Learning to Foilsurf – Here are a few answers to questions we get asked !

What board ?

You will want plenty of foam under your feet whether you choose to prone or SUP foil. Why? …well you are pushing the potential of surfing waves which you can’t catch on a conventional surfboard so you need all the paddle power to gain momentum and speed. For SUP Its the same, the volume and shape of the board will dictate how stable the board is. The parallel shapes work well for retrofitting. If you choose to retro fit a board make sure you get a dedicated US foil box. Look at what dedicated foil boards offer that your old surf or SUP board does not, a wider tail with thick blocky rails allow for early take offs and chamfered rails for flow and retention of speed on touch downs with the surface.

See our selection of SURF foilboards here or SUP foilboards

How Good a surfer/ SUPer do I need to be ?

We would say you need to be a competent intermediate to advanced stand up paddler or surfer, by this we mean you should feel completely natural in a range of conditions.There is a level of risk that goes with foiling so time should be taken to protect yourself with at least a helmet , impact/ buoyancy vest and leash.

know the spot you’re starting at too !

Learning to Hydrofoil 

What Foil is best for you?

Firstly as you progress with foiling you may want to change your mast or wing sizes to suit different conditions and surfing/ foiling spots. Therefore research if your chosen foil is modular and that parts can be interchanged or replaced.For prone paddle in surfing you are generally paddling and taking off on the shoulder, so a smaller wing is better to start off with, as you progress and want more lift in weaker conditions you can then look to get a bigger wing which will flow and glide better in weaker areas.

Mast size is something you get to grips with, We wouldn’t worry too much about shorter masts unless the spots you want to foil are shallow . You will carry more momentum and speed if the mast is taller allowing you to pump the wing. On average most surf foiling masts are 60cm tall

This is our general foilsurfing wing size chart but as you progress you can adapt and learn to use bigger or smaller wings. 

Rider size 50kg –  1000cm2 + average wing size

Rider size 70-85 kg –  1200cm2 + average wing size

Rider size 90-100 kg –  1400cm2 – 1800cm2 average wing size

Rider size 100-110kg +  1600cm2 – 2000cm2 +average wing size

Have a browse at our great selection of surfing foils 

Why do some foils work better than others 

There is a noticeable difference between kite surf foils and surfing foils. Wings with volume ( thicker in profile) will get going at slower speeds than thinner profile wings which tend to need more power, speed or larger waves.This is why it’s hard to foil surf using kitesurf foils and these should be avoided unless you’re an advanced foiler. 

Foot placement?

You should aim to be planted in a crouched position with weight over your front foot with chest facing forward like you are IRON MAN with a light beacon in your chest. This will help you adapt to the 3 axis of balance ( pitch, roll & yaw) if you pop up and lean back too quickly the foil and board will jump out from underneath you. Understanding the sensitivity of the foil will take some time to adjust your balance to but keeping the foil down is the hardest thing to master.Some boards have foot strap inserts , some people will choose to use them to their advantage and other will not. For Foil downwinding and surfing bigger conditions they can be beneficial. There is one pro footstrap argument which leans towards their use – that being the board and foil not being able to fall out from under you if the wing breaches the surface, as you can push the board away with your feet . We do like using footstraps and find them beneficial in getting feet in the correct position and providing great leverage but lots of the new foil specific boards coming onto the market have a ridge deckpads down the centre line of the board.

Alternatives are arched tailpads   

What is it actually like to foil ?

Its fast, silent and smooth and it will change your perception of what is ridable . Its not like your learning a new sport its adapting how you look at the water .New spots will appear before your very eyes after years of avoiding them and you’ll be frothing for more.

What sort of conditions can you Hydrofoil surf in ?

Pretty much any , your foils are the limit , but to start with small waves and little to no wind. learning on a cable or boat will get you adjusted to what is achievable then try and hire or get some equipment  

Should you wear safety gear ?

Helmet, impact vest and leash 

Getting in and out of the water ?

If its a shallow spot, walk out with your board upside down with foil in the air until its deep enough to drop the foil and paddle. If you are SUP foiling you can use your paddle to check the depth of water. Another indicator is how the wave breaks  

Know you chosen spot 

The spot you choose to learn to foil at should not have steep breaking waves or be a busy spot with too many people.

We hope you found this informative and we look forward to getting you started in foilsurfing !