Some help getting started

Hdip

Michael Peterson status
Apr 23, 2005
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Catching a wave the way you’ve done surfing for twenty years makes the foil go from 0-100 faster than a Tesla.

To catch a wave on a foil you want to try and catch the wave mid face or on a mushy shoulder. The reason crumbly white water takeoffs are easier is you get pushed mid face and don’t have to sea with the steepness from the very top of the wave. Remember a one foot wave with a two foot mast will feel like a five foot wave by the time it’s launching you. So a three foot wave will feel like nazare.

(Surfing you’re always looking for the steepest tallest part of the wave to get speed on the drop) with the foil you want to take off low if possible. Head mostly straight and get to the flats out in front of the wave. The foil is under your back foot and below you so even though it feels like you’re in the flats the wing is actually in a power source. Trimming down the line in the pocket mid face is difficult. Because the curve of the wave messes with the width of the foil wing. So that comes a bit later. Try to stay in front and along the flats. Not high in the face of the wave at first.

You’ve ridden some already so you probably realize slight movements have big rewards. Slow movements because it takes two feet of mast to get your movement to translate to the foil. And never lean over the high side of you can help it. Go where the foil wants to go at first. It leans left you go left. It’s trying to correct or overpower it when learning that gets you hurt.

Even if you fall and think you’re clear cover your head. Just saw a picture of a guy who had to get five staples in his head because he fell forward and his own foil ran him over.
 

juandesooka

OTF status
Jan 12, 2009
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Well said Hdip...most important learning rule: once it starts to go sour, jump off and away, don't try to correct, the foil wants to kill you. :) I am a fan of wearing a helmet, at least to start ... yeah, safety nerd, but foil wings are hard and sharp.

The boat offers a good progression, as the speed is so controlled and the environment is stable. You can start out slow, learn how the foil lifts and drops, then increase a little until you figure out how to consistently stay up, then can start to experiment with the never-changing wake, etc.

Surfing is dynamic and ever-changing -- which of course is why it takes years to become a competent surfer, vs snowboarding or wakeboarding. I think sup/surf foiling is an extension of regular surfing ... so it's easiest learned in whichever you're already competent with. And even better if you attempt it on a board that's the same or similar to what you can already surf on. The learning curve would be intensely challenging for someone who had never surfed ... towards impossible, advice might be to go surf a year or two then try foiling later.

Anyways, back to OP: with 25 years surfing and already achieved competency in the wake, you should find the transition fairly straightforward (I am avoiding saying "easy"). It is easiest to start out taking off in the white water, in the sweet spot where the wave has enough power to push you comfortably, but not so much power that you're getting tumbled/ragdolled. The ideal is to get steady forward movement, popup with board still on surface, then a quick ollie motion to get up on foil.

If your foil is lifting as you attempt your popup, then you are in too critical a wave section ... that can come later. This can also mean you have too big a wing for the waves. A smaller wing may be useful for the initial tries -- it may prove difficult to stay on foil (frustrating) but the tradeoff is much easier and safer introduction to the take-off. Then once comfortable, you can size up. With a bigger wing that wants to lift uncontrollably, you need more front foot pressure, kind of like dropping into a skateboard bowl, committing to forward momentum...advanced moves!
 
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nowayout

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Nov 8, 2010
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I appreciate the write up Hdip. For example I was up on foil for an hour and half on just this past sunday. Obviously with some falls here and there. But we go out almost every weekend behind the boat. I cant turn pretty good and actually carve in the wave face, my pumping is just ok at this point but it gets better every weekend.

I understand now that you explained it how hard it is going to be in the ocean with waves and being prone needing to pop up. That seems like it will be the most difficult part.

Foil board should be here today!
 

Hdip

Michael Peterson status
Apr 23, 2005
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I appreciate the write up Hdip. For example I was up on foil for an hour and half on just this past sunday. Obviously with some falls here and there. But we go out almost every weekend behind the boat. I cant turn pretty good and actually carve in the wave face, my pumping is just ok at this point but it gets better every weekend.

I understand now that you explained it how hard it is going to be in the ocean with waves and being prone needing to pop up. That seems like it will be the most difficult part.

Foil board should be here today!

Having the appropriate wave makes all the difference. If you're on a true foil wave that just get's steep enough to crumble over and then rolls or even backs off you'll be golden. When catching waves in the beginning almost every problem is solved by MORE FRONT FOOT! When you "ollie" up, do not lean back. Lean over your front foot. Lift your front foot (while still leaning forward) and immediately place your front foot back down.

If you're doing carves in the wake you're fine. Keep the writeups coming. I like reading progression threads.
 
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ghostshaper

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Jan 22, 2005
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Having the appropriate wave makes all the difference. If you're on a true foil wave that just get's steep enough to crumble over and then rolls or even backs off you'll be golden. When catching waves in the beginning almost every problem is solved by MORE FRONT FOOT! When you "ollie" up, do not lean back. Lean over your front foot. Lift your front foot (while still leaning forward) and immediately place your front foot back down.

If you're doing carves in the wake you're fine. Keep the writeups coming. I like reading progression threads.
I'm determined to figure out the canard set up so front/back foot pressure isn't so backwards from surfing. Think I finally figured out the fore/aft placement in the boxes.
 
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Hdip

Michael Peterson status
Apr 23, 2005
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I'm determined to figure out the canard set up so front/back foot pressure isn't so backwards from surfing. Think I finally figured out the fore/aft placement in the boxes.

If you look at surfing you're always stomping on the tail. Gravity will keep you in the water and the wave power will push you forward. A foil though can come up and out of the water. Once you figure it out and your equipment is dialed the foot pressure is pretty good.

On my AXIS 760 I am starting to learn how to stomp on the tail to do turns in the pocket. It's real fun. (stomp is a relative term obviously)
 

juandesooka

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Jan 12, 2009
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Uh oh , thread hijack alert! Before jumping into that, the beginner aspect: agree about front foot pressure. Just like a skateboard ollie, it is all about getting that front foot over the board and down. Another way to think of it, is that riding a foil is a bit like standing over the middle of a seesaw, the front and rear weight changes, compensating for changes in foil fuselage angle ... and all while cruising through an ever-changing sea state ... no wonder it's challenging. Just regular surfing is hard enough, foiling makes it 3D.

Canard/rear foot bias: like ghostshaper, I think it has potential. It is quite noticable in kiting, in making sharp turns with all the weight on your back foot, you can kinda slide out the tail like a shortboard. It feels different and cool. I think the same can apply in foil surfing, though to be honest, I am not sure I'll ever get to the skill level where this added performance capability would be useful. I am now focusing on tighter turns in the more critical part of the wave and also playing around with turns in the white water ... but it's pretty much laughable baby steps at this point. For the canard to catch on, the tech needs to be in the hands of truly gifted athletes who can take it to the next level, show everyone else what is possible. IMHO that was always one of zeeko's main problems ... their promo videos show advanced intermediate riders that surf kinda kooky....they are better than me, but it doesn't really present the aspirational model that sells alternative gear. Anyways, once the surf season kicks in solid, and I start getting bored of the same-old (will it happen?), then I'll bust out the XXLW, see if I can make it work in the surf, and see if I can notice any difference.
 

juandesooka

OTF status
Jan 12, 2009
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sometimes I wish I never started foiling....
Haha, it's pretty crazy and weird when you step back and really think about it. But, hey, so is sex and that's still pretty entertaining. :)

Foiling is expensive, but has great fringe benefits.
  • * It has reinvigorated surf lust for me, after drifting into longboard, sups, kiting, fishing, I am like a jazzed up 20 year old again, just can't get enough.
  • * With that, I am in the best paddling shape I've been in for decades....I actually think I could pull off a shortboard surf again if I felt like trying.
  • * It has kinda cut through the aggressive crowd management BS that makes me hate surfing; stoked to foil with the crew, sharing waves is great, every wave can be a party.
  • * On most days, I am getting the most waves, the longest rides, and having the most fun of anyone at the beach....on the best days it is laugh out loud ridiculous.
There are negatives too, I've given up some pretty good surf at times, it has been very humbling (embarrassing even), the hardcore surf crew think I'm a kook (what else is new, they can keep grumbling around the fire while I paddle out for another).

Pros far outweight cons, stoked, YEWWWW. :)