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For an absolute newbie

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azoele
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For an absolute newbie

Postby azoele » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:45 am

Dear all,

first time posting on the forum (after much reading/learning: thanks for all the info/suggestions you share!).

I wish to learn Hydrofoil, but am an absolute beginner: I can waterstart a twin tip, but never really progressed beyond that (had to learn with a 130cm board, 10knots maximum wind, with me weighing 107kg... I consider having made a few meters "kiting" a huge success already! :D )

As of now, unfortunately, I don't find twintips interesting at all: I do long after trying the hydrofoil.
My head is fixed on that, and my objective is very simple. Just gliding back and forth, relaxedly.
This is what I ask this sport: being on the water, with a empty head and the feeling of relative freedom.

But: I am stuck at a critical point.
What would be a "nice, beginner's hydrofoil", given my limited experience, and my weight?
Money, obviously, is to some extent an object.
My investigations dug up the following:
  • a ex-demo North speedster, with its pro board, for slightly more than 1.000€ (the one with the front wing having almost vertical "side" winglets)
  • a new Moses Fluente 91cm with 633 wing for a yet to be defined price (then I'd need a board, too, and probably the Easy 41cm mast to learn; love the look, and the powerful lifting wing for light wind and my heavy weight, but a bit scared of the razor edges; price is easily over 2.000€).
  • last year's Hover Glides are available on second hand market, complete with board, for 900€ or so, with 3 masts
  • RRD foil+board and 3 masts sits around 900€ used too
I just wish for a easy setup, with lots of lift (and to a point: money be damned): if I can be out with 8-10 knots, it's just perfect for me.

My current kite is a 14m DNA, but smaller ones are relatively cheap should I need a 8 or 10.

I know it may sound crazy to begin like this, but... I'm rather obstinate, and also, am very tired of losing so much thought after this purchase and activity, without practicing it.
I wish to try, so either I end up loving hydrofoiling (as I feel), or... will just sell everything – hopefully with not too many bruises collected in the meantime! :D – and get this out of my head once and for all...

Thanks a lot!
Lopi

P.s.
no experience with unidirectional boards yet, but I can go back and forth on a windsurf (!), and I love SUPs.

P.p.s.
first things I ordered: Helmet and impact vest :lol:

nothing2seehere
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby nothing2seehere » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:17 am

Its possible. A guy from the Moses hydrofoil importer in the UK started like you (total newbie without a single lesson on the water). He started a blog up to track his progress but I'm not sure I can find the link at the moment. I remember he started with a bit of wakeboarding first and then some time on a trainer kite. His goal was to learn within 6 months from memory??? The last video I saw was about 3 month in and he was starting to get his first rides.

Its hard for everyone to learn to hydrofoil. Its harder for people who haven't learned good kite control first. If you were coming from a buggy background or similar it would be easier to say go for it. At the end of the day you need to keep in mind you are learning 2 new skills at the same time and set your expectations of progression appropriately. I'd suggest the RRD setup with the 3 mast setup would give you the best feeling of progression as you are more likely to see incremental gains.

Its a tough challenge you are setting yourself with a lot of failures. If you live in an area with a lot of moderate wind days (12-16knots) I think you should be able to do it. If you have to factor in only getting a single session every 2-3 weeks (or longer if you don't continue through the winter) you are setting a long learning curve up. In which case you need to ask whether you can sustain your enthusiasm for potentially several years whilst you learn. That might seem like a long time but if you look it as 20-30 sessions, most people take that long to get decent riding a twin tip.

azoele
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby azoele » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:31 am

Thanks... especially for being a bit discouraging, but also a bit encouraging!

Where I live, we often have 8-10knots between 13-15:00: 15 knots, quite rarely.
My plan is to go trying as often as possible (enough work flexibility to go on a whim if we get at least that windspeed), and of course, in winter too (which is never too cold here).

Some hydrofoilers confirmed me that starting in this way is at least "feasible": lack of some skills, but also not having to fight back the imprinted motor skill of leaning hard on the back foot.

The RRD I quite like, actually: I have a penchant for gaudy colours, and already own a orange-that-will-burn-your-eye RRD SUP :lol:

But:
would it have enough lift at low speeds for my weight?
That is my key preoccupation (and where I got the idea of the Onda 633 from).

Thanks again.

Breze
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby Breze » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:34 am

Hi Lopi
I would build myself a simple plywood skim 150x50 of 3 sheets 3-4 mm poplar. Waterproof glue or epoxy. Build as much scoop as you can on the first 50 cm, by
underlaying about 15 cm wide square wood.Weight it down with something heavy .Cut a simple outline. Fix two of your tt fins 10cm of the tail. Waterproof paint or epoxy it. Takes one weekend.
Then practise kitecontrol with this board.
Meanwhile buy your foil , forget the north, the 633 moses would be good. If you want cheaper have a look at the Gong Allvater or RL.
When you have more practice with your skim, make some reinforcements for bolting your foil under your board.Use a foilleash. T-nuts for 2 V straps in front.
21-22 cm wide bolt pattern,tight straps to let your feet slide out when crashing.
Practice with it and time by time cut down the outline. After that you will either sell everything or buy a decent board.Have fun!

azoele
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby azoele » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:45 am

Eh... the suggestion *is* very nice and cheap, but with my abilities, but:
I'm not really fond of DIY (a rare mix of inability and aversion :D ), so it'd take me a year to finish this project! :D

I was offered the new Hydroskate that will come out for the Onda, perhaps I should buy that.

Just for curiosity: why forget the North? The reviews made it sound pretty beginners' friendly...

Thanks, and have a nice day,
Lopi

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MattyM
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby MattyM » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:37 am

...And you've got no interest in learning to ride a surfboard first? Apart from being great fun in itself, it will help you transition to a hydrofoil, plus you'll improve your kite skills first as well.

I guess learning to foil as a complete newbie is 'possible', but there's no point pretending it's going to be easy, not without excellent kite control. It's bloody hard WITH excellent kite control! I took to kiting really easily and without lessons, but when I started foiling after 6 years experience I still found it a real eye opener in terms of difficulty, even on an 'easy' beginners setup (Liquidforce Foil Fish).

I would never want to discourage you or anyone from doing something they really want to do. But if you get some time on a surfboard under your belt first it will really help.

Good luck either way! :-)

Breze
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby Breze » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:39 am

The speedster is not solid. Many of them are broken. Esp with your kilos

nothing2seehere
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby nothing2seehere » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:59 pm

azoele wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:31 am
Thanks... especially for being a bit discouraging, but also a bit encouraging!

Where I live, we often have 8-10knots between 13-15:00: 15 knots, quite rarely.
My plan is to go trying as often as possible (enough work flexibility to go on a whim if we get at least that windspeed), and of course, in winter too (which is never too cold here).

Some hydrofoilers confirmed me that starting in this way is at least "feasible": lack of some skills, but also not having to fight back the imprinted motor skill of leaning hard on the back foot.

The RRD I quite like, actually: I have a penchant for gaudy colours, and already own a orange-that-will-burn-your-eye RRD SUP :lol:

But:
would it have enough lift at low speeds for my weight?
That is my key preoccupation (and where I got the idea of the Onda 633 from).

Thanks again.

I can only give suggestions based on my own experience but I'd possibly suggest that 8-10 knots isn't the ideal learning conditions. Whilst I'm not a really skilled kiter, I found learning in 12-15 knots to be the optimum for my local conditions. Any less and it was difficult to relaunch the kite. Any more and the water surface started to chop up (not a problem after a couple of hours of practice but tricky in those first sessions). Admittedly, one of the advantages of more wind was a more familiar pull in the harness so the process didn't feel as alien to me as it might have been if I started learning on a rope behind a boat.

If you are going out in 8-10 you need to know your self rescue and pack down drills inside out as you are going to end up swimming. Make sure you understand what you are going to do when you crash the kite and can't relaunch it (wet kites need more wind to relaunch than dry kites on the beach). I choose not to foil in less than 10knots for this reason - swimming is hardwork and I hate it.

Plenty of places now offer hydrofoil tuition. Ostensibly its someone with a boat who can pick you up and save you the swim back to the shore. You'll still need to learn to pack down in the water but it'll save you a load of energy. The downside of learning to hydrofoil is that you kind of need deep water (can get away with less if you have the short mast system) and this changes the learning process. With a twin tip you can go out in knee to hip depth water and walk out, stand up to relaunch your kite, walk back to your board etc. You can't do this when foiling so its a bit more tricky - read more frustration.

The killer advantage of foiling is that it really negates that weight difference. I can't speak with any experience on any of those brands (have only ridden older moses models out of all of them) but they all seem to be the brands I see people learning on. My only suggestion would be to avoid the Moses as they are more fragile and require more care than the aluminium foils (actually if you wanted a fun project, the Clearwater hydrofoils made from wood make nice cheap foils to learn on - pretty bomb proof and close to the weight of carbon fibre - not fast and you will grow out of it but good enough to learn the basics. Just cut the mast down to 60cm and you're good - priced around 200 euros).

Hope that helps

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Pedro Marcos
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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby Pedro Marcos » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:23 pm

You need to learn decent kite control on a twintip first. Think of that as the first step to go into the hidrofoil. When i started hidrofoiling i had already 17 years of kiting and i still crashed my kite, so not having decent kite control will just make things much harder and probably dangerous.

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Re: For an absolute newbie

Postby opie » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:34 pm

The 633 will be much easier to learn on. The Hover glide is a good, tough foil.


I learned to foil after I stayed upwind 5 times on a twin tip. It took me 11 sessions to start foiling for entire tacks. Good kiters can do this in one to 4 sessions. I have never seen any one take as long to start foiling as I did.


The big advantage for a beginner is that even with the board on the water you can already ride upwind no problem. In fact, after someone suggested the possibility to me I found I could body drag upwind with the board on its side, try a few water starts and repeat. Twice I ran short on time and energy and had to body drag downwind about a mile.


A 14m kite is big for hydrofoil, but you can still start learning on it as long as the wind is below 10 knots. I had a 17 m and it was nice to be the only person out, I could stay right in front of the launch, but I did lots of swimming with that kite. At 10 knots it was ok. At 11 knots it was way overpowered, and at 8 knots I would drop it and I couldn't get it back up. MY 8.5 meter covered from 11 to 18 knots.

One thing to look out for as a beginner with poor kite control is losing your board. I decided early on that after each crash I needed to grab my board first. A good kiter will raise his kite back up then use it to body drag to the board. But as a beginner I would take too long to get my kite back up. The board could go too far down wind for me to see, or it would curve downwind into my lines.


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