I learned to ride a foilboard about three years ago in the Outer Banks. My good friend and business partner, Jon Beery took me out one day and helped me get my first sustained rides and I was hooked. After about a month of face plants and drinking gallons of water, it finally clicked. We learned on an aluminum foil with a tall mast, which made the learning curve steep and the crashes big. There was no recipe, no how-to YouTube videos, and not many people to ask for instructions. We were developing it all as we dialed it in ourselves.
Since then, the introduction of shorter masts and lower aspect foils that fly at a slower speed have drastically reduced the learning curve. We can get pretty much anyone flying these days and have a very refined, step by step way of teaching it safely and efficiently. It’s best to start out towing behind a boat, which allows you to isolate the board, find the balance point and learn how to carve it.
A few months after I learned, Jon and I took the foils and some kites out to the ocean for the first time to experiment in the waves. Conditions were heavy, there was an onshore breeze, and shoulder high sets. People on the beach watching thought we were crazy. We got beat up and pounded that day but we learned a lot. Riding the wings in the waves became my new addiction.
Recently, Lift came out with a 170cm wing and the wheels in my head began to spin. A bigger front wing makes the foil lift and fly at a slower speed. This has opened up new doors to surf waves and wakes never attainable with regular boards. Once we got our hands on that new wing, Xander Raith and I, a local Nantucket ripper, spent a few days towing into boat wakes. We had to dial in the right speed, positioning in the wave, and practice pumping to maintain speed. We had some success but were still left needing something more consistent. As we sat at Brant Point lighthouse and watched a few fishing boats motor by, it clicked.
The next day we called our friends at Just Do It Too fishing charters and set up the boat to take us out. We spent some time trimming the wake and finding the right speed. 11/12kts with a slight turn is the sweet spot. A 200k wake boat that tosses the perfect wake may be your ideal choice, but we worked with what we had. The sensation of flying with no tow handle or kite attached endlessly is insane and hard to describe. It’s one of the coolest feelings in the world. Endless powder runs. Riding the magic carpet.
The foil has been game changer for kiting and surfing. It turns marginal days into adrenaline-pumping madness. I think the lower aspect foils are opening up two entirely new sports in the surf and wake discipline. You need some serious skill to paddle into waves on the foil. However, wake foiling is very attainable to the masses, so keep your eyes and ears open. Surf edit to come shortly!