Forums > Kitesurfing General

Thoughts on foil kites

Reply
Created by Zigs 7 months ago, 4 Jul 2023
Zigs
NSW, 67 posts
4 Jul 2023 9:02PM
Thumbs Up

Hello everyone
Opened up my 12m as there was a bit of wind the other day, turns out rats have eaten it beyond what would be worth repairing. 12 is usually my light wind kite. I've been tossing up wether I should try a foil kite as my new light wind kite, paired with a go foil I recently got. I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it.

What's everyone's thoughts on them?
Thanks

dafish
NSW, 1630 posts
5 Jul 2023 8:02AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Zigs said..
Hello everyone
Opened up my 12m as there was a bit of wind the other day, turns out rats have eaten it beyond what would be worth repairing. 12 is usually my light wind kite. I've been tossing up wether I should try a foil kite as my new light wind kite, paired with a go foil I recently got. I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it.

What's everyone's thoughts on them?
Thanks


Foils are awesome, and if your 12 was your go to light wind kite, you will be riding a much smaller and more nimble kite. The new hybrid foil kites float after a crash and unless you dump it and waves crash over it, you are good to go. Waves won't damage it per say, but even normal kites don't always fly after taking a beating in the waves. Usually the lines are too tangled and you need to swim in and reset. The Flysurfer Peak Hybrid is a fabulous kite.

Alysum
NSW, 1024 posts
6 Jul 2023 7:52AM
Thumbs Up

Yes foil kites are awesome. I use the ozone hyperlink 9m as my biggest kite for light wind. It's very user friendly. No more time wasting trying to keep tube kites flying.

Gorgo
VIC, 4899 posts
6 Jul 2023 11:49AM
Thumbs Up

I think foil kites are best suited to enthusiasts and specialists.

Racing and certain kinds of wave riding are better with foils.

Enthusiasts spend the time to get to know and love their foils. If you don't spend the time to really get to know and understand your foil kites then you risk making life very difficult for yourself.

Depending on the kite virtually every aspect of foil kiting is different, from setup to line lengths to flying to landing to self rescue. Most of it can be worked out with a bit of thought and a few sessions.

If all you want to do is go free riding and have fun then you're much better off with an LEI. They're generally cheaper, easier to use and far more robust.

Sandee
QLD, 142 posts
6 Jul 2023 2:08PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Gorgo said..
I think foil kites are best suited to enthusiasts and specialists.

Racing and certain kinds of wave riding are better with foils.

Enthusiasts spend the time to get to know and love their foils. If you don't spend the time to really get to know and understand your foil kites then you risk making life very difficult for yourself.

Depending on the kite virtually every aspect of foil kiting is different, from setup to line lengths to flying to landing to self rescue. Most of it can be worked out with a bit of thought and a few sessions.

If all you want to do is go free riding and have fun then you're much better off with an LEI. They're generally cheaper, easier to use and far more robust.


All foil kites are not created equal. price wise nor performance wise! I'm loving my Peak4's for their ability to fly and get me foiling in very little wind, and general user-friendliness including simple setup and pack-down. Of course upwind performance, jumping ability and speed will never get close to the expensive twin-skin foils, and relaunch rate in waves isn't great, but they are a ton of fun & worth considering. Depending what you want from your kite, and how much you want to spend.

airsail
QLD, 1219 posts
6 Jul 2023 3:11PM
Thumbs Up

Naish Boxer, affordable and good. The 11 mtr will get you out in all but the lightest of wind. No dramas with launching and landing. Heaps of happy users at our local.

I'm a foil kite user but for general use go the Boxer or similar.

KBGhost
QLD, 254 posts
7 Jul 2023 2:21PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Zigs said..
.... I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it....


I feel like this is a key bit of your post and no-one has answered it so far..

If you go a single skin foil (ie peak) you're in trouble if you crash it at any time. If you're quick and lucky with how it's sitting, you can reverse launch before a wave breaks on it. I had a rope spreader snap with a peak, washed out a river mouth on outgoing tide while I was stuffing it down my wet shirt, and got caught in a circular rip in a break zone for 20m with the sun setting. Making no progress paddling on a pocket board while the sun set and waves broke on my head. Luckily I was able to get help from a prone foiler and make the sandbar with a tow. Scariest time I've had. However I used peaks exclusively for 18m or so, often in surf, and no other real issues, a few swims in. You learn not to drop them fairly quickly as well. I used take fins in a backpack at a rivermouth on outgoing tide now.

If you go a twin skin foil (Soul, hyperlink, nova etc) they might be ok with a wave or two breaking over them until you relaunch. Once the bridle gets wrapped up though you're out of luck and swimming in, probably best at that point to disengage, swim in, and hope the surf doesn't do any damage. I've had a few small waves break right onto a twin skin with taut lines (no time to eject) with no damage done.

An inflatable gives you the best shot at relaunch after a wave goes over or through it. Just don't have it face down straight downwind with tight lines so that the kite cups the full power of the wave - I had an naish C kite blow out that way when I was a beginner. Now I'd punch out before that happens, or maybe reel in one back line so the kite is end on to the wave. Inflato also gives you the option to float in rather than swim in. Also if stuck in a rip like above, could float around all day/night without drowning at least.

For me I did a full circle currently from LEI to foil and back again, currently on lightweight single strut inflatables for foiling. LEIs offer me the best complete package for my style of riding, but everyone's different.

dafish
NSW, 1630 posts
8 Jul 2023 8:41AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
KBGhost said..

Zigs said..
.... I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it....



I feel like this is a key bit of your post and no-one has answered it so far..

If you go a single skin foil (ie peak) you're in trouble if you crash it at any time. If you're quick and lucky with how it's sitting, you can reverse launch before a wave breaks on it. I had a rope spreader snap with a peak, washed out a river mouth on outgoing tide while I was stuffing it down my wet shirt, and got caught in a circular rip in a break zone for 20m with the sun setting. Making no progress paddling on a pocket board while the sun set and waves broke on my head. Luckily I was able to get help from a prone foiler and make the sandbar with a tow. Scariest time I've had. However I used peaks exclusively for 18m or so, often in surf, and no other real issues, a few swims in. You learn not to drop them fairly quickly as well. I used take fins in a backpack at a rivermouth on outgoing tide now.

If you go a twin skin foil (Soul, hyperlink, nova etc) they might be ok with a wave or two breaking over them until you relaunch. Once the bridle gets wrapped up though you're out of luck and swimming in, probably best at that point to disengage, swim in, and hope the surf doesn't do any damage. I've had a few small waves break right onto a twin skin with taut lines (no time to eject) with no damage done.

An inflatable gives you the best shot at relaunch after a wave goes over or through it. Just don't have it face down straight downwind with tight lines so that the kite cups the full power of the wave - I had an naish C kite blow out that way when I was a beginner. Now I'd punch out before that happens, or maybe reel in one back line so the kite is end on to the wave. Inflato also gives you the option to float in rather than swim in. Also if stuck in a rip like above, could float around all day/night without drowning at least.

For me I did a full circle currently from LEI to foil and back again, currently on lightweight single strut inflatables for foiling. LEIs offer me the best complete package for my style of riding, but everyone's different.



This is where the foil hybrids come in. Single skin for the most part, still the incredible agility of a that Peak agility. Saying that though, in surf and if there was enough wind (12 knots) I would be on either an 8 or 6 Reo depending if there were stronger gusts. If the surf is small I would be on a Peak 5 meter hybrid.

Gorgo
VIC, 4899 posts
8 Jul 2023 10:49AM
Thumbs Up

Hybrid foils raise a couple of concerns for me.

They're not much cheaper than a full on foil kite so there's no real cash saving there.

I don't know if they're as easy to land as a single skin foil kite. One of the joys of single skin and LEI is plonking them down at the end of a session and leisurely winding up the lines.

Double skin foil kites always have that "Is this going to work?" question when self landing, especially in stronger winds. Getting them down is not necessarily difficult but getting to the kite can require a bit of effort. Unknown helpers can be terrifying when they try to grab a foil or super thin bridle lines.

dafish
NSW, 1630 posts
9 Jul 2023 8:54AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Gorgo said..
Hybrid foils raise a couple of concerns for me.

They're not much cheaper than a full on foil kite so there's no real cash saving there.

I don't know if they're as easy to land as a single skin foil kite. One of the joys of single skin and LEI is plonking them down at the end of a session and leisurely winding up the lines.

Double skin foil kites always have that "Is this going to work?" question when self landing, especially in stronger winds. Getting them down is not necessarily difficult but getting to the kite can require a bit of effort. Unknown helpers can be terrifying when they try to grab a foil or super thin bridle lines.


They hybrid is just as easy to land as as the single skin Peak. Not had one issue yet with many sessions with no one to land. You are right about the cost though, it is a jump up from the single skin.

weebitbreezy
616 posts
10 Jul 2023 9:50PM
Thumbs Up

Benefits of a foil kite:
- Boost big in light wind
- Don't need to carry a pump which is handy if you are already carrying what feels like a super heavy surfboard with a foil on the bottom (leave the bag in the car and you've nothing to go missing whilst out on the water - if you live near one of those beaches you know the problem)
- relaunch in lighter wind as long as waves don't break over them
- Big performance without being made out of liquid gold (aluula)
- Surprisingly good drift - even from the race foils

Disadvantages:
- Bridles. Lots of them. Requires methodical packing and unpacking to avoid time loss
- Turning speed may be SLOOOOOW for closed cell (ones that float)
- You need to self land because getting a regular kiter to land you will result in a tangled rats nest of bridle as they flip it over and back.
- Kiteloops. Either gutless or full power kamikazee. Nothing inbetween.

The new Airwave Alma hybrid looks really promising though. Seen some promo shots of riders kitelooping the thing which is promising as it looks like it actually boosts AND loops (to some extent).

Secondhand airush ultra will be easier to get used to though. Still boosts well but gives you some medium pull when looped.

drsurf
NSW, 177 posts
21 Jul 2023 1:38AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Zigs said..
Hello everyone
Opened up my 12m as there was a bit of wind the other day, turns out rats have eaten it beyond what would be worth repairing. 12 is usually my light wind kite. I've been tossing up wether I should try a foil kite as my new light wind kite, paired with a go foil I recently got. I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it.

What's everyone's thoughts on them?
Thanks


A bit late in replying to this but happy to give you some thoughts Zigs.
Not sure what hydrofoil you specifically have, I assume it is suited to kitefoiling? Also not sure of your weight and wind conditions you have, as all that is a factor in size and therefore performance of your chosen kite.

Let's say you're around 75kg and you'll be foiling with a reasonable surf oriented foil in coastal seabreeze wind, (you mentioned surf), of 10 to 15 knots. I'm also assuming that you'll want to ride some waves/wind chop/swell and would like a kite that drifts well.
I'd recommend trying a Flysurfer Peak or Hybrid, probably 5m for the Peak and 5.5m for the Hybrid. Both are incredibly easy kites to fly and you'll adapt to them quickly. Their bridles are easy to manage compared to larger twin skin foil kites and they are light, relatively inexpensive and very durable. They are both the best kites for riding waves, even tiny ones, as they drift so well without falling from the sky.

With a hydrofoil you'll find no problem going upwind with these kites but if you're worried about waves breaking on your kite go for the Hybrid. It's a bit more expensive than the Peak but water relaunch is quick and easy whereas the Peak being only a single skin kite is not guaranteed to launch when you crash it. The Peak has a little more grunt for its size compared to the Hybrid but the Hybrid drift and relaunch is fantastic.

I've been using and selling these kites since the the Peak4 came out and find that once you've tried them it's hard to go back to other kites for foiling. I'm 67kg and live on the NSW South Coast where we have good seabreezes and the 2.5m Hybrid gets plenty of airtime. If you have the wind and hydrofoil, the Peaks and Hybrids under 5m are the best fun of all
So fast and responsive and you can just focus on the foil and fly the kite with one hand above you as you surf every bump downwind

Ozone Kites Aus
NSW, 884 posts
Site Sponsor
22 Jul 2023 9:47AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Zigs said..
Hello everyone
Opened up my 12m as there was a bit of wind the other day, turns out rats have eaten it beyond what would be worth repairing. 12 is usually my light wind kite. I've been tossing up wether I should try a foil kite as my new light wind kite, paired with a go foil I recently got. I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it.

What's everyone's thoughts on them?
Thanks


I've had a lot of experience with foil kites and have been flying them for around 25 years, main brands are Ozone of course but have also flown and owned several other brands including Flysurfer, Peter Lynn, and Flexifoil. I also live on the coast in Northern NSW where there is not much flat water and I've found that the best choice for open ocean/coastal conditions is an inflatable, dropping a foil kite in waves is often going to end in tears and damage to kite. Inflatables are tougher in the surf and relaunch on surf-oriented models is fast and easy 90%+ of the time.
Foil kites are quite different to fly to inflatables too but like anything you get used to them if you use them regularly.
The drifting ability of the latest wave oriented inflatable kites is very impressive and I've never felt the need to use a foil kite to ride waves.

ActionSportsWA
WA, 945 posts
12 Aug 2023 2:42PM
Thumbs Up

Hi Zigs,

As someone who has flown all types of kites fairly extensively in all categories from freestyle, waves, race and more, I can give you some thoughts.

Firstly, a foil kite is not ideal in surf unless we are talking crumbly bay chop on the windward beach. They don't turn fast enough for the split second decisions required to get the most out of a wave.
Secondly, a foil kite doesn't like waves breaking on them and washing them around in the surf foam zone.
For foiling in surf, I recommend a lightweight inflatable kite designed specifically for foiling. Even some of the new SLS and Aluula kites can be great for foiling. Wave kites in general are perfect for foiling providing wind speed is sufficient.
The FLYSURFER Peaks and Hybrids are amazing in the surf but are very one dimensional and can flap like a mofo if above their narrow wind range, especially riding upwind at speed. They do excel in light wind drop outs and are fun for just mucking around as they're almost impossible to luff.
Personally, I love the Soul 2, 10m when foiling. A seriously good kite with bags of power, ease of use and fun in different types of foiling as well as quick and easy (almost) guaranteed relaunch long after all the inflatables have deflated and rolled up to swim in. Just not ideally suited to surf unless you're good enough not to drop it.
DM ??

KooleyKiter
4 posts
25 Aug 2023 10:03PM
Thumbs Up

Been using Peaks exclusively for kite foiling for 2 years now. There are significant advantages in terms of compact portability, cost, ease of launching and landing - especially in restricted space - and performance on the wave. Sorting the bridles can be a hassle at times. If you're a good foiler it's possible to go for a long time - many sessions - before dropping a Peak, but if you do, forget about water relaunching them, unless you're very lucky or very patient & committed.

I would say Peaks are worth considering if you're foiling in an environment where the occasional swim in is an acceptable risk - ie. in side/on winds, not a long way offshore.

snalberski
WA, 857 posts
6 Sep 2023 8:12PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Zigs said..
Hello everyone
Opened up my 12m as there was a bit of wind the other day, turns out rats have eaten it beyond what would be worth repairing. 12 is usually my light wind kite. I've been tossing up wether I should try a foil kite as my new light wind kite, paired with a go foil I recently got. I pretty much always kite in the surf as there is no flat water locally, but can just imagine they wouldn't cope too well if a wave breaks on it when I crash it.

What's everyone's thoughts on them?
Thanks


Pretty much as everyone else has said foil kites are great fun, but I wouldn't be using it in surf. I originally bought my 12m Hyperlink for foilboarding but I mostly don't foil board anymore, but the foil kite is awesome for marginal/light wind boosting on a TT... extra height and pillow landings delivered by a more constant power dynamic.

Jhana
WA, 120 posts
7 Sep 2023 3:15PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
KooleyKiter said..
Been using Peaks exclusively for kite foiling for 2 years now. There are significant advantages in terms of compact portability, cost, ease of launching and landing - especially in restricted space - and performance on the wave. Sorting the bridles can be a hassle at times. If you're a good foiler it's possible to go for a long time - many sessions - before dropping a Peak, but if you do, forget about water relaunching them, unless you're very lucky or very patient & committed.

I would say Peaks are worth considering if you're foiling in an environment where the occasional swim in is an acceptable risk - ie. in side/on winds, not a long way offshore.




I have also used Peak kites for years, your kite control will improve dramatically if you use them, they are easy to fly, I very rarely drop the kite now and I have successfully relaunched them, I have also used them for downwinders on a surfboard here in Perth, I hope Flysurfer keeps making them. The Flysurfer hybrid is better at relaunch but doesn't have as much power as an equivalent Peak5

The Peak 5 kite doesn't have an inflated leading edge like an LEI but the kite will keep its shape, when in very light wind on a foil you have to keep good line tension especially when jibing in light wind, 6-9 kts, the trick before you jibe is to bring the kite really high then loop the kite by pointing one end of the bar vertical pointing upwards this will give you line tension and you let the kite pull you into the jibe, DON'T jibe first and pull the loop after, Pull the loop first and wait for the pull and then jibe.


I have used Peak 5 kites in the waves in Sanur, the kite drifts so well allowing you to ride the waves on the foil.

dafish
NSW, 1630 posts
8 Sep 2023 8:36AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Jhana said..

KooleyKiter said..
Been using Peaks exclusively for kite foiling for 2 years now. There are significant advantages in terms of compact portability, cost, ease of launching and landing - especially in restricted space - and performance on the wave. Sorting the bridles can be a hassle at times. If you're a good foiler it's possible to go for a long time - many sessions - before dropping a Peak, but if you do, forget about water relaunching them, unless you're very lucky or very patient & committed.

I would say Peaks are worth considering if you're foiling in an environment where the occasional swim in is an acceptable risk - ie. in side/on winds, not a long way offshore.





I have also used Peak kites for years, your kite control will improve dramatically if you use them, they are easy to fly, I very rarely drop the kite now and I have successfully relaunched them, I have also used them for downwinders on a surfboard here in Perth, I hope Flysurfer keeps making them. The Flysurfer hybrid is better at relaunch but doesn't have as much power as an equivalent Peak5

The Peak 5 kite doesn't have an inflated leading edge like an LEI but the kite will keep its shape, when in very light wind on a foil you have to keep good line tension especially when jibing in light wind, 6-9 kts, the trick before you jibe is to bring the kite really high then loop the kite by pointing one end of the bar vertical pointing upwards this will give you line tension and you let the kite pull you into the jibe, DON'T jibe first and pull the loop after, Pull the loop first and wait for the pull and then jibe.


I have used Peak 5 kites in the waves in Sanur, the kite drifts so well allowing you to ride the waves on the foil.


exactly...I have both the Peak 4 5 meter and the 5.5 Hybrid. Great kites, and I thought about selling my Peak 4 after the Hybrid but found it is a better light wind weapon. In the surf I would always take the Hybrid.



Subscribe
Reply

Forums > Kitesurfing General


"Thoughts on foil kites" started by Zigs