Forums > Stand Up Paddle Foiling

SUP foiling, my first steps.

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Created by colas > 9 months ago, 9 Apr 2017
colas
4971 posts
11 Apr 2017 3:03PM
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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


Just ignore him.


Actually - true to his/her avatar - he is showing us the path to the dark side. I guess it could be a good idea to always have it in mind to avoid it, a bit like the famous early "Don't be a kook" post by Blane Chambers...

LarrySilvia
WA, 48 posts
11 Apr 2017 11:02PM
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murf said..


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.



Love to see your learning process, thanks! Just a word of caution, I was towed behind an 18 foot inboard jet boat. During the planing process the jet boat is producing maximum thrust. When I wandered into that plume of high velocity water my right wingtip hit it and my heavy 9-6 Sup foil board did an instantaneous aerial corkscrew, leaving me suspended in mid-air. It nearly took off my head. Luckily it only hit my arm. It felt broken but only badly bruised. I was very lucky! Jet skis do not seem to produce this dangerous level of thrust.

LarrySilvia
WA, 48 posts
11 Apr 2017 11:04PM
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LarrySilvia said..

murf said..



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.




Love to see your learning process, thanks! Just a word of caution, I was towed behind an 18 foot inboard jet boat. During the planing process the jet boat is producing maximum thrust. When I wandered into that plume of high velocity water my right wingtip hit it and my heavy 9-6 Sup foil board did an instantaneous aerial corkscrew, leaving me suspended in mid-air. It nearly took off my head. Luckily it only hit my arm. It felt broken but only badly bruised. I was very lucky! Jet skis do not seem to produce this dangerous level of thrust.

colas
4971 posts
11 Apr 2017 11:10PM
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LarrySilvia said..
When I wandered into that plume of high velocity water my right wingtip hit it and my heavy 9-6 Sup foil board did an instantaneous aerial corkscrew,


I believe you, seeing the force developed when the foil hits some underwater currents!

TimKay
752 posts
12 Apr 2017 9:25AM
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LarrySilvia said..

murf said..



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.




Love to see your learning process, thanks! Just a word of caution, I was towed behind an 18 foot inboard jet boat. During the planing process the jet boat is producing maximum thrust. When I wandered into that plume of high velocity water my right wingtip hit it and my heavy 9-6 Sup foil board did an instantaneous aerial corkscrew, leaving me suspended in mid-air. It nearly took off my head. Luckily it only hit my arm. It felt broken but only badly bruised. I was very lucky! Jet skis do not seem to produce this dangerous level of thrust.


And that's why everyone is scared to see these things out in a crowded line up
The potential for injury to others is massive.
But most people are too pig headed to see that

Bowerboy
NSW, 141 posts
12 Apr 2017 12:03PM
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TimKay said..

LarrySilvia said..


murf said..




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.





Love to see your learning process, thanks! Just a word of caution, I was towed behind an 18 foot inboard jet boat. During the planing process the jet boat is producing maximum thrust. When I wandered into that plume of high velocity water my right wingtip hit it and my heavy 9-6 Sup foil board did an instantaneous aerial corkscrew, leaving me suspended in mid-air. It nearly took off my head. Luckily it only hit my arm. It felt broken but only badly bruised. I was very lucky! Jet skis do not seem to produce this dangerous level of thrust.



And that's why everyone is scared to see these things out in a crowded line up
The potential for injury to others is massive.
But most people are too pig headed to see that


I don't think most people are too pig headed. From what I hear the guys doing the foiling are staying well away from crowded line ups.

TimKay
752 posts
12 Apr 2017 10:16AM
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Bowerboy said..

TimKay said..


LarrySilvia said..



murf said..





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.






Love to see your learning process, thanks! Just a word of caution, I was towed behind an 18 foot inboard jet boat. During the planing process the jet boat is producing maximum thrust. When I wandered into that plume of high velocity water my right wingtip hit it and my heavy 9-6 Sup foil board did an instantaneous aerial corkscrew, leaving me suspended in mid-air. It nearly took off my head. Luckily it only hit my arm. It felt broken but only badly bruised. I was very lucky! Jet skis do not seem to produce this dangerous level of thrust.




And that's why everyone is scared to see these things out in a crowded line up
The potential for injury to others is massive.
But most people are too pig headed to see that



I don't think most people are too pig headed. From what I hear the guys doing the foiling are staying well away from crowded line ups.


Give it time

Bara
WA, 647 posts
12 Apr 2017 1:32PM
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I don't think most people are too pig headed. From what I hear the guys doing the foiling are staying well away from crowded line ups.




Cant help but notice the foot on the left of pic and this clown barging almost straight for him completely outa control

IMHO one other person in the lineup is too crowded for a kook on a foil. Surely Im not alone?

JB
NSW, 2231 posts
Site Sponsor
12 Apr 2017 4:31PM
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Ok, My 2 cents again on some of the recent comments.

Jet/Engine Thrust when towing - Yes be very wary of this. Even behind a boat at 6knots you will get an all mighty boost. But provided you have taken the appropriate precautions (Helmet and impact vest), you should be fine in hte event of a breach. The big thing here is though, this will teach you to react, which is why time behind the boat is so important. Learning what the foil will do, and how fast it reacts in difference situations will make you 400% safer in the ocean/waves. Compared to my first 4 or 5 sessions in the ocean before I got behind the boat, I ate shyte plenty of times, now after 2 solid sessions behind the boat, I actually feel like it is me that is in charge, and I have a very big say in how much lift I am going to let the foil control, and can kill/drop it quickly and efficiently. My last session, I don't think I fell off at all after 15 long waves. Now, I am so far from being what I think is totally competent, and I am definitely planning even more time behind the boat to keep expanding my understanding of the foil characteristics, seriously the 10:1 on going behind the boat is true (one session towing is like 10 sessions paddling) or probably unstated.

Secondly, like the beginning of SUP and even kiteboarding, it was thought of as dangerous to go near anyone within a 1km radius. And this is no different for Foil, but like a SUP and Kite, we will get better and more in control. The bigger danger is the actual person riding, they would be dangerous on a body board if they lack the common sense to ride within their limits of control (whit in reason here, I still agree, Foiling needs to keep well clear of other ocean users or ensure they are aware of your ability if you were there first). Again, my last session, I started out on a peak all by myself, and I had it to myself for over an hour before 4 mals and a shortboard paddled out. They came out because it looked like the waves were fun and rideable and they were somewhat curious. As they paddles out, I warned them all and explained that I would be getting out soon. To my surprise they asked hundreds of questions and asked me to keep riding, saying "if you get the wave, it's yours, we want to watch". This was encouraging. Again I shared waves many times with other riders with no issues, mostly because of the skills I had learned behind the boat.

Conclusion: Get behind the boat. Learn the foil, learn to drop it in any situation. Push yourself to find where you can't control it. Learn to fall off safely keeping the foil clear and also acknowledging what the foil does without your weight on it. Boat tow time is imperative, and if you can get someone to film you so you can learn even more by watching your mistakes and advances, this is a bonus.

#1. Stay safe and don't take risks with others around.
#2. Practice, Practice, Practice. If I had my learning curve again, i'd do at least 2-3hours behind the boat before even going in the ocean.
#3. Be real to your ability, if you're still stacking a heap behind the boat doing basic things, then you're not ready for waves. If you can't do little off the tops and bottom turns and handle the acceleration (which is crazy powerful), a wave will own you every time and you're not ready.

Hope it helps all,

Stay safe,

JB

TimKay
752 posts
12 Apr 2017 2:34PM
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Bara said..









I don't think most people are too pig headed. From what I hear the guys doing the foiling are staying well away from crowded line ups.





Cant help but notice the foot on the left of pic and this clown barging almost straight for him completely outa control

IMHO one other person in the lineup is too crowded for a kook on a foil. Surely Im not alone?


Definitely not alone
The sea sweepers take up sea sweeping to go surf those out of the way places but reality is they end up hassling in crowds with every other surf craft known to man
Can't see foils being any different
People attract people

murf
SA, 477 posts
13 Apr 2017 8:07PM
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Lucky here in Adelaide we have a huge amount of crappy fat waves which are uncrowded and perfect for foils. One of the good things I have found about foiling is it does open up crappy spots to have fun in (even spots that you would not even sup).

colas
4971 posts
14 Apr 2017 12:56PM
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Bara said..
Cant help but notice the foot on the left of pic and this clown barging almost straight for him completely outa control

IMHO one other person in the lineup is too crowded for a kook on a foil. Surely Im not alone?


In this photo, the zoomed perspective makes thing appear much closer than they really are.

Also, the kook on a foil - me :-) - was alone on the spot, but surfers came afterwards, not the other way around. That's the problem with SUP in general, if you try to go to weak uncrowded peaks, people will flock to you thinking the waves are good there if you seem to have so much fun.
In which case I change spots if possible, otherwise I just keep to the inside like here. Bailing out + the leash means that the danger radius of the foil is quite limited... and it is the rider itself who is always in it.

colas
4971 posts
15 Apr 2017 5:35AM
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and a 4th session. slowly progressing.
This is all the waves in a 2 hour session. My main mistake here: straps a bit too tight (making me lean to the left) and position too forwards-facing once in the straps. The strap length is critical, to the millimeter. You seem to need to have the toes plus 1/2" to 1" of foot sticking out on the other side, no more nor less.

I think I have found the perfect spot for learning to foil: waves gently walling on a sandbar, no definite shoulder, onshore wind.
I was forced to move later in the video to a peak with a more definite shoulder, as schools were entering water, and it was much harder, the change in underwater forces in a narrow shouldered wave is hard to cope with.

No more falls towards the foil anymore anyways.

I was surprised how it is complementary to SUPing, as chop is hard in SUPing, but foiling with chop is actually more enjoyable because flying is then totally magic, the chop disappearing as soon as you take off. Plus the chop helps taking off on really weak waves where a normal SUP would just stop after takeoff.



This was yesterday. Today I made my 5th session (no video), similar conditions, and things seem to progressing faster. It seems my body is learning unconsciously the balance, a bit like riding a bike.

A longer board is a boon to have paddle speed to get back to the line up, the distance covered can be quite long...

colas
4971 posts
17 Apr 2017 10:10PM
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And... I fly!!

(no video though... I didnt think I could foil today so my camerawoman slept...)

So, It has taken me 6 sessions, about 150 waves, but now my body seems to have learnt the thing inconsciously, on its own. Like learning to ride a bike. Now, I do not fall on the side anymore, I can give the impulsion to take off, and once airborne go up and down, and steer left and right. The up/down piloting (fore/aft) is still clumsy, and I am not even close to pumping to propel myself on the flat, but I am flying! And not falling a lot anymore, I spent the first half-hour with dry hair...

Today was eastern monday, France was on vacations with sunny weather forecasted and the huge annual Surf gear sale in Hossegor that draw 80.000 people here, so the spots were crowded. But I was able to SUP alone for 3 hours, just in front of the main parking, because I could have fun on a non-fun wave (peaking then receding). A SUPer friend came to check the conditions before sunrise, and didnt even bother entering water seeing the people already there. This is one of the advantages of foiling...

So, what I can say from my experience:

- 150 waves seems the amount of waves needed for your body to learn the balance. A lot less I guess if you are young and/or have foiled before, a lot more if you do not follow the proper advice. You do not want to fly at first, just ride the wave with the board in the water, feeling the foil dynamics
- Straps are mandatory, and especially their fitting. Do not hesitate to trim them on the water, your foot must fit snugly in it, but the toes plus only 1" of foot must come out the other side. Less and you weight will be on your heel side (=> wipeout), more and you will risk being stuck and hurt in a wipeout. Of course for Surf foiling the straps would be cumbersome to prone paddle with, but for SUP foiling, I feel they are a must
- I did not need training sessions behind a boat, but I guess it is because I had access often to proper waves to lean foiling (waist/shoulder high, fat, with long wall sections). Avoid hollow waves, or waves with a definite shoulder. The wave must be powerful enough tor an easy normal SUP take off. I think boat sessions are a must if you cannot have frequent beginner-friendly waves. The goal is to have your body learn the left/right balance and you to put your weight forward to stop the foil from climbing.
- forget your usual SUP late take off. Just as a SUP beginner, paddle before the wave in a straight line to build speed steadily. Put the front foot snugly in the strap before taking off (do not attempt the take off otherwise, just bail), and the back foot when the takeoff is under way and the board stabilized (or before). Do not try to turn on the wave, follow the trim line. Be crouched low, like a gorilla (back straight and slanted, taking-a-crap low squat)
- Foiling opens up new SUPing realms. Onshore wind sessions are a blast, phantom peaks, ... But I do not see the point to try to use them in hollow waves.
- I think my windsurfing experience helped me be comfortable with straps. If you are not, plan some time to get accustomed to them
- You need to have a minimum SUP level, in the sense that you can comfortably take off in surfing stance while applying a decent paddling power.
- A board that paddles well is important: The distance ridden can be quite long, coming back to the lineup must not be a chore. The foil especially must be set at an angle where it does not drag when paddling. This means that the box must be set accordingly to the intended foil. And if you just screw a plaque in your board bottom skin, where to put it is very important, as the rocker angle where you place it will determine the foil angle.
A longer board will paddle better, but its extremities should be very light to keep it lively in the air. A stable board is a boon.
- Gear designed and refined by shapers that know what they are doing (where the designer foils himself) is quite important. Such as the Go foil, Naish foils, Gong foils, and others I guess in the future.

And of course, practice alone, or at least at safe stretched leash distance from others, let's say 10m / 30'.
If you are cautious enough to only attempt take offs if your front foot is snugly in the strap, I don't thing it is overly dangerous, with a dedicated SUP / Surf foil (shorter and blunter than a kite foil).

I now have a loooong road to progress, but being able to really fly now makes a heck of a difference!

subber
71 posts
17 Apr 2017 10:36PM
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Excellent summary (and thread) Colas.

Looking forward to your next video, where you are flying.

I note it looks real "pivoty" - where the board pivots with
just a subtle movement of your upper body.

Hope I get to try it some day.

colas
4971 posts
17 Apr 2017 10:48PM
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subber said..
I note it looks real "pivoty" - where the board pivots with
just a subtle movement of your upper body.


Yes, you do not have fins, so the board can spin around the mast.
I guess it so that you can turn by banking the foil like a plane, and a "tail rudder" or a fin would just hamper a natural rotation.

It is a bit tricky on takeoff, the row effect can be hard to manage if you are not proficient enough with your SUP paddling technique. And trying to U-turn just in front of the wave can have you spinning out of control.

Hope you will be able to try it one day, the feeling is incredible.

surffoils
42 posts
18 Apr 2017 7:52PM
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Hi Colas, I'm really enjoying your step by step foil documentation.
the shorter mast is going to be a winner for surf conditions, it's a lot more stable and easier to handle.
One of the things I've noticed is that to foil you need to find a uniformly breaking wave with a long wall, it's no good in crappy shore breaks and a slowly breaking wave gives you time to balance and learn the physics. Or do the tow boat option. An hour behind a boat is worth a month in sheety surf.
And the second thing is that you get better lift at the top of the wave than at the bottom. So with a bit of control you can guide up the face and get lift without pumping or flicking the nose up.

I like the way you're taking it sensibly and learning to understand the vehicle before you tackle Pipeline.
As always the fastest way to lose interest is to go too fast and get discouraged but you're doing well. I'm about the same age and dims so I know your effort is real.

colas
4971 posts
18 Apr 2017 8:26PM
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surffoils, thanks for your input!

Yes, I underestimated the difference a proper foiling wave does for learning. The foil is heavily moved around by the water movements under the wave, and in the normal waves you would look for to have fun with a normal SUP or surf, the underwater forces move around too brutally to make foiling easy to learn. In retrospect, out of my 6 sessions, 2 were in improper waves.

On the boat option, I have mixed feelings. I think it is mandatory if you do not use straps, as the learning phase then is so hard and dangerous, you want to shorten it as much as possible. But with straps, and frequent access to uncrowded proper waves, I do not think it is as clear-cut. But of course I have no legitimate answer since I didn't try some boat time.

surffoils
42 posts
19 Apr 2017 3:15AM
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Colas I've found the same thing with water forces acting on the foil, the longer the mast the more difficult it is. I've thought about perforating the mast to reduce its drag in a cross current.
Those shorter mast will stop any pumping but they will reduce that drag from the foil and give better control over the foil. Safer too.
I like to see the way you're letting the foil engage rather than forcing it to perform. You're doing a great job by documenting your quest, thanks.

colas
4971 posts
27 Apr 2017 7:23PM
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And my 10th session (the last 45mn), this morning.

Crappy conditions (the poor few surfers out there didn't have any fun). Steady progresses, I now feel confident enough to control the thing, and especially feeling when a dangerous situation is coming up, and be able to bail out safely beforehand.

DavidJohn
VIC, 17395 posts
27 Apr 2017 10:48PM
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Great vid..

JEG
VIC, 1469 posts
28 Apr 2017 11:41AM
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Good watch and well done to all learning to SUP like colas. It's like starting a new hobby with some caution "be very carefull".

Macaha
QLD, 21854 posts
28 Apr 2017 11:44AM
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Sorry I dont get it,no rails engaging surfing simply look wrong.

JEG
VIC, 1469 posts
28 Apr 2017 11:52AM
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Macaha said..
Sorry I dont get it,no rails engaging surfing simply look wrong.


it's like having 2 toys to play & challenge yourself = sup & foil in the water.

colas
4971 posts
28 Apr 2017 1:26PM
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Macaha said..
Sorry I dont get it,no rails engaging surfing simply look wrong.



Well, it would be like saying "This SUP fad is not interesting. I just looked at an old geezer after his 10th session and he didn't look anything like Kelly Slater. SUPing is just the fashion of the day and wont last". Something we all read and heard profusely...

Seriously, what you do not see is the power of the foil. At 1:15 and 2:34 I just did a minimal, extremely shallow "bottom turning" movement, and the resulting boost threw me away. So in my rides I try to contain the beast. I expect mastering carving turns will take a lot of time, and they will be wide arcs, not vertical surfing. Patrice told me he already ripped off footstraps with the forces in commited foil turns...

And you are right that it is not traditional "surfing". It is more flying in invisible 3D water currents like a bird will "surf" the wind coming up a dune or a wave. And pumping is flapping our wings. As I said, it won't appeal to everyone. Just like SUPing actually. SUP is here to stay, but not all surfers will SUP.

Gorgo
VIC, 4896 posts
28 Apr 2017 5:38PM
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I really like the picture of the pelicans. They're one of my favourite birds and it has crossed my mind that foiling could give us access to a similar soaring experience. We're playing with kite foiling using very small kites and it's a very mellow experience to carve downwind on big wind swell.

I'm a bit worried about your stories of tearing off foot straps and breaking foils and stuff. We're doing pretty sizable kite foil jumps and fully powered carving turns and that's all good. In onshore conditions we often bash the foil into the sand heading out. Not so much on the way in any more.

My foil is made for jumping and freestyle and surfing. It's the same foil as shown in the videos below. It's lightweight, mid-aspect carbon.

www.facebook.com/daniel.kereopa.5/videos/10154934275704772/


colas
4971 posts
28 Apr 2017 6:33PM
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Well, I guess it is due to the higher area of the SUP foils, and the thicker profile, delivering a lot more lift. Plus the bigger board with more force applied to it by the foam...

And novice SUPfoilers may be tempted to go into hollow waves, as you need some significant wave push to fly at the beginning, where as kiters will practice on the flat before attempting waves.

LateStarter
WA, 589 posts
1 May 2017 12:39PM
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colas said..
Well, I guess it is due to the higher area of the SUP foils, and the thicker profile, delivering a lot more lift. Plus the bigger board with more force applied to it by the foam...

And novice SUPfoilers may be tempted to go into hollow waves, as you need some significant wave push to fly at the beginning, where as kiters will practice on the flat before attempting waves.


Novice + Foil + Hollow Waves = Amputees.

Good luck with that one mate.

DARTH
WA, 3028 posts
1 May 2017 1:37PM
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LateStarter said..

colas said..
Well, I guess it is due to the higher area of the SUP foils, and the thicker profile, delivering a lot more lift. Plus the bigger board with more force applied to it by the foam...

And novice SUPfoilers may be tempted to go into hollow waves, as you need some significant wave push to fly at the beginning, where as kiters will practice on the flat before attempting waves.



Novice + Foil + Hollow Waves = Amputees.

Good luck with that one mate.


Time to sit back and video the cluster f@ck



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