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Is foiling the best thing that ever happened to windsurfing? Or has it ruined it?

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Created by tbwonder 22 days ago, 14 Nov 2019
tbwonder
NSW, 233 posts
14 Nov 2019 10:50AM
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We all love windsurfing. Over the years many things have improved our sport. But I don't believe anything has had the impact that foiling has.
I was not an early adopter. I was put off by cost, risk of injury and the struggle associated with learning something new. My initial attempts at foiling where a combination of terror and euphoria. It can't be denied the feeling of flying is really something special. But for 6 months or so I just considered it something to do when it is not really windy enough to sail properly.
I had heard of people that had started foiling and had almost completely given up traditional windsurfing. This made no sense to me, why would you stop doing something that you have loved for 20 years? Throughout winter I continued with the slow process of improvement, I am not a quick learner. Always looking forward to those strong summer seabreezes and getting back on the proper windsurfing gear.

Finally summer arrived and I was out on my slalom gear, but it felt sluggish and heavy, hang on a minute I suddenly realized that I was missing the feeling of foiling!
Should I have not started, have I ruined the thrill of traditional windsurfing?
(I have put this in the General section as those in the Foil section already know the answer)

LeeD
926 posts
14 Nov 2019 7:57AM
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I do both, about 59 foil days and maybe 75 WS. Maybe 50 of the WS days are 86 or smaller in liters.
Just slalom? Don't think I'd be interested after 30 days a year, since it's similar to foiling.

gavnwend
NSW, 1043 posts
14 Nov 2019 11:21AM
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Foiling is great for light winds,but nothing beats windsurfing.l got the foiling bug when it first started,but l still windsurf with a passion.Its also expensive if you keep upgrading your foils.

Basher
137 posts
14 Nov 2019 8:46AM
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It's another wing to our great sport.
However, I may never get on a foil board - just as I never tried kiting.
I'll probably stick to my waveboards, and the freestyle board, thanks very much. They are closer to the water, and they perform on the waves we have here - and that's where the feeling comes from.

The only chance of me trying foiling would be in the sub-20knot days, on flat water. But I already have other hobbies for those conditions.
I like the sort of foiling set-up that Balz Muller uses. A 5.2 would still be my biggest rig.

IndecentExposur
161 posts
14 Nov 2019 9:07AM
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I windsurfed as a kid through college; I wasn't good, but also didn't have instruction, videos and resources like we do now. 20 years later, I found myself back into the sport after burning out on DH mtb. 2 years I got back into windsurfing. I decided to buy a new board that could plane fast in lighter winds... And to my amazement, I was introduced to foiling. I sucked at windsurfing, but I stuck to learning the foiling thing and got really good at it. I loved the challenge, feeling of flying over water, and the cool factor. I also was not slogging while all my other windsurf friends were. we have light winds here (Colorado, US), and foiling has been my passion for the last 2 years. I got back on a windsurfer a few times this season and enjoyed it. But know, I've probably spent 95% of my lifetime windsurfing on a foil.

Maddlad
WA, 416 posts
14 Nov 2019 9:18AM
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Foiling just extends your opportunity to go sailing on days when you would normally be sitting on the beach wishing for an extra 5 knots.
Last night was the perfect example here in Perth. There were a few guys trying to decide whether to go out on normal gear coz the breeze was fluctuating between 12-15 knots, so Whitey and I put on foils and sailed for a couple of hours non stop having a blast while guys on slalom gear got a few runs, but mostly slogged around waiting for wind.
Now foiling is an amazing feeling, and I would recommend people give it a go, but its not about ruining normal windsurfing, it's about extending the time on the water which is what we all love.

elmo
WA, 7988 posts
14 Nov 2019 9:28AM
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It's just another part of Windsurfing, just like

Free riding
Freestyle
Wave sailing
Wally racing
Formula racing
Slalom Racing
Speed sailing
sorry if I missed your favorite discipline

Now there Foiling as well which is rapidly splitting of into a lot of the above categories already.

I got into foiling as an alternative to using big gear as the wind tended to drop of when I turned up late after work. 3 years on I have gotten big gear again but it's nowhere near as hard to use with the foil and I can get out in lighter winds.

I still have all my other windsurfing gear which I am more than happy to use when my time and the winds allign, the only thing I am missing form my trailer is an 11m sail (largest is now 9.8m).

Foiling's great fun, hugely challenging and rewarding, it is never a dull session.

Not everyone will be interested, let alone get into it, those that do froth just the same as everyone else does in their favorite disciplines.

The trick is don't worry about what everyone else is thinking and just go out and enjoy what you are doing. I know I do.

Grantmac
80 posts
14 Nov 2019 9:29AM
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If I can get a freestyle board going then I'll do that instead of foiling, but I'm totally new to freestyle and the foil feels pretty familiar (not saying I'm good at it) so it's not like I'm bored with fin sailing. But if I'm slogging even 10% of the time I'll switch to the foil and I'll not rig anything bigger than a 6.5 with a fin, I'd much rather foil in light winds.

In very light wind areas like Seattle (where I was before) foiling has been nothing less than a revolution.

Boston!
NSW, 105 posts
14 Nov 2019 6:53PM
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Great topic, Andy. I wouldn't say it's ruined it but I think it has changed my perception of "it" for good. I think if we lived in WA or NQ and got 20kts+ all the time it would be different. Powered up on slalom gear is still a buzz for me but I can now get the same buzz in 10-12 kts, which is, unfortunately, our most common breeze in Newie. As well as that, I have gradually become very aware of the inefficiency of a slapper compared to a foil. There are moments when the slalom gear feels "alive" (probably cause I'm not very good) but the foil feels alive all of the time. I'm lucky enough to have a trailer full of all sorts of gear and, time after time, I pull the foil out as I know no matter how much the conditions may vary I will still have that adrenalin flowing.

da vecta
QLD, 2445 posts
14 Nov 2019 7:42PM
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Maybe there's a reason why so many pro windsurfers, Olympic level windsurfers and past champions are frothing like little grommets.

Faff
VIC, 704 posts
14 Nov 2019 8:55PM
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I haven't use my foil enough (less than 10 times). I prefer powered up windsurfing... With small sails. But foiling sure beats slogging or huge rigs (4.8 is my biggest). For me the real fly in the foiling ointment has been launch and recovery in a shore break.

remery
WA, 397 posts
14 Nov 2019 5:58PM
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Depends how strong the wind is.

tbwonder
NSW, 233 posts
14 Nov 2019 9:03PM
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Yes for a long time I foiled when there was not enough wind for a good fin session. Now I use the fin when there is too much wind to foil

Subsonic
WA, 1814 posts
14 Nov 2019 9:29PM
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I really am enjoying the foiling. Gliding up wind/downwind, with no effort twice as fast as just about everything else.

but its no replacement for being hooked in to a slalom sail/board, powered up. It can't be beat.
Foiling is here to stay now, its no fad. Im quite sure of that.

azymuth
WA, 860 posts
14 Nov 2019 10:37PM
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Perth has tiny gutless waves most of the time but awesome powerful wind-swells offshore.
Surf skiers and SUPs have been frothing over downwind runners for years.

The efficiency and maneuverability of the foil enables us to carve downwinders with the surfskis (but with more power and speed) and easily fly back upwind at crazy angles - both not possible on slalom or waveboards as they're too draggy.

The windier it is the bigger the swells
Light wind foiling is super-fun but 20-30 knot winds and 1.5 to 2m chunky lumps is when foiling's magic

forceten
834 posts
14 Nov 2019 11:41PM
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Select to expand quote
Basher said..
It's another wing to our great sport.
However, I may never get on a foil board - just as I never tried kiting.
I'll probably stick to my waveboards, and the freestyle board, thanks very much. They are closer to the water, and they perform on the waves we have here - and that's where the feeling comes from.

The only chance of me trying foiling would be in the sub-20knot days, on flat water. But I already have other hobbies for those conditions.
I like the sort of foiling set-up that Balz Muller uses. A 5.2 would still be my biggest rig.


I agree that it's had a impact. Go with Basher, umm how can you tell that you don't like it until you try it.Well I've never tried bungee jumping nor jumping from a airplane without a parachute, I'm confident I don't like those either.

LeeD
926 posts
15 Nov 2019 12:39AM
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Did I notice something?
It appears foiling is good for windsurfers who otherwise would be slalom sailing.
Flatter waters, lighter winds.
Any foilers from the high wind and wave camp?
Not talking cruising the flats back and forth.

LeeD
926 posts
15 Nov 2019 12:41AM
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Yesn lots of industry related sailors are foiling and wing surfing.
They are trying to create a market so they can sell you something.

Belly25
NSW, 105 posts
15 Nov 2019 5:55AM
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Great thread Andy. I know we've talked about this a lot recently after an awesome foil sessions.
A few weeks a go we had a run of good wind for nearly 2 weeks and I got to sail for 11 consecutive days, both foiling and B&J. Foiling when it was lighter than 15kts and B&J when it was stronger.Most sessions were good to excellent fun.

The metaphor that may best suit how I felt after the foiling sessions was like after watching a movie like Forest Gump, " well that was I nice way to spend a couple of hours" and then spend the next couple of hours with a smile on your face trying to fathom what you just did. B&J is more like how you feel after a good Quinten Tarantino movie, "that was f..cking awesome", and then spend the next couple of hours coming down off the high.

There is a real cognitive element to foiling that also adds to the experience.

It's a bit like how we both love to MTB but differ a lot in which end of the spectrum of the sport we have a preference. I like hard flowy berms, jumps and technical stuff, others prefer open trail riding.

I think the thing I love the most about foiling is the ability to cover much bigger areas of water.

LeeD
926 posts
15 Nov 2019 3:11AM
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Assuming more water means up and downwind, windfoils do pretty well, and without the need of being overpowered like on slalom boards.
Where we sail, the reach is close to 2 miles across, and that is boring on a slow foil.
I foil about 1/3rd the distance, about what I do on slalom or bump gear when well powered.
To me, it's more fun to go at 22 mph averages over 16, regardless of wind powered vehicle.

Whitey76
WA, 47 posts
15 Nov 2019 4:33AM
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The best thing about foiling for me is more time on the water when its 10-15knts, without the frustrating pumping up on the plane only to come off 50m into the run. Over 15knts of consistent breeze I'm back on slalom, foiling is so much fun but fully powered slalom is way more intense/exhilarating for me. If the slalom board feels draggy then I'm not powered up enough so its back on the foil until the wind picks up. No way is it killing windsurfing where I sail.

MatStirl
QLD, 60 posts
15 Nov 2019 7:28AM
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Select to expand quote
Whitey76 said..
The best thing about foiling for me is more time on the water when its 10-15knts, without the frustrating pumping up on the plane only to come off 50m into the run. Over 15knts of consistent breeze I'm back on slalom, foiling is so much fun but fully powered slalom is way more intense/exhilarating for me. If the slalom board feels draggy then I'm not powered up enough so its back on the foil until the wind picks up. No way is it killing windsurfing where I sail.



Whether foiling 'kills' windsurfing overall depends what sort of windsurfing we're talking about.

Recreational windsurfing that has existing participants and whose numbers probably haven't increased over the years won't be affected.

Racing on the other hand, where the sport is more organised, kids are exposed to our sport via sailing clubs and we can get exposure/funding might lose out.
Too many race classes just dilutes the talent and spectacle. Our sport was most popular when there was only 1 race class. Now we have less numbers on about 5.

Gestalt
QLD, 12236 posts
15 Nov 2019 8:07AM
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Select to expand quote
Whitey76 said..
The best thing about foiling for me is more time on the water when its 10-15knts, without the frustrating pumping up on the plane only to come off 50m into the run. Over 15knts of consistent breeze I'm back on slalom, foiling is so much fun but fully powered slalom is way more intense/exhilarating for me. If the slalom board feels draggy then I'm not powered up enough so its back on the foil until the wind picks up. No way is it killing windsurfing where I sail.



from what ive seen this is the group that dig foiling the most.

some though never got stuck in that "i need 15 knots to enjoy windsurfing" rut

so foiling offers less incentives.

LeeD
926 posts
15 Nov 2019 8:27AM
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Nothing is either back or white.
Everything is shades of gray.
Foiling is ok.
Windsurfing is very fun.

ratz
WA, 370 posts
15 Nov 2019 10:39AM
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Select to expand quote
LeeD said..
Nothing is either back or white.
Everything is shades of gray.
Foiling is ok.
Windsurfing is very fun.


that's about the only thing you have said that I agree with....
most of it is blowing your own trumpet drivel..

Maddlad
WA, 416 posts
15 Nov 2019 11:45AM
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Select to expand quote
ratz said..

LeeD said..
Nothing is either back or white.
Everything is shades of gray.
Foiling is ok.
Windsurfing is very fun.



that's about the only thing you have said that I agree with....
most of it is blowing your own trumpet drivel..


Haha yep.

Paducah
587 posts
15 Nov 2019 1:22PM
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Select to expand quote
Gestalt said..

from what ive seen this is the group that dig foiling the most.

some though never got stuck in that "i need 15 knots to enjoy windsurfing" rut

so foiling offers less incentives.


There are those who "enjoy" windsurfing. Most foilers have the cravings of a an addict.

Stretchy
WA, 486 posts
15 Nov 2019 6:33PM
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Select to expand quote
ratz said..

LeeD said..
Nothing is either back or white.
Everything is shades of gray.
Foiling is ok.
Windsurfing is very fun.



that's about the only thing you have said that I agree with....
most of it is blowing your own trumpet drivel..


Rat what foiling has killed for me is there's no one to sail with at the local now. Doesn't seem right not being able to listen to you hollering @#$&*!! when the winds a bit underdone!
Hope to be joining you guys in KBay soon

ratz
WA, 370 posts
15 Nov 2019 6:41PM
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Just come down k bay rob
pretty sure I have taught the Dolphins some new swear words and also scared all the Sharks away.

boardsurfr
WA, 937 posts
15 Nov 2019 10:55PM
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I think foiling may kill formula perhaps "casual" longboard racing/sailing. But at most places I sail, formula boards and longboards always were a rare sight, so that's not much of a kill.

Select to expand quote
Stretchy said..
Rat what foiling has killed for me is there's no one to sail with at the local now.

Funny, foiling has had the opposite effect at my local. in 10-15 knots, there's often more company on the water now than before, with 3-4 other foilers out at times. Just a year ago, seeing more than 1 or 2 windsurfers out happened maybe once or twice a summer. That should increase in the future as more windsurfers get foils; we're slow adapters here. Most of the windsurfers who have a foil have dabbled in multiple aspects of the sport before (waves, freestyle, slalom, speed, SUPs, ...) and just added one more way to have fun on the water.

forceten
834 posts
15 Nov 2019 11:36PM
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My windsurf mates that are in my circle We have 33% who also kite. None have yet to try foiling, one talks about it. Some at the local spot do foil, maybe older has something to do with this, old dog new tricks, or age and knowledge .

i think foiling May be a windsurf variation, but it's more a offshoot than variation. Snowboard vs skis



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"Is foiling the best thing that ever happened to windsurfing? Or has it ruined it?" started by tbwonder