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Foil racing - crashes + danger level?

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pikovsg
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Foil racing - crashes + danger level?

Postby pikovsg » Wed May 01, 2019 2:35 am

I've been slowly getting more and more into race foils and will soon be joining my first real race. Good speed and technique is getting more solid.
However, there's one thing that freaks me out and I can't find ANY info on - how dangerous are professional foil races?
What are the wipeouts like at that speed?
Can you get impaled?
What happens if one person crashes in front a large group at full speed?
Are there videos of crashes to help avoid it from happening?

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Re: Foil racing – crashes + danger level?

Postby NYKiter » Wed May 01, 2019 3:55 am

Gunnar has a pretty good vid...scary....glad hes still here...

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2399406

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davesails7
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Re: Foil racing – crashes + danger level?

Postby davesails7 » Wed May 01, 2019 5:22 pm

I've been going to 4 regattas per year for the past 4 years. Typically 12-30 racers at each regatta. About 12 races per regatta.

I've been in one tangle out of all those races and it was easily undone on the water. I've never been injured in 4 years, 2 sessions per week.

I've only heard about a few injuries from the 30-40 racers I know personally: one hurt ribs after crashing in seaweed, one cut foot kicking the foil getting back to the board in heavy winds, one cut hand riding board upside down through shallow water, one dislocated shoulder in two separate crashes.

Of the professional riders, I heard about Gunnars serious crash, Maxime Nocher had a serious crash on a 40 knot reach to the finish. Both were in strong winds I believe. Most amateur racing is in light winds.

It's tough to say based on limited information available, but from what I've experienced, I dont think racing is especially dangerous. It's definitely safer to ride a race foil in 12 knots of wind than to ride a twin tip in 35+ knots. Racing has made me go out in light winds so I feel like it's less risky overall, but who knows.

Wear flotation for sure. I know the helmet is always a debate. A friend had his foil fly up in a jibe and crack his helmet with the wingtip, so i always wear it. Some argue it's worse for your neck.

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Re: Foil racing - crashes + danger level?

Postby Mossy 757 » Wed May 01, 2019 6:17 pm

It's likely that as an amateur on the course, you'll be so far out of sync with the pack that you'll be clear behind in almost every situation. Most back-fleet racing is pretty solitary at the end of the day, once you're off the starting line. Like Dave said, foiling is inherently dangerous and those injuries will pop up when you're doing full race days of 4-6 hours of riding. I was also 'hit' by another racer before a start once, he lost track of the riders around him and basically rode right down on top of me from behind (upwind) of me. Our kites both crashed and got tangled and our boards drifted away, but I was able to swim under his lines and get free of his kite and relaunch mine before the race started, so although it really sucked, it didn't actually affect the outcome of the race at all.

In general, the best way to learn is to just get out there, keep a wide berth from everyone and enjoy going around the course for time. The first few regattas, you're racing against yourself just to finish. After 3 or 4, you'll have a few guys you sort of chase, and then after a couple of years you'll be right at home. It's that middle step where you're most likely to screw something up, right when you realize you can beat someone and start hunting for them on the starting line :-)
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