Learning to kite foil quickly is not so difficult if you respect a few principals. Learn here in 4 steps how to begin kite foil… like a pro.
#STEP1: the 3 S rule
Learning quicker can be supported a lot more than you think by the hydrofoil characteristics… Add to that the right material and gears: you may learn much faster!
You want your hydrofoil to be stable as much as possible, meaning that when you change your center gravity position, it does not react too quickly. Generally speaking, if one of the foil is having a very small surface area compared to the other, the hydrofoil will be less stable, especially at a lower speed.
While learning, you need a foil accepting over reaction from the user without balancing too much on the amplitude. Thick foils will help accepting a larger range of incidence angles, meaning that up and down transitions will be smoother.
In a general way, beginning means not-wanting to go so fast. Selecting a hydrofoil with a good level of drag will help you keep a low speed through a wide range of wind conditions. Going front makes your hydrofoil more reactive and requires more ability to maintain your balance and altitude.
#STEP2: how to select my first kite foil gears?
Kite foil beginners, now that you are aware about the 3 S rule, you need to select the right gears in order to learn way easier and way faster. Here are the 6 most important things to know to select them properly.
1. FOIL SPAN
Without going so deep into details, having very long foils (big span) will make your hydrofoil having more inertia on tilt control. It may help in low speed conditions, but it automatically loses agility. At the opposite, very short foils give a lot more of agility (also inducing more instability). After several attempts , it seems that approximatively 50 to 55 cm (22” to 23”) is a good compromise to start with.
2. THE RIGHT MAST LENGTH
Choosing the right mast length will definitely make the difference. Your mast length can be a threat, but if chosen right, it will contribute to your quick success. Having a long mast (ex 34”) requires more balance. Moreover, while hydrofoiling in shallow water, having a very long increases your chances of hitting the bottom… Which could be pretty dangerous!
At the contrary, having a too short mast (ex 20”) won’t give you enough space to adjust your altitude, especially if you hydrofoil in the waves of a sea or an ocean.
After many attempts, it seems like the best compromise is around 65 cm (26”), which means not too long but not too short, perfect for shallow waters!
See our videos for real-life conditions!
Generally, having a board with a track system will make your life simpler. The track system allows fine adjustments of your hydrofoil position to get to the perfect comfort. If you do not want to use a track system, make sure you have some sort of hydrofoil adjustments to set the perfect position on your board.
See our options for adapting your hydrofoil to any kind of board
Everybody is claiming the joy and the freedom of riding without straps… But when you learn, using straps will definitely help you to control your feet positions. Moreover, your foot straps give you more control on your board and movements.
Kite foiling requires far less energy than kite surfing. When selecting your kite for kite foiling, you can use about 2 m2 less than for kite surfing. The higher the wind, the biggest difference between kites… We already saw kitefoilers with 4 m2 kites while other kitesurfers were using 8-10 m2 kites at the same time!
#STEP3: starting from the water…
Starting with an hydrofoil under your board is pretty identical as what you do without it, but you have to avoid side movement. Side movement will most of the time make you fail.
As soon as the board gets out of the water, keep your board horizontal. To do so, increase the weight on your front foot until you see the water hitting the front of the board.
Take speed up to 15 to 20 KM/H and make sure your board is level. If your board is not leveled, take off will be difficult and it will be very hard to keep your balance and go straight. To level your board, use your front foot to turn in the same direction.
FIRST TAKE OFF
Now that you have the right speed and that your board is leveled, put more weight on your back foot (slowly and progressively, it does not take much to create a reaction). You will feel your board loosing contact with the water (an amazing feeling!). As soon as it happens, re increase the weight on your front foot (still gently) to get back to the water. Repeat that exercise until you get comfortable with your altitude control. Make sure you keep your board as much as possible horizontal and leveled.
Now that you know how to better control your up and down movements, start to increase your fly distance by controlling your altitude. Again, transfer a portion of your weight from the front foot to the back foot (more weight on your front foot = going down, more weight on your back foot = going up) to maintain a constant altitude.
Turning with an hydrofoil is pretty much like turning with a bicycle. If you look at how to learn turning with a bicycle step by step, you will realize it is the exact same thing.
- Tilt in the direction you want to turn
- Move your front foot in this direction
- The board will start turning
- To stop, use your front foot to turn more or less until you get back to your balance
- Do steps 1-4 each time you want to turn
In real life, you will do it naturally without really noticing!
Congrats! You already are a pro!
OK, it may take more time to do it than to read it, but you may be surprised. If you carefully follow all these recommendations and steps, it may take you less time to learn than you could never have expected…
Don’t forget, kite foiling won’t only allow you to ride in lighter wind conditions, but it will make you feel incredible sensations that are impossible to describe… You will just live it!
#4: the good advice
Good advice from experienced people always are a good way to progress faster. Now that you are aware about the 3 S rule and that you have selected the right gears, here are 3 tips you will probably thank us for giving you.
When you learn, make sure you have a wind in the range of 10 to 15 knots. Not enough wind makes starting up difficult, while too much wind will require more attention to manage it.
When you learn kite foiling, prefer waters avoiding waves. Waves will require way more effort to keep your board horizontal and leveled. It also reduces your altitude margin to always keep your hydrofoil in the water. The bigger are the waves, the more difficult it is to take off.
Select your spot to have around 1 m of water. It is enough to make sure your hydrofoil is not touching the bottom of the sea whilde riding but still comfortable enough to walk and get prepare without swimming and losing a lot of energy.
NOW YOU CAN FLY!