Kitesurfing a foil board

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How to kitesurf on a hydro foil board.
A foil board (hydrofoil board) is a kitesurfing board with a hydrofoil attached beneath it.  Once mastered, the board lifts entirely out of the water and you are riding only on the hydrofoil.
Cabrinha Double Agent foil board
You should be an experienced kitesurfer before using a foil board.

Advantages of foil boards include:
  • Great upwind ability
  • Very smooth ride - the foil "flies underwater"
  • Great for light wind conditions
Disadvantages of foil board include:
  • Difficult to learn
  • The hydrofoil is sharp - avoid cutting your feet/legs on it, or being yanked forwards onto it
  • Can be cumbersome to transport
  • Need deeper water to operate
  • Boards are expensive

General tips

  • Wear an impact vest and helmet, particularly when learning
  • Wearing light booties will protect your feet from injuries impacting the sharp edges the foil or mast
  • Carry the foil board like a normal surfboard under your arm with the foil sticking out sideways
  • Body drag with the board on its side into deep water (at least chest deep) to water start OR with the board flat on the water - see wwhich works best for you. 
  • Hold and direct the board by its nose when you are in the water.
  • Use a recreational foil board when learning rather than a racing foil board.  Some kitesurfing schools have boards with short masts which can make the first few learning sessions easier on flat water.

Kite foil board technique

First session:
  • Choose lighter wind conditions when there is not too much swell (e.g. 15 knots)
  • Use the same kite size you would for a surfboard
  • When you do a water start get the board flat then ride it around flat on the water with pressure on your front foot - don't attempt to rise on the foil
  • Keep your weight on your front foot
  • Keep your rear foot forward of the rear strap (some people prefer to learn without straps so they can bail off the board easily)

*** More information will be added to this article as we learn how to "kite foil" ***


Hydrofoil Self Rescue Safety (light wind)

External links