Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling

Choosing a beginner foil board

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Created by Bretto74 > 9 months ago, 2 Jul 2017
Bretto74
NSW, 47 posts
2 Jul 2017 11:07PM
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Would really like to give foil boarding a try. I'm an intermediate kiter of 3yrs experience, all on twin tip (with straps); and all cabrinha switchblade kites 7-12mtrs (plus 1x 17m contra). I'm reasonably heavy at 110kgs, 6'1. I'm not usually the type to rush in on new season gear, not for kites anyway, choosing instead to scoop the run out specials on last years stuff.

However when buying a foil, I feel the R&D developments of this reasonably new sport make it worth getting latest tech gear and I may even wait to see the 2018 releases. Any thoughts?

Having said that there are a few shop specials around on Shinn foil boards which I really like (El Stubbo's and Shinsters) which seem pretty cool? Not sure why one over the other?

The Cabrinha double agent too, seems a good beginner option?

Any and all advise on topic would be greatly appreciated?

cbulota
WA, 1199 posts
2 Jul 2017 11:55PM
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Hi Bretto,

The transition from Twin tip Only experience to hydrofoil can be VERY steep. It would really help if you had good skills with directional boards, particularly race boards.

Foiling is not something you can just ''give a try''. At your level and given your experience you can expect that it will take a while before you can actually enjoy the joys of foiling, by ''a while'' I mean it could take months, especially if you go at it without any coaching. What most don't understand is that it's a completely different sport and also that there are much more risks involved than regular kiting.

You could dramatically cut down on the learning curve and minimize the risks by getting some coaching/lessons with a professional (radio helmets would be best), and also using beginner friendly foiling equipment: shorter mast and Larger wings.

You're focusing too much on the equipment at the moment. Buying the latest and greatest foil will make absolutely no difference in your beginner progression, in fact, the more high tech and race oriented your foil is, the more difficult if will be to learn on.

If I was you I would look for something cheap and as beginner friendly as possible (LARGE wings). You could use a cheap beginner foil for at least 2 seasons before justifying needing a high performance foil.

The choice is yours, spend over $2500 on a brand new foil and spend a few months trying to learn by yourself...

OR

spend $1000 to $1500 on a decent second hand foil setup and the rest on lessons to learn in a few days/weeks

Also hydrofoils have been around for a LONG time...it just seems like a new sport since it's only started getting more popular in Australia for the last 3 years. As as beginner who is at the stage of being able to foil comfortably, you wouldn't notice the difference in tech between a foil that is 3, 4, or 5 years old.

Christian

snalberski
WA, 619 posts
3 Jul 2017 1:57AM
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The J Shapes foil and board is an awesome product and having low aspect/large area front wing makes it beginner friendly. It's around 3kish but worth every cent in my opinion. A shorter mast may make learning marginally easier but buying an additional mast will be expensive, short lived and no where near as much fun as a full size mast. The Shinn boards are not originally designed foil boards and as a beginner a board with a large volume will give you a huge advantage for water starts and touch downs. Lessons may fast track the learning curve but
with 3 years experience you should have more than enough experience to to dive in provided you are prepared to be tenacious. If you are, you'll be foil boosting and backrolling in no time.

horey69
QLD, 257 posts
3 Jul 2017 11:32AM
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Check out the Slingshot Australia webpage they have a variety of foils, masts, boards, & foil academy for new foilers.
Plenty of opinions on which is the best way to start and what gear is best.
Do plenty of reading, then make your choice.

weebitbreezy
382 posts
3 Jul 2017 5:44PM
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I was chatting to one of the instructors at a school whilst on holiday last week. The Progression video guys were around his spot recently filming and they brought the new shinn foils. Apparently the Shinn P-foil is incredibly user friendly. He said it took him 20mins from never being on a foil before, to long foiling runs.

Now he is a skilled rider with a lot of experience but I'd guess that the P-foil is currently probably the easiest progression into foiling at the moment. I'd also guess you have to have a second learning period when you transition to a regular foil (it has a very low foiling speed so and is very pitch stable). Long and short, his school have one on order as he feels he can get someone riding in a short period of tuition and that's what his goal is for paying students.

Maybe you'll grow out of it quicker but....what price easy learning?

Bretto74
NSW, 47 posts
3 Jul 2017 9:22PM
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Hey thanks so much guys, really appreciate the feedback. Cbulota thanks for the words of warning, have definitely noted there is a lot more helmets and impact vests in foil boarding than other kiting flavours. I know its not all about gear, but am convinced plenty of people quit cause are trying to learn with the wrong gear, or really sub-par equipment. Checked out your kitebud Facebook page also, and reckon a trip to Perth for lessons could be on the cards down the track. Am doing the Aitutaki trip with KiteRepublic in a couple of weeks, so prolly a 2018. Really liked your tutorial videos payg also.
Snalberski you have some good points on board volume. Over the years, I've bought the majority of my gear from Kitepower, so will get in and bleed Alesandro's ear on the topic when closer to pulling the trigger.

My key takeaways being, it's more dangerous than a casual thing and not only is the foil (wing shape/size & mast length) important but the actual board as well.

With two twinnies already, I reckon I can afford to go a pure foil board when ready to learn, and leaning (volume and good looks of the slingshot range aside) to the Shinn Jackson with a P-foil also not an ugly combo with plenty of upsides...

snalberski
WA, 619 posts
4 Jul 2017 12:38AM
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Bretto74 said..
Snalberski you have some good points on board volume. Over the years, I've bought the majority of my gear from Kitepower, so will get in and bleed Alesandro's ear on the topic when closer to pulling the trigger.



Sounds like you're pretty much on the case. If you can get a good deal from Kitepower on a
J Shapes you should really think about that option... full carbon mast/foil/fuselage with a boyant, beautifully shaped board outguns a piece of ply with large nose rocker and an aluminium mast and fuselage with a fiberglass foil, by far. I swear by my Shinn Monk but I'm not convinced about their products in the foiling arena. With a small consideration on J Shapes from your mate at Kitepower you'll be paying the same or maybe even less for the J Shapes and a (in my opinion) far superior rig.

cbulota
WA, 1199 posts
4 Jul 2017 10:23AM
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Bretto74 said..
Hey thanks so much guys, really appreciate the feedback. Cbulota thanks for the words of warning, have definitely noted there is a lot more helmets and impact vests in foil boarding than other kiting flavours. I know its not all about gear, but am convinced plenty of people quit cause are trying to learn with the wrong gear, or really sub-par equipment. Checked out your kitebud Facebook page also, and reckon a trip to Perth for lessons could be on the cards down the track. Am doing the Aitutaki trip with KiteRepublic in a couple of weeks, so prolly a 2018. Really liked your tutorial videos payg also.


Hi Bretto,

it would be my pleasure to introduce you into foiling. Our local spot (Pinnaroo Point) is one of the only wave-free spots in the greater Perth area. It's also deep so no need to worry about hitting the bottom. We also get very clean and steady winds in the summer. All those factors makes it an ideal location for learning to foil. Also, there will be a dedicated foil section as part of my school.

I taught many friends how to foil in the last few years, most of which had a heavy background in directional boards and race boards. With the right approach I was able to get most of them foiling in between 2 and 10 hours! But as I said earlier, that won't be the case for everyone, even with coaching.

It seems to me like budget isn't so much of an issue, so in that case maybe a new foil with lessons is the go

Christian

warwickl
NSW, 1112 posts
4 Jul 2017 7:03PM
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Merimbula in November will be the place to show your gear.
I went last year and now hooked and keen for progress.
I would expect to see windsurf foiling there this year as well.

eddiemorgs
NT, 340 posts
5 Jul 2017 1:53PM
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Jshapes said..
HI,

This is Antoine from Jshapes, in Raglan, NZ.

We have a new beginner foil ready to launch, we will have the first one available at the end of the week. It is also our wave foil, early planning, stable and a very low stall speed to make transition easier.

We have kept our Prepreg Carbon constrution and simple connection system. The full foil with the 70cm mast weighs around 2.5kg, combined with a 155 or 145 board makes for a great first foil and you can easily upgrade to the freeride foil if you are looking for more speed.

Price will remain the same, around 2000 for the foil and 1200 for the board.

Everything is made in Raglan, NZ with full customer support in Raglan and through our dealer Network.

Thanks,

Antoine








Hi Antoine - I already have the jshapes freeride foil - really enjoying your gear although the board ( and me ) has suffered some abuse from the odd voilent dismount , no fault of the equipment .
I am not advanced but am making good progress bit by bit

I have a wave background and only ride directional and now foil, so always looking to ride any lumps and bumps I see when on the foil .... not jumping or racing .... cruising about and waves , thats me

We have a lot of chop in Darwin and also wind swell - the longer mast seems the go although I sometimes feel a little shorter would be more compatible

With all that in mind , can you give us more thoughts about the new foil as compared to the freeride one in regard to its waveiness?
( If that is a word )
You speak of it a beginners foil but also as a wave foil ( which will need a higher level of skill )

Is there a circumstance where you might choose one or the other if you are no longer a beginner and wish to ride waves ?
I am guessing you can also change the mast combination .

Hope you can understand what I am driving at ?

Cheers

Eddie

eddiemorgs
NT, 340 posts
5 Jul 2017 7:42PM
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Jshapes said..
HI Eddie,

The requirements of what we want our foils to do evolves all the time, today we want to foil comfortably at low speeds and play in the waves, the top speed is secondary to comfort.

The idea behind the Freeride foil was for it to go 25 knots and be able to carve. It does those two things really well and is stable down to about 15 knots.

The new Beginner foil is designed to stay foiling at low speeds and to stall and pivot turn at low speeds. These are the same things that we need a wave foil to do.

The Surface area and thickness of the foil increased by more then 30%, the foil is now 20cm wide, the freeride is 14cm. The new wing is thicker than the freeride wing and much flatter. This makes it easier to ride and turn(flat), the top speed will max out around 20 knots, but can go under 10 knots and still foil. The transition are much easier because you do not need to accelerate out of them to stay foiling.

Foil surfing is not easy, it does take a good bit of practice and a few scary crashes, but it is really good in poor mushy surf and it is an incredible feeling to be flying down the line on a swell. Here is a little clip below.



Antoine


Cool Antoine , thanks for the explanation . And you are right , things change .

Up here we don't free surf much like the clip although it does look great - wish we could

How will the beginner foil suit kiting in our choppy conditions , some carving on steep running swells and to do some waves as well?
We do get some in the wet season .

I am guessing we can interchange with my current setup ?

Sorry to hijack this thread guys ....hope its a useful chat

eddiemorgs
NT, 340 posts
6 Jul 2017 6:22PM
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high as a kite said..

eddiemorgs said..


Jshapes said..
HI,

This is Antoine from Jshapes, in Raglan, NZ.

We have a new beginner foil ready to launch, we will have the first one available at the end of the week. It is also our wave foil, early planning, stable and a very low stall speed to make transition easier.

We have kept our Prepreg Carbon constrution and simple connection system. The full foil with the 70cm mast weighs around 2.5kg, combined with a 155 or 145 board makes for a great first foil and you can easily upgrade to the freeride foil if you are looking for more speed.

Price will remain the same, around 2000 for the foil and 1200 for the board.

Everything is made in Raglan, NZ with full customer support in Raglan and through our dealer Network.

Thanks,

Antoine








Hi Antoine - I already have the jshapes freeride foil - really enjoying your gear although the board ( and me ) has suffered some abuse from the odd voilent dismount , no fault of the equipment .
I am not advanced but am making good progress bit by bit

I have a wave background and only ride directional and now foil, so always looking to ride any lumps and bumps I see when on the foil .... not jumping or racing .... cruising about and waves , thats me

We have a lot of chop in Darwin and also wind swell - the longer mast seems the go although I sometimes feel a little shorter would be more compatible

With all that in mind , can you give us more thoughts about the new foil as compared to the freeride one in regard to its waveiness?
( If that is a word )
You speak of it a beginners foil but also as a wave foil ( which will need a higher level of skill )

Is there a circumstance where you might choose one or the other if you are no longer a beginner and wish to ride waves ?
I am guessing you can also change the mast combination .

Hope you can understand what I am driving at ?

Cheers

Eddie



Looks like a new toy coming up:)


Nah. Already have one

Bretto74
NSW, 47 posts
8 Jul 2017 8:50AM
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Being 43 I first came to kiting in 2007, and clearly that's not young either. I admit, kiting beat me. After half a dozen lesssons from a very patient teacher, and many more unsuccesful totally humbling, even humiliating outings, the last of which saw my gear washed up on the rocks requiring patch work from a sail repairer, not to mention a spaghetti tangle of lines which needed many hands, and hours upon hours to untangle - I quit!
This failure haunted me, I always took pride in overall sporting ability (surfing, snowboard, windsurfing, wakeboarding etc).
It wasn't until late 2014 that my cousin shared with me the "step change" in kite control and safety introduced by Cabrinha circa 2008 (ie. right after I quit). Whether he was right or not, he had me convinced the Cabrinha switchblade was the answer to the niggling failure of my adult life. So I invested in a 12mth old secondhand 2014 switchblade. Certainly not ready to over capitalise after my last foray into kiting 7yrs earlier. Long story short, voila! I broke the back of this sport in the next two outings and haven't looked back.
Trouble is I became very equipment focused and a bit of a brand snob. Cabrinha kites and shinn boards all the way, until someone posted the buzz kites sales pitch recently, and that really resonated with me. If you haven't read it, it's on the front page of their website.

So yes I going to look outside the square for my foil board and all other purchases going forward...

Good thread guys thanks again for picking it up and the feeedback.

ps. Jake Kelsick has been posting a lot on foiling lately over on YouTube lately...

RAL INN
VIC, 2639 posts
8 Jul 2017 9:36AM
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Coming from the TT background you maybe better off focusing your turning attempts towards turning heal to toeside and visa versa. As opposed to foot switch.
im really bad at the foot switch due to my lack of effort with the surfboard.
But the early stages of getting up and foiling along won't be effected by coming from the TT.

cbulota
WA, 1199 posts
8 Jul 2017 9:25AM
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RAL INN said..
But the early stages of getting up and foiling along won't be effected by coming from the TT.




Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more on that sentence.

It's funny, just yesterday I came upon this blog post from progression about preparation for learning to foil.

www.progression.me/blog/learning-to-hydrofoil-preparation-on-a-surfboard/

Their advice is pretty much spot on and really highlights the challenges someone with Only twin tip experience will have to face going straight to hydrofoiling.

That hardest part of learning to foil is to un-learn the habit of driving the board with the back foot and leaning back to edge the board. Every time you try to RAIL INN a hydrofoil when learning you will crash hard with the risk of hitting your foil face first.

Having surfboard experience is a huge asset as you learn to use your front foot a lot more, especially strapless.

Raceboard experience would help learning to ride the board flat and not rely on leaning back.

3 Friends of mine who had a lot of raceboard and surfboard experience, all learned to foil with me in under 4 hours. You can tell the difference straight away when someone is trying to learn without a lot of experience on directional boards, it takes a LOT longer and the stacks are much scarier.

As for learning to change direction/switch feet, that shouldn't be a concern at first. It's a goal to work on much further down the track.

Christian

RAL INN
VIC, 2639 posts
8 Jul 2017 12:17PM
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Sorry Christian, but I stand by what I noted above.
I had not touched my surfboard for nearly 2 years and before that it was used very rarely. So what I said is based on my own experience taking up foiling from a TT background.
while a surfboard background is an advantage when learning to turn both on water and on foil. The first stages of getting moving and onto foil if coming from a TT, as long as the rider takes note of the advise about having back foot forward of mast and takes the time to get relaxed on the water, is of very little time difference in the overall scheme of things.

cbulota
WA, 1199 posts
8 Jul 2017 12:15PM
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If only learning new skills would be as easy as ''taking note'' of some advice...

Here is how it really works:
So, someone like Bretto who has been at the stage of Unconscious Competence riding at TT for a while already, will first have to break motor patterns involved with TT riding and learn New Ones back from the Conscious incompetence phase.

Breaking motor patterns can take as much time as learning new ones from scratch.

As many are saying, learning to foil is like ''learning to kite all over again''. And this is the reason WHY.

Christian

snalberski
WA, 619 posts
8 Jul 2017 1:15PM
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I agree with both Ral Inn and cbulota on various points. I also think that the notion that foilboarding is some sort of high end skill reserved for the talented or experienced is bollocks. It is as easy or difficult as the learner perseves it to be.

RAL INN
VIC, 2639 posts
8 Jul 2017 3:30PM
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So what's the stage where's after nailing a stage of foiling in one session, you head out for next session only to have slipped to a level of incompetence that seems to be leading you to a state of unconsciousness.

cbulota
WA, 1199 posts
8 Jul 2017 1:42PM
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snalberski said..
I agree with both Ral Inn and cbulota on various points. I also think that the notion that foilboarding is some sort of high end skill reserved for the talented or experienced is bollocks. It is as easy or difficult as the learner perseves it to be.










I agree as well. I never said that foiling is reserved for high end talented kiters only, I just said it's easier to learn for some and harder for others, depending on your background and the approach you choose to learn (mainly lessons vs no lessons).

People with your level of perseverance are very rare Simon. Let's be honest, most would have given up putting all the time and effort you put to get going.

You were pretty surprised when you asked one of my friend on the beach who was learning to foil to find out it was his first day trying, and he was already foiling long distances

It's interesting as you have both extremes of the spectrum right there. Learning to foil in One Day VS an entire season or more...

Not sure you will find many kiters willing to persevere trying to learn to foil over an entire season or more of regular practice, trial and error.

It took me about a year to learn how to kitesurf on a TT (mostly self-taught in terrible wind conditions). Yes I have a lot of perseverance as well....However, when learning to foil I wanted to give up so many times only after a few days trying to learn by myself. Eventually figured it out after about 10 days or so as I was actually very close to giving up completely.

kiteboy dave
QLD, 6525 posts
9 Jul 2017 4:46PM
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cbulota said..



That hardest part of learning to foil is to un-learn the habit of driving the board with the back foot and leaning back to edge the board. Every time you try to RAIL INN a hydrofoil when learning you will crash hard with the risk of hitting your foil face first.

Having surfboard experience is a huge asset as you learn to use your front foot a lot more, especially strapless.
..You can tell the difference straight away when someone is trying to learn without a lot of experience on directional boards, it takes a LOT longer and the stacks are much scarier.

Christian


I'm with Christian on this one... I'm a super busy self-confessed middle age lawn mower who spent endless days on the beach a decade ago and now is very lucky to get a spare few hours here or there through summer.. and even luckier if the wind's blowing too. Things will ease but for now suffice to say I'm too busy to get over the foiling hump with any momentum. I've only ever ridden TTs and been lucky with great flat water locations nearby most of my time. Getting on a foil was like learning directional at the same time as learning to foil, plus handling lumpy water too. Too much too soon when you're going months between sessions.

I've chosen to step back and purchased an alien twister that should make a decent platform for mounting a foil later, but for now I'm going to learn strapless surfboard and get good on that, tacks and gybes and foot switches etc. My theory is the addition of a foil under a board you're already comfortable strapless on should be a much smaller step.

TomW059
175 posts
24 Jul 2017 4:57AM
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I'm an average Joe, 55+. I started kitesurfing in 2002 on 2 line Wikipedia kites and took a 5 day, 2 session a day, course in Bretagne, France in cold Temps and French language I barely understand . On 5th day, of 16 students in 2 classes, I was one of the two that actually got up on a strapped 6 foot directional for 50 meter downwind blowout.
That was 20 hrs ofinstructions, kite flying and 4-5 hours in deep water way offshore, launched from a boat. It took a lot of perseverance. That was it, I was hooked.

Next step was to buy gear and start. First trip was to Egypt in 2002. I learned to stay upwind that week. After 10 years I started strapless surfboard, mostly because I was bored and a my body was getting a pounding from kite loops and jumps. It was easy to learn, but had to put the TT in the garage and not take it to the beach. Low learning curve.

Then last year I jumped onto the HF bandwagon. Biggest challenge has been lack of instruction and there's not many around to watch and observe techniques and get advice on spots and how-to.
I did 3 sessions alone last fall. It felt impossible.
Booked a trip to Mexico for February and took 4hrs private lessons - super successful! I may have given up without.

Back in Sweden I'm out in late March 3c air and water, doing sessions at deep water spots no-one kites at in those Temps.

April I'm making progress and still struggling with all the rubber and fogging glasses and ****. But I'm up and flying more constantly.

May, I'm getting confident and doing longer sessions and flying upwind and further out. The body slams are taking a toll on my neck and back and late May I get a herniated disk, and have to rest 4 weeks.

Late June I'm up on board again doing 30 min sessions, now in late July 90 min sessions and working on transitions, flying in all kinds of tougher conditions. I'm happy to get in 2 sessions a week.

What my experience tells me is that you gotta have a lot of perseverance to HF. It was the hardest thing I've ever learned, requiring independent initiative and guts to go out alone and not knowing what to do.
Of course, these forums and you-tube have been super important for me. An the private lessons.



dafish
NSW, 1318 posts
24 Jul 2017 8:16AM
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I never had the opportunity to watch anybody foil or even ask questions. I watched a ton of GD clips and the Liquid Force tutorials to get an idea and focus on a few key issues. I practiced before I took any other board out. One hour max each time (which was plenty of beatings and couldn't take any more than that per session). After the second full hour I was getting the foil planing for short periods. By the fifth hour I could ride and sustain a distance of 50 to 100 meters pretty consistently one way, but going on my goofy side I was getting cleaned up by bay chop/swell and still taking a beating. Smoother water would have made a big difference in my learning. By 10 hours I could ride at will both ways and started transitions. I have seen others now go through the process and the time period it took me seems pretty normal if you are committed. Warmer water helps the motivation. You also need really good kite flying skills in order to start foiling. Your focus should be all about the foil and not the kite, or where it is in the window. Far too much to think about with just the foil. You have to be prepared for a beating. It's gonna happen. But it happens less the more you persevere.

TomW059
175 posts
24 Jul 2017 7:17PM
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Dafish, yepp, flat warm conditions accelerates learning dramatically.
Add radio instructions and I think your looking at reducing time needed by half.
I'd like to add to the" perseverance " quotient. I was looking at 1200 euros minimum for a foil and board. Not much used available up here, except early adopter, out of date, race foils. Ended up spending 1600 euro on a Moses setup.

Lambie
VIC, 715 posts
29 Jul 2017 10:42PM
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Looks like learning to foiling is like 'a walk in the park' (not) after the above discussion !!

Im wondering about it but also wondering what all the hype is about ? - Im simply not allowed to kite in all conditions (family has got to fit in somewhere!!)

Ive seen the guys ripping it up at the Merimbula Classic when we couldnt get going on 14m and surfboards over the last few years - but strangely they dissappeared when we were having fun (ok some still had a go but not many)

If I simply cant justify kiteing in all conditions is foiling still something worth getting in to ???

TomW059
175 posts
30 Jul 2017 6:00AM
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Lambie, I have limited time to kite too, I have to fit it into full-time work, family. If I have Kiteable conditions I'm usually able to get out 1-2 times after work and 1-2 times on weekends for 60 to 90 min sessions. now that I've learned to foil the days I can kite have increased, allowing more flexibility when planning.

Problem is that while learning, first 10-15 sessions, you are looking for 12-15 knots wind at deep water spots- and that's less frequently, so I had to prioritize and drive to distant spots more often. That took more time.

Now I'm at session 23 ( losing count) and session conditions are wider, but im so hooked I'll skip normal session to save my " ego time " for foiling day! Still my session count is about the same this year.

Lastly, my family never wants to go with me to the beach when I kite because it's too windy and cold. But this summer they came along 2 times when I went foiling in 12-14 knots and it was OK on the beach.



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Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling


"Choosing a beginner foil board" started by Bretto74