Author Topic: 10 days foiling. Beginner commentary/review. Takuma Kujira Helium and Kalama E3.  (Read 1934 times)

B-Walnut

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I spent the first 6 days of learning winging and foiling on a loaner setup that was a large pelican surf foil, a 138l takuma 7'10" hybrid windsurf, foil, sup board, and a 5m mantis. The local shops advised against learning on such a kit but the local riders encouraged me to go for it. I have to admit, I think learning on this kind of gear is a great way to get introduced to the sport. The big board was incredibly easy to stand on and the surf foil was fun to play on. With the big kit, I did need strong winds to get up on foil though. Typically anything under 20knots was too light for my inexperienced skills to be able to get up on foil. That being said, 20-30knots was a blast, but, holding a 5m wing in 25knots is incredibly fatiguing and was very much a limiter in my progression. On any given day, 3 hours was my relative max before my body just had to call it quits for the day. I did, however, really appreciate the ability to touch down on this big board without getting bucked over the front. A touch down usually just meant a restart, or, perhaps a slow and controlled fall. I was never afraid of the gear with such a big kit. If you are considering learning to foil and wing, I wouldn't poo-poo borrowing or renting some big gear to learn on.

Day 7:
No wind this day and I was at the coast with chest high beach break. When the tide flipped it turned to knee to waist high rollers so I packed up my SUP and took the big foil board out to see if I could paddle into waves. If you already know how to catch waves on a sup, and you've got any experience on a foil, I'd argue that you will instantly notice that it is insanely easy to catch waves. The greenest of the green, the stuff you wouldn't paddle for, became the #1 choice of waves. Anything that looked steep or bigger was worthy of skipping, but all the small mush was a blast to get on. However, actually surfing a wave with a foil underneath you is completely different than winging. For the most part I ended up straightlining every wave while I tried to figure out the balance to be able to perform turns. Toeside turns were scary, if the board spits to the left while you turn right that foil can come up fast. Heelside turns felt far more controlled for me, but still difficult to initiate and stop. It's not like surfing where you can imagine the movement and crank through turns, at least not when you are first trying. Last, after 3 hours in the surf I did get a little banged up. I was paddling back out and towards an oncoming larger than average wave. I had the time to make it out before it broke, but, the foil caught a raised sandbar below. This threw me over the nose just as the wave reached the board. It's worth noting that the amount of power that the wave can transfer to that board and foil when you are paddling out is serious. It hit me in the leg, and was bad enough that I'm still limping and needed assistance getting my gear to the car that day.

Days 8-10:
My new board and foil came in. A takuma kujira helium foil with a kalama e3 5'10" 123l board. Unfortunately, my injury has hampered progression during these days but I have to admit that the differences in equipment are quite obvious. First off, the foil. The pelican surf foil felt extremely fast. Scary fast. The helium foil feels quite slow and controlled, unless you are powered and going down wind. Then, it feels like a rocketship and is a bit spooky to be on as a beginner. With only three days on it I haven't figured out all of the idiosyncrasies, I definitely struggle with breaching when trying to do aggressive downwind carving. Most often when my traditionally left foot is forward. I think this is just because my surf experience has me heavy on the rear leg and that doesn't translate well to foiling. When I'm switch, goofy stance, I'm quite comfy carving downwind and managed my first jibe on day 10 with the new foil. I think the switch stance is just a bit more balanced on foil for me. Altogether, I had read some reviews that the helium was not appropriate for new riders because it was "too twitchy" but I found that to be completely incorrect. I find it to be wildly stable and very controlled through turns, other than my breaching issues.

The board: This is the most exciting change for sure. I was concerned that dropping from 7'10" down to 5'10" was going to be too big of a drop. It has been a zero issue for winging. Standing up is still quite doable, but more than anything the way I ride and how I get up on foil has changed completely. With this board and foil I have been up and cruising in 13knots without any issue. I hold the wing straight overhead to prepare to take off in light wind. 2 pumps of the wing and a few pumps of the board and I'm off. It's such a joy to get going so easily and to be able to ride in light winds. When the winds are stronger, the wing doesn't even have to be pumped. I can simply pump the board while holding the wing and I'm up on foil instantly. It's a blast! I'm anxious to get fully healed so I can really start to challenge myself on this board and see where winging and foiling can take me on a kit like this. Last, I haven't had the opportunity to paddle this board in the ocean yet, but I took it out in the river with nasty wind chop in about 20 knots. I didn't put the front fin in, I wanted to see how stable and hard it was to paddle without it. I was shocked. It was very manageable paddling up and down wind. I didn't fall off a single time due to swell or wind pushing me and the paddle around. I'm unsure how it will paddle through whitewater, but it also seems small enough to prone paddle out for safety and then very doable to stand and paddle on out past the break. If my leg is healed up and the surf is small, I'll be able to get to the coast for the 20th-24th.

Overall my stoke is extremely high. I'm confident in the gear and also feel like it will be the right choice for years to come but winging, and supfoiling (which is my whole reason for learning to wing).

If you're thinking about learning to wing, or you have any questions on this gear, just let me know. I'd be more than happy to try and help out in any way. 

surfcowboy

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Great info man.

Iíve been wanting to try SUP foiling again now that I have some wing experience. I felt all the same stuff you did too. The wing really helps you stabilize yourself. Itís a great learning tool for foiling in general.

B-Walnut

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Great info man.

Iíve been wanting to try SUP foiling again now that I have some wing experience. I felt all the same stuff you did too. The wing really helps you stabilize yourself. Itís a great learning tool for foiling in general.

Totally agree. I was told wing foiling would be too hard to learn and that kite foiling would be better. I could be wrong, but the safety of wing foiling brought on by slow speeds and lack of power was far more confidence inspiring than the kite. Plus, since the goal is sup foiling, I'm able to disengage the wing and recreate the sup foil experience in a way that can't be done with the kite and a tiny foil.

805StandUp

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Nice choice in boards!  Sounds like a perfect size and the new E3 shape looks great!

WingNut Ohana

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Great story!, enjoy the ride. Might want to consider an impact vest and a helmet so you aren't on the shelf so long.

B-Walnut

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Great story!, enjoy the ride. Might want to consider an impact vest and a helmet so you aren't on the shelf so long.

Have and wear both.

B-Walnut

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Nice choice in boards!  Sounds like a perfect size and the new E3 shape looks great!

Absolutely loving it. Looking forward to taking a crack at some waves sooner than later!

daswusup

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Nice write up Bnut. You are the only person I have heard of "using" winging to learn to sup foil. It will be interesting to see how winging fits in to your schedule once the learning is done. My guess is that winging is going to be a much bigger obsession than you might think. Surf foiling is great but the right conditions can be hard to come by sometimes. Often the waves being too big has been my problem. Trying to find that mushy roller that breaks and then gets deep can be hard. Winging can be done in lakes, rivers, and the ocean and it only really needs wind and 4' deep water. And I seem to remember you being a kiter? Now that you are in full froth mode, go ahead and make a cheap kitefoil board out of whatever and send it. You will, no doubt become a proficient foiler faster the more disciplines you foil in. I kitefoiler for a few years just waiting for winging to be invented. I had probably 300+ hours up on foil before I ever went in the surf. Bottom line is that foiling is rad no matter what is propelling you. And, I know you hit your leg on the foil but that could easily have been your ribs or head. Please wear an impact and helmet everytime. I have had the foil hit my helmet very hard, several times. Send it!!!

B-Walnut

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Nice write up Bnut. You are the only person I have heard of "using" winging to learn to sup foil. It will be interesting to see how winging fits in to your schedule once the learning is done. My guess is that winging is going to be a much bigger obsession than you might think. Surf foiling is great but the right conditions can be hard to come by sometimes. Often the waves being too big has been my problem. Trying to find that mushy roller that breaks and then gets deep can be hard. Winging can be done in lakes, rivers, and the ocean and it only really needs wind and 4' deep water. And I seem to remember you being a kiter? Now that you are in full froth mode, go ahead and make a cheap kitefoil board out of whatever and send it. You will, no doubt become a proficient foiler faster the more disciplines you foil in. I kitefoiler for a few years just waiting for winging to be invented. I had probably 300+ hours up on foil before I ever went in the surf. Bottom line is that foiling is rad no matter what is propelling you. And, I know you hit your leg on the foil but that could easily have been your ribs or head. Please wear an impact and helmet everytime. I have had the foil hit my helmet very hard, several times. Send it!!!

Full froth is definitely in effect! I do wear an impact vest an helmet every time out. When I had my accident in the surf I didn't actually hit the foil, I was hit by the board. The accident was initiated by the foil, either way, there's definitely some danger with the foil included. I live in the gorge and even the best foilers I see on the daily come in with their drysuits cut open, cuts on their backs and legs, all kinds of weird foil related injuries.

I've heard from a few people that learning to foil doesn't draw you in as much as being a competent foiler does. I'm enjoying it, and I'm excited for winging as a great high wind option (more swell in the gorge). Maybe the best is the ability to launch anywhere anytime.

I still can't see winging, foiling, etc. to pull me away from the surfboard, but I can definitely see a re-allocation of my time on the water, as well as an increase of my time on the water. I get about 100 windy days on the water a year and I'm seeing a few potential changes:

#1 my desire to kite the ocean is dropping fast. I won't deny that when the waves and wind all come together, it's amazing. Unfortunately, that seems to be an exceedingly rare circumstance and the effort to get to the closest good waves is 2-3 hours one way, while my gorge launch is 37 minutes. This was falling prior to foiling though. I started craving more no wind days because for me, marginal surf without wind is more fun on a sup than marginal surf with wind. When I tried sup foiling, being out in the mush with glassy ocean and unlimited wildlife was something special for sure. I think suping when the waves are good and foiling when the waves are mush will be more attractive to me. When the waves get head high or bigger, I want my kite. I've never figured out how to get through big whitewater on the sup.

#2 Winging seems so much safer in high winds. Both because of the kite and because of the nature of my riding when it gets heavy in the winter. Normally I max out at about 40 knots and it's fun, boosting with a strapless board in high winds is a blast, but things can go wrong quickly on the launch, land, or in the air. I think that having a tiny wing and charging high wind swell on the foil will be insanely fun though!

#3 Even just 10 days on the foil has impacted my kiting. I'm more hungry to get back to the surfboard and it seems to be benefiting my strapless freestyle. I'll foil for a few days and then go absolutely insane with a 5-6 hour freestyle session and have been unlocking some new tricks which has really freshened it up for me again. I now see gusty days as foiling days and steady light days as strapless freestyle days.

#4 Injury options: Granted, I'm only hurt because I was SUP foiling... but with a bum leg the idea of jumping on my surfboard, or even cranking the turns I like seems unrealistic. I can however, foil and not need as much performance out of my leg.

#5 Bad wind and bad launches. My favorite place in the gorge has terribly violent wind and a sharp rocky beach. BUT! It blows til sunset almost every day and I've already scored additional days on the water that I normally wouldn't get because I was able to wing there when the wind was far too gusty and unstable.

#6 Variety is the spice of life! I think that adding in more activities will give me more options on a wider variety of days and conditions. I refer to it as "Opportunistic Adventuring" If today is good for surf, then surf. If it's a foil day, then foil. No need to force a session in bad conditions, just change the discipline!

#7 Family days. I do like having the lady, the pup, and hopefully some little gromlets one day out at the beach with me. The lighter wind and foil ready days are far more inviting to them!

So yeah, it will be interesting to see how foiling has impacted me a year from now. I still can't see it taking over my strapless kiting, but it will definitely get me out on more days and will spread out the wear and tear on my body to keep me going harder longer!

Badger

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Day 7 in your original post was good inspiration for me to give SUP foiling a try.   8)
Naish S26 Hover GS 125L / Axis BSC 1060 440 / Duotone Unit 5m
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B-Walnut

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Day 7 in your original post was good inspiration for me to give SUP foiling a try.   8)

Definitely give it a crack. I really want to get out next week on the new board but... the surf is 6-10' all week on the current forecast. Definitely not going out in that.

 


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