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How good do you have to be to foil?

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How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby HugoMC » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:23 pm

Hi, I am new to Kiteboarding (5months) but have progressed quickly as I live in a windy spot and have a background in other watersports. I am at the point that I can ride upwind, transition and jump.

I want to learn to kite foil as I love the idea of racing and also getting out on days when the wind is lighter. My question is how good do you have to be? My current plan is to buy a Cabrinha double agent and learn on a directional and then move to the foil. Is this a good idea?

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby CCollins » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:30 pm

I started foiling a couple months ago and am still learning. I think the more time you spend on a directional the easier and less painful foiling will be (there's always going to be a pretty steep learning curve though!). I would recommend trying as many differently directional board types as you can skim, Alaia, race, and different surf boards. In my case this got me used to moving weight around as needed as each type of board needs different weight balance.
Foiling is still completely different but it gets you away from the back footed twin tip muscle memory which will make it a hard transition.
Good luck!

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby grigorib » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:38 pm

You need to be very comfortable flying the kite to start with. Then it's all practice, practice, practice.
As you described your point in progression I'd say yu're good to start learning to foil

Read my post in "Are you thinking about becoming a foiler thread"

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby HugoMC » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:59 pm

Thanks for those replies. I think that is good advice and I hadn't seen that thread either.

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby Strekke » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:12 pm

I personally think 2 things will help you progress quickly on the foil:

- strapless experience - riding the board flat and on the fins without edging
- blind kite control - so you can fully concentrate on board skill

Lastly, mentally prepare yourself to really invest time to learn and sacrifice some "windy" sessions on learning how to foil. Put the TT & directional away for a while and force yourself to just get out on the foil as much as you can, as often as you can, to really get the new muscle memory down ASAP. At some point it will just click and you will be flying. Then you can switch back to riding your other boards. If you just go kiting on regulary boards and occassionally "go try to foil", you will progress a lot slower and it will be a much more painful progress - you want to get through that first "wtf this foil thing is impossible"-phase asap :D .

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby Mossy 757 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:33 pm

I think that starting earlier vice later might be helpful as you won't have as much muscle memory and habit built into your riding, adapting to the foil might just happen naturally as you figure it out.

I also think there's no such thing as too early, you wrote, "how good do you have to be?"

In order to do what?!

In order to learn while crashing your kite all the time and having zero fun at all? None, anyone can do that today if they want!

In order to learn while crashing your kite sometimes but getting away with the occasional session where you make some minor improvement? Not that good, you can be pretty amateur to do that.

In order to learn quickly without ruining your kite gear and having fun along the way? 12-18 months kiting to the point where you're able to jump, transition both directions, ride really powered up, bar juggle when your lines get twisted, etc.

In order to quickly jump on the foil and ride away your first session without ever touching the water, intuitively mastering foiling tacks and gybes on your very first attempts? I dunno, that doesn't really sound possible, lol.

So good do you have to be? None, any rank amateur can start today, it'll just suck and their risk of injury or equipment damage is likely to be kind of high. If you want to enjoy the learning process and feel like you're making meaningful headway, you need to understand how the balance between board and kite control creates power, and be an expert at getting the kite to do what you want it to through smooth, practiced inputs. This took me about 18 months of 'regular' kiting before jumping on a foil, but I was an excellent sailor, snowboarder, mediocre skateboarder, okay surfer, and very strong swimmer; your mileage may vary...

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby NYKiter » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:01 pm

Get ready for extreme humiliation....

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby gmb13 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:06 pm

If your kite control is good, then you should be able to go for it. I would however recommend doing it with an instructor who knows what he is doing and has the right equipment (short mast, no volume board etc) to allow someone with your lack of directional experience to learn safely and successfully. I have taught a good number of people who I would consider "beginners" to foil.


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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby juandesooka » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:02 pm

All good advice above. I think putting in some hours on a directional will help, especially in weighting your feet different vs a twintip's rear foot bias. When riding directional, you should be competent in both heelside and toeside riding for your dominant stance, and heelside on your non-dominant stance, plus downwind turns in both directions (heelside one direction, toeside the other), with a foot switch before or after. Those are all skills that will directly translate to your capabilities and fun in foiling.

Strongly recommend seeking out the short masts and work your way up. Friends learned that way and were foiling on first day, completely skipped the frustrations of 5-10 bucking bronco sessions. Borrow or buy used a slingshot flight school set up (15", 24", 30", then full size) -- basically free if you pass it on to the next newbie for what you paid when you're done.

Also agree that once you decide to try, commit to it. There will be some frustrating moments where you know you'd have a lot more fun on your other boards ... but you need to get the hours in to get over the hump.

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Re: How good do you have to be to foil?

Postby Jyoder » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:28 am

Just go for it, but not in real light wind. I went 100% to foil after barely riding upwind on twintip. Took forever but I learned. Newer foils are even easier.

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