Introducing the Surf Foil
It all started when Kai Lenny made hopping on a surfboard cool.
A few years ago Kai Lenny bolted a larger winged foil to the bottom of his SUP and started gliding on open ocean downwinders. Not long after that, he blew up the internet with some footage of him in Fiji on a low aspect surf foil and a small surfboard. He was gliding around on small non-breaking waves and hopping back from one wave to the next one.
None of this would have been possible without the extra large surf foil wings.
We tried to surf foil with our kiteboard foils and it just didn’t work. The wings didn’t have enough lift and the masts were too long. The new surf foils have wings that are double the size and designed to have much higher lift at lower speeds. The kite foils we tried were designed for getting pulled behind the kite. The new surf foils get you out of the water and on foil with minimal forward momentum.
It turns out that surf foils work really well for any type of foiling.
The surf foils are the most versatile hydrofoils on the market. You can virtually put any board on a surf foil and have fun with it. They work for surfing, SUP, kiteboarding, and wake surf foiling. These big wings get you on foil at low speed and you stay on foil with greater ease.
Key Attributes of a Surf Foil:
- Mid-length mast between 21-28” that keeps you from coming too high out of the water and reduces the wipeouts.
- Low aspect front wing gives you lots of lift at low speeds.
- Modular so you can easily change masts, wings, and mounting plate or box.
- User-Friendly design that is easy to progress on.
Here is a quick overview of the best surf foils we tested.
Liquid Force ImpulsePros: High quality design and construction with full carbon fuselage and wings. Best Surf/Wake/Kite cross over foil in the class. Super silky smooth ride. Adjustable back wing placement to change the turning radius.
Cons: Expensive. Heavier riders will want a little more lift for first time surf foil sessions.
Slingshot Hover Glide FSurf
Pros: You get a whole lot of foil for a low price. Very customizable with a lot of different wings, masts and fuselages available. Easy to ride. Strong.
Cons: Wings and accessories are confusing. Little on the heavy side. Stock H2 front wing is good for straight line gliding but not as good for side to side pumping.
Pros: Pick the size foil that suits your weight and what you want to do with it. Loads of lift per wing size. Stable through the turns. Easily adjustable back wing.
Cons: Smaller track screws than most of the others so if you loose one it is harder to find the replacement. Philips head hardware is easier to strip than alan key.
Lift Surf Foil
Pros: Two sizes to suit any weight rider. Super light weight full carbon construction. Very fast and smooth ride with the least amount of drag. Strong molded one piece wing and fuselage construction. Two bolts is all the hardware you have.
Cons: Smallest mast is a couple inches longer than most others on the market. Molded mast and wings make it harder to travel with.
Takuma Surf Foil
Pros: Huge front wing allows for the lowest speed lift. Really easy to learn to foil on. Strong.
Cons: Heavy. Uses small Philips hardware and small mounting hardware.
Surf Foilboard Selection:
- Foilmount: This will allow you to just buy the foil and test outa surfboard that you are not using. There is no glassing needed as the mount sticks right on to your old board.
- Surf Foilboard: These boards will have more volume packed into a smaller area than your typical surfboard. They normally have a lot of glide to combat the extra drag of the foil while you are paddling into a wave.
- Cross Over Kite/Surf: A lot of the hot surfers are using the smaller low volume kite foilboards since they are lighter and easier to pump despite being harder to paddle into waves. These are also awesome for riding behind the boat.