How to start wake foiling

For many of us water sports people, thinking about wakeboarding brings back memories of adrenaline-filled weekends and summers that never lasted long enough. 

Having to be towed by a boat made the whole thing feel like a big deal while the mix of snowboarding, skiing, and surfing skills that you needed to get good at it made it challenging in the best possible way. The sport, which was invented in the mid sixties by surfers who wanted to be able to surf in the absence of swells, grew in popularity in the 80s and has remained a favorite of many surfers who don’t always have access to good waves.

Similar to wakeboarding, foiling was also invented in the sixties when aeronautical engineer Bob Woodward came up with hydrofoil water skis in order to eliminate drag and glide over the water with more smoothness and speed.

Surf pioneers like Laird Hamilton then took this concept to surfing and other prodigies like Kai Lenny have continued to explore it and fine tune it. Up there with the most interesting iterations of the sport has been the marriage of foiling and wakeboarding.

The feeling is hard to beat – flying, surfing, snowboarding on the best deep powder of your life… all without having to wait for the wind or waves to behave themselves in any particular way.

If you’re thinking of trying it, now’s the time. 

If you’re a complete beginner, you want to:

  1. Place your feet flat on the board and get the foil to be as close to the surface of the water as possible.
  2. Get whoever is driving the boat to start slow (7 to 10 mph, more or less) and ease you into a slightly faster speed.
  3. Position your feet forward on the board so that the foil is directly below you, bend your knees and keep your butt down, and when you’re comfortable, start to move your stance further back so that the foil begins to act like an airplane, propelling your board out of the water.
  4. Once you’re up, think of the mast as the control stick of your vessel and use it to play with your roll, pitch, skip and skid.

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