Hydrofoils–those magical wings that lift watercraft into the air–have been around for a long time. Whether they were used to improve the efficiency of commuter boats, injecting adrenaline into the America’s Cup, or making kiting and windsurfing in the faintest breath of wind possible, foil fever is now in full swing. It was just a matter of time before the surfers figured out how to join the party.
It’s important to note that not all foils are created equal. How the wing behaves will greatly affect the rider’s experience. Your intro to hydrofoiling can go from “I’m never doing that again” to “where do I get one?” Understanding the physics of foiling can be helpful in finding the best setup.
Two characteristics of the foil are critical in surfing. First, what does the wing do when it touches the surface of the water (i.e ventilation)? Second, what does the wing do when you ride through white water (which you’ll be doing all the time if you want to ride in the surf)?
With a little bit of experimentation, we found that a GoFoil on a small SUP is a magic combination. The surgery required to drop a tuttle box into a board you already have isn’t too difficult. We used a 7’6″ 29″ wide x 4.4″ thick JP Australia Surf Slate with good results. The wings on the GoFoil are extremely forgiving with respect to the above points, making the learning process enjoyable for even a novice.