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Just not getting it

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knucklehead beginner
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Just not getting it

Postby knucklehead beginner » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:34 pm

I learned how to kite in 2000 on 2-line kites. It was a real pain, but eventually I got it. The hydrofoil seems even more elusive to me, but perhaps I have forgotten my struggles from so long ago. I keep trying it. I am not dropping my kite or going face first over the board. I just get up and feel as wobbly as a newly born fawn. I have a hard time maintaining staying up on foil.

Yes, I have a One Wheel and I am proficient on it. Yes, I have taken lessons. Yes, I have watched a lot of videos. Yes, I have a beginner setup. Yes, I am riding the same size kite that I would to ride in the same conditions. I have been patiently trying when the conditions are steady. Seems like 20 minutes of working on the foilboard is as taxing as 4 hours riding lit on my twin tip.

I would give it up, but the promise of riding in 7 to 8 knots and jumping high in 10 to 12 knots keeps me going. I have also noticed that I am not the only one struggling with a hydrofoil. I truly suck, but I see people struggling day after day. Seems like where I ride there are only a handful of really proficient riders.

No, I am not some hack that hates hydrofoils and has never kited, I am just a bit embarrassed by how slow I have been to learn this aspect of the sport, so I created a new account.

I sure would appreciate any advice. I am in my mid-50's. I am in good shape. I kite 5 to 6 days a week and I workout regularly as well. I have good balancing skills from doing yoga. I am just not sure of what my problem is...

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby Si_B » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:57 pm

What are you trying to learn on?

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby TheJoe » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:58 pm

Just keep practicing everyone learns at a different pace. I'm the opposite of you. I just start 3 months ago with a Moses 633/438 with a SS Dwarfcraft Micro. Not the most ideal setup to learn on. I have just started gybing in the air. I had to skip doing it and direction changes on the water because of the pocket board. I have not found it too difficult to learn at all. I know that is not the case for more people.

My advice is to keep on trying. I think about it as trying to balance on the center of a teeter totter. Find the center balance point and your not going to fight it. The rest is just getting comfortable.

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby jumptheshark » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:05 pm

Yup, I remember the newborn legs. The exhaustion after bracing for a half hour. Hard to believe now.

It all becomes completely comfortable and second nature.

Have noticed that quite a few people get just past the crazy braced stage to the point they can go but not turn around reliably and quit. There were 7 or so foilers here a couple years ago. All in various stages of learning. Now most of them are back on TT and SB and there are really only two of us that foil.

I suspect that many would still be foiling had they stuck with it long enough to truly get comfortable and transition reliably.

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby Janus » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:09 pm

Did someone else try your setup?

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby Peter_Frank » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:29 pm

Just continue, you will get there, always like you described very well, when starting.

8) Peter

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby purdyd » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:35 pm

I’ve seen people struggle on poorly setup or the wrong gear, I’ve seen people simply struggle and give up.

My experience is everything on the foil seems impossible and then it isn’t. It just clicks.

You might try just foiling for 5 days! Nothing else. You might take a break for a week. Sometimes that helps.

Good luck!

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby Eduardo » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:59 pm

I promise you that you will get it. I suggest you post a picture or details of your setup. There are some things like foil way to far forward or back that can make it very hard to find good balance. Also, I once assembled with my stabilizer up side down - that was a wild session! It is also easier to go one kite size down from your TT. Otherwise you are immediately overpowered once your foiling.

Other than setup, an early tip that helped me was to view weight shifts more as hips. That is, getting weight forward or back is not just pressing toes, it's about where your weight is. Otherwise, it's just about taking the beating until your brain learns :D

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby Hugh2 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:08 pm

I've watched several guys try endlessly on ridiculous gear, like a racing high-aspect flat wing and long mast, and not get it, unsurprisingly.

For myself, starting foiling at age 62 after 12 years of kiting, the secret was a large board, short 15" mast, and simple medium aspect wing (original Slingshot Hoverglide). The unfortunate part of learning that way is that having become comfortable on that heavy old aluminum mast and wings I find it almost impossible to ride my friends' modern carbon wings. I just get tossed off them. On the other hand, a local friend managed to learn on a carbon wing and 24" mast by simply persisting endlessly, he would literally send several hours nonstop porpoising all over the place for several weeks, and two weekends ago I watched a guy at Cape Hatteras do the same. Both of them eventually smoothed it out, but that seemed like way too much effort. A short mast and large board made it much easier for me, my buddy and I were taking short flights on the first day, sustained flights the second session, and moved to 24" mast on the third session. I love riding a 36" mast now.

But yes, you feel like a complete novice to start, an unstable fawn is a great analogy, and it is very taxing. Half an hour is still about all I can handle for a session if I am working on new things, like flying gybes. And I only got the latter because I stuck with a large board that I could do touchdown gybes on and gradually advanced to turning to toeside at speed and flying. Getting back to heelside is still about 50% success, especially if I don't have enough power. But it's great not to be crashing and restarting every transition. All my friends who have mastered the flying gybe did it on short boards with endless crashes first. Now three of them are so good it is sickening, riding carbon foils with pocket boards and doing 360s etc, although none have managed to get to the foot-switch gybe, that seems really hard and I don't even aspire to it.

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Re: Just not getting it

Postby br44 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:36 pm

You didn’t provide enough details, but it sounds like your gear is wrong. You want a large, stable surf wing (around 1000 sq cm or more) and a medium/short mast. Put the mast (nearly) all the way in the back at first. Then have a toe hook or strap in the front only. Double straps can easily lock your feet in the wrong position when learning.

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