Author Topic: Learning to foil surf - catching waves  (Read 1891 times)

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« on: June 04, 2020, 07:55:06 PM »
Ok guys, now itís my turn to ask some questions. Iíve watched and read everything but a couple of things elude me as I suspect that most everyone moves past this phase quickly so itís not discussed much. But Iím there so help a brother out before I get out this weekend.

First, this is really a SoCal thing I think as we have few spots near LA that have super mushy waves. So if anyone wants to hip me to another spot with a reform other than Steamroller and hdipís secret spot in the next county up. Please DM me.

Here goes, Iíll number them so you can reply.

1, if a rider is on a 2000+ cm2 foil (Gong xl for me) is there a point at which you canít hold the foil in the water on a drop? And, is that point less than say chest high? I ask because itís terrifying and counter intuitive to just press the nose down when dropping in. If my foil is back in the box a bit and itís waist high or under, can I survive a drop? Asking because I suspect I should just press down and go for it but it feels. so. wrong. So I want an idea of the limits.

I suspect that, like prone foilers Iíve seen, if the wave is under 3 feet or so your board just sort of comes straight forward off the top of the wave as if itís falling away from you like a short board take off. But Iíd like to know the limits before I launch myself over the nose.

2, must I 100% avoid any sort of hollowness, even at 1-2í? Or can I soon move into those? Iím traveling to the mush burgers with a reform but Iíd like to know if itís 1í if I can deal with a little dump. Or am I better off going for a bigger day with a rolling high tide wave but no hollowness at all?

3, will I get better at paddling into non breaking waves, or is that just a hassle? I canít do it at all right now and thereís a million ďalmostĒ spots near me. Will those open up as I get my technique down and more my foil forward?

Thanks, itís fun to be a kook again. (Letís be honest, it never stopped.)

The reason I ask

jondrums

  • Sunset Status
  • ****
  • Posts: 364
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 10:30:54 PM »
you on prone or SUP? 

1. Sounds like you have too much tail downforce.  Couple of solutions, reduce the pitch with shims so it isn't pitching up so much, or go with a smaller tail, or go with a shorter fuse.  You should absolutely be able to keep the board in the water with just a bit of forward pressure.  Generally, yes, you need to suck it up and get used to pressing down on the front foot to make the drop.

2. Assuming SUP, generally, big/fast/hollow takeoffs don't work.  The board takes too long to get up to speed to catch them late and usually the wave is standing up too quickly to catch them early.  At 1-2ft I think you'd be fine. You really need to go straight down the face until you're up on foil, then do your bottom turn in the flats.  You can't take off diagonally like a shortboard and cut across the face, the foil just doesn't work at that angle.  It will end very poorly, I've almost landed right on the foil several times trying to nail late takeoffs in hollow surf before I learned my lesson on that one.

3. You should be able to catch non-breaking waves on a sup at many breaks.  But a lot of this depends on the speed of the wave.  for long period open ocean breaks, it is going to be fairly difficult.  The wave is moving too fast for most paddlers.  You need at least a little white-water showing to get in.  If the wave is wrapping around a point or otherwise getting slowed down before it stands up you can get in early (before even the best longboard paddlers).    The technique is to get into surf stance but with your back foot a bit more forward and get some speed before the wave gets to you.  On the face, do an aggressive pumping motion with each paddle stroke.  You almost unweight and shove the board forward at the same time with your feet.  If the board rears up, you have to get on the front foot and it'll shoot off into the wave like a rocket.  I've caught waves after they passed under me believe it or not - sometimes you can get up on the foil literally behind the peak on the back of the wave and give it a good pump and jump right over the top into the face of the wave!   You'll get better at it is the bottom line

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2020, 10:39:12 PM »
Thx man, starting on SUP.

And yes, waves not really hollow but breaking. Iíve seen prone guys shoot straight out of a breaking wave is why I asked.

And know that Iím not breaching, Iím just getting started but asking if it really is just putting the nose down and going with it. I suspect it is. My goal this weekend (if itís not too big, if so Iíll prone surf) is to just push myself into a few dozen waves and press the front foot down.

Angled take offs are for sure sketchy. My only taco/jackknife was from that. (I bailed early and jumped far away.)

Thanks for the tips on the non breaking waves. I watched Blue Zone campís YouTube video but that guy is a paddle monster so I wondered if that was even a thing normal humans did lol. I figured that itíll take a bit since I havenít paddled really seriously in a couple of years.

Thx! Just time on water. But the Zone has saved me so much pain and time I wanted to hear what folks said.

Hdip

  • Malibu Status
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2020, 11:38:51 PM »
1: Your foil size is fine for your SUP. You can ride it in anything under waist high at this beginning level. Even 2 years in, over chest high waves are scary to paddle into, or just downright terrifying depending on the spot.
 
2: Yes, you must avoid any sort of hollowness. I'll explain more below. You can foil  high tide zuma. But it better be super flat. I'm talking 1 foot sets at most. The problem then is you drag your mast on the bottom. It's really not worth it though.
 
3: You will get better at paddling into non-breaking waves. But not for awhile. I'm on a 4'8" prone, but surfing an outer reef I can catch waves that SUP guys miss. I do need a tiny push of white water though so I can transition to my feet. On a SUP you'll be able to use your paddle to get that tiny bit of push. It's not going to be easy or come super quickly though.
 
OK, now to talk about hollowness and dropping in. Foils are super easy to ride ... on flat water. That's why people say learn behind a boat. It's the curve of the wave that makes them react crazy. Eventually you will learn what it's going to do, but right now when you're learning, every surf instinct you've ingrained is wrong. Steep drop on a surfboard, stomp on the tail so you don't pearl. Steep drop on a foil, stomp on the nose so that when you go from 0-100 MPH and the foil tries to jump out of the water you can handle it.

You're not trying to match the board to the wave face, You're trying to match the front wing, which is 2 feet below you, to the wave face. So when you're dropping into a steep wave and you keep your board relatively level, the wing is just going to go on a level plane and come right out of the water. You have to make the wing angle down to match the wave face. Trying to drop into a hollow wave you have to lean forward like you're dropping into a vert ramp.
 
First 5 sessions you're just learning how to fall safely. Make sure you have a nice clear runway with no one in your way so you can concentrate on yourself.

Dwight (DW)

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3898
    • View Profile
    • supSURFmachines
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 03:48:31 AM »

1, if a rider is on a 2000+ cm2 foil (Gong xl for me) is there a point at which you canít hold the foil in the water on a drop?

Yes, 2000 is my less than waist high size wing. A faster smaller front wing is easier when waves are bigger, or steeper.

Quote
2, must I 100% avoid any sort of hollowness, even at 1-2í?


Yes, the front wing will bust out of the wave face and the crash hurts the most of all crashes. With a little more skill you can nose dive, skip off the water out front of the wave and pop back into the air and get a decent ride.

Quote
3, will I get better at paddling into non breaking waves, or is that just a hassle?

Not for a long time. You need to be able to pump the board really well while paddling.

My answers apply to beginners, not everyone.

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 07:36:52 AM »
Guys, amazing info.

And this is what I suspected, especially the part about anything hollow. Luckily I have a few super mushy spots to hit.

I think something thatís key to mention is watching the waves. For example at two spots,  with the same size waves, say 2í so itís just over what your mast would cover for this discussion, one hollow and one mushy. If Iím reading this right, they both ďfeelĒ crazy to push the nose down on but one (mushy) is makeable and the other (hollow, even at that size) will dump you as a beginner.

The reason I mentioned watching is that the other day I was on a perfect wave, but as hdip mentioned, at best I would hold the board level which would send the foil out of the front of the wave. I get it now. Pick the right wave.  Observe for a while from the beach and get into your mind ďthis is doableĒ and then go commit.

Iíll probably start playing with my prone board in a couple of weeks. Itís almost done, built second by design to make me do some SUP foil sessions.

Iíll keep an eye out this weekend to see if itís too big, which now, hilariously is over 2í face lol. Might be doing some good olí surfing. I get why you guys laugh about being bummed when itís firing. While itíll be fun, Iíll be surrounded by people whereas I could foil 1-2 alone.

Next step, take straight drops on small mushy reforms til Iím stable. Got it.

Iíll try to label these threads intelligently as I learn so people can find them and use the info. Your questions evolve as you encounter waves and situations.

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2020, 08:33:15 AM »
Ok, better.

Day two (Or 3, but Iím not counting my day just paddling around before covid. Sue me)

Much better, paddle skills overall coming back and less weird spastic dancing on the 6í4Ē board. But I do understand now why extra volume at rear on a SUP is important. Not sure learning on a converted SUP is recommended at all, at least by me. My next board will have an extra inch of thickness at the tail so I can stand on the mast paddling in. I can get my foot comfortably right to the front of the mast so itís easy to slide back. Iíll bet I get better at paddling in surf stance as well. And my current board will make a great beginner wing ding board when Iím ready. Might install a centerboard/giant fin for my mother in law to learn on actually.

My bump cap and impact vest, whether they help or not, give confidence. The vest for sure has made those serious ďslap fallsĒ which sting and take your breath, easier and less intimidating. Everything is a mind game, right?

It was too big again, argh, and I wish Iíd waited but todayís schedule was full so I went and accepted that Iíd just mostly paddle again. Patience is my mantra, and it seems to be paying off.

I caught one wave. However, I caught it in the right stance, with my head up looking at where I wanted to go (huge) and my weight perfectly aligned on center (the arch bar is also a serious recommendation, more so than a kick tail I believe now though they come together in most rigs). I was probably a little too far forward but that was recommended as well.

I caught the wave, took off, flew straight for maybe 4-5 seconds and touched down without a wipeout. I credit this 100% to all of you who suffered in 2017-2018 and shared your knowledge. Hdip was in my head, ďforward!Ē lol

As you all said, I was able to control the foil perfectly coming down a thigh high wave. If I can find more knee high with a little whitewater I know I can sort this sport out in time.

Iíll be doing 1 or 2 sessions per week, so I assume a couple of months to get comfortable but Iím started.

I def need to go stand in the lineup next to Steamroller and get some tips live, if he can give up cranking those crazy turns on bigger waves and come paddle with a mortal again.

If any of you see a guy on a blue no-name board in LA or Ventura county who looks like heís breakdancing on his board, say hi and offer any tips at all.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 08:39:08 AM by surfcowboy »

PonoBill

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 23402
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 09:41:05 AM »
Don't listen to Steamroller--he's too good at foiling. He'll have you pumping flatwater takeoffs before you can surf.

I take off in whitewater all the time, if it's mushy it's the easiest way to get going. You need to brace well and stay low--the reason whitewater works well for beginners is that it pushes the board and foil harder than an unbroken wave.

If you find yourself consistently falling to one side that tells you that you are not rotating your shoulders enough to face forward. All surfers tend to ride sideways. Doesn't work. You have to consciously rotate at the hips to face forward--overdo it and it's barely enough.

Take about ten waves where you pick the board up onto the foil and immediately put it back down. Keep doing that until you feel you have good pitch control.

The problem with waiting to get up and turn until you are on the flats is that there isn't any power down there. The board will stop and the wave will catch up and toss you off. As soon as you start getting some control and can reliably lift the board you need to turn across the face of the wave. Stay in the middle of the wave generally, but try running up to the top and back to the bottom to see what it's like. Most likely when you go to the top you'll pop out the back. There's plenty of power there, even on the back of the wave, but initially your angle as you reach the top will be too extreme. You need to anticipate reaching the top and start to turn back. If you wait until you get there it will be too late. Just like ripping the top off a wave on a SUP. You can get away with being late on a shortboard, but with a SUP most people lose the wave trying to knock the top off.

Dropping to the bottom generally imparts a lot of acceleration that might spook you at first. A committed bottom turn gets you to mach 5 in a hurry. The easiest way I've found to get a good cutback or even just a bottom turn is to start very high and anticpate the heck out of your turns. I learned to cutback from a suggestion Dave K. gave me--he said go over the top while you're turning to gain more space. That puts you starting down the face more or less heading straight down the wave and makes the second half of the turn a lot easier. Kind of like a farmer turn.

Enjoy. The first bits are all about time on the water, but once you're up and flying some you need a plan to work on faults. If you practice mistakes you'll get good at them. I had a horrible time learning to pump across the face because I focused all my early learning on ways to surf without pumping. I fall back into my sleazy ways too easily.

Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2020, 09:47:03 PM »
Thank you, there is gold in this now that Iím entering the touch and go landing phase.

Iíve seen foilers foiling down the line behind the peak and itís wild to see. Iíll get a couple more sessions this week (damn these big perfect waves!) but I can see the time factor. But as you said, itís fun learning.

I will say that if you are a serious downhill snowboarder who likes to carve and go fast your stance works. We tend to face more forward and so this feels natural. And like snowboarding that acceleration is intimidating.

Iím working on pumping to get off the water right now. With these bigger swells Iím having to go out at high tide and catch the in between waves which are soft. Probably good practice and man am I getting a workout. My heart rate has likely never been higher than paddling for a wave on a short SUP.

But patience, if Iíd had more when I was younger thereís no telling where Iíd be. But itís good I didnít, this is pretty damn good right here.

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2020, 09:13:51 PM »
Session 3, got 3 waves. Iím 100% happy with that.

No serious crashes just a couple of bails off the back. I feel like Iíve still not found the right size waves but also I think I had my foil set up a bit too forward.

After struggling with smaller waves the other day, today was a bit smaller so I moved my foil up an inch. I think that affected me, but also Iím pretty sure my front foot is too far back as well. Even with all my weight forward (at least it feels that way) I couldnít keep the foil in the water. So next session, foil back where it was. My paddling is improving so I should be able to get into a knee high wave now.

Speaking of that, 3 sessions back and I can paddle with my feet right next to the arch bar so I can slide right to the center line. Fitness is coming back and I can half ass cross stroke to go sort of straight. So far, when I take off, Iím facing forward, head up and seem to fly straight (but Iím also not getting more than 3 second ride lol.) So now I think itís just me getting far enough forward to keep the nose down. These things can lift. Wow.

I feel like Iím progressing a little each time. Thatís all I aim for.

Oh, and getting in through the shorebreak I had the board upside down with the foil near me, holding the tail walking it in to shore. As a wave broke I pulled the tail down and the board bucked and could have nailed me with the tail. Iíll be more careful but Iím really not clear on how to get in with a paddle and everything. When itís still over say thigh deep you can swim it in but flipping it and getting it into the shore is still a little sketchy. Again, just time and repetition Iím sure.

Hdip

  • Malibu Status
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2020, 10:24:27 PM »
Moving the foil an inch forward is huge. Try 1/4 inch increments.

I hold my board under my arm foil away from me entering and exiting through waves. Might be harder with a sup.

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2020, 11:30:14 PM »
Thx man. And yeah, this prone board looks better and better lol.

Good day at the spot. Iím getting there.

surfcowboy

  • Cortez Bank Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 3918
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2020, 08:31:10 AM »
Ok, so working on form on dry land before the weekend.

My plan is to move the foil back a bit and waves will be smaller so I should be able to keep nose down.

One note for other beginners, in my eagerness to fly I forgot the idea of taking the drop with the foil down. So I think my strategy is to work on catching waves and just taking the drop. If I can take off at the bottom, great. But overall I really want to get the feel of the mellow take off. This is just a reminder to myself.

One question, when or if I do get in the air and feel myself getting too high, should I fight the idea to bail and instead go heavy on the front foot? I know no one can speak to this but I guess Iím not sure yet that the nose will come down. Is this just a feeling that I should fight (note that Iíve yet to breach) or is there a point of no return when you are coming up?

Iíll use my own discretion but asking if this is a common feeling.

Also, I signed up for Clayís ďHow to FoilĒ video course and itís well worth it. Iím learning a lot. Well done for getting that out there man.

Hdip

  • Malibu Status
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2020, 08:38:18 AM »
Others may have a different opinion than me. But I say bail early, bail often. If youíre in control and getting high thatís fine. But if youíre getting off center get out. Nothing wrong with breaching btw. Itís a safe-ish way to fall. Itís just annoying.

clay

  • Peahi Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 871
    • View Profile
    • www.clayisland.com
    • Email
Re: Learning to foil surf - catching waves
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2020, 09:28:11 AM »

Also, I signed up for Clayís ďHow to FoilĒ video course and itís well worth it. Iím learning a lot. Well done for getting that out there man.

Sweet!  Thanks for the feedback, I'm super stoked to hear you are learning a lot.  Means a lot to me.

In regards to the drop, I say go with your gut feeling. 
For me I bail when the wave starts to turn inside out, pitching from the top and I know I'm going to get hucked over the falls.  In regards to Letting the board come up on foil at the bottom of the wave, usually I have some board speed at this point and as soon as I let the board come up the slightest bit it will rocket up very fast, so I prepare myself to have a heavy front foot to keep the foil in the water.
Aloha, I welcome and appreciate all responses of positivity and good feeling.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOIE6FWr1SpWvbPJIIiEgog

 


SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal