Getting up on the foil in light winds is a challenge.
For some of us it is harder than others, but help is at hand to explain why and help you overcome the hurdles on your way.
Watch the board speed from the GPS in this short video.
With my weight and foil size it always lifts nicely at just over 10km/hr then accelerates away to a nice comfortable 15km/hr. As a heavy rider having the right equipment has made all the difference.
Watching Kai Lenny and other elite level riders zap around in almost zero wind is inspiring but might get you down. Don't let it! Understanding the forces at play will save you a lot of time and money. I spent easily 4 months thrashing around on a crap hydrofoil too small for me with little success. Eventually I devoured the right info. Finding a few online tips from an old Kiting buddy Armie Armstrong was priceless. I upgraded to a bigger set of foils and hit the water again.
New XXL foils, new board and with my crispy new 4m & 6m ZAP wings.
I was away foiling almost instantly!
Even in heavier winds with the wrong gear it's really difficult.
Video data - Here is a closer look at the key factors.
Rider weight - 100kg / 220lbs - shhh don't tell the wife!
Foil size - XXL 2500sqcm Tip "Big guys need big lifting foils."
Board size - 6'2" long 32" wide 125L volume Tip "Weight + 25% = volume"
Wing / Size - ZAP 6sqm
Be sure to get yourself out behind a Jetski for a couple of good 2hr long sessions to learn the foiling balance. It really is time and energy well spent.
Practice foiling at different speeds and figure out your optimum lift of speed.
Then the next time you go out with your wing, that is your target speed. And you can just go for it.
Building up board speed with your wing and breaking the surface tension/suction between the board and the water is key to lifting you up. The heavier the rider and the smaller the hydrofoil the harder it is to start foiling.
Let the foil do the heavy lifting. Or pump the board like a super athlete, your choice.
You want a slow speed big freighter of a foil if you are a big rider.
Board size is pretty easy. Start with around 25% more board volume than your rider weight, longer and wider adds extra balance stability. Too short or small and you will be unbalanced and sink. For heavier riders like me a short-ish but wide and thick board works well.
Wing size is important too.
Those initial pumps to get your board speed are critical, a wing too small just won't push you. And once up on the foil you want an easy to manage wing.
The ZAP wings are available in 3m, 4m and 6m sizes.
Here in New Zealand it's generally lighter winds of 10 - 30 knots, so a 4m and 6m ZAP wing covers that for a 100kg rider like me.
If I'm on the 6m ZAP wing, my kids having a blast on the 4m wing. Win! Win!
Also, a great way to justify a spare Hydrofoil and board setup as the family can now join in the fun.
If you need any advice, feel free to reach out via a message chat or give me a call.
Bonus 'Pro Tip' - How to learn to foilboard.
I have another video...
For ZAP Wing Lesson: Click Here