I had a finding some weeks ago.
Wind dies, I was not far from shore - but had to swim to shore.
Could let the kite semifloat behind me, "drowning" more and more, in 10 meters bar lines, reeled mostly up.
I could also have folded the kite up fully of course.
BUT, on my favorite board with minimal antislip (you almost need nothing on a strapless foilboard, and too much is actually worse if using boots as we have to in the winter), I could not paddle on my board, way too slippery.
I had rotated the harness around, but it was too slippery on the board surface.
Then I ditched the harness and bar, and just held on to either one line or the harness, so "standard surf" suit against board.
This was still mega slippery, actually like ice, so almost got nowhere.
Sitting on the board, legs around board, paddling one hand in the water at a time, worked but extremely slow.
Ditched the kite the very last part, as now I could paddle slightly faster but still no good with winter wetsuit on a hydrofoil specific minimal antislip surface.
On this short "journey" I was thinking if it could be possible to tie yourself to the board somehow?
Problem with the small boards are, they are just a tad under the surface when you are on it, meaning you get "lighter" so even less surface resistance.
And if I had rolled my kite up, so it should be under me on the deck, it would be just as slippery.
Anyway, my point is, one should try to swim on ones board(s) just to know how easy it is or not.
Swimming without your board, pushing it in front of you, towing a drowned kite maybe, is also an option, but not good when winther temperatures or in general as you can not orientate yourself relative to the coast.
If you have footstraps and a bigger board, it is easy of course - racers pack down and paddle for miles sometimes
But most using hydrofoil boards for freeride, are small strapless boards I reckon (a poll made earlier here)
Another smaller board has a thick sponge like grip, a lot easier to paddle on my belly/chest now.
Just a hint - you might be in for a surprise if you havent tried paddling your smaller boards, as there are huge differences on how anti slip surfaces work, and how your specific suit for a given day either slips or has ok hold to the surface