Idiot’s Guide to Foiling – 2

JP Prone Foil Surf

So, it has been a little while since part one was put up, and I have got a few sessions under my belt in the waves now. The setup I am using is the JP Prone Surf Foil 6’0 board with neil Pryde Glide Surf Large foil. I chose this setup mostly on sizing, but also as it offers the cheapest setup to get foil surfing aswell, showing that it can be done relatively cheaply!

So having had my moment of enlightenment behind a boat and found the sweet spot in controlling flight, I confidently headed down to the beach on a 4ft @ 4 seconds 8knot onshore day at a rivermouth break (deep channel, where the wave mellows out after takeoff), which I had to myself! Conditions that I would normally ignore and favour Netflix over…..

Paddling out was stable and floaty compared to my normal surfboard, and duckdiving was surprisingly easy given the mega float of the board, the foil does a good job of projecting the board under the wave. Tentatively paddling into my first waves, the onshore blown out conditions really helped push me into waves without them banking up into walls of foil death, and before I knew it the board was pulling into a wave and I was popping up into the unknown.

What i think surprised me at this point was that i had popped up, hit my stance and the board was still on the water until I used my foot pressures from behind the boat to lift the foil. I fully expected these moments to be chaotic and out of control with the board lifting before I had a chance to pop up, but I was wrong. From this moment on I relaxed, realised the fears and worries I had were completely irrational and proceeded to catch wave after wave after wave.

With the pop ups in control, and stance alterations becoming smaller and smaller, i found myself rising into controlled flights more and more consistently, which then lead to the next, unexpected hurdle – speed! The minute the foil lifts, you go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye, the peak where you took off becomes a spec behind you and you are way way out on the shoulder before you know it, only unlike surfing you are still accelerating!! All i kept thinking was front foot pressure, keep that nose down and in control and the rest will all be fine!

So, big pointers from my first couple of sesions in the waves;

-Relax, taking off on a wave is way more controlled and slowpaced than your head might lead you to believe.

-If you fall, fall. Don’t kick the board away thinking your saving your head from being cut off, this will simply power up the foil and it will go wherever if wants. If you go with the fall, generally I found the board carried on with the wave and stayed well clear of me.

-If your head is saying the wave is about to pass under you and you’ve missed it, give a couple more big deep paddles and go for the pop up. I found the foil had a subtle tipping point where if you were quick you could actually catch what felt like swell by being quick to hit the minimum lift point of the foil (around 4-6knot board speed)

-Onshore, low period (ie/ Crap) conditions are actually perfect for getting your first flights, the whitewater helps push you in, then once up the foil is generating lift from whats under the whitewater so you’ll be grand!