Idiot’s Guide to Foiling – 1

So, as you may have noticed from recent social media posts, we are quite into foiling and can really see the potential for it here in the UK. As such we will be releasing regular posts to document our journey through surf foiling to hopefully help you guys along the way aswell as give our thoughts on some of the kit available out there as we use it. Sorry Ben @ Windsurfing TV for knicking the title, but we feel we fit the title of idiot a bit better anyway…. 😉

Who am I? – I am Andy, the website/shop manager here at Puravida. 29, 6’8 and 105kgs so very much outside the spectrum of most brands sizings of kit which will no doubt give interesting results down the line….

History – Surfing/windsurfing for around 15 years. Have also been windfoiling for about a year (which i thought would be helpful to transfer, more on that later!). Generally surf on boards between 38-43l and windsurf on 95l upwards.

Session 1 – BEHIND A BOAT! Really cannot stress this one enough, the learning curve behind a boat is mega, feeling differences in foot placement, weight alternations, and not sh*tting yourself when you first take flight is invaluable.

Learnings – First thing is first, what really amazed me was just how much front foot pressure was needed. With my foiling to date being with a windsurf rig which gives a lot of mast foot pressure keeping the nose down, it was a real eye opener (and leg burner!) just how much pressure needed to be put down. What really helped was physically moving my front foot much further forwards and not being afraid to adopt a 1970’s Waimea big wave inspired stance for a little more coverage and control of the trim. It also goes without saying, you need to keep everything over the centre line of the board!

What also really helped was making sure the boat speed was low, so as to ensure that any lift was created by my weight movements and pumping rather than just getting auto lift from the boat speed (this is what happened on run 1, and it is a good lesson in front foot pressure, but a bit useless in finding the sweet spot on the foil). After a short while I had what alcoholics refer to as a ‘moment of clarity’. I found the sweet spot, got the pumping just right and suddenly felt the tension and reliance on the ski rope disappear – I was free!! Once in flight, the foil was fast and surprisingly stable, and you can really feel it accelerate off every bit of swell and the boat wake so it is important to keep your weight low so as to be prepared for this.

Falling – When you fall, fall. Sounds obvious huh?! But what i mean is don’t try and kick the board away from you to get clear of the swinging axe of doom strapped to the bottom of your board. If you do this, the foil will lift and go in whichever direction it wants, meaning its more likely to fire back at you and cause more damage than if you simply went with the fall.

Kit Used for session 1 – Boat session was done on the 6’6 Fanatic Sky SUP foil board and Medium Wing (2000) Fanatic Aero Foil (available June this year).

The bevelled rails and foil specific nature of the board really helped with release from the water surface, aswell as on reimpact with the water where it saw me skim, reset and get flying again, rather than ploughing into a world of pain!

What next? – Session 2 saw me change kit to my new JP Prone Surf Foil 6’0 board and Neil Pryde Glide Surf Large foil in the waves of South Wales, more on that next time!