Author Topic: Learning to foil - a kiter's perspective  (Read 1105 times)


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Learning to foil - a kiter's perspective
« on: January 29, 2021, 10:19:56 AM »
I know, I know - no kites here, but this young lady salted her post on a local kiters forum with some nuggets and good humor.


Foiling has been a total beast to learn. I can’t share how to do it, but here are the mistakes i’ve made in the process. (People learning to foil - don’t be like me, do different things, lol). I’m interested in y’all’s tips, thoughts, and input!

I’ve also sprinkled in little things I learned that helped. We hold these truths to be self evident…in paradise…no guarantees this works in the Chesapeake. The tips were not included in the progression videos, which I find disappointing because the tips really made the difference for me to function even a little on the foil.

Get your gear sorted to the most optimal set up immediately. Everyone told me that initially, but I was stubborn and didn’t want to listen. Just spend the money and have the expectation foiling is expensive. Gear talk is so blahhhhh (technical term), so I put my thoughts at the bottom of this note.

Location, location (like fer real): I liked learning in the area between Haulover Day Use and Kite Point in OBX. The REAL foil garden (aherm Sophia) was also a nice place to take a lesson. I had a hard time learning locally - I was getting smashed by the chop here at Triton, my gear got chewed up by the rocks, and I couldn’t body drag far enough at Matapeake (many thanks for the tows, T). All of that was time consuming and physically exhausting before I even had a chance to water start!

Water starting: I heard ‘pump and dump’ but I think that refers to something else…basically power up during the water start and sheet out once on the board and cruising. Specifically, pull the bar all the way to the chicken loop and cycle the kite with tight circles starting from noon (to 2, or to 10 for example). As soon as you’re up, dump the power by sheeting out all the way.

Also water starting: Angle the back foot towards the front of the board (like 45 degrees for example). This helped me pivot my hips towards the front and veer off upwind once I got stable. I’m pretty flexible and had a much more open stance initially that wasn’t helping. This is like going upwind on a TT.

Getting up on foil: People talk about weight shifting, but the easiest tip I heard was to sheet in when you want to lift the foil, and sheet out when you want to drop. Boom. So easy. Figure out the weight shifting thing later.

Stance: I. can. not. for the life of me. stand. up. on. the. board. without leaning too far back against the kite. But I think it’s important to do (figger it out). Other things I heard that helped: bend the front knee, and roll the back foot on the instep like you would surfing. ‘Steer’ by angling your hips (ribs? one of those…).

Blerg, the gear talk:

Just buy the things, no one has beginner stuff they can lend you. Also it’s really easy to lose the board (and mast and foil, cheezus!) because the current takes it away. And how awful would that feel to lose someone else’s gear? Or let it get chewed up by the rocks? It feels awful.
Use a foot strap. Don’t be stubborn. Life is too short to be bad at things longer than you need to be
Short mast obvi, I have a 27"
Stick your phone number somewhere on the board, you will lose it
Buy a beginner foil. I have the LF Thruster which catches a lot of flack on the beach (“it’s cheap for a reason” “…uh, thanks”). I have heard that the LF Impulse is super friendly because it can go on foil at low speeds. I have fear, so this tradeoff works for me. More experienced foilers have told me they prefer the thruster over the impulse because they fight the impulse down when they want to go faster. It strikes me that choosing the easiest foil to learn on will help you progress faster and get to a better decision-making stage for your forever foil sooner.
Boards: My fav is the Slingshot Dwarfcraft, it’s light and reasonably sized. Initially people told me bigger is better, but I found the bigger (boards) to be too unwieldy and I spent too much time handling them (the boards) in the water between water starts, it was physically exhausting. Also I’ve experienced more runaway tendencies with the bigger boards. I’m 5’2", a larger person may not have the same issues.
Lastly, I realized I should have taken it seriously when I read ‘slower progression’ vs. ‘faster progression’ in gear reviews, verbal advice, and ‘how to’ videos. I think I thought that progressing slowly was a good thing because it would give me a better foundation, but not so with foiling. Or maybe I thought I was tough enough to handle the more challenging foiling options, also not so. Having the easier gear set up, and trying it in easier locations, helped me progress faster (read: at all). Now I theorize that progressing faster is what actually gives one a base to function enough to then explore other options sooner like going strapless, not freezing to death in freezing water, etc.

Thanks to the village for helping me get out there (you know who you are and so do I)! Here’s hoping for more progress on the foiling front.

Atlantis Mistress .. Blue Planet MultiTasker ..   Atlantis Venom


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