PLEASE NOTE THE INFO BELOW DATES FROM 2007!
Mat Colefax - First foilboarder in Australia had a vision of foiling for all watercraft. Its interesting to read his writeup below from 2007, when we had the 1st foilboards in the country, and full carbon foils, enjoy and dont hesitate to ask anything.
Whats it feel like to foilboard: If you have ridden bottomless (we mean bottomless) powder snow then you begin to see why we are so stoked on foilboarding, its something like powder but different again, way more precise and with way less resistance or friction. It also lets you alter your ride height so you can fly high or fly low ! Try to imagine a futuristic flying skateboard, incredibly responsive to your every tiny input yet super relaxing and comfortable. Theres no friction, no pounding through chop and no noise apart from the trickle of water past the foil ! You do have to get the balance and stance right, but once you have a good go on the foilboard we guarantee you will be as stoked as we are on its unique sensation.
Footstraps or bindings: Same as with normal kiteboards using bindings allows for more aggressive riding, whereas using footstraps generally means a more relaxed and convenient experience. Carafinos refined dynamics with light carbon build allow comfortable kiting with straps so opening foilboarding to the masses. For motorised towing or surfkiting we reccomend snowboard kick in bindings and a flotation vest. Its a lot more difficult to use straps behind a ski than it is under a kite. We use flow brand bindings and boots for towing. Before you go into breaking or big surf consider very carefully what you will do if things go pear shaped. Footnote surfing without straps is nice but risks the foil getting away/coming back badly!
Is it dangerous: Its obvious there is a risk foilboarding, but its easy to manage. From the limited reports out there we dont know of any radically unexpected incidents. The closest we came to hurting ourselves was by trying to go too fast too soon, skim over shallows or do jumps before skills were up to it, subsequently almost twisting our ankles off and copping a foil chop. Funny that. The foilboard works from a surpisingly low speed and high speed brings with it higher risk so the answer is just go at a pace you can handle and stick to deep water to minimize danger!
How do you start: You need to be in chest deep water to avoid catching the foil on the bottom as you start, then apart from being more careful than usual its all pretty standard, the key is to do everything slowly and gradually at first, letting the foil guide you rather than trying to edge or fight it. As you go from walking to jogging pace you will be able to lean back to make the foil lift you out of the water.
Is it difficult: We did not find it difficult at all, but we are experienced kite and board riders. First time out you look hilarious pogoing up and down but you will settle into a smooth glide if you straighten your legs and your back. What we do find is that relaxing is critical to feeling comfortable. Of course the main point is having fun and staying safe not being an instant expert.
Are they good in light winds/small surf: Better than any other board you have. guaranteed. When you are struggling on a 14m with your biggest twintip or grovelling on a malibu you will be flying upwind on your foilboard. Also the upwind and trimming angles you can acheive are insane. The flipside of that is when it picks up you better take it easy or it can get out of hand real quick.
How do I go the other way: We tend to go toeside because its surprisingly comfortable and balanced, a lot less backleg burn than toeside on a normal board ! Also that means we dont have to switchfoot gybe which is a daunting prospect at pace, or slow right down get board back down on the water and turn around. As you can keep speed pretty well tacking is attractive but beware of the backward foilchop! Angled footstraps set up for your favourite direction seem to give a little more control too.
How do I carry it around: With or without the kite airborne you simply squat to put the board over one shoulder with the foil hanging at your back, then carry it. To traverse any shallow water you have be off the board, holding it near the front with the foil sideways on the surface, then just drag it around. If transport space is an issue dont worry the foil easily unbolts into parts for compact pack down.
Does it float: No it sinks and then self destructs doh.
Why carbon foils: Its light, strong, responsive has a lifetime ltd warranty plus it looks super trick. There is no doubt carbon is superior to metal for shaping and performing foil wings. And all that at a great value price so why would you consider anything else.
Can I get tuition: M8 are developing partnerships with qualified instructors at key locations, if you are interested to become an instructor email@example.com Otherwise you could consider travelling to us to learn what we can show you. M8 also sends out a DVD with every foilboard which includes footage of foilboarding, The DVD is available seperately for $9.90 including postage to you ! firstname.lastname@example.org
What about other people: We get some odd looks for sure. Best to give everyone a wide berth when starting, and simple courtesies go a long way as always. It is an intimidating peice of equipment remember!
Whats the price: The price with footstraps is on the product page of this site click on carafino, starting from around $1250AUD, if you are interested in bindings and boots expect to pay another 4-700 new. M8 have demo boards which can be sent around Australia.
We welcome your feedback on how helpful this FAQ was to you, and any suggestions from other foilboarders as the knowledge base grows.
So what are you waiting for, email@example.com today