Foiling: The Future of Windsurfing?We've been playing around with foiling windsurfers for a few months now and are having a blast! Although the idea of putting a hydrofoil on a windsurfer has been around for decades, the equipment has really only become viable in the last year or so. We've been using the LP foil for several months, and have recently tested the Bic foil as well. For light wind windsurfing, using a foil opens up a whole new world. As long as you have the necessary water depth (about 4'), you only need about 6-7 knots of wind and a 7.5-8.0m freeride sail to be foiling!
Both of the foils that we have used are relatively easy to get up on the foil. Everyone who has tried has gotten the board to foil on their first outing and stay upwind. It does takes some practice to gain control of the board and to be able to stay up on the foil for a distance. The crashes are less violent than we anticipated, because the sail is not super powered up you don't get tossed around like you do in higher winds on a regular short board day. So far we feel like the LP foil gets the board out of the water quicker and with less effort than the Bic foil. However, once you are up on the foil, the Bic is more comfortable and forgiving.
Once you are up on the foil - the feeling is amazing! It is more like flying than sailing, the first thing you notice is how absolutely quiet it is without the sound of the board on the water. It can be compared to skiing or snowboarding in deep powder, you feel like you are floating.
The part of the foil that comes out of the fin box is referred to as the mast, the wings on the bottom of the foil are the fuselage. Different foils have different lengths of masts, and the front and back wings of the fuselage are of varying sizes as well. Generally speaking, a bigger front wing will get you foiling in less wind and a smaller front wing works better in windier conditions. The angle of the rear wing has an affect on the lift of the foil. The LP foil has interchangeable shims to control the angle of the rear wing, and we have noticed a big difference in how the foil feels with the different shims.
Currently most foils fit in a deep tuttle box fin box, but there are several adapters in the works to mount foils to other types of fin boxes. If you aren't sure if a foil will work with your board - just give us a call or send an e-mail. We're always happy to answer questions - and if you find yourself in the St Pete Beach (Tampa Bay) area come out and demo a foil! You won't believe how much fun you can have in light wind again!