An Insider's Guide to Foiling
Watersports have evolved so much that there are almost limitless ways of cutting through the waves! Surfing, kitesurfing and paddleboarding are just some of the most popular activities on the water. However, the community never stops, and now, foiling has once again transformed how people enjoy the water.
You have probably seen people foiling in surfing spots across the UK. Here at F-One, we’re huge fans of the experience and wholly recommend it to anyone interested in switching-up their game. If you’re exploring the form, we’ve put together this basic overview to shed some light on the science.
What is Foiling?
Foiling simply involves attaching a foil (sometimes referred to as a hydrofoil) consisting of a mast with small wings to the bottom of your surf, kite, windsurf or SUP board. When travelling at speed, the wings will cause the board itself to lift out of the water, creating a completely new experience.
How Does Foiling Work?
Foiling works thanks to the wings that sit underneath the water. Unlike traditional surfboard fins that are designed to cut through the water, foiling fins are flat, shaped like a manta ray with a smaller stabiliser at the back. As mentioned above, when travelling at high speed, water will get caught underneath this design, causing the board to rise upwards.
Like an aeroplane, the foil wing’s angle impacts the rate of ascent and descent while foiling. This control is why many riders point upwards at the beginning, while bobbing or pumping the board can help it to stay out of the water when the speed decreases.
Who is Foiling For?
One of the great things about foiling is that it can work with almost all watersport disciplines, although you need a board with the correct mounts for foiling. Whether you’re a surfer, kitesurfer, paddleboarder or anything else, you can upgrade your next session with foiling!
One thing to bear in mind is that foiling is usually harder than its original discipline. Due to the completely different level of contact with the water, it can feel to some like learning a new discipline entirely! A high level of balance and fitness is required to enjoy foiling to the fullest, as noticeably more time is spent in the riding position than compared to traditional surfing or kitesurfing.
Why is Foiling Popular?
From the outside, foiling can seem like a quite peculiar addition to a traditional board. However, the sensation it creates is incomparable to anything else. The main feeling is one of weightlessness as you glide over the water, but at the same time, there’s a deep connection between your feet on the board and the strength of the waves underneath. It can also achieve considerable speeds, thanks to its lack of contact with the water.
The smooth glide of foiling is coupled with a nearly silent connection between you and the sea, as only the thin mast cuts through the surface. On that note, surf foiling has a much higher potential to work on flatter waters. Finally, foiling creates some incredible photo opportunities that are awesome to share with friends and the wider surfing community!
What Foil is Right for Me?
When choosing a foil, the first thing to know is that you’ll need a board designed to take a foil. Also, foils are generally constructed with a specific discipline in mind, so if you’re a kitesurfer, look for a kite foil.
Beyond that, the main difference between foils is the size area of the wing. As a general rule, small wings are designed for speed and manoeuvrability. Meanwhile, a larger wing creates more lift at a slower speed and improved stability. If kite foiling for the first time, a mid-range option like the IC6 850 that offers versatility and control is a good choice! If you’re taking up surf foiling, the F-One Gravity 1800 or 2200 are the best options.
Here at F-One, we offer a range of foils suited to all your needs. Whether it’s surf, kite, SUP or wake foils, we have a wide range for you to discover! If you want to learn more about foiling, why not get involved with our community via our social media channels?