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Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

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Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby fernmanus » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:57 am

I have a 21m Soul and a big board, so I am often the only guy out with 15 or 20 hydrofoils and perhaps a couple guys on surfboards and larger kites. I have noticed at my home spot and when traveling that in 10 knot wind many of the hydrofoil riders are struggling. I would estimate that only 15 to 20 percent of the riders are able to ride without dropping the kite multiple times in a session. And when that happens, many have a difficult time getting the kite to relaunch and end up swimming in. BTW, I do not intend to sound critical. I think it takes a lot of courage and perseverance to go out multiple times after swimming in, so my hat is off to you. I am only trying to understand.

It could be a gear issue. I noticed that some of the riders are using small, heavy kites. However, I see a lot of Cloud BRM kites on the water. So maybe it is a proficiency issue and even though a rider can get up on plane and appears to be relatively proficient, they lack the skill or knowledge to keep the kite moving and keep enough tension. It makes me think that you have to put in a lot of hours to be really proficient in light wind. I readily admit that in stronger wind, I see far fewer struggles I have to say about 5 percent of the hydrofoil riders make light wind riding look amazing, but I wonder if these are the guys that only ride hydrofoil, all day, every day...

Just curious on your thoughts. Not looking for an argument or encouragement, just curious to learn more and better understand my observations. I am in the process of learning, but I am thinking that my best bet is to pursue learning in moderate winds. It is also good to know what to expect and how to avoid some of the pitfalls.

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby nothing2seehere » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:24 am

10 knots is fine for my cold(er) climate temperatures for a rider of low to moderate skill. Relaunch isn't a problem at that wind either although you may need to wait for a gust. 8 knots however is hard. At 8 knots you need good relaunch technique or more hydrofoil specific kites (lighter - capable of reverse launching etc)

So it depends if you are looking at 10 knots average (so lulls a lot below this ) or say 14 knots average with lulls of 10 knots?

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby Qiter » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:31 am

10 kn on a hydrofoil is not really light wind, the more experienced foilers will likely be on 9m kites.
Lightwind riding on a foil has a lot to do with skills, so your observation that the good foilers make it look easy is correct. Its mainly about keeping the apparent wind going all the time and use the very small wind window efficiently, i.e. stay on the foil even through direction changes (=flying jibes/tacks). This all comes with experience and training and I am sure the good foilers that you see at your spot have ended up 100 times swimming in light winds before they actually mastered it well.
"Light winds" for more experienced foilers using tube kites would more be in the 6kn range..
So dont be discouraged by potential swims, just go for it! But for sure, at the very beginning, its easier to learn the foiling basics when you dont have to worry about the relaunch if you drop the kite.

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby NEkitesurfing » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:44 am

The Foils are getting better and better and the Kites as well. Last year it was challenging for me with my classic freeride wings around 600 cm2 (ZEEKO Freeride, MOSES 590) and with a modern tube wave kite to foil below 10 knots. The mentioned wing size requires a certain amount of speed and I have fallen below the stall speed a lot of times. Keeping the light wave kite in the air or even relaunching the kite was sometimes quite difficult. Sometimes the kite was still too heavy and not launching as good as necessary at very low wind speed.
This year my SHINN K and K2 Foil around 850 cm2 or the MEGA K around 1200 cm2 in combination with a Peter Lynn NOVA Ultra Light kite that is optimized on the low end and for foilboarding makes riding below 10 knots easy. The much bigger speed range of my new foil and the aerodynamic efficiency and extremely low weight (1 kg less than a one strut tube kite) of my new foil kite is the key for fun below 10 knots. I had to adapt the way I'm riding my board and steering my kite as well a little for having fun below 10 knots. But that was easy and fast to learn. Hydrofoiling below 10 knots is now accessible and fun for every Kiteboarder with the latest and right equipment.
That my kite stays in the air during a very long lull when he doesnt deliver sufficient pull for keeping me or getting me going is very helpful because it makes swimming easier and when the wind picks up again I can continue foiling.
Last edited by NEkitesurfing on Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby UKSurf » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm

I would say alot depends on the type of foil/kite you have. If you have a light wind 12m kite and a large foil 8 knots is pretty easy. My original setup was a liquid force rocket foil and liquid force NRG and I would say 7/8 knots was a challenge. With my new set up - LF Impulse Foil and Gong Strutless 12m - 7/8 knots is my favourite conditions.

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby jumptheshark » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:30 pm

Agree with the above that set up makes a big difference.

On a lift 170 with a 12m cloud its not very difficult. It's all feels a bit like a slow ballet in 10 knots. The foil can handle very low speeds and you can often give it a few pumps to get through any mistakes. The kite is so crazy light you have loads of time to retention lines in the event of error and it turns quick by 12m standards so another bonus for recovering. 10 knots is pretty much the sweet spot for that set up. Looking to replace that kite with a 9/10m moving forward.

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby drsurf » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:40 pm

When windsurfing was the only wind sport, one dreamed of endless 25 knot winds. Then kitesurfing came along and once 4 line kites became common 15 to 20 knots was great.
Now I hydrofoil with a Moses 633 foil and a Flysurfer Peak4 5m kite in 10 knots and I'm loving it, especially with a bit of swell :D

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby slowboat » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:49 pm

10 knots is a solid super easy day for foiling. 6 knots is when it becomes hard.

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby Windigo1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:33 pm

slowboat wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:49 pm
10 knots is a solid super easy day for foiling. 6 knots is when it becomes hard.
Yep totally agree!

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Re: Hydrofoiling in 10 knots - Is it that hard?

Postby joriws » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:45 pm

10kn aka 5m/s wind 10m2 Flysurfer Speed4 Lotus hauls my 110kg ass on HF (smallish HF-wing to today's standards, original LF foil fish). You just need initial impulse from kite to get on top of board and accelerated. On 15m2 Sonic2-kite and twintip I can go on that wind and lower - I estimate 7-8kn on door, 9kn on non-door. So there is serious mindset problem which converts to gear problem (using LEI) and skill problem probably not understanding how ULW (single digit knots) works which goes back to mindset problem.

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