Over 20,000 wetsuits & accessories in stock today!

Secure Checkout

How To Hydrofoil Surf

   August 26th, 2020   Posted In: How-To  

How To Hydrofoil Surf

Wondering how to get comfortable riding a hydrofoil board? The hydrofoil craze is wiping across the world as active watermen and women from all shorelines are riding hydrofoil boards in local lakes and rivers to beach fronts and offshore surf breaks. Hydrofoil surfing is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced on the water and many even compare it to a magic carpet ride.

Types of Hydrofoil Boards

Essentially, this style of surfing is created by the hydrofoil fin that decreases the amount of drag in the water allowing for almost immediate motion when pushed forward. A hydrofoil allows for a cruise-like flow which keeps the board hovering above the surface. The float-like flying experience is what makes hydrofoiling so appealing and riders craving more. It’s a riding experience so great that fanatics have even started using slogans like “loyal to the foil.”

Hydrofoil surfing has broken barriers allowing people in both fresh and saltwater environments to operate a number of hydrofoil boards with or without big waves. Different hydrofoil board styles have added additional tricks and experiences for water sports like:

  • Paddleboarding
  • Wakeboarding
  • Surfing
  • Kiteboarding
  • Windsurfing

There are now electric-powered hydrofoil surfboards that are controlled by a hand-held remote control. It’s becoming a popular board buy for die-hard water sports junkies because the electric hydrofoil allows you to control a range of speeds, and it’s simple to use and charge.

how to hydrofoil surfHow do you get a hydrofoil board in motion?

You may look at a hydrofoil board out of the water and wonder how can you paddle with that long, airplane-like fin attached? There are a variety of ways to get going on a hydrofoil board and once you get started, all one has to do is pump the board with their forward-facing foot to gain and control momentum and speed. Here are some ways to get started on a hydrofoil board.

The watersports that have added hydrofoil boards are attracting intermediate to experienced riders to the hydrofoil board style. That’s not to say first-time riders can’t learn to ride a foil, but it’s best to familiarize yourself with the traditional means of board riding prior to jumping on a hydrofoil board.

If you surf or wakeboard regularly, hydrofoiling will come easily. Catching a wave on a hydrofoil board by paddling, or getting pulled behind a boat with a rope is the easiest way to learn because the technique for getting to your feet doesn’t change.

One tip to keep in mind upon take off if you feel that you’re beginning to sink, press your back foot down and pump slightly to lift the nose of the board upward. Once you find that sweet spot for gaining speed, you’ll be in good shape while learning how to control your maneuverability.

Hydrofoil Dock Start

Even deep ponds or calm bays may not seem rideable without a tow, but if you pump hard enough on a hydrofoil board you can get cruising. But how do you get going?

Dock starts are difficult and may require some experience to get going right from the start. Without using a tow-rope or means of harnessing the wind, it takes a slight push on a hydrofoil board to be able to pump your way around a lake or river.

A floating dock or a long deck without pilings, cleats, or railings is the best choice for a take-off point. All you need to do is rest the foil in the water, and position your hands on the rail and tail of the board.

Once the hydrofoil fin is dipped in the water, get a running start by pushing the board while the fin catches the right pocket beneath the water. Once you feel the foil start to catch momentum, jump on the board and start pumping to get moving.

Tips for How to Hydrofoil Surf

  • Always keep the board pointed in the right direction, you will go nowhere with the hydrofoil fin facing backward.
  • Steer with your hips. It’s more shifting the upper body to steer the direction of a hydrofoil. Point your hips in the direction you want to go and pump a knee while shifting your upper body. Holding your arms wide helps with sharper turns.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and weight centered on the board with a slight lean backward. So you don’t stall by dipping the foil downward.
  • If you’re not riding a wave or catching the wind of a kite or holding a tow-rope, you will have to pump the board with your forward-facing foot to maintain momentum and speed.
  • Watch for other swimmers, boaters, and surfers.
  • Avoid shallow water, dock pilings, anchor lines, and pilings.

Should you fall, separate yourself from the hydrofoil board as much as possible. Especially if you’re riding a wave. The long foil fin is often solid, pointy, and taking a blow to the body may result in injury. If your feet are attached to the board and you fall, allow the board to take the impact and fall in the opposite direction from your legs and board.

Electric Hydrofoil Surfing

One of the more interesting ways to cruise your local lake or bayfront, electric hydrofoils are propelled by a propeller and controlled with a hand-held remote. Throttling your way across the water saves the need for excessive leg pumping to gain speed, and if you live on a sailboat or even near a large body of water, eFoil electric hydrofoil boards are a must-have for the avid surfer or wakeboarder.

Taking off on a hydrofoil board is tricky, but once you learn the hand-held throttle and balance of the board, you can get started by taking off on your belly, or from standing on the board while seated at the dock.

Enjoy the Ride

If you’re being towed behind a boat, before you throw the rope, get to know the board and feel the foil in the wake. Starting on the second wake behind a boat is easier at first until you work your way up to the primary wake. Hydrofoil boards optimize the traditional styles of riding the family boat wake or wave at your favorite beach break. Learning how to hydrofoil surf is easier than it may seem. Practice your hydrofoil skills on a Lift eFoil board and take on your local waterways with speed and style like never before.

Patrick Thomas is a Coast Guard veteran who grew up surfing and fishing in southwest Florida. Having lived in Puerto Rico and the Outer Banks, NC, he now works as a full-time photographer and author in Austin, TX. More of his work and photography is available at pkthomas.com.

Latest Posts by Patrick Kirk (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *