Although mastering the foil requires technique, it is a practice accessible to all. The foil is a trendy practice that allows you to ride on the most beautiful spots in the world as well as in very low wind areas and flat water. The first flights of gliding machines took place in the 80’s but the craze and the democratization of this practice took place with the kitefoil at first then with the windfoil in 2016. This was followed by the development of other board sports such as foil surfing where Laird Hamilton is one of the pioneers.
How does a foil work?
A foil consists of a front wing, a rear stabilizer, a fuselage and a mast.
To lift our weight with this foil, we need to have a certain speed, a certain surface and a certain angle in our foil. We have a propulsive force which, depending on the support we use, sail or paddle, gives us speed. If we reach sufficient speed, we’ll take off. When we don’t go very fast, we have to give more angle of attack to generate the same weight. And the faster we go, the less angle we need to generate that weight.
From a practical point of view, we will put back foot to help take the angle of attack, and then lift the nose of the board. The faster we go, the more we’re gonna need to crush the nose of the board. To learn more about how a foil works and how it is designed, take a look at this article.
What is the price of a foil?
The price of a foil can vary today from simple to triple. Indeed, several parameters must be taken into account. One of the most impactful is the materials used. Two are mainly used: carbon or aluminum
Carbon has several advantages over aluminium:
- No/no more corrosion concerns
- The characteristics of carbon are no longer in question. It provides lightness and rigidity
- Better fluid flow and therefore better glide
Certainly a more expensive foil at the beginning but more durable over time. A carbon foil is sold from 1200 euros, an aluminium foil from 800 euros.
What equipment to start foiling?
As mentioned, the foil consists of three main parts: the mast and fuselage, also called TBAR, the front wing and the stabilizer.
To choose the size of the mast, it is important to refer to your level as well as the spot on which you are going to foil. Indeed, it is more reassuring to take off with a short mast. This is the ideal equipment to start at the foil. It will allow you to catch small waves but also to keep a good stability by being close to the water surface. So a short mast between 70 and 80 cm will do for beginners. You will be able to adopt the length of your mast as you progress. A longer mast will be a little more technical with the possibility of having a better heel. On choppy waters, it allows you to go over the top without worrying about the touches. However, it can cause rather violent falls…
This is the part that connects the different parts of the foil to each other. The longer the fuselage is, the more stability it provides. The shorter it is, the more manoeuvrable it will be and therefore easier to manoeuvre on the water. It’s all about compromise… A carbon fuselage is also more resistant. The latter in particular makes it possible to last over time and reduces the risk of insert tearing and corrosion.
The front wing
To start and progress step by step, it is important to choose a wide and thick front wing. This allows, in particular, to guarantee balance and lift to ensure better stability. Indeed, the surface of the wing is chosen not only according to your level but also according to your weight and the spots you are considering. When the wing surface is small, the foil is easier to handle and faster but less forgiving of mistakes. Its use therefore requires technique. The thin wings are aimed at intermediate riders as they will be accessed on a pure search for speed.
Like the front wing, the wider and more voluminous the stabilizer is, the easier it will be to navigate on the water. To start with the foil, it is therefore essential to choose a comfortable stabilizer that will guarantee the stability of the foil and allow a low pitch.
What is the sup foil?
For Stand Up Paddle enthusiasts, sup foil is the ideal discipline. In particular, it allows you to navigate over the water thanks to a SUP board and a hydrofoil. To make it easier to start Sup foil, it is possible to be towed by a boat, we talk about wake foil. The speed generated by this will allow you to lift yourself out of the water easily. For the beginners, the practice of the sup foil allows to dive into the universe of the foil.
How to foil surf ?
First of all, it is important to have a foil box on your surfboard. It should be noted that some shapers can install this type of box. There are two main housing standards: the double US rail or the tuttle. The US Rail will give you the advantage of being able to play with the position of your foil on your board. Once the equipment is adapted, get into the water with soft waves. This will allow you to learn how to paddle, take off and launch the foil. You want to know more about this practice, we give you some tips here.
How to start wing foiling ?
Located between kitesurfing, sup foil and windfoil, wing foil is an ideal discipline to start in foil. The wing makes it possible to literally fly over the water and the gliding sensations provided by the foil are simply incredible. Moreover, wing foil is practiced in kite and surf spots as well as in calm water. It is a discipline that requires neither large spaces nor large equipment. If you are completely new to the world of foiling, don’t hesitate to go to a wing foil school to learn how to make your first flights!
And the wind foil ?
The foil revolutionizes the world of windsurfing and windsurfing. Less physical than windsurfing, windfoil is easily accessible for beginners but requires a good command of the planning. It is a discipline that can be practiced on calm water bodies such as lakes or on spots with little wind. For those who believe, windfoil allows you to discover exceptional flying sensations and to be able to go in the water even in lightwind…