Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling

How hard is this foiling business?

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Created by Lorgra 7 months ago, 18 Mar 2019
Lorgra
WA, 133 posts
18 Mar 2019 12:38PM
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OK.

I've seen it and it looks fun.

Been kiting for about 5 years maybe more and have started to get tired of the congestion of my local and looking for something to do on those light wind days.

And yes, I'm old and looking for something a little stressful on the body.

Any suggestions?

And go!

KIT33R
NSW, 1656 posts
18 Mar 2019 2:59PM
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By all means, take the plunge. Sorry, bad pun because there will be a lot of that. Watch a lot of "how to" videos and get a short mast (approx 60cm) foil designed for beginner/intermediate foilers. Move up to a 90cm mast after a few months. I'm 64 years young and started foiling 8 months ago. I can now transition from heel to toeside and back again. Foot change gybes are still difficult but making progress. It helps a great deal if you are experienced on a strapless surfboard and competent toeside. Surf kites are best to start with because of their light weight and drift potential. A helmet and wetsuit are essential since the board or foil will hit you. If its not trying hit you the board has a habit of trying climb into your lines on any wipeout. Apart from the physical punishment you will endure it's still a lot of fun. Practice light wind self-rescue.

I really enjoy light winds now. I've kited on 8m and 5m kites all summer in anything from 12 to 25 knots.

ralphlong
WA, 18 posts
18 Mar 2019 1:17PM
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Its definitely fun, but be prepared its like learning all over again. I agree with the above comments and advice a helmet I popped an eardrum in a wipeout. Its worth the effort though, going through a turn on the foil and coming out with way more speed then when you went in is exhilarating. I wont use more than an 8m kite with my surfboard anymore, I'll just go to my foil.

Check out this kid on you tube-Kainani Drexler. She rips on a foil and humbles my efforts!

RAL INN
VIC, 2769 posts
18 Mar 2019 4:45PM
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It's really super easy and if you crash a lot then you'll be the only one having trouble.

Kamikuza
QLD, 4422 posts
18 Mar 2019 5:14PM
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Yep. Surf wing, small fast kite, peaceful easy feeling.

Flat water and steady winds will make your learning vastly easier.

First lesson--learn to body drag upwind.

Aspiremr
WA, 89 posts
18 Mar 2019 6:16PM
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Do it. From a nearly 50 yr old 3 yr experienced kiter.

I Started foiling this yaer. It's not that hard. Watch some videos, I thought the progression series were pretty good.In the initial phase the falls are tough because they are from a height. But in a short period of time it is so much more gentle on the body. THe idea of a Twintip and all that Banging and smashing holds no appeal for me anymore.

If you start on a beginner foil, you should be up and at leasst mowing the lawn within half a dozen sessions. I'm onto probably session 30 and can carve heel to toeside, and nail maybe half of my foot switches off the foil on my strong side And I was no natural on a TT.

Definitely wear a helmet, vest and wetsuit. You will get hit in the learning phase.

You'll never look back.

Swavek
WA, 318 posts
18 Mar 2019 8:51PM
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Thinking back having a learner board and foil plus couple lessons would have been smarter than pure perseverence and lack of talent. Took me about 25 sessions before it clicked - found it very hard myself. Everyone is different but having the right gear, the right advice, and the right wind makes a big difference to progress. Learn in season when the wind is nice and steady. Once you can do it you can make use of light or gusty wind, but learning in such conditions might put you off.

Kamikuza
QLD, 4422 posts
19 Mar 2019 5:42PM
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Get a balance board, or go down the kids park and use the seesaw as one.

www.amazon.com/Revolution-101-Balance-Board-Trainer/dp/B013YQ9750#

Lorgra
WA, 133 posts
19 Mar 2019 9:31PM
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Select to expand quote
Kamikuza said..
Get a balance board, or go down the kids park and use the seesaw as one.

www.amazon.com/Revolution-101-Balance-Board-Trainer/dp/B013YQ9750#


Will this do?




djdojo
VIC, 1538 posts
20 Mar 2019 12:30AM
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In your loungeroom, or on the water, I recommend strapless. Guys I see learning with straps seem to take longer to learn and waste too much energy trying to muscle things into place. Some will disagree with me but I reckon strapless on a low volume board is the way to go for safety and a better learning curve as you are more clearly shown the futility of fighting the foil.

Kamikuza
QLD, 4422 posts
20 Mar 2019 5:34AM
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Select to expand quote
Lorgra said..

Kamikuza said..
Get a balance board, or go down the kids park and use the seesaw as one.

www.amazon.com/Revolution-101-Balance-Board-Trainer/dp/B013YQ9750#



Will this do?





Guess so. I used the park seesaw myself

Kamikuza
QLD, 4422 posts
20 Mar 2019 5:38AM
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Select to expand quote
djdojo said..
In your loungeroom, or on the water, I recommend strapless. Guys I see learning with straps seem to take longer to learn and waste too much energy trying to muscle things into place. Some will disagree with me but I reckon strapless on a low volume board is the way to go for safety and a better learning curve as you are more clearly shown the futility of fighting the foil.


Front strap only is easier for water starting, and I think perhaps for getting your front foot position sorted. If you have the misfortune to only have choppy ocean to learn in, then I might even say it's vital.

Rear strap 100% no!

Lorgra
WA, 133 posts
20 Mar 2019 9:01AM
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Select to expand quote
Kamikuza said..

djdojo said..
In your loungeroom, or on the water, I recommend strapless. Guys I see learning with straps seem to take longer to learn and waste too much energy trying to muscle things into place. Some will disagree with me but I reckon strapless on a low volume board is the way to go for safety and a better learning curve as you are more clearly shown the futility of fighting the foil.



Front strap only is easier for water starting, and I think perhaps for getting your front foot position sorted. If you have the misfortune to only have choppy ocean to learn in, then I might even say it's vital.

Rear strap 100% no!


Is this just to get the balance even on both feet or do I try balancing more on the front foot?

emmafoils
81 posts
20 Mar 2019 9:13AM
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There is no definitive correct answer on the foot strap question. Your balance should be equal on both feet if foil is in correct position. What is important is to not get SINGLE foot caught in strap during a fall. I recommend either 3 very loose straps or single front hook.

Dave Whettingsteel
WA, 1361 posts
20 Mar 2019 11:44AM
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In my last 2 months or so of learning I have tried all the combo's I think:

I find using 2 straps, ie front and back, suits me best.
Just 1 strap resulted in some horrible ankle / knee twisting crashes.
Strapless I found it hard to control the side to side motion and had some scary sideway flip crashes.

Haven't had any nasty crashes since I settled on 2 loose straps.

Cheers

Kamikuza
QLD, 4422 posts
20 Mar 2019 7:06PM
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Select to expand quote
Lorgra said..

Kamikuza said..


djdojo said..
In your loungeroom, or on the water, I recommend strapless. Guys I see learning with straps seem to take longer to learn and waste too much energy trying to muscle things into place. Some will disagree with me but I reckon strapless on a low volume board is the way to go for safety and a better learning curve as you are more clearly shown the futility of fighting the foil.




Front strap only is easier for water starting, and I think perhaps for getting your front foot position sorted. If you have the misfortune to only have choppy ocean to learn in, then I might even say it's vital.

Rear strap 100% no!



Is this just to get the balance even on both feet or do I try balancing more on the front foot?


There's a video from Liquid Force I think showing moving the balance point from centered between the feet to closer to one or the other.

I think just the practice of balancing will greatly improved your feel and response to feedback from your feet...

Kamikuza
QLD, 4422 posts
20 Mar 2019 7:10PM
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Select to expand quote
Dave Whettingsteel said..
In my last 2 months or so of learning I have tried all the combo's I think:

I find using 2 straps, ie front and back, suits me best.
Just 1 strap resulted in some horrible ankle / knee twisting crashes.
Strapless I found it hard to control the side to side motion and had some scary sideway flip crashes.

Haven't had any nasty crashes since I settled on 2 loose straps.

Cheers


One front strap or V front strap?

Everyone I know who's had an unpleasant experience has twisted their ankle I'm the rear strap, never with just a front.

It's always when you fall upwind onto your bum but the board falls downwind and the board carves upwind... Folding your knees under you and trapping your ankle.

I had the sideways flip crashes anyway, but it was always the breaches that slam me the hardest...

djdojo
VIC, 1538 posts
20 Mar 2019 7:55PM
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FWIW I learned in very sloppy choppy waters and never used any straps (or a short mast). You just need sufficient kite skills to be able to hold your board in place with your back hand while you initiate the dive with your front hand and then, as soon as the kite is moving a little and you therefore have some foot pressure on the board, you transfer your rear hand to the bar to redirect at the bottom of the dive. If this is too hard then you need to work on your one-handed flying skills and/or strapless surfboard riding. With a bit of practise you can waterstart a low volume strapless board without using your hands at all, and yes, lumpy chop and waves make it harder but not that much.

Racers obviously need straps for the ridiculous speed and power levels they play with, but for beginners, and for the advancing freerider, beyond safety issues, straps will probably condemn you to a lack of smoothness and style that are the hallmarks of good freeride foiling. Imagine a longboard surfer restricting his stance to just one position and width - why would you!?

Dave Whettingsteel
WA, 1361 posts
20 Mar 2019 7:52PM
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Select to expand quote

Kamikuza said..


One front strap or V front strap?

I had the sideways flip crashes anyway, but it was always the breaches that slam me the hardest...


Just the one front strap, not V.

I just find being in front and back straps gives a lot more control over the side to side slammers. The front to back balance I find easy being in 2 straps Maybe when I get more confident and relaxed I'll try dumping the straps again. They make switching your feet harder gybing for sure.

Not really getting many light wind days here to practice. Nice problem to have I guess!

dafish
NSW, 1390 posts
21 Mar 2019 7:24AM
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Select to expand quote
djdojo said..
FWIW I learned in very sloppy choppy waters and never used any straps (or a short mast). You just need sufficient kite skills to be able to hold your board in place with your back hand while you initiate the dive with your front hand and then, as soon as the kite is moving a little and you therefore have some foot pressure on the board, you transfer your rear hand to the bar to redirect at the bottom of the dive. If this is too hard then you need to work on your one-handed flying skills and/or strapless surfboard riding. With a bit of practise you can waterstart a low volume strapless board without using your hands at all, and yes, lumpy chop and waves make it harder but not that much.

Racers obviously need straps for the ridiculous speed and power levels they play with, but for beginners, and for the advancing freerider, beyond safety issues, straps will probably condemn you to a lack of smoothness and style that are the hallmarks of good freeride foiling. Imagine a longboard surfer restricting his stance to just one position and width - why would you!?


What Djojo said. Being able to eject and get away from the board will prevent loads of issues with feet caught in straps. The first day or so I learned was on a surfboard I had laying around where I mounted a full 1 mt mast and used a very loose front strap. Even with it loose it still was an issue. The smaller pocket type boards might at first be a little harder but as was mentioned above if you have good flying skills you should be able to hang on to the rail while you plant your feet long enough to get the kite moving. If you insist on a strap those open hooks on the front foot would be a safer options.
I would also add that it is getting easier because there are always others around now to help guide you at the beach. When I started there was nobody foiling. Now my local has a range of riders with different skillsets and different types of wings and masts. Most are still hesitant to ditch the front strap. I find the straps annoying when I am trying other peoples foils. I see them struggle a bit and they ask me to ride their foils to see if the setup is okay. Generally speaking, all of them are rideable.
There are also now a ton of vids that weren't around a few years ago. And as another person mentioned, check out Kainani Drexler's vids. She is a sweetheart and will offer some seriously good tips. Once you get past the 5 to 10 hours of learning everything just gets better and better

eppo
WA, 7339 posts
21 Mar 2019 7:55AM
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I don't use straps anymore. Had a few ankle wrenches and decided give my less than average ankles (20 years of kiting, there isn't much cartilage left) to remove them. It can make water starting a challenge to being with, but now I don't know any different. Mate of mine uses a home made strap hook thingy and that seems to work well for water starts etc.


The slower more stable sup/surf wings (for example like my axis foil) available now make it so much easier to learn. I don't even know if 10-15 hours is needed anymore. I'm taking guys out and they are up and riding within 10-15 minutes not 10-15 hours...but in the ocean would be a different story. Of course there is still a learning curve that just seems endless.

The10-15 hours is probably the mark whereby you can stop, look around, stop holding your breath, and relax your head (gave myself headaches by concentrating too bloody hard) and start to enjoy/absorb the situation.

The pioneers (some on here) have made way for a much more smoother and quicker entry into this aspect of the sport (Thankyou). Tap into them, watch the vids and get the right gear for your intended purpose.

Then you will eventually get to the weird situation in which you would rather foil than anything else. Quite disappointing when the green arrows arrive and you don't have a small enough kite...

dafish
NSW, 1390 posts
21 Mar 2019 10:38AM
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eppo said..
I don't use straps anymore. Had a few ankle wrenches and decided give my less than average ankles (20 years of kiting, there isn't much cartilage left) to remove them. It can make water starting a challenge to being with, but now I don't know any different. Mate of mine uses a home made strap hook thingy and that seems to work well for water starts etc.


The slower more stable sup/surf wings (for example like my axis foil) available now make it so much easier to learn. I don't even know if 10-15 hours is needed anymore. I'm taking guys out and they are up and riding within 10-15 minutes not 10-15 hours...but in the ocean would be a different story. Of course there is still a learning curve that just seems endless.

The10-15 hours is probably the mark whereby you can stop, look around, stop holding your breath, and relax your head (gave myself headaches by concentrating too bloody hard) and start to enjoy/absorb the situation.

The pioneers (some on here) have made way for a much more smoother and quicker entry into this aspect of the sport (Thankyou). Tap into them, watch the vids and get the right gear for your intended purpose.

Then you will eventually get to the weird situation in which you would rather foil than anything else. Quite disappointing when the green arrows arrive and you don't have a small enough kite...


This is where the 4 mt Uno comes in! Such a fun little kite to foil with. Small kite, big wind chop, = big fun

eppo
WA, 7339 posts
21 Mar 2019 9:34AM
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yeh sold mine after the boy learnt...kinda wish I hadn't. Although...I'd rather a small kite with at least three struts to be honest. A little 5m reo would be awesome.

eppo
WA, 7339 posts
21 Mar 2019 9:34AM
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yeh sold mine after the boy learnt...kinda wish I hadn't. Although...I'd rather a small kite with at least three struts to be honest. A little 5m reo would be awesome.

ActionSportsWA
WA, 720 posts
21 Mar 2019 2:27PM
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Hi Lorgra,

Learning foiling is super easy and the progression is very fast. The right foil, coupled with a 30 minute boat session and maybe 1hr of coaching and you should be up and riding in just a few sessions. We get most people up and on the foil in the first 30 minutes behind the boat. This 30 minutes is all you need to understand the balance and foot pressure needed to foil.

A short mast usually borrowed from a reputable shop will get you up safely in your first hour with the kite. From there its just practice and practice.

Progression steps
30 minutes Boat - 15" mast and large board with big high lift wing
You may move on to the 24" mast if you "get it" quickly in the same boat session.

60 minutes with kite, 24" mast and smaller wing with an instructor with radios.

In all, 90 minutes coaching with all the right gear to make it easy, safe and fun.

Next step is to get your gear.

Use a low volume board with a single, loose, front strap. Use a light weight kite so you can take advantage of light winds.

Once you can ride competently without touching down or breaching, lose the front strap in place of two front straps. This will allow you to learn to gybe and tack properly.

Accept the fact that you have no references or experience in foiling at the beginning and don't try to apply knowledge you have to it. Save yourself the pain and prolonged noob stage with the 90 minutes of coaching and avoid all that. Get a helmet and maybe an impact vest, wear a wetsuit.

Our store offers free foiling lessons with a foil purchase. so it won't even cost you anything for the lessons.

DM

ActionSportsWA
WA, 720 posts
21 Mar 2019 2:33PM
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Select to expand quote
Lorgra said..

Kamikuza said..
Get a balance board, or go down the kids park and use the seesaw as one.

www.amazon.com/Revolution-101-Balance-Board-Trainer/dp/B013YQ9750#



Will this do?





Take the straps off that sand board or you're likely to break something, like your neck


I'm not sure that will help initially, but once you can get up, it should help a lot with legs conditioning and balance.

DM

Swavek
WA, 318 posts
25 Mar 2019 7:20AM
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The hydrofoil learning deal from Action Sports sounds good to me - free lessons with purchase of foil. I wish it was available when I started (or maybe it was, I just did not know about it). I bought the wrong second hand foil, the wrong board, wasted many sessions trying to figure it out by myself, then bought the right foil and learnt on the wrong board (too floaty, too wide) before I made myself the right board :-)
Lot of pain and expense I did not need

derek72
WA, 22 posts
25 Mar 2019 1:28PM
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I agree with DM above RE approach. I also did some sessions at the cable park doing foil lessons as I don't have access to a boat. The progression vids online are also really good. I agree RE footstraps, def having at least one helps to keep things in place while you dive the kite, I prefer one at front and loose so your foot could flip but not go through it. Nice stable wing (I have slingshot H5), stable board, short mast helps at first (I used 60cm). Then per the progression vids, work on water starts and taxi stage (riding with board on surface), then get pitch control and front foot pressure.

I started with the wrong second hand kit and then bought other better second hand kit but have been at it about four months off-and-on and am riding comfortably now. I could have learned much faster with the right kit and conditions, but yeah it takes time, just don't waste time with the wrong kit and wrong instruction.

MikeyG
WA, 121 posts
30 Mar 2019 1:10PM
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I'm on my second session of foiling (maximum 3 hours of water time) and today I managed quite a few 60 second long rides (on the foil) in both directions. I'm using a 1000cm Airush Core front wing, 80cm mast and Shin Jackson 130. It's slow and probably looks very ungraceful but it's addictive.

First session was at Leighton today's was in the Swan river.

Ive had plenty of crashes and a few moments where I've felt out of control, but it is awesome.

My tips to picking it up quickly:
- use a big front wing but accept you'll grow out of it quickly (I got a deal on the 1000cm and a 550cm)
- use a lightweight kite and don't go too small (I've been using one size smaller than I would on the surfboard)
- think front foot pressure the whole time (to control the rise)
- get on with it. You can physch yourself out thinking about it too much.

natho6026961
WA, 41 posts
31 Mar 2019 7:46AM
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MikeyG good to see you have committed. I remember you said you wanted to give it a crack a couple of years ago. I agree, you just need to do it.
On my second season now. For me, dedicating myself to foiling except for the odd occasions for TT (higher winds) made a big difference, given I don't get out too often due to work/family. Even though I have heaps to learn, foiling now feels 'normal'.I tried strapless at the beginning but found it impossible to waterstart. Used foot hooks for first season, lost the back one quickly, and now find strapless is preferable. I recommend hooks for learning. Maybe straps one day for speed and holding down more power, but the potential for ankle injury still puts me off the idea.
Smaller masts e.g. 15" and 24" def way to go. Accelerates learning in that you can do it in shallow water, crashes are less of a big deal and you recover quicker.

KiteHume
NSW, 33 posts
31 Mar 2019 1:25PM
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This front toe strap and rear foot hook combination has been working great for me. Saw it posted online a while back. Makes it easy to positition board for water start, even in light winds. And have no worries about my feet getting stuck in straps when falling.




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"How hard is this foiling business?" started by Lorgra