Forums > Stand Up Paddle Foiling

SUP foiling, my first steps.

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Created by colas > 9 months ago, 9 Apr 2017
colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 3:42AM
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OK, my new toy has arrived!
A bit apprehensive. I am 56, 100kg, and never foiled on any support, nor flied. A am competent in SUPing and Windsurfing though, and some surfing abilities... I will share my experience here

First the gear: A Gong SUP foil, big wing (the large version), full carbon, 2' / 60cm mast, and a "Curve" board 8'9"x31" x 135l full carbon sandwich deck, Tuttle Box & straps added by the Gong team: with the pad it means 2kg more than the production board at 8.9kg.
Gong put the rider in the center of the board,with an advanced position of the foil & straps. This this more natural to paddle with the feet in the straps, and to balance while flying. The angle of the foil is designed so that the foil is flat while paddling, so the foil doesn't drag while paddling, a nice touch.





JB
NSW, 2165 posts
Site Sponsor
9 Apr 2017 5:50AM
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Very interesting configuration and foil placement. After yesterdays session, I am finding I like the foil further back. I spent an hour behind the boat, the a fun session in the surf (prone paddled in) on a 7'3" Hokua. Definitely keen to see some video of you ripping Colas. My 2cents is to get as much time behind the boat as possible. If makes it all so much easier. I feel like yesterday was the first day it all came together and that is after 2 sessions both 1 hour long behind the boat. I'll link the video soon.

Enjoy, and be safe.

JB

colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 3:53AM
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First day!



Crappy "waves", nobody out. The goal was to get the feeling for it, keeping the weight on the forward foot to avoid getting airbone. I was surprised, even with the board in the water, you really feel the foil effect, the boards feels like on an air cushion, and glides noticeably better.

What I found:
- having a stabler board as your normal board helps. The foil is sensitive to underwater currents, so it is a new balance to learn. This one is 15 liters more than the 8'4" I use for very windy conditions
- no need for fins, I was afraid of the row, but it is not an issue
- you are not as efficient on takeoff since you have to cope with this different balance. I was used for instance to fade in on take off, this complicates a lot things with a foil. It should be better with experience, of course.
- straps are mandatory. Without straps, you panic as soon as you get airborne, and most importantly, the board flips underneath you and you fall on the foil. With the straps, when the boards flips, it flips you over and make you fall far from the foil, on the other side. Only the front foot well in the strap is needed, the back one can stay in front of the rear strap, which serves as a position marker
- you must be totally crouched, in the "gorilla butt" position. As soon as you unfold the legs, you are history.

... and... it is FUN!!! And although truly foiling is super hard, the good news is that keeping the board in contact with the water is not too had but let you have a lot of the foil feeling, so I guess you can have a not too hard learning curve, if you just try to clock as much "semi foil" time as possible, not trying to get airborne too soon.

For instance the boost by the foil at 0:43 is insane, no need to be airborne to feel its power!

colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 3:57AM
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Second day (today). This is the last 45 minutes of my session. I kept all the rides in the video so that you can get an idea. I only moved the most interesting ones to the front.

Most of my falls were due to the the front foot not full engaged in the strap, or my habit to fade on take off. I need now to learn to push forward to counter the lift as soon as the foil rises

colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 4:03AM
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Here is the board flipping without my front foot fully engaged in the strap: it flips underside you



And with the strap, it flips you over

JB
NSW, 2165 posts
Site Sponsor
9 Apr 2017 6:03AM
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Slab
930 posts
9 Apr 2017 4:47AM
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Helmet and impact vest a good idea......

petedorries
QLD, 699 posts
9 Apr 2017 7:41AM
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Good Stuff. Shows how hard it truly is for us mere mortals (especially the older brigade) .
I remember the feeling of 1st getting airborne. Your video bought that memory back.

JEG
VIC, 1469 posts
9 Apr 2017 1:16PM
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Well done gents on having a go at the sup foil. Don't think you see me on any foil except on a boat ride foil ;)

colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 1:03PM
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JB said..
My 2cents is to get as much time behind the boat as possible. If makes it all so much easier.




Yup, seeing how I enter a totally unknown realm once airborne, I guess that is a very sound suggestion. I will try to find some waterskiing school or similar to plan some sessions, being located at a tourist resort with lot of lakes around I should be able to find something.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 2004 posts
9 Apr 2017 3:48PM
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Assuming you get it dialed-in, what is the advantage? Smoother? Faster?

And a technical question. If the foil is "flat while paddling", how does it engage? I know zero, but if it is like a wing doesn't that mean that it engages when your board is either nose-up or nose-down compared to the water, or is the lifting force of the wave that makes it fly?

JB
NSW, 2165 posts
Site Sponsor
9 Apr 2017 3:53PM
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colas said..

JB said..
My 2cents is to get as much time behind the boat as possible. If makes it all so much easier.





Yup, seeing how I enter a totally unknown realm once airborne, I guess that is a very sound suggestion. I will try to find some waterskiing school or similar to plan some sessions, being located at a tourist resort with lot of lakes around I should be able to find something.


Yep, definitely worth even paying for it. James Casey (a very competent foiler) says 1 session behind the boat is like 10 in the ocean, and I strongly agree. You will learn so much behind the boat and at your own pace, one step at a time. I also recommend a helmet. A buddy of mine got a good hit from the foil resulting in stitches to the head, and I could imagine much worse. Possibly once I get it really dialed I will go without (as I really hate wearing helmet), but for now, I feel so much more confident with it.

Enjoy, and play safe.

JB

JB
NSW, 2165 posts
Site Sponsor
9 Apr 2017 4:01PM
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cantSUPenough said..
Assuming you get it dialed-in, what is the advantage? Smoother? Faster?

And a technical question. If the foil is "flat while paddling", how does it engage? I know zero, but if it is like a wing doesn't that mean that it engages when your board is either nose-up or nose-down compared to the water, or is the lifting force of the wave that makes it fly?


This is a totally indescribable experience. The advantage is ultra low drag, which means once up on the foil you can ride a very small unbroken wave or ocean swell with very little energy. Yes it is amazingly smooth and scary fast.

The board is extremely sensitive to board trim, would don;t even feel like your giving any back foot input and up she goes. Ideally the board will stay engaged with the water whilst in your stance until you lift your front foot the tiniest bit, then up she goes. It's then a balancing act. Just as Colas was doing is spot on. First up, do not go up on the foil, keep heavy on the front foot. Then play with only an inch or two before slamming it back down. Having this control is imperative to going to the next level. Once you have this somewhat dialed, then go for 6 inches. Ideally you want to fly at about 1 foot out of the water, but you'll quickly learn that you'll constantly be going up and down, and you need to re-learn how to turn. I think it is closer to snowboarding or longboard skateboarding than surfing once up on the foil. All front foot and turn from the hips, don;t drive the "rail" as there is no rail, just a reaction from the input given to the foil, which ever way you push the foil it will push back harder in the opposite direction (i.e. Don't lean back!).

All up, this is so much fun, really challenging but also so rewarding. Take your time, ask lots of questions, watch lots of footage of others, and take again, take your time.

Ride safe,

JB

Piros
QLD, 6146 posts
9 Apr 2017 4:31PM
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Yeah Colas my first few Sup foil sessions weren't much better .Looking at your pics and videos have to question how far forward that foil is , we are running apx 21 inches to back of the Tuttle you look way forward of that. The short boards are only 15 inches. Re the straps take them off for learning they are dangerous and you can't shift your front foot. They are only useful when you learn to pump. You don't need them for now. All my Sup and shortboard foil boards are strapless I only use straps on my kite foil.

Nice looking front wing ,so what's the story on the rear stabilizer being on top of the fuselage ?.. Keep posting your videos keen to watch you improve

colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 6:09PM
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cantSUPenough said..
Assuming you get it dialed-in, what is the advantage? Smoother? Faster?


For me it is the smooth carving in crappy waves. I was totally blown away how the chop seemed to disappear, even with the board still in the water. Plus being able to have fun in peaks unfit for surfing or suping, meaning being alone!

Also, I was lucky to be there at the early days of windsurfing, and I am eager to relive this feeling of being part of new discipline. Plus as I grow older, there is no sense in waiting...

colas
4183 posts
9 Apr 2017 6:27PM
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Piros said..
how far forward that foil is , we are running apx 21 inches to back of the Tuttle you look way forward of that. The short boards are only 15 inches. Re the straps take them off for learning they are dangerous and you can't shift your front foot. They are only useful when you learn to pump. You don't need them for now. All my Sup and shortboard foil boards are strapless I only use straps on my kite foil.

Nice looking front wing ,so what's the story on the rear stabilizer being on top of the fuselage ?.. Keep posting your videos keen to watch you improve


The rear of the box is at 86cm (~ 34") from the tail on this 8'9" board.

From the experience of the Gong shaper, this centered position makes the board less wind sensitive, more balanced for handling and pumping, and natural to paddle with the feet in the straps, and reduces the drag of the foil. Plus the straps are out of the way when climbing and prone paddling the board. And the straps seem to add a huge benefit in control, safety and handling for all people who tried them. Maybe it is that I am used to waveriding in the straps while windsurfing. And not being able to shift your front foot seems a benefit for me.

I dont know the story of the stabilizer on top. The Gong foil for kiting is special, as the stabilizer lifts upwards (traditionally kite foils push downwards). Maybe it is due to this history?

Patrice Guenol? is also playing with ultra short mast (25cm) for beginners, may be a good idea too, especially for prone surfers where the straps are too cumbersome to use.

What I think could be enhanced in the Gong foil is maybe have the mast more aft relative to the front wing, so that the "fin" effect of the mast could be more backwards and thus perhaps more natural in turns. But it may be putting too much constraints mechanically.

supthecreek
2193 posts
10 Apr 2017 10:12AM
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colas your posts are always very informative.
Your willingness to document the beginning of your foil experience, is so much more valuable than young rippers flying effortlessly along.

My take from it..... there is a ton of ways to get seriously hurt or hurt others.
I have always been very deliberate of how my board and I go our separate ways... for the safety of everyone in the water.
Your videos show that we do not have the ability to control our separation from a foil.... and that is eye opening.

The foils seems to have a dynamic that ...which ever way your body goes.... the foil wants to go to the same place.

You bend forward over the rail means your feet push your heel side rail down.... bringing the foil up into your falling body.(pic)
In waves... everything happens instantly with wave and foil interaction.

JB's vid really shows that learning to "fly" behind a boat... without the wave influence plus the added stabilizing force of the towline is a much safer way to get cozy with flight before entering the surf zone.

Anyone considering foil surfing should keep a mental note of this picture
Good on you colas for posting the rough edges!



colas
4183 posts
10 Apr 2017 2:08PM
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Also, perhaps the biggest danger is how you see the board "foiling alone" after a wipeout. As it is very light without the rider, it can go foiling just by the pull of the leash or the whitewater. I saw the board coming at me go airborne, and the acceleration was frightening. Patrice said it is for him the most dangerous part.

On the subject of straps, I just stumbled upon a video of a guy with also using centered straps:

colas
4183 posts
10 Apr 2017 2:16PM
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cantSUPenough said..
Assuming you get it dialed-in, what is the advantage? Smoother? Faster?




This is the webcam on my spot just now. 1' crumbling, light onshore.
The foil seems that I can now enjoy that! Trying to crank a bottom turn on a foil in these conditions - for the glimpse I had - you get as much push in the legs as a good 3' wave. The power this thing has is insane.

Thinking of it the foil appeal may be its "wave amplifier" effect we all love in SUPing...

But due to the dangers, costs, technical difficulties, do not feel bad if you do not feel like trying it. For many people, I guess it may not be worth it. I am not saying "everybody should do it". For me I guess it is on my "bucket list" :-)

Smash1
NSW, 820 posts
10 Apr 2017 4:18PM
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supthecreek said..
colas your posts are always very informative.
Your willingness to document the beginning of your foil experience, is so much more valuable than young rippers flying effortlessly along.

My take from it..... there is a ton of ways to get seriously hurt or hurt others.
I have always been very deliberate of how my board and I go our separate ways... for the safety of everyone in the water.
Your videos show that we do not have the ability to control our separation from a foil.... and that is eye opening.

The foils seems to have a dynamic that ...which ever way your body goes.... the foil wants to go to the same place.

You bend forward over the rail means your feet push your heel side rail down.... bringing the foil up into your falling body.(pic)
In waves... everything happens instantly with wave and foil interaction.

JB's vid really shows that learning to "fly" behind a boat... without the wave influence plus the added stabilizing force of the towline is a much safer way to get cozy with flight before entering the surf zone.

Anyone considering foil surfing should keep a mental note of this picture
Good on you colas for posting the rough edges!



That picture has been burnt in my memory!!!! Yikes. I'd prefer to keep my teeth and current original ugly face intact

colas
4183 posts
10 Apr 2017 2:24PM
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Another option being tested is ultra-short masts (25cm - 10"), especially for beginner prone surfers, where straps are too cumbersome. This will be much safer. I was planning to get one, but there are not enough available yet.



cantSUPenough
VIC, 2004 posts
10 Apr 2017 7:55PM
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colas said..

cantSUPenough said..
Assuming you get it dialed-in, what is the advantage? Smoother? Faster?





This is the webcam on my spot just now. 1' crumbling, light onshore.
The foil seems that I can now enjoy that! Trying to crank a bottom turn on a foil in these conditions - for the glimpse I had - you get as much push in the legs as a good 3' wave. The power this thing has is insane.

Thinking of it the foil appeal may be its "wave amplifier" effect we all love in SUPing...

But due to the dangers, costs, technical difficulties, do not feel bad if you do not feel like trying it. For many people, I guess it may not be worth it. I am not saying "everybody should do it". For me I guess it is on my "bucket list" :-)


You sure make it sound good! And the version with the shorter mast looks a bit safer.

(In that video I kept expecting him to do a face-plant as he got closer to shore.)

colas
4183 posts
10 Apr 2017 8:10PM
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colas said..
This is the webcam on my spot just now. 1' crumbling, light onshore.


Well, couldn't resist. No work meetings this morning, a 3rd session under the belt. No video though :-(

Progresses are steady. No dangerous fall, some real flights rather than touch and go... but I am dead after an hour, back to the beginner stage :-)

This session I focused on firmly engaging both feet in the straps before take off, and not trying to turn. Just keep a straigth trim line on a frontside wave. And what helped is forgetting all the images of people pumping their SUP, and focalising of the "crouched forward on the nose" tube riding style like:


Actually, it feels quite natural: when the foil lifts, it is the same kind of stress as when a waves hollows out: the floor drops. So thinking "hey this is a tube forming, I must commit to the nose" is actually natural. Any attempt at pumping at my stage means disaster.

Ah, and I wore a helmet. I fall less, but I now can go reaaaly fast - at least it feels like it - when I do :-)

DARTH
WA, 3026 posts
11 Apr 2017 8:11AM
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After watching Laird and Kai Lenny taking on massive waves in Hawaii I have decided that I need a SUP foil for one ft crowded beach breaks.
I also wanted to visit those out of the way spots that are rarely surfed and to also display my water manliness after many decades in the ocean
And after waiting patiently for it to arrive in the mail here it was
My new Sabrina 6000 SUP Foil.
I decided on the Sabrina 6000 because I wanted a flatter rocker for those dead sections and the razor sharp double edge sword underneath to plough through any debris
Time to saddle up
My first attempt was on a city beach on a long weekend. Waves were 2/3 ft and clean. The crowd was the thickest it's been for a while but I know this spot like the back of my hand
The paddle out was a breeze as the crowd seemed to give some space. They must know I'm local
My first wave was interesting as I had to really dig in with my broom stick and hook my front foot in the strap. As it was crowded with damn short boarders I collided with some kids paddling out. No damage done to the Sabrina 6000 though. Just a bit of fibreglass in the foil.
Second wave I seemed to slice through some more fiber glass but again no damage to the SUP foil.
I fell off numerous times and got yelled at a fair bit but the ocean is for everyone as I told them
Can't wait for tomorrow for round two
Bit of a vibe in the water today but I was definitely the best surfer out there because I was having the most fun.
Happy Sea sweeping everyone

chucktheskiffie
216 posts
11 Apr 2017 9:21AM
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DARTH said..
After watching Laird and Kai Lenny taking on massive waves in Hawaii I have decided that I need a SUP foil for one ft crowded beach breaks.
I also wanted to visit those out of the way spots that are rarely surfed and to also display my water manliness after many decades in the ocean
And after waiting patiently for it to arrive in the mail here it was
My new Sabrina 6000 SUP Foil.
I decided on the Sabrina 6000 because I wanted a flatter rocker for those dead sections and the razor sharp double edge sword underneath to plough through any debris
Time to saddle up
My first attempt was on a city beach on a long weekend. Waves were 2/3 ft and clean. The crowd was the thickest it's been for a while but I know this spot like the back of my hand
The paddle out was a breeze as the crowd seemed to give some space. They must know I'm local
My first wave was interesting as I had to really dig in with my broom stick and hook my front foot in the strap. As it was crowded with damn short boarders I collided with some kids paddling out. No damage done to the Sabrina 6000 though. Just a bit of fibreglass in the foil.
Second wave I seemed to slice through some more fiber glass but again no damage to the SUP foil.
I fell off numerous times and got yelled at a fair bit but the ocean is for everyone as I told them
Can't wait for tomorrow for round two
Bit of a vibe in the water today but I was definitely the best surfer out there because I was having the most fun.
Happy Sea sweeping everyone


Guys do you think he is being sarcastic? Jeez i hope so... otherwise he sounds really unsafe...

Bowerboy
NSW, 119 posts
11 Apr 2017 11:43AM
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DARTH said..
After watching Laird and Kai Lenny taking on massive waves in Hawaii I have decided that I need a SUP foil for one ft crowded beach breaks.
I also wanted to visit those out of the way spots that are rarely surfed and to also display my water manliness after many decades in the ocean
And after waiting patiently for it to arrive in the mail here it was
My new Sabrina 6000 SUP Foil.
I decided on the Sabrina 6000 because I wanted a flatter rocker for those dead sections and the razor sharp double edge sword underneath to plough through any debris
Time to saddle up
My first attempt was on a city beach on a long weekend. Waves were 2/3 ft and clean. The crowd was the thickest it's been for a while but I know this spot like the back of my hand
The paddle out was a breeze as the crowd seemed to give some space. They must know I'm local
My first wave was interesting as I had to really dig in with my broom stick and hook my front foot in the strap. As it was crowded with damn short boarders I collided with some kids paddling out. No damage done to the Sabrina 6000 though. Just a bit of fibreglass in the foil.
Second wave I seemed to slice through some more fiber glass but again no damage to the SUP foil.
I fell off numerous times and got yelled at a fair bit but the ocean is for everyone as I told them
Can't wait for tomorrow for round two
Bit of a vibe in the water today but I was definitely the best surfer out there because I was having the most fun.
Happy Sea sweeping everyone


Just ignore him.

I'm enjoying your journey colas!

murf
SA, 458 posts
11 Apr 2017 11:13AM
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JB said..
Very interesting configuration and foil placement. After yesterdays session, I am finding I like the foil further back. I spent an hour behind the boat, the a fun session in the surf (prone paddled in) on a 7'3" Hokua. Definitely keen to see some video of you ripping Colas. My 2cents is to get as much time behind the boat as possible. If makes it all so much easier. I feel like yesterday was the first day it all came together and that is after 2 sessions both 1 hour long behind the boat. I'll link the video soon.

Enjoy, and be safe.

JB


I agree with you JB, starting out behind a best way to learn how to foil. We spent a couple of sessions being towed before we jumped into waves. The biggest difference I found in waves was how little momentum you needed to get up and going compared to being towed behind a boat. Also learning how to crash properly is a good skill to have.

DARTH
WA, 3026 posts
11 Apr 2017 10:31AM
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Bowerboy said..

DARTH said..
After watching Laird and Kai Lenny taking on massive waves in Hawaii I have decided that I need a SUP foil for one ft crowded beach breaks.
I also wanted to visit those out of the way spots that are rarely surfed and to also display my water manliness after many decades in the ocean
And after waiting patiently for it to arrive in the mail here it was
My new Sabrina 6000 SUP Foil.
I decided on the Sabrina 6000 because I wanted a flatter rocker for those dead sections and the razor sharp double edge sword underneath to plough through any debris
Time to saddle up
My first attempt was on a city beach on a long weekend. Waves were 2/3 ft and clean. The crowd was the thickest it's been for a while but I know this spot like the back of my hand
The paddle out was a breeze as the crowd seemed to give some space. They must know I'm local
My first wave was interesting as I had to really dig in with my broom stick and hook my front foot in the strap. As it was crowded with damn short boarders I collided with some kids paddling out. No damage done to the Sabrina 6000 though. Just a bit of fibreglass in the foil.
Second wave I seemed to slice through some more fiber glass but again no damage to the SUP foil.
I fell off numerous times and got yelled at a fair bit but the ocean is for everyone as I told them
Can't wait for tomorrow for round two
Bit of a vibe in the water today but I was definitely the best surfer out there because I was having the most fun.
Happy Sea sweeping everyone



Just ignore him.

I'm enjoying your journey colas!


TimKay
752 posts
11 Apr 2017 10:59AM
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Is anyone able to help out with some second hand snow board boots
Preferably without concrete

DARTH
WA, 3026 posts
11 Apr 2017 11:05AM
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TimKay said..
Is anyone able to help out with some second hand snow board boots
Preferably without concrete


Try the kite surfers

colas
4183 posts
11 Apr 2017 2:59PM
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murf said..
The biggest difference I found in waves was how little momentum you needed to get up and going compared to being towed behind a boat.


Yup, (one of) my mistake was trying to take off as I do now in SUP, late take off timed to "pop" with the wave bump. I had to get back to the "SUP beginner" take off, paddling the board to get it to speed. This way, on each paddle stroke, the board accelerates, the foil adds lift, so the board can go faster on the next stroke, etc...
It is as if I weighted 100kg on the first paddle stroke, then 90kg on the 2nd, 80kg on the 3rd, etc...
And if there is some chop, during this time, any chop will boost you on a plane.

I was thus able to surf "waves" in the channel between two peaks that no surfer or SUPers would have ever considered worth it.

And this is without knowing how to pump. I guess pumping will open up new spots even more.



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"SUP foiling, my first steps." started by colas