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nroose

How to start with foiling kiteboard

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I would love to learn kiteboarding and try to foil. I saw info on the net about a kiteboard kit that has an aluminum foil and you can use for regular kiteboarding and foiling. Now I can't remember where I saw it. I am in SF East Bay.

 

Anyone have any advice? Any descriptions of your experience doing this? I guess the start up costs are board, foil, kite, rig, wetsuit. Am I missing anything? Are the initial costs the big cost or does it keep costing more and more? How long do kites/rigs last?

 

I am turning 50 next year, but I am pretty healthy. Will I survive kiteboarding?

 

Thanks!

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Nroose,

 

I was a pretty accomplished windsurfer and found kiteboarding to be a huge challenge. I tried taking it up just before turning 50 and things just never clicked for me. I imagine adding the foil into the situation really would raise the challenge. Big problem is that those kites can generate so much power INSTANTLY and the chances of injury are high enough without extra sharp foils and stuff attached to the board to further bodily damage.

 

Here is my next watersport device...

 

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I would love to learn kiteboarding and try to foil. I saw info on the net about a kiteboard kit that has an aluminum foil and you can use for regular kiteboarding and foiling. Now I can't remember where I saw it. I am in SF East Bay.

 

Anyone have any advice? Any descriptions of your experience doing this? I guess the start up costs are board, foil, kite, rig, wetsuit. Am I missing anything? Are the initial costs the big cost or does it keep costing more and more? How long do kites/rigs last?

 

I am turning 50 next year, but I am pretty healthy. Will I survive kiteboarding?

 

Thanks!

 

Nroose,

 

A lot of your learning success on a kite board will depend on your previous experience. As you know there are lots of kiters in your area, so a trip to chrissy field on a nice windy day will gain you access to see the latest gear and experienced riders to talk to.

 

if you have a decent amount of board experience, ie skiing, wakeboarding, surfing, windsurfing etc.. then your learning curve will not be as steep.

Flying the kite and learning the safety stuff will come pretty quick.

 

I've been kiting about 10 yrs now and have most of it down pretty well, i'm just getting into the foiling thing and have just finished building a foil and board to start with. What i'm finding is the learning curve on the foil is much steeper, as you have to unlearn a lot of your natural tendencies from years of waterborne riding..

 

Good luck with it!

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You might want to consider finding an "Airchair" and getting a feel for it first. Sure it is sit down but it will give you an idea of how to adjust the angle of attack my raising and lowering your hands on the tow handle. I've not tried it but been told that to lower your hands to bring the board tip up feels backwards at first.

 

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.

 

.....nothing like jumping in the deep end,eh!?

 

....probably best to put the foil kit aside for now, focus on kite skills.,..first things first.

I really recommend you get yourself down Baja this winter,, Ventana is a mecca with literally hundreds and hundreds of kiters through the winter months. The first big impression I got was just how many 'greyhairs' are in the sport, and how different it is to be in windculture without competition quite an amazing experience to have everyone open, friendly, sharing after many years in circuit racing.

Three weeks in Ventana will make it clear where you go from there. Lots of great deals on used gear if you're going deeper,, lots coca t'cheer yer up if you're not.

 

There's many schools to choose from, but I did well to land without anything booked, ask around, found a low-key guy,Bruce Sheldon who's based in Rio Vista in summer, Ventana in winter...pay him some coaching and you get the gear you need. Lots of friendly advice and assistance otherwise, and I'm sure many foils now as well.

 

Accommodation ranges from free waterfront camping in arroyo's, very fun culture, to campground to what-have-you.

 

 

As anewby, the biggest thing to set in your mind is that when things go pear-shaped, your reaction needs to be -opposite- the natural clutch-response!

Pulling in= power-up = 'flying squirrel'!!

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What about starting on skis?? Was thinking of getting a cheepo setup and heading up to Dillon this wwinter. Is it easier to learn for an accomplished skier this way? Will skills translate to soft h20 after a season?? equipment??

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I should get lessons, and get riding on the water to a good and confident level before attempting the Foiling Boards.

 

If you are fairly fit then at your age I would go for it, life is short enough as it is without making excuses and not doing something that you have set your heart on.

 

Any previous board related stuff will help, a bit, but expect to get a bit frustrated when learning. I have seen snow boarders, skiers, mountain boarders etc all make the same mistakes when learning to kitesurf.

 

Previous sailing experience is a big plus, for reading what the wind is doing...such as lifts and headers and gusts.

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Come down to Crissy and ask us. We'll all tell you to learn to ride a twin tip and surf board first, although it would be an interesting experiment to skip that and go straight to foiling. It's hard on the body at first but once to get it it's sweet. There's a lot of us who race in our 40's and 50's so age isn't an issue.

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Step 1: Buy a trainer power kite (1.5 to 3 square meters) and learn how to fly it. Practice simulated water starts/power strokes on land to learn how the kite creates power/apparent wind. Get REALLY good at flying this kite so that there's no doubt you can control a powered up kite once you move to a full sized version (approximately 10-15 hours of practice minimum)

 

Step 2: Find a nearby shop that provides professional lessons with jet-ski assist. When you get up and riding during your first few sessions you'll be unable to stay upwind, so having a jet ski to chase you down eliminates the walk of shame and allows you to focus on coordinating your kite skills with board skills. This sport is NOT something you can learn on your own, and unless you know a pro or have an instructor as a friend, I would not try to learn from a recreational kiter; having a professional instructor will help flatten the learning curve significantly. This is often a multi-day process.

 

Step 3: After you have learned how to get out and become a "self sufficient kiter" you should focus on a few core skills before trying to foil. Here's what I could do when I first grabbed a foil board:

 

-Ride upwind easily on both tacks

-Ride a strapless directional board that requires tacks/gybes to change direction

-Downloop the kite during changes of direction (https://youtu.be/FIY1214jp6I)

-Know how to body drag EXPERTLY in low wind...this is the most important skill for foiling because you will be going out in much lighter wind on a foil board than with a twin tip kiteboard or surf board

-Use the kite to jump and be able to land safely with power in the kite. This takes about 6 months from the day you first grab a power kite, so it's not an expert level skill.

 

All said and done, I had about 18 months of kiteboarding under my belt when I first grabbed a foilboard. I learned on a Taaroa Sword 2 which is a high-end carbon fiber race foil. The biggest difference in this foil versus a free-ride or beginner foil is that it wants to go SUPER fast once you're out of the water and flying the foil. This means you're learning how to control the board at way higher speeds than if you buy a beginner or freeride foil. The crashes are harder and faster, but overall it's not really a different skill, it's just a different speed range to get the foil lifting you off the water.

 

All said and done, as an intermediate kiter it took me about 10 hours of practice with the foil before I was up and riding easily in both directions for full-length rides, i.e. not crashing unintentionally.

 

The feeling of accelerating when the foil engages is unlike anything I've ever felt, and I used to fly jets for the US Navy. It's absolutely insane. I've never done heroin, but given what I've been told, I think foilboarding is probably more addictive.

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Get a season or 2 of kite skills before you jump to foiling. You really need a solid foundation of the aforementioned skills to be able to progress on the foil. Otherwise its all too much too fast.

I did the recommended route of learning to kite in baja then coming back and riding a direction board about 20x the next summer at crissy. Instead of jumping right to the foil- I rode the course board for the next season and developed some more skills. Finally after 2 full years kiting with about 50 session - I went back down to baja to learn to foil. It wasn't easy. This year Ive already doubled my kite time with about 50 session on the foil board. It really is amazing- like learning to windsurf all over again but you've got to be open to the process. You wont be making any foiling transitions on the board for at least the first year but you'll be learning to fly. There are many weeks when it doesn't seem like you're making any progress but time on the water is the key. Again its not easy but once you get it, its fucking unbelievable.

 

I often go back to the surfboard and kite to work on a certain set of skills before I can do it on the foil- ie footwork in a gybe, downlooping, tacking.

At the moment- 2 boards in my kite quiver- a surfboard and foil board and 8, 10 and 13m kites. In general- you''ll use smaller kites for foiling than you would on a surfboard.

 

Regarding cost- there's an initial cost to get it and if you continue to turn your equipment over ever season or 2 and reinvest the money into new gear- you can get by relatively cheaply. The gear is still evolving pretty rapidly and there's a good 2nd hard market. Cost isnt the big issue but time. How much time can you devote to it will determine how fast you get it.

Good luck

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