Everywhere you look these days it seems a pro surfer is trying their hand at a hydrofoil. Laird famously pioneered the craft in the early 2000s, and Kai Lenny has taken it to new heights – no pun intended. Joel Parkinson recently took one for a spin, as did Sunny Garcia. Kelly Slater, and John John, too. All four world champs had one thing in common to say – it’s harder than it looks.
It’s safe to say the foil craze is upon us. And in this writer’s humble opinion a foil does look pretty fun once you get it dialed. Stigma be damned!
But an unfortunate truism of this modern world, as any Malibu surfer will tell you, is that we can’t have nice things. Twiggy Baker mentions in the video above, if he’s foiling with a few other people in the lineup he’ll sit at the end and pick off waves no one else wants, minimizing risk to others if he were to fall. If the foil craze continues at this rate, though, it’s not difficult to imagine a less thoughtful person and an errant board doing some serious damage.
It’s a dilemma that will only become more pronounced as foils are more and more accessible – which appears to be the way things are headed. But like the shortboard revolution before it, is it only a matter of time before hydrofoils are the norm? Is touching a deeper source of the wave more desirable and everyone else who’s still stuck on the surface of the water blissfully unaware? Will serious hydrofoil injuries quickly become a form of natural selection in lineups everywhere?