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I have been waiting on the side lines patiently for some years now, hmm shall I buy one, shall I make one, too expensive, bills to pay ... Any way, Niash have currently a special going on, well I guess it's a special since they are offering a complete foilboard package for just under 2000 $NZ -- the board, mast, foot straps, fuselage, horizontal stabilizer and main wing. Purchased from KiteSports New Zealand, South New Brighton. Sure lots of other deals going, but want to support the local kitesurf shop. Sure it's a beginners board, but that is what I am with foilboards at the moment, and if I decide to upgrade, Zac gets to use it. Hey and guess who suggested the board to me? My lovely wife. :) .

So here are some pictures of it



It's what they call a free ride board with a low aspect ratio wing, so will not be breaking any speed records with it, but not trying to do this anyway. Just want to have some free ride fun out in a lazy swell when the wind is on the ligth side. Not exactly light weighing in at 9.7 kg but looks like it is robustly built, so will be more tolerant of my mistakes whilst learning. It is has 90cm mast, have already been told that I should consider a short mast for learning, hmm will see how I go. There is no angle of attack adjustment screws or similar, but suspect with such a low aspect ratio wing this will not be necessary. All the bits and pieces came undamaged and fitted well. Though not shown in the pictures also comes with a heavily padded carry bag for the mast, fuselage and wings -- nice. The screws interfacing the mast to the fueslage were a tight fit, needed quite some torque to screw them in, so these will not be unscrewing them selves in a hurry.


Now all I need is some wind in the right direction to try the board out. Spot of Easterly onshore predicted for this evening at 18:00 but fluky whether it will actuall come through and tomorrow is forecast for solid Southerly (not onshore, blowing over the PortHills before reaching the beach).

Will be interesting to see which of my FlySurfer kite sizes work best with the board, 8, 10, 12, 18 m^2. Guessing my 8m^2 Speed IV will be the best.

Some more tech specs: Main wing Aspect ratio= 3.38, area 880 cm^2 wing span 54.6cm; board length 160cm width 48cm max; textured foam top all over. Also comes with a pair of 9cm heigh stubby fins for the board so you can use the board without the mast/hydrofoil. Might actually work well as a light wind kiteboard with such a large surface area, but really when the wind is light I will be aiming to use it with the hydrofoil.

So I am expecting plenty of amuzing launches and unexpected landings -- all part of the fun and new learning experience.

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I have been waiting on the side lines patiently for some years now, hmm shall I buy one, shall I make one, too expensive, bills to pay ... Any way, Niash have currently a special going on, well I gues

Southerly. Onshore is considerably harder to break through than cross shore. I have cross on, cross 95% of the time. With cross on you can use the kite to drive you through  the surf and weilding

Vertical or horizontal makes no difference as gravity makes no difference here on the formation of the vorticies, and it is the vorticy formation alternating between either side of the foil that cause

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Good score :)

That mast etc is identical to the LF Fun Foil, and I've ridden the Naish and that board for a few hours too.

Here are some thoughts for you . . .

Long mast is fine. Short is easier initially as you'll get launched and lobbed and slammed a little less, but once you have your balance you'll find the extra length will give you time to control the height.

With the full length mast, you'll need the highest tide to ride the estuary and really only out in the center where the channel is. You still ground out with 60cm mast but you'll have more space either side of the channel where the water starts will be possible.

TefGel all the bolts, unless you plan on breaking it down every session. Use actual TefGel; other stuff I've that was supposed to be the same, wasn't. The bolts would loosen no matter how tight I did them.

I'd replace the bolts with Torx bolts too; I hate hex heads, they always round themselves out :D

Don't hit the bottom. That board cracked (easily IMO) from hitting the bottom and the board hitting the water. When you ground out, try to get your weight off your front foot. Easier said than done!

Single front strap only (if the board can). You only want it for water starting, to hold the board in position. When you fall off at funny angles, you're going to end up with twisted ankles. And straps as loose as possible -- you don't need them when you're standing on the board, and you don't need them.

Solid wind. Lulls and gusts will give you shits; it's hard enough getting the board into position without having to fight the kite.
Same kite size as what you'd ride a big TT and just be able to go upwind...

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Thank @Kamikuza. Will see where I can get some of that TefGel, especially for the mast to wing, those bolts were tight and would hate to try and get them undone with a bit of corrosion build up, epsecially from galvanic action. Guess I do not need much of the stuffs is quite expensive.

Sounds like from your advice I will stick with the long mast, the estuary is only a training ground the goal is to be out on the ocean, that is the place where Zac and I have ghe most fun. Spoke to one of the local foilers yesterday and he said there are some concerete blocks lurking in the estuary, yikes! Next session will be at the beach. Yes was wondering about the bolt hex sockets rounding out. At the moment I am just taking the mast off the board for transport and storage.

Foot straps, funny you mention that, I have seen a lot of free ride vids on foil boards and they go strapless, so when I spoke a year ago to one of the foilboard company owners, mentioned strapless and he looked at me in horror, saying at speed you do not want to go strapless. So I guess that means, strapless going slow and free ride, straps going hell bent fast. Hmm will see how it all pans out. 

Fiting the kite, ha ha. Zac and I had our first go of the foil board at very high tide on the Estuary yesterday, wind was 6 to 7 knots. We put up the FlySurfer Speed Lotus 18m^2. Was like Tip Toes On The Tulips, as we went deeper into the water was harder to keep a grip with our feet on the ground. I had my 20 seconds of fame as the foil took me up, bugger too much back foot pressure and it rocked out of the water, a nose dive after, a prompt face plant. Started to get better at it with more front foot pressure. Zac and had similar experiences. Being imersed in the water that long, after 2hrs we called it quits for the day. Better luck next time. All good fun. Was easy enough to slip my feet out of the foot straps when coming off the board.


Found it, TefGel, sold at Jaycar, Christchurch.

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There's a video in the TefGel website about how to and how much to apply. I used to completely disassemble, except for mast to plate, and those were the bolts that seized then sheared off at the head. So I'd at least do those; they're a bugger to get out.

Start out in the ocean then :D I guess the breakers make it tough if the wind is up, but you have to learn to body drag through them eventually. And I seem to remember there wasn't much wave action on 12 knot days...

My first strapless was on the Hover. For water starts in light winds with big slow kites, you need something to keep the board in place. But for learning no straps is ideal: there's zero chance of twisted ankles or knees.... So the compromise is single very loose front strap. When you're riding, pretty much only your toes will be under it so baleouts have very low risk of locking your foot in there. You'll find out when you can get up and ride, but then the board falls downwind while you fall upwind ;)

Can't stress enough: shift your weight with yoga lunges. Put your feet in the center of the bolt holes; maybe a little forward, like they would be if hard forward into the straps. The board designers probably know best where the holes should be to balance the ride ;) then keep your torso upright and lunge. You'll shift more of your weight with less effort and more control. Keep your knees relaxed but your legs well damped, like good off-road suspension. And anyone who tells you that you need to stand in front of the rear mast has poor technique. When you get better you'll need the rest foot back more, and you'll actually find yourself pushing of it...

Good job :) my first session was about two hours too. Probably 119 minutes trying to get out to deep enough water and a whole minute trying to get onto the board. The ratio improves rapidly, especially when you choose to go out in more wind :D I had the most success with Speed 3 12m (speed vs power) and about 15 knots.

I recommend at least a helmet too...

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Here is the link to the Tefgel @Kamikuza was talking about


Now back to foiling questions. Getting out beyond the breakers and onshore winds, argg tell me about it, yes it is difficult and bugger, went out in light winds. So here is the question, what methods do you use to body drag past the breakers into deep enough water? Seems like a no brainer question, but a lot of things that easily work with surf boards and twins tips are just so diffferent with a foil board. The first 10 to 20 meters out, I just carry the board under my arm, foil facing upwind, board pointing offshore. I then let the board float on it's side, foil still facing upwind, I stand downwind of the board and hold one of the straps, so far so good, board is well behaved pointing well into the waves. Now the water gets deeper and I loose grip with my feet but not yet deep enough to have the board lie flat and foil not grounding out in the sand. So I need to transition to body dragging. From viewing some of the foiling tutorials on youtube, there appear to be two schools of thought: 1) your body takes on the usual body dragging position, upwind hand holds one of the board straps, board is upwind of you, foil is facing up wind, board is tilted to the side or 2) tilt the board on it's side, board straps facing upwind, foil facing downwind, you are on the upwind side and half lying on the aft end of the board and half floating in the water, -- this is the method I tried but would not drag me up wind (without the board, I could easily body drag upwind). So @plummet and @Kamikuza what works for you?

The next question, on a surf board or twin tip, if the board ever gets upwind of me, still holding onto the board, it is easy enough to skiddle the board around so it is down wind of me. Come foilboard, well it is rather stuborn, so I must be missing some thing in technique. When I try to head out past the breakers, more often than not the board ends up up-wind of me, by the time I get it down wind of me ready for a launch, I get washed back into the shallows again. So the cycle repeats.

I am sure the experienced riders will get some amuzement from this :) . So if you have any suggestions, would like to hear them.



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Ohh here comes another novel...

I spent three hours riding a TT watching one of the locals trying to walk out through the lake waves to get deep enough to water start without ground out :eek: and another time, a better foiler than me gave up on the day because he couldn't get out through the waves...couldn't believe it. Took me a minute or two of body dragging to clear the shore break :D

Body dragging is vital. Thanks to my spot being always onshore and shitty lake chop, I think I got a pretty good handle on it :D

I do a mixture of what Norman described and what Gunnar shows in the video: hook my hand under the strap and forearm flat across the board and spread myself out across the top of it, almost lying onto the tail.. Like you're going to bicep curl the board while reclining on sun lounger.

I think it gives me more control over the board. You can flatten the board out and roll off it to get over big breakers. And while dragging upwind, the foil is into the water at about 45 degrees; you don't need full depth to drag. Your weight on the board control the angle it floats at and stops it flying out of the water when you build some speed. You're basically just body dragging as you would without your board, but you're lying on top of the foil board. Should stop it jumping upwind of you too...

So...I hump the board out under my arm until it's deep enough to body drag. At least belly-button deep.

If you can't body drag ie. move with a little speed and go upwind, you're probably going to have a very hard time getting on the foil.

Transition from body drag to water start:
carve upwind to kill the speed,
bringing the kite up near the zenith,
slide off the board,
switch the grip on the strap to holding the rail to keep the board on its edge,
slip the front foot in to keep the board upright and let go,
get the back foot on the tail,
dive the kite, stall the tail by loading the back foot -- or whatever works for you,
get up on top of the board and ride away.

(I keep the kite just past zenith so the pull into the board square to the wind keeps line tension...)

Of course, once you can water start, you don't need a lot of time to get up onto the board so when that's down, this whole bit of the learning process is forgotten. You wait for enough of a gap, get the board on your feet and GO and the waves aren't an issue.

We're going to be in Chch from about Feb 15 and I'm taking my Axis foil. Sounds like there's a lot more foilers there now than just the few last time I was back! Looking forward to catching up ;)

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Thanks @plummet and @Kamikuza. I have already seen the vidoe from Gunnar. Thanks for the suggestions. I think one of the big problems was lack of enough wind and direct onshore, was only between 7 and 8 knots. One of the local foilers suggested I start out further north along the beach where the wind is more steady and is not as direct onshore.

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HOW is she doing the "body dragging in chop"?!?

Mmm, using your legs or shifting weight to pop the board up is a recipe for misery, IMO. Ride the board flat with a stable body position and just go faster until the foil starts lifting. You'll have to go faster than you've probably ever been on a TT (until you get the balance sorted) but you'll only be skimming the water, hopefully.

This is where a kite with a lot of depower at the bar comes in handy -- being able to just sheet in or out to control your speed and keep it foiling without freaking out.

This all assumes deep enough water. But as soon as you're up on the board (standing up tall and straight) as the video says, "open the door" and you'll zoom upwind, away from the shallows :D

If you can, get someone else to ride the foil out into deep water miles from shore,  then ride your TT out to them and swap. Learning to water start will cost a lot of upwind ground and you'll learn a lot faster if you don't have to get back upwind...

Just gotta put the time in, you'll get there. "What one man can do, another can" etc etc :D

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Have you seen this Southerly?  its worth signing up for. 


PS I had a magic session yesterday in 6.8 measured with 9.6 knots gusts!. Ripping along at 40+ knot in next to no wind! Awesome. 

But I remember trying this wind speed when I was leaning and it was just a nightmare. You need to loop to start, then pump the foil to get on up to speed, When jybing time a perfect downloop or your in the water. That's not good when the kite barely has enough power to static fly and you are 1km out to sea!..... 


You need at least enough power so the kite just sits and waits for your input at the edge of the window. Then for learning you want enough power to water start with one dive of the kite rather than looping. 



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Nice. Get out there an give it a crack. Focus on the water starts and surface riding. Lean forward and try and keep the foil on the water. Imagine your body as an extension of the foil. In needs to be in line with the foil. Don't lean out back against the power of the kite past the center of balance of the foil. (this is what you are used to doing on the TT/SB). You need to retrain your brain to keep the body centered with the mast. 

Then concentrate on relaxing. To begin with I tried to fight and force  the foil into position. It doesn't work! you need to relax and finesse your way into lifting up and down. Once you relax into it the foiling will become a lot easier.  Do very slow and subtle movements to lift the foil out of the water. Once foiling keep low and lean forward. Once you can control height you are away laughing. Height control is all in your forward lean. 



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Confessions of a FA (Foilboarders Annonymous) member: Frustrating the most, but not giving up, then exhilirating for a brief moment when it worked.


So the afternoon started out at high tide and 12 knots. So put up the FlySurfer 12m Speed III.

I try both of the body dragging methods, board up wind of me and board down wind of me -- none of them with any sucess. If the board is up wind of me, I just get torn appart trying to hold on (a bit like being quartered). If the board is down wind of me, once the board is tilted, it is very hard to keep it titled just keeps on flopping back down, and even if it is titled, I get pulled over the board by the kite.

So I thought well why not try my FlySurfer Lotus 18m? Ok, so more of the same, except it's like fighting Godzilla, the kite is dragging me around like a rag doll, the foil board has a mind of its own, the under current is dragging me another way and every 4 seconds a wave comes in and pushes me another way. 

By now the wind has picked up some more 15 to 16 knots. So I thought why not try the smallest kite in my quiver ... not the NASA 0.75m .... the FlySufer Speed IV 8m. Ah that is better, no more rag doll. Still the same problem with body dragging, not getting any where but at least not being pulled over the board, do have more control of what direction the board is and more control of where I am with respect to the board. I find a deeper channel, point the board parallel to the beach, a quick smart down loop and wah lah I am standing .... for a brief moment ... then the sand bar dissagreed or the board just shot off in the wrong direction.

So it appears for me, that all the wisdom of otheres before me recommending the same size kite one would normally use for non-foilboarding when learning does not work for me, just too much power, rather a smaller kite than I would normally use shows the most promise. Trying to launch pointing 45 degrees upwind, does not work either, just not enough power, rather parrallel to the beach and a downloop works better. Also found it more useful to keep all the straps on the board rather than front straps on back straps off -- just get tossed about too much in the surf without them.

One of the local foil boarders was kind enough to drop by and show me by example how he does body dragging, rider upwind of board, he had a shin board (very thin) and was able to body drag. Perhaps a board with lots of flotation like mine makes it harder to keep the board titled. Maybe its just pilot error, is rather hard to sine the kite one handed.


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Was this in direct onshore and swell southerly?

If so that's way harder than cross or cross on. Look for cross on. Then you can use the kite to drag you out through the surf. 

Also refer to my recommendation for kite size

8-12 knots 12m

12-16 knots 10m

16-20 knots 8m 

20-25 knots 6m

Note: 10m, 8m and 6m sizes are lei recommendation. So you might even want to take range down a 2 knots for foil kites like speeds/chronos

I'm fully powered to all hell on my 12m chrono in 13 knots. Its just silly. 

I had the exact same issues when I started. Why cant I body drag? been doing it for years, WTF! its very frustrating. 

Each stage  of learning to hf seems impossibly impossible you feel like your not progressing at all,

Then all of a sudden Boom! Something clicks and booyah! you have concurred that stage of foiling. 




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You want a kite that on a TT would see you cruising back and forth, hardly able to go upwind. Of course, if the wind then picks up, you'll probably be over-powered :D

Board downwind: You gotta get in close to the board, literally lie on top of it. Tuck your elbow into your guts, lean on the elbow and spread yourself along the submerged rail, roll over onto your back a little against the pull of the kite. Get your weight up near the nose...

Unlike body dragging with a TT, you're not trying to extend your length in the water, but rather consolidate your weight on the submerged rail of the board.

Again, once the foil is moving it's going to lift so if you're just trying to do it like a TT, it's going to shoot out of the water. If you weight the board, you can balance yourself so the foil doesn't pop the board out of the water but rather cranks you upwind.

If the wind is too light for that, you just gotta walk it out with the board flat in the water, then get your hand on the front strap and slowly push it out while you body drag. Getting out through the surf involves letting the board ride into and over the waves with you hand on it...that sucks a lot.

Board upwind: Never worked for me. I only use that to walk out through the shallows, holding the board on it's edge and steering it slightly upwind of me to keep the foil off the bottom. Then switch it around to downwind when deep enough.

I've done it this way since very early on, on low- and high-volume boards. High volume and heavy foil (SS Alien Air and HoverGlide) was no more difficult, once you got it on it's edge.

You want to start pointing downwind, not up. You simply can't edge the board as you can with a TT, so you've got to get over and on top of the board, then rotate upwind...

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Thanks @plummet and @Kamikuza for the useful guidelines, what works for you and  the expected steep learning curve you went through. Plummet, the waves and wind were pretty much coming from the same direction, onshore. Occoationaly the wind shifted directiona a bit. Will put it all to practice during the next session. Oh I did signup with the Foil accademy you mentioned Plummet, well put together.

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Picture is worth a thousand lashes or whatever . . .

Board on its side, upwind, pointing slightly upwind of my course so the difference keeps it pushed up on its side. Good for walking out through the shallows, especially if your shallows last about 100m like ours do.

Board downwind, forearm levering the board and sinking the windward rail, lying on the tail with my right thigh. This is an old video, these days I get my head closer to the nose so I can get more body weight on the rail...basically being lazier.



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Thanks to the @Kamikuza and @plummet Foil Academy, I have progressed to body dragging past the breakers and do a few taxi runs, up on the board skim for a while then land. The faceometer reckoned about 12 knots onshore, it was late in the evening, so no time to test the wind on the other side of the dunes, so just took the 8m FlySurfer Speed IV. I used Kamikuza's suggestion on the body dragging, worked a treat, for me it was like laying prone on a surfboard but with a tilt. YES!

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