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Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

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MadDoggy
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Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby MadDoggy » Thu Jan 27, 2022 10:07 am

Hi all.

Is it possible to learn to kitefoil on a set-up traditionally seen as more advanced?

I am looking to learn to kitefoil in the next few months and I like the idea of buying a pocket board up front as my first board. The theory is that I won’t need to waste money down the track when I become more proficient.

I want to start on the smaller core slc board 115cm by 46cm (11.5L). I would be using a Armstrong 85cm mast to get through some choppy waters and a cf1200 front and cf300 back wing. I’m 95kg. By the time I start learning to kitefoil I will be riding comfortable up and down wind on my twin tip.

I have access to a boat on holidays at the in-laws place. I could start behind the boat if that means I could more easily progress onto the smaller board when in the water behind a kite.

Some say having a smaller less volume board can help with the water start at the expense of more difficult taxiing. Some say that it will be insanely difficult to learn on a small advanced board. So many schools of thought. Having not tried kitefoiling I just have zero experience to draw on to help me make up my mind.

Thank you in advance for weighing into this discussion with your thoughts and opinions…

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jumptheshark
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:26 pm

Well, I tried to go that route when starting out and though I'm sure someone will come on here and say it can be done, my advice is to get the very basics down on a bigger easier set up.

I was well over a decade into kiting and generally and advanced rider. Had progressed from through many twin tips and had been more into strapless surfboards for a few years when I got my first foil set up. Back then it was smaller faster wings and long masts but the part that really tripped me up (literally) was starting with too small a board. Like you I wanted to skip the beginner investment and go straight to where I knew I wanted to end up. There were plenty of people already riding wake skates and the like with foils bolted to the bottom and I very mistakenly thought I could learn that way.

Suffice to say, the initial stages are drastically different from any other type of board I had skill with and I failed miserably. Quickly changed tactics and went with a converted surfboard which proved soooooo much easier and accelerated my learning curve. Even then, on that old gear I think I dissuaded more than a couple locals from making the jump to foiling with my frequent and violent wipeouts. A few years later with the benefit of hindsight, I can tell you there is an easy way to get where you want to go and its, big wing, relatively short mast, front strap, med size kite that you already own, 12-14 knots of wind, ideally relatively protected flat water and a pretty big floaty board with adequate nose rocker.

There have to be so many out there now that finding something outdated to start on should be cheap and easy. I would absolutely recommend going used as you will want to move on relatively quickly, but I highly recommend committing to a beginner board for a much less frustrating experience. Don't worry if its beat up, as long as it floats and the mount is solid. Not what you wanted to hear and a pain in the ass, but worth it in time saved and frustration minimized.
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:40 pm)
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Kamikuza
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby Kamikuza » Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:47 pm

MadDoggy wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 10:07 am
By the time I start learning to kitefoil I will be riding comfortable up and down wind on my twin tip.
You're not at that stage already? Gonna be a rough road...

I'm sure it can be done, but it will most likely be more difficult than necessary.

That said, the utility of a big board evaporates rapidly. See if you can't bodge an old surfboard or borrow a larger, higher volume board for the first couple dozen hours...
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:40 pm)
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TheJoe
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby TheJoe » Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:58 pm

I learned on a dwarfcraft micro. It depends on The person I guess. Learning jybes was a little tricky since I had to learn them with out touching down.

Its possible but you have to be committed to possibly more struggle in learning.
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:40 pm)
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drsurf
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby drsurf » Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:14 pm

Hi MadDoggy.
I would say your proposed setup is a good compromise between learning and progressing.
I learnt on a similar length board but with a much smaller foil. Your 1200 wing is an ideal size for learning compared to the small foil I learnt on which made it much harder. The most important thing I found was that a low volume board with one front strap which sinks into the water, gives you much better board control when setting it up for a water start and more resistance against the pull of the kite. A higher volume board bounces around with any waves, is harder to get your feet into, gets dragged by the kite and lifts you higher above the foil which gives you less control.

The fact that you have a boat to use for practice is an excellent idea. You can forget about the kite, have dead flat water and control the speed you are being pulled. This process will accelerate your progress as you can focus on the foil and not the falling kite or wind chop. Your proposed setup will be ideal for learning behind a boat and therefore make your kite learning much easier. I would do this before trying with the kite if possible.
Make sure you read the various YouTube instructional videos about learning to kite foil in stages. This is an old one but very thorough
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:40 pm)
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby Janus » Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:39 pm

Yup possible with mentioned gear and boat access, just like Dr Surf says.

Witnessed my son, 16yr (with good kiteboarding, surf and snowboard skills), kitefoiling in 5 minutes (!!! I was speechless as other were too)
Note: under good (wind) conditions, steady 10/12 kts with Soul 12m. Ketos pocket 118, Koolv2 1200 front wing, 70cm mast, small stab.
After 1 hour the wind picked up, 12-15kts and he switched to a 5m Peak4, adapted his starting technique in 2 attempts and kitefoiled out again and played in the small waves gibing (but riding goofy). .. his comment: I saw you doing it all the time and it feels like surfing and snowboarding..
Of course I told him do's and don'ts but still I was impressed, always took the comments from people stated that they learnt the basic in a day not seriuos.. stupid me.. took me a season..
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:42 pm)
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Peter_Frank
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby Peter_Frank » Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:50 pm

Ha haa, true, some learn immediately, and others take forever to learn - a HUGE span.

If you believe in yourself, try and see if you can learn on the pocket board.

It might not be the easy road, and you might have to "give up" and borrow a bigger board - but you will end up having two boards anyways if you decide to start on a bigger one - so why not just try and see how it goes?

So you might be able to skip the big board :rollgrin:

8) Peter
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:43 pm)
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1234567Simon
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby 1234567Simon » Thu Jan 27, 2022 6:12 pm

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING....

ha ha ha ... The First days can be so frustrating....

If your willing to Invest 3-10 hard days.... Go and try....

I was having a fu#@# hard time.... Only after switching to dedicated beginner stuff I got rewarded....

Just my Humble oppinion without knowing any of thr Material you mentioned.
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:43 pm)
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azoele
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby azoele » Thu Jan 27, 2022 7:35 pm

I’m 95kg. By the time I start learning to kitefoil I will be riding comfortable up and down wind on my twin tip.
I had such a laugh at this!!! :D
It is so similar to my own story, only replace twin-tip with surfboard, add another 10Kg, and an even tougher foil!

1) your difficulty in kitefoiling, if your are still a beginner, will be kite control, nuancing the power of the kite, learning the tricks to waterstart, etc. It is going to be painful on the foil – unless you are exceedingly talented, that is, because mistakes mean falls from 60-80cm at speed...

2) a smaller board – and lighter – is cool for advanced riders: less inertia to swing around, much quicker reactions, more engaging foiling. The better you became, the smaller you'll like it!
And that, again, is exactly what you do not want at the beginning.
A light board will transmit a sense of instability which will be compounded by your probably (as yet) poor kite conduction skills, resulting in... crashes. And even if you do not crash, you'll be under sensory overload from the liveliness of the board. I know: this did exactly: when I switched from a 3.5Kg, 130cm, to a 120cm 2.2Kg board, I kept crashing, as I had an overwhelming feeling that the board was alive under my feet.
Do not do this...
Also: crashes on a foil as a begginner are hard.
Say hello to massive whiplash, for instance, unless you're super agile, or a natural born stuntman. :D

3) no, you won't easily do tow foiling on a small surf foil and small board. It is even more difficult than kiting because the boat is not as responsive (and not in your command!) as the kite.

Not to sound pessimistic, just to warn you.
Been there, done that, still aching (unfortunately).


My suggestion?

A) Large board, which will allow to be "surfed" while at times you learn to foil, that "tempers" the feeling from the foil itself, and that touches down without catapulting you.

B) An easy foil (no idea of your setup, sorry), with a large front wing, quite thick so it stalls late, gives you lift, is stable, does not accelerate easily, and loses speed quickly (we will discuss this in your first toeside runs when you can't slow down... :D )

C) appropriate kites (gente Wave kites with little pull are best for their depower)

D) a HELMET, because soon or later the foil, the board, the wing or the stabilizer will hit your obstinate noggin. Unfortunately, a helmet only exacerbates the whiplash :(

D.1) Earplugs: you will fall sideways, possibly catapulted. You can burst your eardrum.

E) Take it easy. No need to rush. No one is judging you, and as others have said: some people pick it up immediately, other... never.

F) Again, kite skills are very, very important.

On the Tow-foil: my suggestion would be a BIG board (more than 100Liters, so floating), with a large foil.
I did it successfully on a 95L board and a 1600sqcm foil, but it was hard (start on my knees, then get up, because the board would sink). It's a very nice activity once you are already a good foiler.
Before that... not so much :wink:

If I sounded like an old fart trying to demoralize you, you're 50% right. I'm old.
But I love foiling like crazy, and wish you all the success and enjoyiment.
Just tried to warn you with my painful experience, because you seem to be starting from my same starting line :thumb:

Have fun, and keep us posted with the progress! :thumb:
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:43 pm)
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Peter_Frank
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Re: Learning to kitefoil on small pocket board

Postby Peter_Frank » Thu Jan 27, 2022 8:09 pm

Kamikuza wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:47 pm
MadDoggy wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 10:07 am
By the time I start learning to kitefoil I will be riding comfortable up and down wind on my twin tip.
You're not at that stage already? Gonna be a rough road...

I'm sure it can be done, but it will most likely be more difficult than necessary.

That said, the utility of a big board evaporates rapidly. See if you can't bodge an old surfboard or borrow a larger, higher volume board for the first couple dozen hours...

I didnt understand that sentence - does this mean you are not an experienced kitesurfer?

If so, forget ALL about the small board, not a chance in hell you will make it work....

Forget my post, I didnt understand aobve sentence, but if it means you are not really experienced in advance, you cant do it.

8) Peter
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MadDoggy (Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:43 pm)
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