If you had made your decision on whether you were going to kite, based on watching a beginner kite, well let’s face it, it may not have been as appealing to you and look at what you would have missed. If you had watched a pro – well that’s another story. And this is how I see Hydrofoiling – looking at it now you might make the same mistake, but I think you would be making a big mistake.
I have been dabbling in foiling for around a year and I am now getting really excited. I am starting to see what could happen and I really believe that we are going to see a whole new sport develop. Everyone has been asking about what they are going to do with the kite next, but no-one thought it would come from the board.
The light wind kite is no longer the discussion, as there is nothing that will get you going in lighter winds better than a hydrofoil. The lack of water resistance cannot be beaten. I have ridden in sub 10 knots where I am diving the kite to go a metre at a time but as soon as I get onto the foil I am flying. Look at the Americas cup, where those yachts are achieving an apparent wind speed of 38 knots in 20 knots of wind!!
IS IT HARD?? Put it this way – if you are a beginner you should not be trying this but if your kite skills are good then you will get it! Just look at kiteboarding – was that hard? Not really! Put the time into foiling and it is easy. Once you understand how to ride a foil then it is a whole new board game.
IS IT DANGEROUS? Again, the honest answer here is that you have a very sharp fin under you, so yes it can be. I think you should wear a helmet when learning and you should wear an impact vest as well but once you have got the basics it definitely becomes a lot safer. I personally ride strapless so I can get away from the board. If you use foot straps, make sure they are very loose.
IS IT JUST ABOUT GOING BACK AND FORWARD AND WHERE TO FROM HERE?? This is what I have always asked myself. If I had only twin tipped, I would have got bored and eventually given up the sport, but I went into a lot of different avenues and kiting is still alive and kicking. Everyone looks at hydrofoiling now and think the same thought? Once I get it mastered will I not then get bored? The ANSWER IS NO! I am only now starting to see the potential! Not only is it an amazing ride now and let’s not forget that hydrofoiling right now is awesome – the ride you have when riding a wing is like floating on air. It is like snowboarding powder. There is no chop, there is no sound and you fly!! BUT THEN WHAT?
Yesterday I had a session where I started to go deep and ride ocean swells. I would kick out before they had formed into a wave but the potential was incredible. I was having rides for as long as I wanted and I was just cruising and only just starting to get the carving going on the board. I started to pump the foil and get it to generate it’s own speed. I would put the kite above me and to just use the board to ride and it was amazing. I cannot express what a ride I had. The amazing thing here is that I am still a beginner in this field and I haven’t even scratched the surface but I tell you what – get onto it now because I believe that this is a whole new side of kiting that is about to come about and you don’t want to be looking in a year at everyone ripping and still have a long way to catch up.
Ironically, I haven’t even spoken about hydrofoiling with a SUP or with a surfboard as that is again another whole new topic. What I can tell you though is if you are keen to get those going, there is nothing that will give you more foil time than with a kite.
There are also other options if you can’t afford the F-One foil. We have our local boys here producing an amazing foil that is way more cost effective and will get you into the sport. Richards Bay is also one of the best learning spots in the country and those boys are basically kiting most days as there are very few days that are no longer unkiteable! F-One though produce a piece of art and they are the leaders in the foiling market. They have been making foils for almost 3 years now and the ride is a stable and streamlined ride. But however you do it just give it a go. We are offering intro sessions for those interested in giving it a go!