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Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

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jakemoore
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Re: Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

Postby jakemoore » Thu May 20, 2021 4:16 pm

I still ride my 70 cm mast quite a lot. I would consider 70 to start unless you have easy access to a flight school system to increase mast length progressively at low cost.

Benefits of a short mast:

Less painful wipeouts
Shallow water
Wing is closer to the surface to feel wave power
Easier to land jumps

Disadvantages of short:
Harder to tack
Harder to switch feet without touchdown
Less ability to hike out e.g. for racing
Less ramp effect for jump height

Consider fuselage length and stabilizer size and shape as much as the front wing. A longer fuse and larger stabilo make things easier. Ideally the stabilo also has some vertical surface element like winglets or the Naish with the fin to give some yaw stability early on.


~=800 cm2 wings are fine if they have a low aspect friendly shape. Ketos Wave XL for example and there are many others that look like it. 1000-1200 is better but still consider a lower aspect shape. There is more to the wing than area. Some 1200 wings are very thick, slow and easy to develop too much front foot pressure at any speed. Others are pretty thin.

Beware sharp carbon wings and masts in the early stages of riding. You will ding up the wings and mast. Even worse for your shins and feet.

Consider the ecosystem for the foil you get. Is there are market for second hand parts? Are you going toward racing, free riding, wave riding, wingfoiling. Would that require a new foil or just a new wing?

Resist the temptation to think the board doesn't matter because you just want to fly the foil. The board is a very important part of the whole system.

In this beginning phase there is a lot of riding with the board on the surface to get your balance and a lot of time spent starting.

I found a low volume strapless board with decent area easiest in the beginning. I used a Crazy Fly chill deck prototype. If the water is choppy a little longer would be better for example Cabrina double agent. A board with volume pushes the foil down away from water-start position faster and also runs downwind very fast if it gets away from you.

Once you are riding on foil more than on the surface then a board with the right shape will not drag you down if it touches the water and may touch the water less. I have not found anything that I like better than the Ketos pocket boards with low volume, a big scoop in the nose and a nice convex bottom that bounces off the water.

A board and foil are a system and it is possible to have a board with the wrong angle of attack when the foil is in the air. Staying within the same brand if you don't have a shop or a local foiling crew to let you try stuff is a safe bet.

If you are competent strapless on a surfboard then go strapless. If not, two front foot straps in a V and no rear strap is the most popular choice here. Consider foot hooks as an alternative to reduce the risk of tweaking your ankle and knees.
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StellaBlu
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Re: Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

Postby StellaBlu » Thu May 20, 2021 5:41 pm

While others have recommended a short mast, Im going to disagree (assuming your location has some depth). With a short mast you don't have a lot of vertical allowance and I found I was either touching down or breaching. The longer mast gave me more of an allowance, and made foiling in less smooth (choppy/wavy) conditions much easier. I suggest something in the 30-32" range. You won't outgrow that length either.

I also recommend a front strap. If you have any chop or waves it can be difficult to keep the board on your feet for a water start without a strap. You can either set up a single strap in the middle or a V-strap, but it should make starting much easier.

I started on a larger higher volume board and now ride a 3'6" board. The large board is a lot to manage when you are in the water and flying the kite, and I don't find it helped me much. I went to the smaller board very early and I don't find it to be any more challenging. You are going to want to graduate to a smaller board very quickly in your progression, so I suggest just starting with something in the 3'6" - 4' range.

I know this advice differs from others, but I am still new to foiling and I don't find that these equipment choices have slowed my progression at all (they may have accellerated my progression). It also prevented me from buying gear that I would outgrow very quickly.
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junebug
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Re: Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

Postby junebug » Thu May 20, 2021 7:43 pm

StellaBlu wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 5:41 pm
You are going to want to graduate to a smaller board very quickly in your progression, so I suggest just starting with something in the 3'6" - 4' range.
With all due respect, I think this is terrible advice. Beginners are going to have lots of touchdowns, and they need to be able to ride them out in order to get sufficient time on the foil to progress. A beginner on a board that small is going to have his progression staunched because he's going to be falling every 10 feet and it's going to take him more sessions to get the feel of riding the foil.

My advice is to buy a used/cheap large board (mine was in the 5' range), learn how to ride the foil, and then decide whether you want to size down. When you do, sell the board for $100-200 less than you bought it for. It will be money well spent. I waited until I could do flying jibes to size down, and I'm glad I did. My progression would have stalled if I'd gone smaller sooner.

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Re: Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

Postby JSom » Fri May 21, 2021 3:10 pm

junebug wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 7:43 pm
StellaBlu wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 5:41 pm
You are going to want to graduate to a smaller board very quickly in your progression, so I suggest just starting with something in the 3'6" - 4' range.
With all due respect, I think this is terrible advice. Beginners are going to have lots of touchdowns, and they need to be able to ride them out in order to get sufficient time on the foil to progress. A beginner on a board that small is going to have his progression staunched because he's going to be falling every 10 feet and it's going to take him more sessions to get the feel of riding the foil.

My advice is to buy a used/cheap large board (mine was in the 5' range), learn how to ride the foil, and then decide whether you want to size down. When you do, sell the board for $100-200 less than you bought it for. It will be money well spent. I waited until I could do flying jibes to size down, and I'm glad I did. My progression would have stalled if I'd gone smaller sooner.
I am now learning to ride on a wide board and so it is really easier at this stage to catch movement and balance. Indeed, for learning, it is better to have a more stable board.

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Re: Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

Postby Kamikuza » Sat May 22, 2021 3:49 am

junebug wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 7:43 pm
StellaBlu wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 5:41 pm
You are going to want to graduate to a smaller board very quickly in your progression, so I suggest just starting with something in the 3'6" - 4' range.
With all due respect, I think this is terrible advice. Beginners are going to have lots of touchdowns, and they need to be able to ride them out in order to get sufficient time on the foil to progress. A beginner on a board that small is going to have his progression staunched because he's going to be falling every 10 feet and it's going to take him more sessions to get the feel of riding the foil.

My advice is to buy a used/cheap large board (mine was in the 5' range), learn how to ride the foil, and then decide whether you want to size down. When you do, sell the board for $100-200 less than you bought it for. It will be money well spent. I waited until I could do flying jibes to size down, and I'm glad I did. My progression would have stalled if I'd gone smaller sooner.
No it's not. You ride a TT around 140cm and that has zero effective volume -- even my 3'6" has 19L.

Being forced to keep the foil flying isn't going to retard progress, it'll force improvement. IMO relying on the board to ride the surface will slow progress.

Took me about a year to get around to learning to foiling feet changes because I kept putting the board on the water to change feet, and getting bounced off the bloody thing and yes I had a big board. When I finally committed to trying foiling feet changes, I had my first successful complete gybe within the first session. Wasn't pretty but by the end of the month they were 100%.

Trying to ride the foil as a light wind option will slow your progress in the beginning -- you'll want more from the kite until you develop the finesse, then how small the board is almost won't matter.

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Re: Hydrofoil suggestions for beginners?

Postby sonny2727 » Sat May 22, 2021 4:28 am

Short answer ...get big board and second-hand short mast. When I started I got Moses 633 with Slingshot short masts ..cheap as chips
You can learn on a long mast for sure but it's about cost/benefit if you do find cheap stuff


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