI » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:15 am

Checkout the photos, Damien LeRoy is about the last guy in kiting you need to be concerned about "mowing the lawn" with. I have yet to try it myself, so all of this is second hand. Plan to fix that soon one way or the other however. I understand the sensation of ripping in minimal wind, firing upwind nicely and speeding into jumps is unique and compelling all by itself. The wind usually drops way down in large measure in these parts for close to a couple of months in the summer in typical years. Kiters would like a real kiting option to waiting/traveling out of the area for a wind fix speaking from long personal experience. There are other places with light wind at times too where foil boards might make a difference in periods of kiting inactivity.

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Hawaiis
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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby Hawaiis » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:52 am

JollyGreen wrote:A guy in Kailua rides the same or similar board, I can vouch that he has been the only one out on a few occasions, my guess was 6 to 8 knots and he was able to ride upwind really well. He is on the lighter end as far as rider comparison and was using a 17m ozone when I saw him. No lawn is safe anymore, if the kiters don't mow it the sups will sweep it, haha

That guy might have been me, except My MHL lift is a piece of crap. I don't use at all, I use the Rush Randle Hydrofoil that is more than 10 years old.
here is video of the Wobbly MHL Lift :

https://vimeo.com/66880713

Last edited by Hawaiis on Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Don Monnot
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Re: Rip in 6 to 10 knots?!

Postby Don Monnot » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:15 pm

I didn't see any transitions in the video. What is it like jibing the board?

Don


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