The foiling craze is taking over the watersports world like a storm, and everyone wants to get a feel of it. The thrill of hopping on a foil and pumping through the water is enough to get any watersport enthusiast’s heart racing and yearning for more.
But, before you get to pumping, you first have to get on the foil. At Miami Nautique, we know a thing or two about foiling, so welcome to foil academy 101. Here are a few things you need to know when getting up on your foil for the first time.
Understand The Physics
Before you even think of getting up on your foil, you need to understand how it works in the first place. The foil’s hydrodynamic design works in the same principle as an airplane’s. Essentially, the front wing deflects water downwards as you move, thus exerting an upward force that lifts the board out of the water.
At this point, applying pressure on your front foot is natural to keep yourself from falling backward. Doing so reverses the initial lift, causing the board to “sink” into the water, generating a forward motion.
Five Tips for Getting Up on Your Foil the First Time
Learning to foil is akin to riding a bike since you have to start at the basics, then work your way up to performing tricks. Let’s begin with the basics.
Get Comfortable With the Board
The biggest mistake first-time foilers make is getting into the water before familiarizing themselves with the board. If you’ve surfed before, this shouldn’t be much of a problem since the boards look pretty much the same despite having a bit different of a design.
Start by placing your board without the foil on land and standing on it. The exercise sounds pretty easy, but once you get a feel of standing on the board, getting your balance on the water becomes much easier. You’ll want to stand with your back foot near the foil plate and front foot up by the nose. Practice the positioning but you’ll never know exactly how to stand until you take it out on the water.
Time To Get on the Water
Getting and staying on top of the board essentially requires two things: proper foot placement and not overthinking your actions. Start by riding closer to the nose. This is the safe zone, the farther back your weight the faster the mast will rise out of the water. you need to balance your forward weight with the pull coming from the boat. move your foot back until you start feeling more stable. You might also need to shift your weight back to the front to keep the board sitting horizontally on the water. While at it, try fixing your eyes to a point in the distance, not on the board!
Learn To Control
Balancing on the board takes you a step closer to flying. But, before you get to flying, you need to control the wing. How fast you learn depends partially on the size of your board and your previous experience in other watersports. Typically, larger boards give you more stability and control when getting up on your foil.
Try flying on the foil behind a motorboat to make your first flying experience even easier. The forward motion provided by the boat lifts your board straight out of the water, enabling you to take your first water flight without overexerting yourself.
Perfect Your Turns
Controlling the board while on the water is pretty easy. At this point, the board works pretty much the same as a surfboard. However, control starts getting a little tougher as the board lifts out of the water. The foil wings and fuselage also become more responsive to any foot pressure on the board.
Besides the regular pump motion, which typically involves alternating pressure between your front and back foot, you also need to control your arms and core to guide the foil. You can do this by leaning slightly in the direction you want the foil to go.
Dominate the Foil
Once you know how to get up on your foil and stay balanced, you can now start flying. Since you don’t have a boat to tow you, try using the wind to get a little propulsion before you start pumping away.
There’s always more to learn in foiling, but even a simple achievement like getting up on your foil without toppling over deserves a little merit. If you’re ready to get on the water and start flying, visit us in Miami, Florida, or check out our online store for the best watersport equipment. You can also sign up for our newsletter and receive Armstrong foil information and special deals on Liquid Force foils.