Smart people learn from their wakesurf foil mistakes; even smarter people learn from the wakesurf foil mistakes of others.
We’re strong believers of this age-old concept when it comes to learning how to wakesurf foil. Some things you just have to learn for yourself, like muscle memory, balance, weight distribution and how the foil feels and behaves as it flies through the water. Other lessons you’d be a lot better off learning from the mistakes of others; like our friend who spent a week failing to foil because his stabilizer wing was upside down, or the many who tried to learn with a full-size mast instead of a short one. We’ve put together a list of five mistakes we see people make regularly when learning to wake foil. With a little effort and a bit of luck, you’ll avoid these mistakes yourself on your way to becoming a proficient foiler.
1. Improper foil assembly and maintenance
It may seem obvious, but if you don’t put your foil together properly, it’s not going to perform properly. This means making sure all hardware is fully tightened, all components are oriented correctly and the foil is mounted in the proper position on the board’s track (all the way back for beginners). Maintenance of your foil, especially if you’re in salt water, can not be understated. Rinse it well after each use, and disassemble and lube the hardware and connection points regularly.
2. Not enough front foot pressure
This is probably the most common cause of crashing and frustration. In wakeboarding, the stance is back foot heavy- you pop up, lean back and dig that heel edge in to carve out to the flats. You have to retrain your muscle memory when learning to foil. Too much back foot/heel edge pressure and you’ll rocket out of the water and crash. You want to pop up flat on the board, keep steady front foot pressure and slowly ease back when you’re ready to rise out of the water. As you build speed and generate lift, proper front foot pressure is essential.
3. Starting with a full-size mast
The short mast is one of the greatest learning tools in foiling. Slingshot’s Flight School mast package for the Hover Glide foil features 15”, 24” and 30” masts. This allows you to start small, get the hang of the foil with an easily manageable mast and progress in length as your skills evolve. The difference between starting with a 15” mast and a full size 35” mast is like night and day.
4. Too fast boat speed
For your first rides, your goal will be to NOT foil. Just pop up and ride the board flat on the water to get the feel of just how much front foot pressure you need to stay level. Since speed generates lift with a foil, you’ll want to start with a much slower boat speed than you’re used to. If your driver pulls you up too quickly, you stand a good chance of shooting immediately out of the water and crashing. You want a slow, steady pull to get you out of the water, then a slow increase to get up to foiling speed.
5. Trying to “ride out” a crash
You’re better off going with a crash as soon as you feel off balance, rather than holding on and trying to ride it out. Kick clear of the board and the foil as soon as you can. Depending on how you’re crashing, this may mean holding on to the rope and leaving the board behind or letting go and kicking the board forward.
Foil-Academy.com is your one-stop-shop for learning how to wake foil. Its also the numbe one rated online course. Oh yeah, its free.