A hydrofoil is a wing-like structure mounted on a fin that allows to glide above the surface of the water.
It’s the same principle as with an airplane-wing, it gives lift. And because water is much more dense than air, a hydrofoil needs much less surface to “fly”. The physics behind it are pretty complicated so I won’t explain it here. If you’re into it, consider this Wikipedia article and dig deeper from here.
Twelve years in the making.
The first time I saw foil surfing in a movie was around 2005 when i first saw the movie “Step into Liquid” by Dana Brown. Laird Hamilton and his crew explain how they built their first foil board out of a “Air Chair”. The grace of gliding above the surface of the water fascinated me and I knew that one day, I wanted to try this.
It took me almost exactly 12 years to do so, but last week Ceccotorenas made it possible. After their regular 1st of August-bash, we went out to test-ride the foil board behind the boat. The feeling is hard to describe, it’s really like flying above the surface. But then, on the other hand, you know that one foot below the surface, there is the foil: a razor sharp wing that is ready to slice whatever comes into it’s way. It’s a rollercoaster ride between joy and fear and it’s definitely addictive, so there’s a chance you will see more of it soon.
Placing a foil beneath a surfboard was long overdue.
Hydrofoils aren’t a new concept, though. As early as 1898 an Italian inventor presented the first hydrofoil boat that could already go 40 knots. And the technology has been used by the US Navy and countless commercial ferries during the last couple of decades. Lately, sailors started an outright revolution placing foils under the hulls of boats and Kay Lenny started to surf open ocean swells on his foil board. We’re not even close to the end of the revolution. With kite surfers and even kayakers starting to use foils to explore the unthinkable. I am really curious what comes next.