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Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

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jumptheshark
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Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby jumptheshark » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:31 pm

Just starting into this and would love to hear from others doing the same or further along the learning curve. It's tough to motivate for constant crashing once at the stage where you no longer have to, but there are riders out there like Fred Hope in the Gorge, Greg Drexler in Maui and Stephane Goffinet in France who are doing things that are really inspiring. So far I'm approaching it pretty half hazard. Working on it in short bits, then just forgetting about it, mostly due to getting cold or tired and just wanting to feel successful again. Have managed a few decent grabs with crash landings, a few little grabless ollies that I have ridden away from, but nothing consistent and now realizing I need a progression game plan.

Conditions: What's best? So far I'm only feeling the motivation when its flat and light where there is no terrain to play on. This means bigger kites like 8-12m. Eventually I have dreams of airing with smaller kites and looping the kite, but no where near even trying that yet.

Gear: Fortunate enough to be on a pretty light set up with a roughly 1100 square cm front wing and 300 ish stab. Whole set up is just under 10.5 lbs. Dropping weight in the set up has been the main catalyst to airing. Feels a lot less intimidating.

Prerequisite steps: Other than the mentioned random stabs at various airs, I've decided to break it down into some bottom up skills. Firstly, getting a feel for the lift on the kites I foil with... they are not the kites I use on other boars and are not high lift. Mostly my clouds and the few kites I've taken struts off. I don't really want a lot of lift, but eventually will want some and need to get a feel for them. So far it's just jumping without worrying about grabbing or keeping the board. Next will be throwing in the grab and bringing the board with at least until I get close to touch down, and hopefully eventually that leads to trying the landing. On that note, Ive started trying to learn that part on its own by intentionally venting and trying to recover. That bit is going ok as this new foil is much easier to recover than my last. I think it has mostly to do with the bigger stab, but not really sure. Either way, can comfortably recover from most non air venting now be it intentional or not.

What airs to go for first: Have watched the Ketos vids a few times, but have also watched the recent BRM vids lately and think I will likely work mostly on the little 180 off the lip airs that Drexler is landing. They look like something that can naturally progress into 360 airs down the line. Both seem to involve airing by heading up into the wind more than I had first anticipated.

Anyway, these are my thoughts and efforts so far. Please share yours.

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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:34 pm

So it's been a month of working on this and a few things are a little more clear.

1. Its not about airing... that parts easy, its all about landing. Topic should be changed to : Strapless hydrofoil landings, where to start

2. The key piece in landing strapless on foil is to do it lightly! As in, not much weight on the board and as much as possible using the kite lift at touchdown. This is pretty tough when you only have one hand on the bar, so loops rather than redirects are the likely answer.

3. Plan every landing to end up balance over the board with the board on the water. A lot of moves I have learned on foil only ever really come together when I actually have a plan for the exit. I start with learning how to initiate, be it jibes, then tacks, and now airs. I have gone into the learning curve with a pretty clear pic in my head of initiating mechanics, but the exit is always guesswork. Takes a fluke success to get the idea and a few more to get the blueprint. Airs have been no different. The simple ollie airs I ride away from are the ones where the kite holds most of my weight on landing and I am not going very fast. The ones that you actually foil out of have the added technicality of the foil entering the water directionally and not flat.

There is a lot to put together there, and in watching the ever evolving vids out there you can see certain moves are more suited than others. In the end, strapless airs on foil are going to be a little different from normal strapless airs on other boards. You cant just do a grab, the weight of the foil will make it hang from your hand tail first, so you actually have to whip the foil a bit to get it oriented to enter the water directionally instead of flat or tail first. The one jump that seems to put it all together most naturally is the mid air 180 transition air. It has all the elements. You go into it headed upwind so the board is angled against the wind and your bleeding speed. There is a little 180 of the foil so it ends up diving back into the water directionally. Your speed comes to a stop as you stall in rotation. If you don't use all your lift for height, you have some left to sheet in and initiate a loop in order to land softly.

With this one your not always gonna get it right, Sometimes the foil is going to land flat and punch in so your board drops to the surface or below, but your right above it and not moving forward so a lot more likely to stay balance and ride out of it from the board under water than for airs that have much forward momentum on landing.

Personally, I have not landed one of these yet. Just getting into the mid air 180 at this point, but a month of experimenting and riding out of simple heading upwind Ollie airs has taught me enough to begin to see the exit clearly and it's looking like the mid air 180 transition air and toe side variation are the ones were going to see a lot more of.


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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby elguapo » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:41 pm

i've seen the instructional videos by that french dude....
but outside those few you listed i havent seen too many folks doing any type of airstyle on a strapless foil.
youre might have to blaze this path yourself...you're one of the pioneers right now.

fwiw, the drexler vids were inspiration for many of riders... but i can tell you from 1st hand experience they practice (and crash often) just like everyone one else.

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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:49 pm

For sure, wrapping your head around crashing constantly is a given. I started working on this stuff a little more concertedly once I switched into a full wetsuit from a shorty. Overdressing on foil is key to progression when your falling in 20 times in a row.

Stephane from the Ketos vids is way out front on this. Fred Hope is another real talent. I wish Philippe Caneri would spend a little more time kite foiling! That guy has vision but seems to be spending it on other branches of foiling lately.

Had my first good day at the beach last weekend in 25 knots and really nice swell wrapping a long point. No work on airs that day, but there are so many moments where the imagination was plotting where to put them in here and there. That is the big goal. To get consistent enough to throw them in during big conditions where they would just be so cool. Someday. Like everything from simply foiling in waves, to actually really engaging the waves, all the practice in lesser conditions is so worth it. Only takes the occasional day in really nice swell to keep the stoke firing! I'm still replaying a few of last weekends moments over in my head.

Even if foils themselves are peaking, Foiling has so far to go!

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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby slowboat » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:21 am

jumptheshark wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:34 pm
So it's been a month of working on this and a few things are a little more clear.

1. Its not about airing... that parts easy, its all about landing. Topic should be changed to : Strapless hydrofoil landings, where to start

2. The key piece in landing strapless on foil is to do it lightly! As in, not much weight on the board and as much as possible using the kite lift at touchdown. This is pretty tough when you only have one hand on the bar, so loops rather than redirects are the likely answer.

3. Plan every landing to end up balance over the board with the board on the water. A lot of moves I have learned on foil only ever really come together when I actually have a plan for the exit. I start with learning how to initiate, be it jibes, then tacks, and now airs. I have gone into the learning curve with a pretty clear pic in my head of initiating mechanics, but the exit is always guesswork. Takes a fluke success to get the idea and a few more to get the blueprint. Airs have been no different. The simple ollie airs I ride away from are the ones where the kite holds most of my weight on landing and I am not going very fast. The ones that you actually foil out of have the added technicality of the foil entering the water directionally and not flat.

There is a lot to put together there, and in watching the ever evolving vids out there you can see certain moves are more suited than others. In the end, strapless airs on foil are going to be a little different from normal strapless airs on other boards. You cant just do a grab, the weight of the foil will make it hang from your hand tail first, so you actually have to whip the foil a bit to get it oriented to enter the water directionally instead of flat or tail first. The one jump that seems to put it all together most naturally is the mid air 180 transition air. It has all the elements. You go into it headed upwind so the board is angled against the wind and your bleeding speed. There is a little 180 of the foil so it ends up diving back into the water directionally. Your speed comes to a stop as you stall in rotation. If you don't use all your lift for height, you have some left to sheet in and initiate a loop in order to land softly.

With this one your not always gonna get it right, Sometimes the foil is going to land flat and punch in so your board drops to the surface or below, but your right above it and not moving forward so a lot more likely to stay balance and ride out of it from the board under water than for airs that have much forward momentum on landing.

Personally, I have not landed one of these yet. Just getting into the mid air 180 at this point, but a month of experimenting and riding out of simple heading upwind Ollie airs has taught me enough to begin to see the exit clearly and it's looking like the mid air 180 transition air and toe side variation are the ones were going to see a lot more of.

I would like to try some basic strapless jumps. What are the important elements in learning this in your experience? How high are you getting?

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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby jumptheshark » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:10 pm









The art of landing strapless and riding away on foil is all about landing softly without a lot of weight on the foil. I have progressed a fair bit lately and now think of jumps as more like heading very much straight upwind and popping straight up with a quick ollie at the end, then only sheeting in hard and using the kite power at the end, stalling out the power on landing and flowing into an immediate redirect or loop for power to ride away. I can ride out of approx 70% of these simple low level airs now and foil out of almost 50%. Have been starting into the mid air board 180, but that is in the early days. Proper grabs are also in the preliminary stages, but I've managed to figure out how to land and will build from there. I only get about two feet of air from wing to surface most times, and on my toe side take its even lower. Toe side I typically only just breech the foil and sort of grind it along the crest of a bit of chop before it submerges and I usually ride away. That one is sort of a found move all its own and super fun. My consistency riding out of those is actually higher. I'm pretty sure they don't look like much, but they feel great and its really nice to add this new element to my foiling. I'm pretty stoked as I can see a bunch of really fun possibilities for relatively body safe 4-10 foot strapless airs that will take years to land with any consistency. Equipment wise, I'm settling on the idea that I don't want a Peak, but will stay with LEI 5-9m kites. The lighter and faster turning, the better. Short lines.... currently 17m but often 21 due to low wind.

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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby slowboat » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:55 am

Since you are not using much kite power to take off, what is better? A smaller foil that can go faster upwind at take off or a larger wing with more lift for the initial pop?

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Re: Strapless hydrofoil airs, where to start

Postby jumptheshark » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:54 pm

I'm on a lift 170. I think the higher aspect foils are more likely suited to using speed for actual kite lift. For going big in straps.

Im doing very small airs with almost no added kite lift. Speed is pretty moderate.

Had a strange week last week launching from a few novel spots and ended up using the same 8.5m kite on 17, 21 and 28m lines. Was working on airs for a good chunk of each session.

The long lines were so much easier. Needed to be a lot less precise with the kite positioning, and the long arc gives a nice drawn out bit of lift upon landing.

The end goal is definitely still short lines, but for learning, long lines are a big help.


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