Step by Step Guide to SUP Foiling with Greg Closier

Foiling is here. As the technology improves and the cost of foils decrease we will start to see more and more people take to the water on their foils. So how do you get started? Takuma man Greg Closier gives TotalSUP how to guide to start this new sport.

I started surf foiling in 2016, both on shortboard and stand up paddleboard. I was one of the first ones to do it in southern California. When I started surf foiling, I started from zero I had no foiling experience (I had not done kite foiling nor windsurf foiling). The learning process I underwent was definitely a humbling experience and I still have in my mind the feeling of being a beginner. To be honest I’m still learning as I feel I haven’t reached the level I aspire to be and I see a lot of room for improvement, a prospect that is exciting and makes me feel even more aware of how to develop an efficient ‘’how to’’ approach.

I have been working as a professional surf instructor and coach for more than 20 years, my main goal is always to find better ways of helping people to improve their surfing, to feel comfortable and to be safe in the water. I am based in Los Angeles, southern California and in Landunvez, Bretagne, France. I’m lucky to have access to some of the best spots for surf foiling and recently I have been working on an efficient program to learn how to surf foil both on a surfboard and on a SUP. A program that I have developed into package for would be foilers in California.

This program is based on 4 steps :

Step 1: Pre Foil Basics

# Safety rules: It is important to know that foiling can cause serious injury: Knowledge of how to avoid or reduce the risk of personal injury or injury others is necessary.

# Understanding: Surf foiling is different to regular surfing or any other sports, be prepared to learn!

# Skill Assessment: Diagnosis of existing abilities is required, so you can work on your weakness. Then goals can set, then reached.

Step 2: Skills Work on Land!

Before launching into your foil career, it is important to have a systematic approach, and not rush ahead before you have acquired the basics. Reflecting on the expected outcomes for  each of exercises is important. It is important to know why you are doing each exercise.

# Balance Exercises: balance is key to foiling, that is why you need to work on it. The two I use will make you learn faster while having fun.

  • Kumo board, this is an inflatable balance board: it works on your balance, and it works on your stance (lower body and upper body positioning)
  • One wheel (electric skateboard): Using this will give you the same feeling as foiling , it will make you ride over the ground. Whilst doing this push your front foot to  increase your speed, press on your back foot to slow down. To turn use a full range of motion.

# Circuit Training : you want to be fit, to be fast, to be responsive, to be agile, so you need to work hard !!

Once again you want to have fun, circuit training is hard but lots of fun and you will improve your cardio as well.

Step 3: Lets Get Wet!

You have been waiting for this moment and here it is, you are going to fly ! 100% success, guaranteed !

# Towed by boat

  • using the rope, learn to lift and handle the flight
  • drop the rope and pump
  • stand up paddle option (level required: advanced paddler) : catch the boat wake by paddling

# Flat water riding

  • dock foiling : jumping from a dock, pump and handle the speed as long as possible (level required: advanced)
  • flat water foiling using the paddle (level required: advanced paddler)

Step 4: Let’s Get Salty !

There it is, you are going to surf foil. The most important thing is to find the right surf spot. You can’t go anywhere, you need a specific surf spot.

# Find the best location : uncrowded, soft, sloppy, mushy waves with enough deep water

# Etiquette : surfoiling is great but remember it is new and just like anything new some people won’t accept it. But if you follow the rules, at the end of the day everybody will be fine.

# Entering/exit the water : you’ve got a big board, a paddle and a big fin.

# Riding waves : going straight

  • 1st feeling the lift, control
  • Then transition into flying with no pumping, for 5 sec, then 10 sec, etc

  • Then finally try flying using the pumping technique : without the paddle, with the paddle.

# Riding waves : control your direction

  • 1st ride the wave front side
  • 2nd ride the wave back side
  • and finally exit the wave

# Riding waves : pumping

  • pumping
  • pumping back out

# Riding waves : turn !

  • front side turn
  • back side turn

# Riding waves : 1 for 2

The combo ride (catching multiple waves non stop), is something unique in the surfing world, the feeling is amazing.

Exit, pump back out and catch the next wave. Once again timing is the key.

  • combo ride: attacking the next wave doing a front side turn
  • combo ride: attacking the next wave doing a back side turn
  • multiple combo ride : 1 for as many as you can !!

Step 5:  Down Wind

DW foiling is like flying on a magic carpet, endless glide.

But in order to do it, you need to master all the aspects of foiling. So this part is only for advanced foilers.

  • short run : paddling upwind and going down wind
  • long run : point A to point B

Now it is time to go to Maui for the Maliko run !!!!

As you can see, this program is 100% dedicated to surf foiling, it covers all you need to know. It is for all, the first timer, the intermediate or the advanced rider, you will all improve your level by following this program. If you are interested in more drop me a message!

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About the Author

Helen Trehoret

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, France with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.

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