Surf Foiling

Surf Foiling

Originating from powered craft back in the 70’s hydrofoils have been a method of increasing speed and efficiency moving through water for many decades.   Recent technological and material advancements have enabled us to reimagine how foils can be used and they firmly moved into the world of water sports.   

Pioneers like Laird Hamilton towing into huge waves at Jaws on a foil and then Kai Lenny foiling on open ocean swells have inspired foilers to access parts of the ocean and waves never before been ridden. 

How It Works

The concept of how a foil works is similar to an aeroplane taking off – as increased air flow moves over the wing a difference in pressure above and below the wing allows the plane to be drawn up into the air. Similarly, as water flows over the hydrofoil wings the rider and board is also lifted out of the water, enabling them to travel further, faster and with less energy than ever before.  All that is required is for water to flow fast enough over the wings to generate lift, with waves, wind and paddle power all methods of generating increased water flow and lift. 

The foil is made up of front wing, fuselage, rear wing (or stabiliser) and a mast.  By altering the  combination of sizes, position of the wings, fuselage and mast you can drastically change the boards capabilities, from surfing on front wings 50cm wide to gliding in open ocean on wings up to 110cm.  

Staying Safe

It’s an exciting evolution of surfing, but one that must be carefully managed with users self regulating and taking utmost responsibly and caution, setting standards of good practice while the sport is in its early stages of development. The beauty of foiling, and foil surfing in particular, is that riders are not looking for the same break or even the same wave as a surfer.  One foot weak conditions can open up new possibilities thanks to the efficiency of the foil, allowing the foiler to explore locations and conditions left unridden by surfers. 

As the sport develops we’ll work with experts in the field to continue developing the rules and etiquette needed to keep surf foilers and other water users safe.  Working together and self regulating may avoid formal regulation through land owners and outright bans.

Please pay attention and follow our safety messages

  1. Never use a foil in crowded spaces 

Whether beginner or pro, foils must never be used in busy line ups.  While learning avoiding popular beaches and simply don’t get in if it’s busy or you can’t see a space where you can safely ride on your own.  When foiling long rides can be achieved, so be careful not to find yourself encroaching on others water users.  Use the foil’s ability to ride unsurfable or less desirable surfing waves to seek out spots and opportunities away from other water users.  

  1. Take a lesson, ask the experts 

We strongly advocate taking a lesson as the best route into any potentially dangerous sport, including surf foiling.   At the very least buy your equipment from a local retailer where you can discuss using and operating the foil safely.   

  1. Wear safety equipment 

Always use a leash, use of helmets, impact vest, appropriate wetsuit and boots can help reduce impact when coming into contact with a foil or board 

  1. Be honest with yourself and start small 

Surf foiling is hard with a steep learning curve.  If you’re not a proficient surfer, don’t try and jump into surf foiling.  Lean your craft on a surfboard first then start to learn and understand the foil.  We recommend starting to foil in flat water first, ideally behind a boat (in a lesson) to get a feel for the foil before heading into waves.  

  1. Respect the beach and other water users. 

There are already foiling bans on beaches in Australia and France with other countries following suit.  If surf foiling is to avoid bans in the UK, surf foilers must respect all the usual beach safety rules and etiquette.  

  1. Maintain your equipment 

Foiling gear comes under stress and with multiple parts it does need regular maintenance.  Having gear in good order will help prevent malfunction in the water. 

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