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Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

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jumptheshark
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Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:45 am

Lots of new mid aspect foils kites showing up on the market these days. Would like to see some discussion among the people who have experience on both comparing how the two kites impact the way in which they ride a hydrofoil.

Have been really happy with the super light weight strutless trend in LEI kites for hydrofoiling, but have noticed there are plenty of people happily freeride foiling with the latest foil kites and even some who have switched from strutless to foil kites. I would like to know their reasoning, and how these people describe their own hydrofoiling.

Please include what hydrofoil wing(s) your using. What kind of wind and water conditions your foiling in, and a bit about your level of riding and what you enjoy most about hydrofoiling.

Personally, I am a little more interested in discussion about flying character than logistics like no pump, set up time, durability etc.

To anyone using both, please let us know when and why you choose one type over another.

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby slowboat » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:20 pm

Compared to low aspect LEI’s the mid aspect foils go upwind and downwind better which is good for just long tack cruising. They also have more lift which helps with learning transitions and jumping. They relaunch off water better in low winds. Down sides are the foils turn much slower and don’t drift as well. I like foils for low wind cruising and LEIs for when there is any kind of swell I can play in.
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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby jakemoore » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:33 pm

There is as big a range in kite style in foil as well as LEI. Even among mid aspect foils. I suspect there is some variation among strutless as well although I’ve only flown the Cloud D. I have flown a few one struts and also find significant differences so generalized comparison is tough. Soul for example is going to give more upwind, lift in transition and jump boost. HL is more tame than Soul but less than Cloud.

Cloud D is the only competitor with foil kites in terms of weight. Hyperlink, Soul and Chrono and Speed 4 lotus all fly when the Cloud does not and pull more when the Cloud does. That ability to fly translates into drift as long as you plan ahead and put the kite deep in the window.

I fly Hyperlink 5 when Cloud riders need the 8. Power spike flying the kite through the window is more on the HL. Depower is less instantaneous on HL. Drift is comparable. I’m riding a Levitaz cruiser and like waves more than anything else.

I have a quiver of Boxers and 1 Airush ultra. Both have better lift, more power and less drift than the Cloud. There is nothing I can do on the tubes that I can’t do on the foils. Mostly I fly the foil kites and have the tube kites for my kids. If there is rain or wet sand to stick or really gusty wind I choose the tube.

If I had to choose a 2 kite quiver today it would be hyperlink 7 and peak4 4. If I were to pick a foil kite to compliment a Cloud quiver it would be hyperlink 7 - 9 if you wanted lighter wind or more lift in transitions.
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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby TomW » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:54 pm

I'm on Hyperlink 9m UL, Hyperlink regular 7m and Sonic 2 13m.
Using 9m UL 85% of my sessions over the last year.
Power delivery is linear and smooth, kite never jerky or wobbly. Even in full depower.
Have bigger wind range on each kite. Drifts better than my North Monos. Kite provides consistent lift and drive in all window positions and is much more predictable. They stay at zenith easier and don't need to be looked after at zenith.
I can use stall and helicopter turns with smooth power delivery.
There's some negatives, but it's about safety if you manage to drown the kite in the water, and self landing, and some hassle with seaweed on beach getting into bridles.
I'll never go back to lei on Hydrofoil.

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby tomtom » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:42 pm

For me is about right kite for right wind speed. I think its roughly L/D related. You want to ride in light wind fast /multiples of windspeed/, kite must be light, and kite must restart in very low wind and without resistance /like standing in shallow/. There is only one kites which check - closed cell foil. If you compare them power to power with leis - they will turn almost as fast - and all other things in list do better. Especialy if you dont go bigger than 9m /which is imo last foil fun size/

As wind goes stronger this lift generator profiles can be actually problem - powerspikes are too brutal /for HF freeriding/ You want kite than is more tamed. Drift and depower reaction are most important then. I always want light kite /you can feel kite weight any time as its momentum/ heavy kites are very hard to wrist one hand controll. So here is for me light lei territory and Peak 4 territory.
As Peak4 is for me better than any LEI i tryed /it is actually closer in handling to LEI than foil/ I chosed P4 as mid to strong wind kite. I never rode Clouds...

So where this leaves light LEIs - they fly worse in lulls, they restart worse /impossible in really light/ have very nice and predictable handling and the lighter you made them the less range they have.
Only light LEI that will even interest me is Cloud and Alpha. Besides not pumping is quite addictive.

This is very generalized of course. I was flying just LEIs /also light ones/ almost all my kite life for perspective

My ideal quiver for cca 90kg is 9m Mid aspect Foil and then 5,4,3 Peaks 4
Last edited by tomtom on Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby tomtom » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:54 pm

Also i think is rider dependent. I think /no offense/ TomW will hate Peaks4 as much as i hate Sonics... If Leis are old jerky VW to you then Peak /and probably Cloud/ will be worst kite for you. They have this instant depower /which can be described as on/off/ and also lack off rigid profile make them impossible to fly through lull with minimal pull change. This only closed cell foils can.

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby Peter_Frank » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:49 pm

tomtom wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:54 pm
Also i think is rider dependent. I think /no offense/ TomW will hate Peaks4 as much as i hate Sonics... If Leis are old jerky VW to you then Peak /and probably Cloud/ will be worst kite for you. They have this instant depower /which can be described as on/off/ and also lack off rigid profile make them impossible to fly through lull with minimal pull change. This only closed cell foils can.

Agree, it is extremely rider individual dependant, and I dont think we can ever agree on this :roll:

In general, I think foil kites on shorter lines are most used, apart from the ultimate marginal winds where longer lines work.
As otherwise you get too much power in the sweeps.

And on LEI's longer lines works much better, as you can control the power every instant you want, turning and flying it in the window, or even depowering or stalling the kite on purpose.
Where it somehow seems, that powerful foil kites are a lot harder to handle on long lines, as you can not "dump" the power, once it is on its way fast :wink:

We all know I assume, that high AR foil kites deliver a lot more peak power when looped not too tight (or on longer lines) or flown fast, but they turn extremely slow.

This is in fact the tradoff as I see it, nothing more but that, but very important for the individual.

Personally I use foil kites when wind is below 7 knots, and LEI's when 7 and above, as simple as that :naughty:
Because I dislike the slow turning kites I have to follow so to speak, and prefer to be able to turn the kite around any instance I want to.

So no, I got no experience with small foil kites in a lot of wind, sorry...

Practical things like going down and relaunch and packing down etc is another thing, but not the question here as I understand it, and both ups and downs.
Only the riding difference is what is asked about, right? :D

8) Peter

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby jatem » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:52 pm

Riding a 1m pocket board on a 900cm2 wing, which I use for carving around in swell. Usually kiting at an open beach, or a large harbour. Prefer windy days up to 30 knots, but also go out in 9-10 knots.

Moved through a bunch of different LEIs, 5 strut, single strut, wave. Never liked the weight, constant need to steer upwards to keep them hanging at 10-11 o'clock, tendency to back stall under 8 knots or riding fast downwind, front stall if pushed by a wave or slack lined, side stall if wind is too light, slow steering if >8m. If a LEI starts to fall out of the sky, not much time to catch it. Relaunch is overrated in light conditions or upwind current, you don't want to be trying to relaunch, much better if the kite would just stay in the air.

Soul was better than LEI for floating in light wind, but takes a lot of care, and as Peter Frank described above, you have to follow the kite. Oodles of power, which you can't quickly turn off, particularly in loops. Hampers a free, carvy riding style. Very fast upwind, good if you want to go straight and fast.

Peak 4 is a revolution for carvy playful wave foiling. No upward bar pressure to keep it hanging in the air as you ride. No back stall in >3 knots, except for when you oversheet. Nearly impossible to front stall. Very hard to side stall, but still responds to steering when completely underpowered. Oodles of time before it falls slowly to one side, if you let go of bar. Allows you to ride the foil however you want, and just give the kite a little steering to follow you. Outstanding drift, on a new level. Gentle loops, mild power delivery. Loses grunt when heading straight downwind or in lulls, which requires a moment of riding the foil and waiting for power to come back on. Remains in the air in 2-3 knots with some kite turning, so you can body drag back to shore if the wind really backs off. Everything I wish a wave LEI could have offered for foiling. So easy and carefree to fly, you can forget the kite and ride the wing.

I suspect the Peak 4 will make foiling progression much easier for those learning to go downwind and gybe, because it takes away the fear of riding cross and downwind, when learners tend to get overpowered by LEIs or the LEI falls out of the sky. Not good for a kite beginner if you're going to steer it into the water all the time.

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby NYKiter » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:55 pm

I got stranded pretty far out when the wind dropped and it sank like a bedsheet....

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Re: Foil vs LEI: how does the riding differ

Postby jakemoore » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:47 am

Which kite sank? And how?

Today I swam in with my 13. The wind dropped to zero. A peak would have been easier to pack down. A tube would have been easier to pull in but would not have gotten me off the beach. The swim sucked but Im happy I got to ride.


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