Every foil has its place and a place for every foil.
We are in the middle of a foil explosion folks. And, guess what, there is more than one type of foil. There are foils for surfing and foils for standing. You can get foils with bluetooth and foils for down winds. But if it is all a bit confusing, fret not foil fans, here’s a run down on all the foils you need, and most you don’t.
The Booger Foil
Yes, this exists, well if we can believe Matt Wilkinson’s Instagram, which we can. Now just as you can trace human life back to an amoeba, you can extrapolate any foils back to Laird Hamilton or Kai Lenny. In this case it was Kai Lenny who first foil bodyboarded after a knee injury left him unable to stand. Now that is, kinda, acceptable, unlike this image, which seems, well, kinda silly. I do however applaud the use of the Gath helmet, which adds the perfect finish to this sphincter tightening tableau. As Wilko,
The eFoil uses an advanced lithium-ion battery to power a silent electric motor that’s mounted on an all-carbon fibre hydrofoil, which is controlled with a wireless Bluetooth hand controller. Riders can travel for over an hour at speeds of up to 25 mph. Lift Foils (https://liftfoils.com/) are the main producers of these flat water fuckers having made and sold more than a 1000 and surprise, surprise, Laird Hamilton has his large, powerful, fingerprints all over it. And for the small price of 15 grand or so you too can be an agent of change. Though as a warning Laird also endorsed a motorised Golf Board so maybe don’t take his word for it.
Down Wind Foil
There’s nothing like foiling with the wind behind your back, as the famous saying goes. These foil boards are used to ride open swells and not breaking waves like surfing. As such the boards on these tend to be really small as you don’t need to pivot or turn. You’ve probably seen Kai Lenny on a board that looks like one of those supermarket bodyboards, with a mermaid on top, that parents from the Western Suburbs buy their six-year-old kid for their one week beach holiday a year. Same technology really. How you get back from your down-winding foil session however is anyone’s guess.
Like the West Tigers, rum and raspberry and U2 and Apple somethings just aren’t meant to go together. That hasn’t stopped SUP and foils cross-pollinating to form devil surfing spawn that is dripping with syphilis. Now there isn’t a whole lot to it; like SUP you simply paddle standing up (hence the name) then wait for the lift provided by the foil. Ideally you’ll stand about 25 metres out from everybody else, catch a wave that isn’t technically yours, then with limited control and with the highest possible chance for injury to other surfers career through the lineup feeling like you are floating on air. Friction? What friction?
There’s kitesurfing foils, windsurfing foils, wake boarding foils, tow surfing foils and big wave surfing foils. All were started, invented, designed, tested or perfected by either Laird Hamilton or Kai Lenny, the amoebas of the foil world. The original foil however was a 15 cm length of aluminium foil that amateur drug dealers sold marijuana in. The buds would be of variable strength as would be the weight, yet despite the basic technology the foil proved to an efficient vessel for the small scale dope transactions that prefaced 45% of all Australian surfs in the 1980s and ‘90s. If only the world stayed as it once was.