What Is a Hydrofoil?

What Is A Hydrofoil?

Do you love water sports? Would you love to ride a hydrofoil board over the surface of the water? If you want to beat the heat, hydrofoil boards are a great choice and are gaining popularity day by day as a unique type of surfboard. Let's go through the basics, from what hydrofoils are to how hydrofoils work, so you can get into the sport.

What Is Hydrofoiling?

Also known as surf foiling or foil surfing, hydrofoiling is a type of surfing that lifts your surfboard above the water. Rather than a regular fin, your board has a longer fin — called a hydrofoil — that extends down into the water.

Instead of your board making full contact with the water’s surface, the hydrofoil slices through the water while your board hovers up above. This technology allows longer rides and lets you surf smaller waves.

There are different types of hydrofoiling, including:

  • Kite-foiling: As the name suggests, kite-foiling is hydrofoiling while kiteboarding. The foil allows you to go out on less windy days.
  • Wake-foiling: Hydrofoiling while being towed by a personal watercraft or boat is called wake-foiling.
  • Wind-foiling: Windsurfing with a hydrofoil board is called wind-foiling.
  • Wing-foiling: Also known as windwinging, wing-foiling is similar to wind-foiling, but you hold the sail in your hands instead of having it attached to your board.

What Is a Hydrofoil?

A hydrofoil is a long fin that extends from the bottom of a hydrofoil board, acting as a lifting force. A long vertical piece called the mast attaches the board to the bottom, where a crossbar connects the two foils in a shape that looks like a model airplane. The longer front foil creates lift, and the shorter rear foil stabilizes the board.

The hydrofoil is similar to the aerofoil attached to airplanes. However, it first appeared on ships and sailboats. Sailors learned that hydrofoils made their vessels much faster, cutting through choppy water and offering less water resistance.

Hydrofoils come in assorted heights and materials, with varying foil lengths depending on the stability, maneuverability and speed you want. The design of the hydrofoil board makes it unique, as it can leave the surface of the water at various speeds.

Hydrofoil surfboards are much more efficient than traditional surfboards, which take a lot of time to catch up with the waves. If you want even higher speed and riding opportunities, you may want to choose an electric-powered hydrofoil board, or eFoil. eFoils are small hydrofoil boards with a battery-powered propeller. They can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour, and you can use them to ride smaller waves or even take them out on rivers.

How Does a Hydrofoil Work?

How Does a Hydrofoil Work?

A hydrofoil works on the principle of Newton’s third law — “For every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The foils, or wings, start beneath the water. As the surfboard begins to gain speed, the wings push the water down, creating an upward force in reaction to downward pressure. This upward force lifts the board and rider out of the water and above the waves.

As we mentioned above, variations in different parts of a hydrofoil’s design will affect the results it gives you:

  • Foil surface area: A larger surface area will give you more stability, while a smaller surface area offers greater maneuverability.
  • Mast length: Hydrofoils with shorter masts are more stable and easier to control, making them better for beginners. Longer masts let you glide longer distances and provide more maneuverability, letting you make sharper turns.
  • Foil wing span: Shorter wings offer maneuverability over stability, while longer wings provide the opposite.

Need-to-Knows About Hydrofoiling

Before you set out with a hydrofoil, here are a few key things you’ll need to know.

How Much Speed Do You Need to Lift the Hydrofoil?

People of average weight will need an average speed of 4-8 miles per hour to lift the hydrofoil board. Lighter people will need less speed, while heavier people will need speeds above 8 miles per hour. 

If you want to increase your speed, wake-foiling or an eFoil are good places to start.

What Are the Necessary Safety Precautions?

What precautions should you take while riding a hydrofoil surfboard? Some precautions that the hydrofoil riders need to take are:

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Wear a wetsuit.
  • Put on a pair of boots.
  • Stay in deep water.
  • Use a leash to keep your board with you.
  • Respect warning signs and beach flags.
  • Don’t surf with hydrofoils in crowded waters.
  • Choose the size of hydrofoil board you’re comfortable using.
  • Keep up with hydrofoil maintenance.
  • Take lessons if you have never used a hydrofoil before.

How Do You Learn to Hydrofoil?

Remember to start small when you’re learning how to hydrofoil — you’ll need time to get used to the feeling of riding above the water instead of on it. Get a feel for the board on calm seas, a lake or even a pool before you try a wave.

Hydrofoiling has a steep learning curve, so learning from someone with hydrofoiling experience is your best bet. Talking to someone who takes a hydrofoil out regularly can be helpful, but you’ll learn the most by taking lessons. A professional teacher will help you learn:

  • How to set up your hydrofoil board.
  • How to master your stance.
  • How to enter the water and paddle out.
  • How to pop up and ride a wave.

Lessons will also help you refine your form, letting you build the muscle memory you’ll need out on the waves.

Book Hydrofoiling Lessons With Elite Watersports

Book Hydrofoiling Lessons With Elite Watersports

But wait — now that you know the basics, where do you take lessons or buy a hydrofoil board? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! 

Elite Watersports is one of the best authentic hydrofoil board dealers in Florida. Our professional team will help you select the best hydrofoil board for you. We also offer three types of hydrofoiling lessons for those who want to learn more. 

Most importantly, we’re customer-oriented and one of the best in the market! Contact us online or call us at 727-334-8945 if you want to learn more about hydrofoiling! 

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