Foil surfing may seem like a pastime dreamt up in a dystopian sci-fi future, but it is certainly a reality and is experiencing a major surge in popularity. With some perplexed about what exactly a foil board is, and what benefits lie in wait for those who want to get involved, we have outlined 10 reasons why you might consider making a foil board your next purchase.
These boards replace the traditional fins on the bottom deck of your board with a much longer, hydro blade. Attached to this blade are two wings. These help lift the board out of the water as it moves. This means that foil surfers get raised above the surface of the water, providing a novel and futuristic surfing experience.
With the foil fin there to lift you well above the water line as you surf, there is little doubt you will catch the attention of those around you. If you like to be the centre of attention then a foil board will definitely do the trick. That’s not to say that conventional surfers will be pleased to see you in the lineup, but you certainly will be riding high up above them. It’s kind of like galloping into the arena on a horse, when everyone else is jogging.
There are challenges when it comes to foil boarding and learning any new skill takes time and dedication. However, with some practice, foil boarding opens up a world of manoeuvres that would not be possible on a traditional board. Guys like Kai Lenny are bringing high-performance surf moves, like aerials, across to the new platform – see the feature image above. In addition to surf tricks, the positioning above the surface allows for a range of movements not possible on a traditional surfboard, which directly displaces water. Foil boards are not one dimensional, and there are a whole range of models and designs available at outlets like Finbin.
Ease of use
There is an intense learning curve when it comes to foil boarding, with reports of top professional surfers having trouble getting used to the elevation and movement. That said, the speed of learning will be fast due to the fact that there is also not a lot of need for wind – or even waves to go foil boarding. Thanks to the board’s wing like design, you can be up and away in any manner of conditions that would not suit either conventional surf or kite boarders.
Feeling of flying
This is a strong selling point for many new users of the foil board. Whether you are attached to a kite or not, the board makes you feel like you are taxiing for take-off. The increased elevation provides a completely new perspective and provides a smooth, cushioned experienced, like a mini-hovercraft. The increased field of vision helps you gain more awareness of the surroundings, stare SUP riders in the eyes and enjoy an experience much like riding a magic carpet.
Reaching new locations
An added bonus of the increased elevation of the foil board is that you can quite literally beat the crowd. Your elevated board can surf without many of the prerequisites of traditional surfing. This sport has suddenly put locations which were previously off limits to surfers, firmly on the map as viable surf spots. Being able to ride small swells to awkward locations, ride way out to sea and not worry about wind conditions means riders can explore places few others dare to go.
Sure, getting started on the foil board is very challenging, and many find the biggest of these challenges is maintaining stability in the early runs. However, once your proprioception (sense of balance) and muscles become accustomed to the flowing movement many report experiencing a more stable riding proposition than traditional surfing. This might in part be due to the lack of obstacles encountered at eye level. A wider perspective enables the rider to stay present and agile while maintaining control over the board.
One of the greatest benefits which gets people talking when it comes to foil boarding, is just how much it can improve your physique. Regardless of gender, you can expect to see some serious improvements when you begin to learn foil boarding. This is mostly down to the fact that holding your balance on the board requires you to engage your core at all times and exhibit a large degree of core strength. This can be difficult at the beginning, but like everything, once your body adjusts, it becomes second nature. All of this fun with image benefits to boot.
Levels of excitement
With all the points raised in this piece, you had better believe that foil boarding is absolutely exhilarating. Foil board stores are mushrooming around the world and many big name shapers are adding foil boards to their conventional surfboard designs. Surf magazines are taking notice and a French town even banned hydrofoils due to the potential for injury. There is a reason why foils have become so popular even among seasoned surfers and this is because it adds a completely new dimension to the surfing experience that many would never have thought possible. With surf breaks becoming ever more crowded, foil surfing enables riders to venture further afield in the search for untapped potential.
The latest trend
Everyone likes a piece of the next big thing. In the boarding world, that big thing seems to be foil boarding. In surfing, it is usually the most annoying people who break convention and bust out a new type of board at the local break (disclaimer: this is in the editor’s opinion). With many people curious to experience a new form of gliding the best time to learn is now so you get a head start. Just think, in two years you’ll have mastered what many might only be starting out. You might be world champion in 2022. Well only if Kai Lenny no longer exists.
A new challenge
Everyone reaches a point where they would like to take on something new. Making life a journey of learning and self-development turns is into well-rounded individuals. While many surfers wouldn’t consider riding a SUP (thank God, according to the editor), foiling is slightly different. With a few tweaks to the technology and some refinement to the blade it may just be the future. Imagine true big wave surfing on a hydrofoil. Imagine surf contests where the competitors don’t stop moving – they weave across the surface, picking off waves before they have even formed into walls. Foil boarding provides an opportunity to rejuvenate a love and passion for the sport of surfing. Challenging yourself and stepping outside the comfort zone to learn some new skills is a valuable move in all walks of life. This is no different when it comes to surfing. Even if the new pastime doesn’t stick, riding a range of boards is a great way to improve.
Undoubtedly foil surfing is going through a boom. While it certainly is not for the faint-hearted, it is something which any avid surfer, or those looking for an exciting new twist on the traditional board, should try at least once.
In a perfect future, foil surfers will venture out to new locations, reducing the pressure on our already-crowded conventional surf breaks. In a dystopian future, the foil riders will have flame throwers and metal suits of armour to blaze a trail between the reptilian SUP riders and us, the shortboard steampunks, who have nowhere else to go.