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windsurf foiling frequently asked questions

FAQs About Foiling

Can I use a board I already own?

Maybe. Currently, most foils fit in a deep tuttle fin box, so if you have a formula board or other board with a deep tuttle box most foils will plug right in. However, the fin box won’t be as reinforced as boards that have been built with foil use in mind. You may damage the fin box in your old board if you use it with a foil. Our advice is to only use a foil in an older board if you don’t care if the fin box gets damaged. You will also want to consider reinforcing the top of board over the fin box and you will want to leash the foil to the footstraps on the board (so if the fin box fails, you don’t lose the foil). The same goes for using the Powerplate (which allows you to use some foils with a power box fin box).

Do I need a dedicated foil board?

Dedicated foil boards are generally wider and shorter than your normal board (wider and shorter even that your modern wide short board). These boards make learning to foil easier since you have a more stable platform when you are in the “touch-and-go” phase and reduce the number of crashes you will take. The super short length is also easier to control when you are flying above the surface of the water.

A foil ready board is a board that has a reinforced fin box, so you can use a foil with it, but you can also use it with a regular fin. These boards are generally not quite as short and wide as the foiling specific boards

What size sail do I need to use with a foil?

You will want a sail that is one to two meters smaller than if you were traditional windsurfing. In very light wind, the size sail that you need to get the foil working will depend on your size and the water state.

Am I a good enough windsurfer to learn to foil?

If you can be planing on a short board; in the harness and footstraps you can learn to foil in a few sessions. If you have only windsurfed on bigger boards in lighter winds, it may take a bit longer to learn.

Isn’t it scary? Don’t you hurt yourself hitting the foil?

Foiling is scary and not scary at the same time. In the beginning it is a whole new (sometimes scary) feeling to be one to three feet above the surface of the water! But because you can foil with a small sail, the sail is not loaded up like it is when you are regular windsurfing. So when you fall, you just kind of tip over instead of getting catapulted. Almost all of the time you fall away from the foil. So as long as you are aware that it is there, and don’t kick it when you are swimming around the board, it really isn’t a problem. Kicking the foil when you waterstart is not a problem either, you are generally using a sail that is so small you don’t have enough power to waterstart, so you are uphauling anyway.

I’m 70 (or 45, or 55, or 60 or whatever), am I too old to learn to foil?

Probably not. Because you can get foiling with a smaller sail, there is less load on your body than when you are short board windsurfing. You may fall a lot more, and be crawling up on the board and uphauling more than you are used to in the beginning. But your knees and back take less impact on a foil when you are floating above the surface of the water than when you are typically planing and pounding across the chop.

Once you know how to foil, doesn’t it get boring in light wind?

No! Just like regular windsurfing there are many avenues to explore on a foil. It opens up a whole new world of freestyle (Back loops in light wind and flat water? Sure!) and course racing to add to the fun.