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Foiling behind the boat


tpalka
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This has been a fun way to while away a few days.  Slalom skiing is more like carving, of course, but figuring out the balance of how to carve across the wake on a hydrofoil takes a lot of balance and timing.  Good practice for carving on snow I think, in a cross-training kind of way.  Unlike in some other types of sports, on a foil it needs to be initiated with the front foot -- like on snow -- otherwise the foil lifts and the turn is over 🙂  And it's so sensitive to weight distribution... 

Anybody else messing with this?

Tom.

 

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I got a chance to try a foil last weekend. It was behind a little open aluminum boat (?? I'm not a boat guy) at a surprisingly-low speed. 5 mph? Just above walking speed. The owner insisted that was best. It was surprising how little speed you needed to come up on plane! 

Pitch control was hyper-sensitive! I couldn't get the hang of it, lots of rising up and dropping back into the water with the subtlest fore-aft weight shifts. Never got to the point of turns before we had to part ways. It was very different flying on something so far beneath you. Felt like skateboarding on a tall unicycle. 

It's wild how the chop just disappears as soon as you get up on the foil. I mean, no duh, but the change is so striking. Like the moment of lift-off in a small plane. 

And that foil is SHARP. Sliced my foot before I even started. He warned me, and then I kicked it 20 seconds later. 🙄 😆 

Super fun, would do it again if I get the chance! 

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Posted (edited)

The foil (hydrofoil) is incredibly efficient, and presents almost no drag in the water.  One of the challenges of riding behind the boat is to not outrun it...  Thus the turns back and forth, trying to keep at least a semblance of line tension.  I had a few rides where my son was turning the boat gently, at just the right speed, generating a foot-high wake.  I serendipitously got near the top of it and ended up "surfing" it, like an endless wave, riding it just below the spine, dragging the rope behind me, for 20-25 seconds. What an incredible feeling.  The board is very twitchy, lots of the steering movement means shifting the hips 2" one way or another... Super cool way to get about the lake.

Edited by tpalka
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Yes, we took an e-foil class as prep for wing foiling.  It was fun -- I enjoyed figuring out the balance, the speed, etc.  In the long run I think it'd lose the attraction though, and it's not completely silent.  But it'd be a fun toy if you have spare funds.  

The really cool thing would be to learn how to pump them -- check out movies by "wake thief" on youtube.  He jumps off his dock, pumps the foil board towards a passing boat, surfs their wake, and then pumps back!  He's really impressive.  Lots of good youtube videos about foil pumping on flatwater.

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  • 1 month later...

Not behind the boat, but this sure looks fun.  Board not as angled as a carving snowboard, but I love the smoothness and how he makes it back up to the top of the swell on most turns.  Then picks up the wave energy and keeps on keeping on.... 🙂

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We were able to get our hands on one of the early Jimmy Lewis prototype foils about 15-20 years ago when you still had to use clicker bindings and snowboard boots like softboot's picture.  It belonged to one of the Maui big wave guys.  It had a V shaped bottom and a composite foil.  Living in NC we didn't have much opportunity to actually try to ride swell with it though so we mainly just tooled around with it behind the boat.  We did manage some pretty big jumps and such behind the boat though.  Was a good time.

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