Interview with Normand McGuire, a foil pioneer in Quebec

Normand McGuire is a foil pioneer in Quebec. A kiter for more than fifteen years, he has found in foiling a revival that has brought him back to his sport.

Normand McGuire

I'm 55 and live in Montreal. I'm a computer scientist and director-coordinator in a high-tech company. My passions besides kiting are sailing, sewing (kite repair, bag and cover making, linen repair/fabrication/adjustment), renovations and reading.

In 1995, I started flying stunt kites. In 2001, on a work trip to Oregon, I happened to visit a seaside store where I saw a huge box kite. When I asked what it was, I was told that although the kite was flyable, it wasn't a stunt kite, and that it was used mainly for towing. When I returned to Montreal, I researched kites, only to discover new sports: kitesurfing, snowkiting and kite buggy. It didn't take me long to order my first traction kite, a Flexifoil Blade II 4.9m. In the months that followed, I took up snowkiting, kitesurfing and kite buggy, sports I've been practicing ever since.

What drew you to foiling?

The desire for change. I'd been kitesurfing since 2001, exclusively on twin-tip boards. In 2009, I took part in the legendary Grand Prix Petit Navire in Douarnenez, France, a kitesurfing race where around 100 participants from a dozen countries get together to fraternize and race. There was no division by board type in those days; twin-tips, surfboards, hydrofoils, racing boards, all competed in the same race. This competition opened up my horizons as regards the equipment you could put under your feet in kiteboarding, and was decisive for the rest of my kitesurfing career. On my return to Montreal, I bought myself a racing board, a surfboard and a hydrofoil, which I quickly mastered.

A favorite spot in Canada?

Without hesitation, the Îles de la Madeleine, because of the immensity of its calm, safe, clean and limpid sea waters. I also have the immense privilege of owning a cottage on Lac Saint-François in the Haut-St-Laurent region, a widening of the St. Lawrence River in southwestern Quebec. Lac Saint-François is about 30 km long and 5 km wide on average.

What's your favorite type of foil outing?

Long distances where there's a goal to reach, and then return to the starting point, regardless of wind direction. Hydrofoils are so efficient that having to go back 20 or 30 km is no problem at all. I'm also a runner, and I love the adrenalin generated by racing.

What's the best experience you've had with a Crazy Foil?

I had the privilege of testing several prototypes. My best experience was with the JET TRACK used at very low speed behind a boat. With the right construction, it's surprisingly fun to explore the low range of use of this foil.