Over a year ago, a new form of SUP called SUP Foil became popular when Kai Lenny posted footage of himself hydrofoiling his Stand-Up Paddle raceboard. Since then, many riders, at all levels, have been trying it out. However, it is not always easy to get started. That’s why Greg Closier, Takuma Concept ambassador, based in San Clemente, California, wanted to give you his 6 tips on how to get started with SUP Foil.
1. Choose the right foil
When you start foiling, you have to remember to choose the right foil. If you want to SUP or surf, don’t get a kite foil, as this isn’t the best suited. Look for a tried and tested foil.
One that lifts at low speed and has good control. I advise using a small mast (40 cm), as it will be easier to maneuver and safer. The best foil I can recommend to start with is the Takuma V100.
2. Take Lessons
Ask for advice when starting out, or better yet, take lessons with an experienced instructor. As with every new activity, especially really technical ones, I recommend asking for advice from a specialist.
If you can find a really serious instructor who is eager to help you master it, you will learn much faster. Choosing the right equipment, trying for the first time, learning the basic rules and the different techniques. These are all essential elements.
SUP foiling has nothing to do with any other sport. Your background can help for sure, but it is likely quite different to what you may have tried previously, so you need to adopt a completely new approach.
3. Be safe
4. Use a boat to tow you along
Try using a boat to tow you along at first in order to get used to the feeling of foiling. Having a boat tow you is really different to surfing, but it will help you for sure.
Riding a wave via foil is technical. The right conditions (spot/wave/crowd) must be in place. You need to concentrate not only on lifting, but also on paddling and catching waves. You don’t have much time to think as it goes very quickly and the speed can vary a good deal.
When riding behind a boat, you have to concentrate on lifting the board and handling the fly. With a good driver and a good combo of foil and board, it won’t be too difficult because you don’t have to worry about the speed.
You will be able to do it many times over. Remember that the key to mastering a sport is always practice. Repeat the proper technique as much as you can (having an instructor to help you out is always useful for getting the technique correct).
5. Find the right spot
Finding the right surf spot is essential. It has to be deep enough, uncrowded and with slow, rolling waves. The best kind is a wave that hardly breaks at all.
It is difficult and dangerous to deal with white water or breaking waves when you’re starting out. You want a rolling soft wave that passes through deep water.
6. Try again and again
Don’t give up. It takes time to get it right, so go step by step. It is very different to surfing or SUP riding. It requires a different technique and a degree of sensitivity. It is a new feeling that you’ll need to adjust to.