THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF FOILING

FOILING

So firstly if you're reading this..it’s because you have 'foil brain' or soon to have it ! Having personally tread the foil path for 2 years I've noticed many changes to my outlook on the ocean , equipment and also my body’s limitations. The latter has made me question and challenge my body more than ever before in search of consistency and progression in a body 40 plus years old. So get training..! 

Foiling is starting to create niche players in new ocean realms and because we've never done this before and the sensation is so addictive ...sometimes we all need a new endeavour

The demands of foiling are different to other board sports, some even say that foiling is the most physically demanding of all the board sports! You can spend a lot longer in an engaged riding stance when foiling compared to surfing or SUPing, and as well as the usual left to right control and balance needed for other boarding, foiling has the added dimension of the front-to-back balance and control for your muscles to deal with. Also, once you’ve finished riding a wave, you can pump your way out back again, without having a break! So, having these extra demands, and requiring them for longer, means you can certainly expect your body to be aware of these demands during and after surf foiling sessions… Feel the burn!

 

The riding stance

Pic credit - Glennel Jordan - IG ocean_baby

Winging it

Getting out foiling with a wind wing and learning to ride in switch stance will completely change the loading and could also help even you out a bit in terms of left/right biases. That and the brilliant brain training of having to relearn things backwards!

(WARNING; May involve some entertaining crashes.)

 

THE RIDING STANCE

The foil board rider controls height and turning with weight shifts, upper body movements and balance through their riding stance.  This riding stance involves a specific foot position, which is required right from the starting moment of riding.

The riding stance 

Jonathan at ClubBluePearl 

Involves having your chest up facing the oncoming horizon (Imagine you're iron man with that circular ring facing forward) , front knee bent and loaded, and rear ankle and knee bent and loaded. This rear foot position (knee and ankle bent) is something we do in prone surfing when riding, but the limited amount of time we spend in this position, and the absence of the vertical force demands involved in surfing mean it rarely causes problems.

In hydrofoiling, you are essentially hovering above the water, thanks to the wing ‘flying’ beneath the surface of the water.

As such foil-boarding uses the same terminology as that used in the aviation industry;

 

  • PITCH is the front to back vertical rotation of the board. This, as well as your speed, controls the board height above the water
  • YAW is the left to right horizontal rotation of the board. 
  • ROLL is the left to right vertical rotation of the board.

YAW and ROLL can control board direction, but you also have to take into consideration your PITCH when changes of direction come into play- which in itself is a delicate balance between your speed and your front/back weight distribution!

THE BIOMECHANICS

There are certain positions that your body needs to be able to deal with to foil well. You need to be able to keep your chest up which requires a lot of upper back opening (or ‘thoracic extension’), else your lower back will compensate which could lead to a sore lower back. You need to be able to achieve deep squat positions, which requires good ankle and hip flexibility (‘ankle dorsiflexion’ and ‘hip flexion’). You need to be able to turn your knees in and out to control direction (‘Internal and external rotation’ at the hip). What’s more, you need to be able to do this in deeper squat positions. Internally rotating at the hip with your foot planted leads to what look like a ‘knock-knee position’ (Also known as valgus, see below). This isn’t the most natural of positions for the body, but also happens a lot in skiing. For you body to manage these positions well it’s important to have good flexibility, strength, and control at the ankle and hip.

If you want to understand the demands of foiling as a non foiler

Try going upstairs with your foot at right angles and pelvis facing forward….  actually don’t !

 

The valgus knee position, also seen in skiing

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO!?

It’s important to have good movement mechanics, strength and control, especially around squatting, lunging and rotating, due to their clear relevance to foiling. Muscles shorten to deliver power but lengthen to give control and to help absorb and then re-deliver force. Having strong muscles, particularly quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves, which are good at this helps avoid overloading forces getting concentrated in tendons, joints and ligaments, where problems can tend to ache and niggle. It might be worth seeing a Strength & Conditioning coach to improve in these realms. If you have any pain or old injuries that might interfere with what’s required of foiling it would be worth seeing a physiotherapist of course!

Flexibility around hips and ankles is really important.

(MobilityWOD on youtube has good ideas for flexibility and the positions mentioned above in biomechanics!). 

Steadily building up your foiling time, being diligent with warm-ups, recovery, stretching, rollers, even massage will help.

Core strength and endurance is, of course, also important.

These are all things that would be included in the regimes of the world class athletes who are foiling.

If you are starting something new always remember to start slow/small /low impact and build really steadily!

By far the easiest form to learn with limited stress on the body and joints is using the adapted electric motorised hydrofoil - known as the Efoil board

If you are interested in trying hydrofoiling and learning to foilride book on one of our Efoil Intro Experience

Co Written by the following - Thanks for your input both 

Alec MacHenry MCSP- Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist

Matt Barker Smith- Foil specialist 

Chris Chucas- Strength Coach


Foil Podcasts

If you haven't listened to them --- take a trip ...plug and play

FOIL PODCAST


Takuma Electric Hydrofoil

The E takuma pack includes : £5999

  • 1 board1 Hydrofoil LOL 1600 wingset
  • 1 e-mast 50cm
  • 1 handheld Bluetooth remote with a charger lead
  • 1 IONSamsung 43.2v/35a battery with charger
  • 1 board carrying bag
  • 1 foil wing/ e-mast bag

More details ...Try before you buy with a cost of £150 for 1.5 hours - We'll deduct this from your total bill.

We are based in Swansea South Wales. 


High Aspect Foil wing lineup

So you've been into foiling for a year or two and you want to up your game ....chase some swells down and pump like you have bionic legs ...

They give us the High Aspect wings ....

So Whats with High aspect wings i hear you ask ...well if you have come from either windsurfing or Kitesurfing you will know what Aspect ratio means "the proportional relationship between its width and its height/depth " quote wikipedia.

A high aspect wing for foiling means it will give the rider a faster top end speed and be easier to pump although not as user friendly as a lower or medium aspect ratio wing which will generate lift at lower speed and be more stable.

I would call low-medium aspect ratio front foil wings more accessible and high aspect a little more tricky to master , this is all in the name of efficiency and where some people are finding limitations in the equipment they are using , some will never feel the need !  

Benefits - Why do I need one !

If you are into the new craze of wing dinging / wing surfing and using the power of the wind in you hand held wing it will enable you to manage this speed without fear or breaching the wing so much - like some more beginner orientated foils can suffer from.

The other benefit would be down winding - where ocean energy is literally blasting you downwind and if for instance you find it hard to pump between sets ...the higher speed of these front wings can help to cruze through ocean troughs of energy and onto the next crest.

 

The athletes who competed in the downwind Molokai to Oahu 30 mile ocean race would have all been using high aspect front foils to enable them to ride at 20mph plus speed - not achievable on some foils

Most of the main foil brands are developing faster wings - in the pic below we have Go foil GL series (blue wings)

Naish (yellow and black)

Axis (black and white stripes)

Takuma have also developed a wing -LOL foil' which is very efficient but gives a more accessible feeling for the rider , the upturned front wingtips clear up turbulence and the rear stabilizer also does the same job ...its a fantastic foil !

If you would like more info on High aspect foil wings please don't hesitate to get in touch 


Takuma 2020 Foil Collection

TAKUMA FOIL 2020

The eagerly awaited Product PDF from Takuma has been released.

If you want to get into Foiling in 2020 this is the brand to Watch !

Take a look at the range - Please email us for a link which we'll share with you - [email protected]

For UK pricing please get in touch we have some product already 

TAKUMA-2020-COLLECTION

 

 

 


E foil Experience Vouchers

Learn to Electric hydrofoil - ready to Purchase here 

There is lots to learn even if you are an experienced surfer or Waterman.

This 90 minute course includes introduction to the Electric Hydrofoil board from Takuma, set up and up to one hour of riding (one battery life)

You will be guided by our instructors into Swansea Bay.

Location - Mumbles - Swansea

 


SUNOVA FOIL BOARDS

So excited to show these great Foil products to you all

Opening of the wee little 5'4" x 27 1/2" x 3 15/16 -83.5 Litre Sunova SUP FOILBOARD.

Obviously for the smaller person with such low litreage , but the wind wing surfer looking for a small but relatively accessible board , the dimensions on this board make it look favourable to the wind orientated riders looking to wind wing.

A wide template with accessible width at 27.5"  to allow speed generation in the pumping and stability to get onto foil if wing surfing.

Available to purchase - buy this Sunova 5'4 SUP FOILBOARD

 


Efoil experience

There is lots to learn even if you are an experienced surfer or Waterman.

We are proud to announce we will be offering a  90 minute introduction to the Electric Hydrofoil board from Takuma, including board set up, and up to one hour of riding (one battery life)

 

Hydrofoiling or ‘Foiling’ as its now known is all about the basic skill of balance albeit in 3 different ways !

However foil stance is also very important, you cannot just simply adopt the same stance you would on a surfboard for instance.

By watching videos you'll also become familiar with the classic variations of the foil stance. Practice this forward weighted foil surf stance by taking a few minutes to program it into your muscle memory. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine slicing the board in two nose-to-tail and then glue back together, that cut line is where you need to position each foot . Being able to balance and rise above the water is about centering your weight directly in the middle of the board. 

When learning on the Efoil board you also have throttle control and balance as the surface of the water changes, meaning you balance needs to adjust and also your speed  - a bit like flying an aeroplane in calm conditions versus in turbulence.

To learn to 'read water' focus on the surface, If there's a choppy texture on the water then it's important to be aware of your balance more and read the surface like surfers do or how a skier or  snowboarder looks ahead of their current path as they hurtle down the mountain!

When you're ready for a lesson Click Here to book your foiling experience.

Location - Mumbles - Swansea

We DO NOT rent the units

Who can try it ?

People who have had experience surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and/or foiling will quickly be able to master the Foil.

For those with no experience, yes you can join, you just may not have the acquired balance skills to stand. Foiling on the board lying or kneeling down is still great fun !

There is lots to learn even if you are an experienced surfer or Waterman.

Do I need to be an Athlete to do this ?

You need to be reasonably fit and confident in your swimming ability .You will not be required to swim during the session, but should be able to cover 75 metres if required.

What is included ?

Wetsuit and changing facilities

This 90 minute Private 1-2-1 course includes introduction to the Electric Hydrofoil board from Takuma, set up and up to one hour of riding (one battery life)

You will be guided by our instructors into Swansea Bay riding your own efoil - whilst the instructor rides theirs and you are in bluetooth headset communication with each other.

Can others join ?

The session is per person - we do have other efoil units available if there are 2 of you

Can I buy a efoil ?

Yes we can direct access to the unit in our store

 

Operated by Cor watersports .Our instructors are the most technically minded and have seats in the technical panels of the most prestigious teaching organisations such as British Canoeing and the Water Skills Academy.

 

Location - 

Mumbles - Swansea - SA34EE

A prerequisite of SUP paddling or surfing to an Intermediate standard is required to get the most out of this experience

 

Pay & display parking is available on site - SA34EE

All equipment is provided -  (wetsuit , helmet and buoyancy vest ) you must be able to swim

Price is per person per 90 minute session , or choose the 45 minute short blast and get a friend to book too!

Max weight requirement of 105kg - We will weigh you before we start .

 

Price includes VAT

Experiences start on April 1st and are available to be booked as Gift vouchers

 

We cannot rent the units without instruction - this voids our insurance

For Takuma Efoil purchasing from us  BUY ELECTRIC FOIL BOARD


Downwind Tips

TOP- TIP  Try and develop your SUP sprinting technique to fully optimize you downwind foiling starting procedure.

TOP CHEAT - Using a wind wing will allow you to get out to a good wind line out to sea , then deflate and start your run , or just blast it downwind with the wing !


Foil Footstraps

The compromise is using one front foot strap as getting both feet into two straps is quite a challenge. The front foot is more essential in my opinion than the rear.

What straps to use ? you can get away with using kitesurf footstraps if you have an old one lying around , we sell single foot straps from ION here .

What is important is selecting the correct screw to fix the strap - ideally stainless and usually 20mm in length

"Typically with surfboards, you only have the option to push down on the board to create pressure or control, with the strap you can actually lift and pull against the strap and that it’s extremely helpful when you’re trying to get going. You can pull that board up, on the first pump you can be much more extreme which is going to help you get up on foil much quicker. when I’m riding the waves with straps I feel much more in control, because I’ve got that level of leverage by using a straps. but I also come from a background of Windsurfing, so I’m very comfortable using it, a lot of people think that when they use straps you can get caught in them, and that’s true, you can ! But with just the slightest bit of kicking them away or pulling your feet out, you eliminate that risk, so It’s almost become second nature, something you don’t even have to think about. But your first couple times using them it can be scary until you get used to them and then it’s not even a thought anymore kicking out of them is quite easy. I recommend them but no, they’re not necessary. "

Dave Kalama