Friday, November 02, 2018

Breakthrough - up and going kitesurfing on a foil board!

Session 456. Breakthrough!  Enough wind on Friday for foil boarding on Lake Weyba. Adam and I met George from Adventure Sports Noosa at 1pm and pumped up our kites.  To launch we dragged our rigged kites out 100m from the shore to where the wind was.

Adam, George and Peter

The drift launch technique was to splash some water onto the wingtip into the wind and let the kite float off downwind until the lines tightened then launch the kite.

The key tips were:
  • Use the same kite size you would for a normal session for the wind speed - don't go for a smaller size (when you are more experienced you would use a smaller kite)
  • Dive the kite hard downwind and do a water start 
  • Keep the board oriented in direction of travel (not downwind)
  • Get on the board, keep it flat with your weight forward on the front foot, keep your forward knee bent
  • Place your rear foot close to the front foot 
  • Twist (rotate) the board upwind, keeping it flat with the nose on the water (avoid going downwind which depowers the kite which may then crash)
  • Get used to the forward motion with the board flat on the water - the drag of the water has a braking effect that keeps your speed down 
It was much easier using a "beginner foil" and a short mast - George had 35cm masts on both the foil boards. One was a Cabrinha Double Agent board an foil, the other was a Nobile board with a Naish surf foil.

During my previous attempts at foiling, I had not got comfortable moving with the board flat on the water - the long foil amplifies errors and seems to make the board to weird things such as tripping and pulling you over your toes or porpoising out of the water.

The short mast avoids these problems - it was easy to get the board going flat on the water and if it popped up it was only 35cm.

I was able to get going forwards quite easily, it was a great relief to achieve this without any major crashes and boosted my confidence a lot.

George was using Bluetooth helmet comms but the range was limited to 300 m.  I did some tacks to get further tips.

To get the board riding on its foil the steps were:
  • Increase board speed by powering the kite and steering upwind
  • Shift your rear foot towards the rear of the board 
  • Gradually transfer some weight to the rear foot until the board starts to rise on the foil
  • Fine tune your kite power  - too much power will increase your speed rapid, too little power and your board will drop back to the water surface
  • Keep steering upwind - you can go much further upwind than you think you can!
To slow down:
  • Transfer weight back onto the front foot to get the board board back on the water
  • Push your bar out to reduce power from the kite
This was  breakthrough moment similar to the first time I was able to hold ground upwind out an back!

Rising onto the foil the ride becomes incredibly smooth - like a magic carpet ride.

The speed increases on the foil but I didn't need to cut much power from the kite.

The board occassionaly slapped back down onto the water without causing too much concern.

George got me to swap boards with Adam and give him the radio helmet.  The Naish surf foil was faster and easier to get board up out of the water but I found it more difficult to moderate my speed.

The foil wanted to accelerate. I catapulted forwards off it a few times, but it was really nice to cruise on.

I did numerous tacks right across Lake Weyba - its much wider than it looks - over 2km across.  I was feeling confident on the foil, able to get up and going, stay upwind and also slowdown and stop.  I tried toeside riding and some gybes but decided to keep focusing on just riding the foil.

The wind speed eventually increased so I came in. 2 hours on the water and 28km

Really stoked to achieve some distance on the foil board and get up onto the foil.  The lesson and the beginner foil setup were well worth the money.

George said the Cabrinha board and foil are good for learning with a short mast - he has a second has medium size mast that I bought to use for my future efforts - but on checking my board once home I have the old model Double Agent with the mast welded to the fuselage.

After we finished we headed to Castaways to see if a downwinder was on.

1 comment:

Fiona Tarr said...

That's a shame about the mast Peter. If you can get a hold of a spare older version mast, we can give you some tips on cutting it down :) Most of our foil masts were cut down years ago before the major brands started selling them.

Great you guys enjoyed the session and the Lake. It's a pretty awesome spot for learning to kite & foil. See you next time you in Noosa.