Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling

You learn what you ride.

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Created by RAL INN A week ago, 3 Dec 2017
RAL INN
VIC, 2257 posts
3 Dec 2017 1:16PM
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over the last year or so I have seen a lot of variations and ideas for learning to foil and I'd like to float the idea that we will learn to foil the way we are taught.
if you learn to kitefoil with a relatively normal kitefoil then you will learn to kitefoil in X amount of time peculiar to you.
if you learn on say a short mast kitefoil then you will learn to kitefoil on a short mast in X amount of time.
if you learn to foil behind a boat, again you will learn to foil behind a boat in X amount of time peculiar to you.

so, if we assume that free ride kitefoiling on 90-100cm masts is your thing , then you will possibly need to adapt how you learned to how you want to foil and that will take more time.

The question is how much more time Vs learning on a std foil.

jamesperth
WA, 497 posts
4 Dec 2017 2:31PM
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I'd like to know whether the short mast process is resulting in foilers bring able to ride a 90 - 100cm mast any quicker than if they just stuck with a full length mast from day 1.

Anecdotally, I'm seeing posts about guys progressing from 40-60cm masts to 100cm and experiencing the same difficulties that the other learners do when starting on 100cm mast from scratch.

i wonder whether Ral Inn is correct - do short masts only teach ppl to foil on a short masts ? I would have thought if you can ride a 60cm mast you can ride any length you like ?

warwickl
NSW, 805 posts
4 Dec 2017 6:34PM
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My experience, being a bit apprehensive the SS kite school of progressive masts were a significant help.
I progressed through to the second length ok but stalled progress with the 30in and went back to 24in. However very quickly after a few sessions went back to 30in for a couple of sessions then the 35.5 in.
Now on 90 cm Zeeko and wonder what held me back.
Natural skilled guys I expect would be ok on long masts to start where as average every day guys may benefit by stage mast lengths. It's up to each to find their comfort level as in this there is very little one fit for all.

bigtone667
NSW, 789 posts
4 Dec 2017 8:35PM
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I started on the long mast and got punished. I grabbed a half mast and reduced my time in the water by 50%. Quickly nutted out the technique and muscle memory and went back to big mast and was good to go.

1st go on big mast.... on and off for six months, almost gave up.
1st go on short mast... two weeks and $400 for the half mast.
2nd go on long mast... two and half years and 4000km later.....

Alysum
NSW, 247 posts
4 Dec 2017 10:08PM
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I'm currently learning on the SS short masts. I'm just cannot imagine learning on a tall mast and the big stacks you'd get. A shorter mast certainly gives you more confidence. $250 for 3 shorter masts is a cheap investment vs the time with a long mast. Isn't that what cause many to give up?

weebitbreezy
279 posts
4 Dec 2017 8:22PM
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Alysum said..
I'm currently learning on the SS short masts. I'm just cannot imagine learning on a tall mast and the big stacks you'd get. A shorter mast certainly gives you more confidence. $250 for 3 shorter masts is a cheap investment vs the time with a long mast. Isn't that what cause many to give up?


I think if you are worried about having a big crash you just don't go so balls out. I don't think I had much in the way of big crashes since about my 2nd session and I have only ever ridden a 95cm mast. Its not a race to see who learns quickest - it about who's having the most fun. Plenty of people seem to lie about how long they spend learning anyway (was chatting to one dude who wouldn't count any sessions where he didn't make any progress because he wanted to match this 6 hours to learn thing - WAT!)

My own take on it is that the biggest improvement in learning time is not mast length but flat water. I'd probably have been riding 50-100m tacks in the first hour or so if I'd have had flat water during those first sessions (and I'm so dis-coordinated it would take me two attempts to punch myself in the face). Its like when you first learned to kite. Get Goldilocks conditions and you'll make massive progress. Wind too strong/not strong enough/too much chop and your progress will be more challenging.

DukeSilver
WA, 137 posts
4 Dec 2017 9:06PM
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I'm also on the Slingshot Hoverglide. I definitely feel the graduated masts made learning to foil fun and relatively fast for me. I spent quite a bit of time on the 60cm mast - mainly due to the shallow water in my local spot. Because I learnt to ride long distances on the 60cm mast without breaching the foil very often (even in strong wind and heavy chop), once I went to the 90cm mast, foiling seemed simple in comparison. I had developed solid pitch control on the shorter masts so the 90cm mast felt so much safer and relaxing to me. There was a 10 - 15min adjustment period to get used to the extra height.

Lots of people bag the shorter masts for learning (why, I have no idea), but if you listen to the people WHO HAVE ACTUALLY USED THEM TO LEARN, you'll find most will sing their praises. I still use the 60cm mast quite often for shallow water and lighter winds. I've used the 40cm mast to teach 3 friends who are now getting into foiling as well, so I don't think the extra expense of these masts has been a waste at all - quite the opposite actually.

RAL INN
VIC, 2257 posts
5 Dec 2017 6:59AM
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Interesting opinions and experience here.
I only learnt on 90cm mast and have watched others using short masts.

For me I certainly hit the wall that short masts are designed to soften the impact. And also felt the frustration but it was what I had so I persevered.
it really in time on water including crashes was a phase of maybe 30mins where I learned to control rate of rise and then thanked having the extra mast length to give me time to react and control. During which time I also figured out the roll control to stop tipping over as more mast cane out.
when I look back at watching the short mast guys they took the same if not more time in the stop breaching stage with more crashing although less violence.
Although I did have a longish board with lots of nose rocker which did help.
my personal conclusion is that trying an alternative route to learning to foil is a preference thing but the direct route is the shortest and cheapest.

dafish
NSW, 1119 posts
5 Dec 2017 8:04AM
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I learned with one foil on a 1 meter mast. Crashes hurt from that high up. Could I have saved myself some pain in the process with a shorter mast? Sure. But I wasn't cashed up at the time to buy several different masts. By the third session it didn't matter any more. Now I am on a Zeeko Spitfire which is a 900mm mast and that 100 mm did make a difference at first and I preferred having that extra height with my original setup. Now after riding the SP for a while it doesn't seem to matter as much. So in saying that, I can really see the value of the smaller masts as a learning tool or a shallower water tool. Bottom line is everyone will learn at different rates regardless of what you learn on. I believe the best way for someone to learn would be behind a boat at a steady and constant slow speed. No need to worry about the kite or chop. I know that would have speeded up my learning by a few hours. Learning something new is always hard.....until it isn't any more.

high as a kite
SA, 1237 posts
5 Dec 2017 7:44AM
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I've been on 90 and 60 mast and got punished.(mid/high aspect wing)
For learning, go lower aspect front wing. I did and progressed heaps faster and now I also have a wing for small waves.
win win

TomW059
149 posts
5 Dec 2017 5:16AM
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I think it's pretty conclusive that both methods work. I probably would have used progressive mast size if I had them available, but didn't and had to go long mast from the start. And used a Moses 550 wing which is not the super easy wing like an LF.
Online help and encouragement, plus 4hrs private lessons on flat water were important.

The direct to long mast method is more intimidating, leads to some pounding, and has a higher entry step up to the first learning plateau.

The evidence says the progressive method is less intimidating, allows smaller steps in the learning plateaus, Giving encouragement.

But it seems both methods take the same amount of time on the water.

RAL INN
VIC, 2257 posts
5 Dec 2017 9:13AM
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The different front wings is certainly an idea.
And again the theories will vary.
im in the school of lower lift wing as a start. Something that allows you to keep board on water at the taxi stage and allows you to build some speed before takeoff where there is more water flow over wings and more stability. Where you can water start and have some settling in time before worrying about lift off.
like to hear other Theories

warwickl
NSW, 805 posts
5 Dec 2017 8:29PM
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Ral Inn
No theory from me just practical experience as can be read in this and other posts.
My comments are directed at beginners and there journey.
There are basics that a beginner needs to know and have instilled in their heads all of which are available in previous posts.
Each beginner for what ever reason will have gear and some of this equipment will assist faster progress than others depending on the new foilers previous experience and skill capabilities.
Almost no matter what gear they have the basic techniques of starting will over come gear issues.
Or put another way if one has the best combination of gear to learn on but minimal skills, experience and knowledge the result will be continued frustration. So there needs to be some prior level of development first before your theories can be considered.
I can almost predict your response

Plummet
3987 posts
7 Dec 2017 3:03AM
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Well I build my own foil, then learnt on it!,

That was an FB learnig curve. Not only did I have to learn about foils, wings and foil design without ever riding one, hell I had only ever seen on for 5 minutes prior to starting the build. I had to learn on a set up that was untested, I didn't know if the challenges I faced were standard, design issues or set up.

I had the set up wrong for about a month which made for a hard learning curve,. I also started learning in October which is big swell/time time of year until December. So that made learning real hard as well.

Any way. Challenging conditions and set up issues aside is was only a couple of sessions before it was up and foiling with token glides. Then a few more before I could do extended glides. That's learning on a 90cm mast.

I'm not convinced the short masts speeds the learning curve up that much that it is worthwhile investing in the extra set up. I think it might saves you 5 - 10 hours of foil learning time.

That said learning on a longer mast is challenging for a while then you break through. I think there might be a mental advantage in have easier smaller wins starting on a small mast. it must be easier at first, but then you have to relearn several mast heights before you are on the full length unit. So over all time not much different, frustration level probably less.

RAL INN
VIC, 2257 posts
7 Dec 2017 6:55AM
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Those that learnt kitefoil straight up on long masts don't know what it would be like learning another way.
we hit the frustration wall, persevered and go over it.
others straight up went an alternative route or hit the first wall and decided to divert to another route.
we all get to the other side.
the things that helped me were
1. Longer board lots of nose rocker.
2. Being told to focus on moving my body CoG rather than foot pressure.
3. Bit higher speed foil that let me settle before takeoff.
4. Getting onto smaller kite that didn't over power once up, so I could keep steering control without being overpowered

As for core skill before learning to kitefoil. Kitefoiling tests you Kite flying skills to new limits. So hone those skills first.

pro merc
NSW, 275 posts
7 Dec 2017 7:45AM
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I learned on a long mast and was punished! I stuck with it though and managed to persevere.

Short then the medium is the way to go for sure.
The short mast gives lots of confidence when carrying, getting on the board and riding the board in the water to understand what it does before the flight.

I have been building my own foils for the last 2 years and have a system that includes the 3 masts. We treat the short mast like a trainer kite. You will grow out of it after 1-3 sessions but when your mate wants to try foiling they will have a much better experience on the short mast than the long one. Just like letting your non-kiter friends try the trainer kite instead of your full sized kite. I have found experienced kiters who try the foil on the long mast are most likely to not enjoy foiling. They are used to being able to kite and trying the foil for the first time is like going back to being a beginner again and is very demoralising.

This is the foil I developed and built here in Australia and is available now.

www.konradboarding.com/products/versa-foil/

dafish
NSW, 1119 posts
7 Dec 2017 7:55AM
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nice work pro merc, good looking foil set up!

DukeSilver
WA, 137 posts
7 Dec 2017 5:53AM
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pro merc said..
I learned on a long mast and was punished! I stuck with it though and managed to persevere.

Short then the medium is the way to go for sure.
The short mast gives lots of confidence when carrying, getting on the board and riding the board in the water to understand what it does before the flight.

I have been building my own foils for the last 2 years and have a system that includes the 3 masts. We treat the short mast like a trainer kite. You will grow out of it after 1-3 sessions but when your mate wants to try foiling they will have a much better experience on the short mast than the long one. Just like letting your non-kiter friends try the trainer kite instead of your full sized kite. I have found experienced kiters who try the foil on the long mast are most likely to not enjoy foiling. They are used to being able to kite and trying the foil for the first time is like going back to being a beginner again and is very demoralising.

This is the foil I developed and built here in Australia and is available now.

www.konradboarding.com/products/versa-foil/


Ah - so you are the person behind the Versa Foil. I've been looking at these for a friend of mine who is about to buy his first foil. Well done on a good looking and well priced product. I'm sure they will sell well. Have you made a promo video yet? I couldn't find one when I looked.

pro merc
NSW, 275 posts
7 Dec 2017 10:01AM
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We are going to be filming something a soon as we get some time!
You can see a bit of it in this vid, the conditions were cross offshore with a gusty 10 knot wind. I was riding a 9m Naish Pivot and struggling in the lulls of almost no wind.

I learned on a LF foil fish and grew out of it very fast. I wanted to make a system that new riders could use easily and grow into. Our wing can ride very slow but goes fast as well.
Building the foil was a really fun project with ups and downs. We made some really bad foils to start with but tweaked and developed and now we have a model that makes no noise and rides very well :)

&t=17s

juandesooka
92 posts
8 Dec 2017 3:01AM
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Plummet said..
I'm not convinced the short masts speeds the learning curve up that much that it is worthwhile investing in the extra set up. I think it might saves you 5 - 10 hours of foil learning time.

That said learning on a longer mast is challenging for a while then you break through. I think there might be a mental advantage in have easier smaller wins starting on a small mast. it must be easier at first, but then you have to relearn several mast heights before you are on the full length unit. So over all time not much different, frustration level probably less.


I learned on tall mast too, with the now standard 5-10 hours of intense frustration, persevere through it, and eventually get it. This learning time varies, I know people who got it on first session and others where the 10 hours extended to half a season. It is doable ... just mostly sucks getting there.

On the other hand, I have one friend who used the 3 mast progression. He was riding the foil on his first tack. Advanced to mid size after 2 or 3 sessions. He basically experienced none of the learner frustration. Well maybe a little when going from 24" to 35". I am convinced that the graduated mast system makes this pretty easy to figure out.

But back to learning what you ride: that's the classic explanation from just about every kiter for why their kite, bar, board, foil is the best. :-) The kite market has matured to the point that it all works adequately. From there it's just fine tuning.

Gorgo
VIC, 3836 posts
8 Dec 2017 10:50AM
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I see the term "learned" used a lot, which implies that you learn to foil then you can do it and everything's good,

I think the biggest difficulty in foiling is that progression is not linear. I progressed in fits and starts. Lots of leaps forward combined with leaps back, sometimes all in the one session.

For me the biggest difficulties came after learning to foil. Riding around thinking I've got it nailed then crash after random crash after crash. Speed terror. Face plants. Seeming to go back to square one.

The other difficulty is that you learn something and think you've got foiling worked out, ride that way for ages, then realise that what you've learned is just the tip of the iceberg (if not completely wrong). When you start it's all about putting your feet in the right place, then you work out centre of gravity and move your head and shoulders. Then you realise it's all and none of those things and your body just does it all by itself.

Similarly, people think "Tiny kite, tiny kite, tiny kite. I can ride in under 10 knots with an 8m kite. Overpowered is bad. This is foiling." As you progress you find there are conditions where being totally maxed out on a huge kite is massive fun.

I read something on a windfoiling forum where a guy was going to drill holes into his board to move the back strap forward, because obviously the strap is too far back. All us old windsurfers remember doing something similar. Thing is, once we got competent we could use the most rear strap setting with ease. Same applies to foiling.

pro merc
NSW, 275 posts
8 Dec 2017 10:56AM
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Speed terror :) great term, had it many times!

Gorgo is right, foiling is a long term learning project to get to a level of comfort similar to a twin tip for example.

RAL INN
VIC, 2257 posts
8 Dec 2017 12:55PM
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And if you can string 3 or more days foiling in a row, it does wonders.

bigtone667
NSW, 789 posts
8 Dec 2017 2:11PM
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RAL INN said..
And if you can string 3 or more days foiling in a row, it does wonders.


I agree and think contiguous time is the single biggest difference in the success you have.

I could infrequently get to a suitable deep water location to learn once a fortnight. You spend two hours crashing on a long mast, and then repeat the exercise two weeks later (or I would switch to a TT as the wind got up to at least salvage a session). This went on for a whole year.

Once I found a "deep" water location close to home (and I started using a short mast), it was only two or three days of consecutive effort that got me up and doing long long runs.

I am now two and half years down the track and most of effort is now concentrated on riding the foil in the surf or long carving sessions on the choppy slop in our local lake.

I have done a few nice downwinders and heaps of wave riding at my local beach. The challenge now is being appropriately slow so you carve in the wave.

The progression and different equipment required has been enlightening.

DukeSilver
WA, 137 posts
Friday , 8 Dec 2017 9:22PM
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Yep the more I foil and the better I get, the more I realise I have to learn. So many nuances to master.

juandesooka
92 posts
Saturday , 8 Dec 2017 11:59PM
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RAL INN said..
And if you can string 3 or more days foiling in a row, it does wonders.



And this may carry on into competent phase too. I am solid intermediate but find if only infrequent sessions it takes me the first half hour of a session to feel comfortable again. Same effect if different spots , varied wind speeds, etc. When variables change i need a cautious feeling it out stage before the fun starts. The point being: on surfboard or twin tip this stage might be 2 minutes and you're good to go. Seems to need longer warm up on foil. Others find this too?

Plummet
3987 posts
Saturday , 9 Dec 2017 2:52AM
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So when do you stop calling yourself a learner and move to sub component then intermediate. I think its when you can foil without falling off for an extended distance and you can jybe without your ass getting wet!.....

I've been foiling for a year now, I can surface jybe and foil from 6-45 knots in seas up to 4m swell. I'm happy at speed and in big swell, But I suck at technical foot work while foiling. My goal for summer is to get the foiling footswitch nailed and add some upwind 360's.

juandesooka
92 posts
Saturday , 9 Dec 2017 4:07AM
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Plummet said..
So when do you stop calling yourself a learner and move to sub component then intermediate. I think its when you can foil without falling off for an extended distance and you can jybe without your ass getting wet!.....

I've been foiling for a year now, I can surface jybe and foil from 6-45 knots in seas up to 4m swell. I'm happy at speed and in big swell, But I suck at technical foot work while foiling. My goal for summer is to get the foiling footswitch nailed and add some upwind 360's.


I'd agree. "Intermediate" means solidly competent riding up on the foil and in control in varied conditions. I have much the same progress as you, I can ride an hour without getting my hair wet and can make 20 downwind carves in a swell train over 1-2km. But I retain my kook status in not being able to competently ride right foot forward, just ride toeside/heelside regular foot. Skipped that step while learning, now need to invest the time, but it's always "having too much fun today, will devote next session".

Expert means racers with the fancy high speed tacks, the guys doing 20ft airs, next level Greg D smooth foot trickery.

bigtone667
NSW, 789 posts
Saturday , 9 Dec 2017 8:54AM
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All I can say is foil riding has improved alk my other riding. Especially balance.

Gorgo
VIC, 3836 posts
Saturday , 9 Dec 2017 1:49PM
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I still feel low intermediate, but things seem to just click in my head and body. The other day I went from touch down foot switching to easily switching on the foil. Now I do it all the time.

Before that it was having the back foot well in front of the strap. I did a bit of strap riding to jump, but I wasn't comfortable. Suddenly it clicked and I could carve and boost in the straps all day. Being well powered up helps.

I'm not sure about the concept of being rusty after a layoff. I recently had 6 weeks off. My first session back was awesome. I could do no wrong. I think having a layoff allows the body and the brain time to lay down the new skill. I have found this with all the stuff I do (kiting, paragliding, guitar, piano). Push hard to work on a new skill, then back off a bit to let it bed down. The only thing that takes time to get up to speed is paddling over white water in the surf on a SUP. I usually get knocked off by the first few waves. The actual surfing is as easy as ever.

Similarly, I think it's a good idea to practice what you want to get better at (eg. carving, foiling gybes). I do that for a while, but then I point the foil upwind and do 3-4-5 ks in a straight line. Turn around, and blast back. The return can be linked slalom turns, or just point and go. The extended relaxed riding gives me down to get settled on the board. The days of hurtling down wind waiting for the inevitable crash are mostly gone and foiling feels much more natural.

It is said that visualising a skill is as good as practicing. When I'm not doing stuff it goes round and round in my head. It's possible the layoff allows time for more mental training.

dafish
NSW, 1119 posts
Sunday , 10 Dec 2017 7:24AM
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Gorgo said..
I still feel low intermediate, but things seem to just click in my head and body. The other day I went from touch down foot switching to easily switching on the foil. Now I do it all the time.

Before that it was having the back foot well in front of the strap. I did a bit of strap riding to jump, but I wasn't comfortable. Suddenly it clicked and I could carve and boost in the straps all day. Being well powered up helps.

I'm not sure about the concept of being rusty after a layoff. I recently had 6 weeks off. My first session back was awesome. I could do no wrong. I think having a layoff allows the body and the brain time to lay down the new skill. I have found this with all the stuff I do (kiting, paragliding, guitar, piano). Push hard to work on a new skill, then back off a bit to let it bed down. The only thing that takes time to get up to speed is paddling over white water in the surf on a SUP. I usually get knocked off by the first few waves. The actual surfing is as easy as ever.

Similarly, I think it's a good idea to practice what you want to get better at (eg. carving, foiling gybes). I do that for a while, but then I point the foil upwind and do 3-4-5 ks in a straight line. Turn around, and blast back. The return can be linked slalom turns, or just point and go. The extended relaxed riding gives me down to get settled on the board. The days of hurtling down wind waiting for the inevitable crash are mostly gone and foiling feels much more natural.

It is said that visualising a skill is as good as practicing. When I'm not doing stuff it goes round and round in my head. It's possible the layoff allows time for more mental training.


I think visualization is a critical skill that helps improving in an field or endeavor. What kind of foil and board are you riding and jumping on?



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Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling


"You learn what you ride." started by RAL INN