There's a new water sport that’s been gaining in popularity over the past few years and it's called foil surfing. So what’s it all about? And why is it proving to be so popular?
How foil surfing differs from traditional surfing
Foil surfing started gaining attention a few years ago when some of the key brands in the water sports industry started releasing foiling products. The sport is also known as prone foil surfing.
The sport is a new and exciting way to surf that uses a hydrofoil to lift your board out of the water. This allows you to ride on top of the waves, which is a total spin out the first time. With traditional surfing, you are riding on the face of the wave, but with foil surfing, you are riding above the waves. So it’s more like flying than surfing!
There are a few key brands that are leading the charge in the foil market including Armstrong, North, Axis and Naish. These brands have been at the forefront of developing foiling products and they continue to push the sport forward.
Where did foil surfing come from?
It's a bit of a grey area but Hawaiian Dave Kalama is credited with being the first person to foil surf, and he has been an advocate for the sport ever since. He has even developed a foiling program called "Foil Academy" to help people learn how to foil surf.
Laird Hamilton brought hydrofoiling to the masses in Dana Brown’s Step into Liquid in the early 2000s. Laird is a well-known surfer and paddle boarder and water man. Kai Lenny took the world by storm with footage of him on a SUP hydrofoil in Hawaii 2016.
The sport has experienced rapid growth since Kai's video in 2016.
Learning to foil surf
If you're interested in learning how to foil surf, there are a few things you need to know. You need to have a foiling board, which is different from a traditional surfboard. You also need a hydrofoil, which is what will lift your board out of the water.
As for learning, there are a few different ways. You can either take lessons from a foiling academy, or you can learn from someone who already knows how to foil surf.
The benefits of foil surfing
There are benefits of foil surfing that make it a great alternative to traditional surfing. You can surf in smaller waves, which is ideal if you live in an area where the waves aren't always big or you get lots of junky onshore winds.
Foil surfing can be a lot less strenuous than traditional surfing when you've got the hang of it. You don't have to paddle as much because you're being lifted out of the water by the hydrofoil. The hard part is pouncing on that board and finding your zone!
The only real drawback of foil surfing is that it's a bit more expensive than traditional surfing. The equipment can be quite costly, and it's also important to note that foiling boards may not be as durable as traditional surfboards.
Popular foil surf spots around the world
There are a lots of places around the world where you can go foil surfing. One of the most popular spots is Maui, Hawaii. Other great places to go foiling include California, Australia, France and our very own Torquay on the Surf Coast in Australia.
If you're interested in taking lessons, there are foiling academies that offer classes for beginners. These schools are typically located in areas where foiling has exploded with participation. Private lessons are also popular with local foilers. Get in touch with us at Stonker and we can point you in the right direction for foil lessons on the Surf Coast.
How much does it cost to get started in foil surfing?
The cost of getting started with foil surfing can vary depending on the equipment you need and whether you take lessons. A foil board can cost anywhere from $1000 to $2000, and a hydrofoil kit can cost $2,000 to $4,000. If you decide to take lessons, you can expect to pay around $100 per hour.
Have you ever tried foil surfing? What did you think of it?
Come in and check our surf and SUP foil boards or check out our range of kits online.