How to WakeFoil!
Here are the Top 4 Tips for Learning to Wakesurf Foil:
1. Getting Up On a Foil
When you’re first starting, the boat driver will play an important role in how quickly you experience success. Once you have the board situated on your feet properly and give the signal, the driver needs to pull you slowly to your feet, then ease you up to speed. This will allow you to get proper front-foot pressure as soon as you’re on your feet. As you ease up to speed, you can shift your weight back to engage the foil.
Getting the board into proper position before the driver accelerates is one of the most important details for beginners to focus on. Because the foil acts like a large, heavy fin, if you and the board are not properly situated, you will find yourself being pulled one way and the board going the other.
2. Start At A Slow Speed: 4-7 MPH
Until you find a way that works better for you, the best method for starting is to use the idle speed of the boat (a very slow, gentle pull) to help push the board onto your feet. Your feet must be flat on the surface of the board with the foil as far toward the surface of the water as possible. Starting with your heels on the board is much more difficult.
When you’re first learning, be sure to apply firm front foot pressure as soon as you get up on the board. It's one of the most important details to remember. Having your body position and weight too far back is the most common reason for crashing while you’re learning to foil. Remember, the more you lean back, the more your foil will want to skyrocket out of the water.
For your first few rides, the best approach is to try NOT to foil at first. That means getting out of the water and cruising slowly with enough front foot pressure to keep the board flat on the water. You don’t need to do this for long, but it’s an important step in getting an initial feel for how the foil handles under your feet and just how subtle of movement you need to control the foil. When you’re ready, simply shift your weight back little by little and you’ll feel yourself rise out of the water.
3. Master Your Stance
A low, athletic stance with your knees bent, your butt down and your back slightly curved will help keep your center of gravity low and will allow you to shift your weight quickly from front to back foot to stay balanced and keep the board level. At this stage, don’t worry about what you look like. You can work on your killer style once you move on to the larger mast.
4. How To Fall
Go with the fall and continue to hold onto the handle - this is the safest way to practice falling when you are first learning to foil. You'll want to fall as far away from the board as possible to prevent hitting the foil, mast or board.
Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When WakeFoiling!
1. Improper foil assembly and maintenance
It may seem obvious, but if you don’t put your foil together properly, it’s not going to perform properly. This means making sure all hardware is fully tightened, all components are oriented correctly and the foil is mounted in the proper position on the board’s track (all the way back for beginners). Maintenance of your foil, especially if you’re in saltwater, can not be understated. Rinse it well after each use, and disassemble and lube the hardware and connection points regularly.
2. Not enough front foot pressure
This is probably the most common cause of crashing and frustration. In wakeboarding, the stance is back foot heavy- you pop up, lean back, and dig that heel edge in to carve out to the flats. Too much back foot/heel edge pressure and you’ll rocket out of the water and crash. You want to pop up flat on the board, keep steady front foot pressure and slowly ease back when you’re ready to rise out of the water. As you build speed and generate lift, proper front foot pressure is essential.
3. Starting with a full-size mast
The short mast is one of the greatest learning tools in foiling. This allows you to start small, get the hang of the foil with an easily manageable mast, and progress in length as your skills evolve. The difference between starting with a 46cm mast and a full-size 90cm mast is like night and day.
4. Too fast boat speed
For your first rides, your goal will be to NOT foil. Just pop up and ride the board flat on the water to get the feel of just how much front foot pressure you need to stay level. Since speed generates lift with a foil, you’ll want to start with a much slower boat speed than you’re used to. If your driver pulls you up too quickly, you stand a good chance of shooting immediately out of the water and crashing. You want a slow, steady pull to get you out of the water, then a slow increase to get up to foiling speed.
5. Trying to “ride out” a crash
You’re better off going with a crash as soon as you feel off-balance, rather than holding on and trying to ride it out. Kick clear of the board and the foil as soon as you can. Depending on how you’re crashing, this may mean holding on to the rope and leaving the board behind or letting go and kicking the board forward.
The Main Components of a Wakesurf Foil.
The Foil Wing - This is where the magic happens. The foil is the part of the setup that actually causes the lift and because of this, it’s the most important piece when considering buying a hydrofoil. We categorize foils into two different groups: Wake and Surf. Wake foils are designed to work (lift) at higher speeds around the 8-12 MPH range. Surf foils are designed to work (lift) at lower speeds of around 4-6 mph. Many surf specific foils start achieving lift at just 4 MPH which can be less intimidating for beginners and help people to feel comfortable with the sensation of riding a foil.
The Foil Board - In other board sports, the board is usually the most important because it typically connects the rider to the surface (Water, Snow, Concrete) - In the case of foiling, the boards shape, construction, and style are slightly less important because the foil wing is going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting (pun intended). You still want a board that’s going to perform how you want it. We recommend using a compression molded or foam-coated board if you are brand new to the sport, and getting something that’s fiberglass or more performance oriented if you are looking to quickly progress and make foiling a big part of your time on the water. Compression molded boards are heavier and they dampen more of the vibrations which can be a good thing when you are first learning how to foil. More advanced boards (carbon fiber and surf construction) weigh less and offer a more precise feel on the water.
The Foil Mast - The mast is the connection between your board and the foil. In general, beginner masts are shorter, and they are built to perform at slower speeds. Larger mast sizes are built for more advanced riders and higher speeds. The larger the mast size, the better it will handle choppy water because it allows the rider to stay on the foil without touching the board to the water.