Best way to learn to foil board is with a big wide board, big front foil wing and being towed behind a boat. For Kauai, Wailua River is the easiest for first timers, given the very flat water. Other good options are Kekaha and Port Allen but wind and chop can be difficult to work around. Foil truth 1: One lesson behind a boat saves many difficult sessions in the waves.
Call or text me to find about about different options for beginners to learn to foil. Or if you are more experienced and want to change things up some, I have other options too, including wings and SUPs. Can also tow into some some nice Kauai roller waves.
Australia’s first foil manufacturer, Konrad www.konradboarding.com has finally arrived in Kauai and Oahu, Hawaii. Engineered for maximum efficiency and industry leading durability, Konrad is poised to fly. Complete foil sets along with prone surf foil boards and foil SUPs are available now, with cheap inter-island shipping. Free tow training and lessons available with purchase on Kauai!
An awesome choice for a lifetime foil set from beginner to expert, the Konrad FLYR foil easily upgrades to smaller or larger wings. Can also choose full carbon mast and fuselage (weighing in under 8 lbs), all with guaranteed forward and reverse compatibility. Small wing works well for most foil surfing, medium wing for most foil SUP, and larger wing for wing surfing, tiny waves, or flat water pumping. Some other features include:
1300, 1600 and 1900cm2 Medium Aspect interchangeable front wings. High Aspect foil wings also available.
Machined mast, fuselage, and base mount with proprietary coating to reduce corrosion and increase stiffness
Ultralight full carbon fuselage and mast also available
Premium hardware with Titanium torx head screws and deep shaft wing connection for rock-steady fit
The Foil SUPs bounce off the water and are perfect for wing surfing, available in sizes 5’4″ to 6’8″.
The prone surf boards are carbon wrapped, ultra light and engineered for rapid take off, available in sizes 4’4″ to 5’4″.
Contact me to demo on Kauai or for contacts on other islands. 8O8-278-O65O www.pakaafoil.com
While I was purchasing a new Hoverglide foil it, the awesome Oahu Slingshot dealer, Jeff at Offdalip, told me about a guy at my work in Kauai, Jon, that was also learning prone foiling – that is paddling into a wave on a surfboard with a mounted foil. Prices had dropped big time on foil kits, and right I was purchasing a Slingshot aluminum kitesurf foil ($900 delivered) with extra 24″ mast, I figured this was a pretty solid modular
system. So Jon and I headed out on the boat to try some more tow training.
We tried my setup first – hoverglide attached to 7’4″ fish. We both struggled. We switched out to his foil Cloud IX S24 surf foil attached to 7’4″ fish, and he was getting good long rides on foil. I was starting to get to hang of it as well. We could be going a few mph slower with the boat, and the bigger wing also was much more stable. So next big lesson: big wings are better for learning.
Soon after I dropped another $500 on a carbon fiber 84cm Slingshot Infinity front wing, the saving grace was that it just bolted onto the hoverglide system I already had. But if you you’re keeping tabs I was now at about $1700 invested in just the foil kits.
Next major muscle movement in my Learning to Foil Odyssey, was when I found out about Foilmount to stick a foil track system on any board. 160 bucks later and I stuck the track mount on my old 7’4″ fish go-to travel board. Conveniently, my buddy got a bigger boat as well. So one more trip on the river and one on the ocean, and I was still struggling. What kind of worked was kneeling or laying on the board with towrope in hand, and then with boat pulling at 4/5 mph or so, I would stand up. When I was ready I would signal for a speed increase. Come to find out every foil wing combo has a lift speed. So a standard kiting foil lifts a rider at about 11 or 12 mph, a much bigger aspect ratio SUP or surf foil lifts at 8 mph. I noticed when we got to about 13 or 14 mph I felt like I was going way too fast and out of control, which I’m know led to some yardsale type falls. And with the added mast height, the falls from when the wing breached the water gave me some whiplash. So my body threw in the towel fairly quickly on these sessions.
Lesson: shorter mast height is better for learning and the body.
Soon after seeing videos of local Hawaii surf gods Laird Hamilton and Kai Lenny a couple of years ago and being a competent kitesurfer, I decided I wanted to start my odyssey to learn foil boarding – that is standing on a surfboard that is raised a couple of feet above the water by a hydrofoil wing. Forward motion could be achieved by multiple different options: a kite, a sail, a boat, a paddle, a wave, a small motor, etc. I, of course, took a very scattershot approach to figuring it out.
The first big barrier was the hydrofoil cost. Full carbon kits can run about $2k. Then you’d have to buy a special board -another $1k on top of that to mount the hydrofoil mast. Clearwater Foils seemed to be the first guy to break the mold on minimal and low priced equipment setup. He just started glassing some pinewood and over the course of couple of years, figured out some wing shapes that worked as well as the techniques to put it all together, then mount it on a basically a plank. I got one of his kits used, already glassed for $200, front and rear wing are glassed separately and bolted to the fuselage/mast piece. Shipped to Kauai was like $90, I think mostly because the guy that packaged it up kluged together a Frankenstein box of different sizes and shapes to fit each piece, rather than just finding a box big enough to fit all the pieces. After spending several trips to the hardware store, I drilled through an old beat up Liquid Force twintip board and bolted the mast to the board.
The next big barrier was how to start. General consensus is that the best way to get the feel for being on a foil is to get towed behind a boat. So, I got a friend to pull me behind his 14 foot zodiac with a 25hp outboard on the Wailua River. Being well over 200 lbs, the boat barely had enough grunt to pull be out of the water. I think over the course of an hour, I spent about 1 minute on the board, and 10 seconds on the foil, the rest of the time was falling or plowing through the water. Several nights of ibuprofen later, I slowly figured out, “Gonna need a bigger board.
I kept expecting to try the setup kiting, but never had the planets aligned sufficiently to try it again. There is only a few places on Kauai that have a deep enough sandy bottom, protected from waves and have regular wind. So my next try would have to wait. Grab some popcorn, this epic movie details in glorious technicolor, my first ride on a new Clearwater homebuilt hydrofoil.