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View Full Version : Where to start with a foil??


gr8smiles
09-11-2005, 09:48 PM
My son (17 yo) and I are ready to start foiling. We are very proficient skiers and boarders....yes...we do both...I (42 yo) can do wake to wake 180's and 'go big' on the jumps....he can land tantrums and heel side back rolls...we have seen the foilers 'tearing' up the stunts and are very impressed.

What brand foil is recommended here? Can we both use the same one? He is 160 and I am around 200 lbs....both about 5'7"....Is it ok to shop ebay? or any other on-line sites? Should we rent one first? Anyway, any help would be appreciated....thanks

Rick

erkoehler
09-11-2005, 10:01 PM
Do a quick search on this forum and you will find a few threads on this subject.

Airjunky and foilrider both will likely contribute to this thread shortly.

gr8smiles
09-11-2005, 10:04 PM
I am cruising the threads now...this is amazing

PendO
09-11-2005, 10:43 PM
My son (17 yo) and I are ready to start foiling. We are very proficient skiers and boarders....yes...we do both...I (42 yo) can do wake to wake 180's and 'go big' on the jumps....he can land tantrums and heel side back rolls...we have seen the foilers 'tearing' up the stunts and are very impressed.

What brand foil is recommended here? Can we both use the same one? He is 160 and I am around 200 lbs....both about 5'7"....Is it ok to shop ebay? or any other on-line sites? Should we rent one first? Anyway, any help would be appreciated....thanks

Rick


My sister in law is 110lbs dripping wet and my dad is 240 ... they ride the same Sky Ski ... check out foilfreaks.com it is a good link and you may be able to buy direct from skyski.com, but AirJunky (Bill) will set you straight, he came up to our place last weekend and was doing all sorts of crazy chit (flips and such - not sure what all the tricks are called)

Casey

bigmac
09-11-2005, 11:52 PM
My son (17 yo) and I are ready to start foiling. We are very proficient skiers and boarders....yes...we do both...I (42 yo) can do wake to wake 180's and 'go big' on the jumps....he can land tantrums and heel side back rolls...we have seen the foilers 'tearing' up the stunts and are very impressed.

What brand foil is recommended here? Can we both use the same one? He is 160 and I am around 200 lbs....both about 5'7"....Is it ok to shop ebay? or any other on-line sites? Should we rent one first? Anyway, any help would be appreciated....thanks

Rick

Jeez, don't get me started...

Hydrofoiling is a blast. Short learning curve (to the basics) but it's very steep. Took me 5-8 pulls to get the ski on the water. Guys I've taught since then have learned it quicker - helps to have an "instructor". I learned it from just watching the videotape.

Sky Ski vs Air Chair -- I don't even want to get into it. I bought an Air Chair because it was substantially cheaper - I got it from Lance Riensma off ebay for under $1000 new including shipping (shipped to me from the factory). It's well-made. If and when I outgrow it (seems like a ways off) I won't be out that much if I just keep it and buy some fancy Sky Ski. OTOH, there's a brisk market for these on ebay. If you buy a used one, make sure it's a Stealth (newer model with interchangeable foils and "power wedges". Contact WallenpaupackPA via PM here on TCM. He's an AirChair dealer and his price was extremely competitive. He didn't contact me about it till after I was already committed to the ebay bid or I'd have bought it from him.

Couple of points --

you will progress faster if you spend some time at a "fly-in" event somewhere
get a deep-V handle for learning. It needs to be a little shorter V than a typical slalom deep-V, but you can knot it shorter
security in the foil is paramount. About the only way you can get hurt is if you, or some part of you, comes loose from the foil. I found the rubber foot straps to be less than optimal and went with Cinch footstays, as well as a CinchMax velcro belt
be patient. Let the boat do the work. Be prepared to spend a day on the water learning this. It's not a "hey, let me try that once or twice" kind of learning curve.


Some buddies and I were out most of the day today. I have this friend who's an orthopedic surgeon - man, he overthinks the whole hydrofoil learning process. He's a great wakeboarder, but after several days of trying the Air Chair over the last month or so, he finally could get the ski on the water consistently today. Control it?...No...not yet. OTOH, another friend picked it up today in three pulls, which is more common among my little circle of watersports enthusiasts.

It is an amazing watersport. I predict you will have a blast with it. I'm 54...currently jumping and landing in-line, jumping and dismounting (OK, not intentionally dismounting) wake-to-wake jumps. A youngster like you ought to pick this up in no time.

Me, today...
http://mccollister.info/foilin.jpg

AirJunky
09-12-2005, 02:23 AM
Where do I start? :smile: Congrats, Rick. You've got the bug & haven't even started yet. To say it's addictive is an understatement. The first time you fly across the wake without touching it you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

About 11 or so yrs experience here on virtually all of the foils. I definitely prefer Sky Ski now days. And when anyone ever attends a hydrofoil event in this world, you'll find that most riders do. The billet foils their turning out now days fly better & are way stronger than anything out. I've got the B39 with an LEX Shock Tower, the heaviest (and strongest) ski out there...... and at almost 40 yrs old, I still hang up some of biggest front & back rolls I've ever thrown. Plus they have lighter, shorter, longer etc. foils to fit anyone. http://www.skyski.com

Renting a foil is a great idea, if you can find a shop who rents them. Or hook up with riders in your area to compare a few models. If you can afford it, get one of the newer skis.... their miles ahead of the older ones from just 5 yrs ago. If you've ever had back problems, pushing it in this sport will aggravate it, but the Shock Tower will allow you to go as big as ever, no matter your age, and still walk into work the next day.

Get on the Hydrofoil Yahoo group at: http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/Hydrofoil/
It's the largest group of riders anywhere, on or off the net. Let the group know where your located & I guarentee you'll find riders in your area.

And if you can fine tune your questions a bit, I'd be glad to help fill in the blanks.

Good luck!

Foiler
09-12-2005, 09:32 AM
My son (17 yo) and I are ready to start foiling. We are very proficient skiers and boarders....yes...we do both...I (42 yo) can do wake to wake 180's and 'go big' on the jumps....he can land tantrums and heel side back rolls...we have seen the foilers 'tearing' up the stunts and are very impressed.

What brand foil is recommended here? Can we both use the same one? He is 160 and I am around 200 lbs....both about 5'7"....Is it ok to shop ebay? or any other on-line sites? Should we rent one first? Anyway, any help would be appreciated....thanks

Rick

I'm 42 also and the great thing about riding a hydrofoil is you can still go for it at any age. If you can rent one first I would highly recommend it. You might be willing to spend a little more after you see how fun it is. A better ski will help with the learning curve, things just come easier.

bigmac
09-12-2005, 10:08 AM
Sky Ski vs. Air Chair - I don't know, never having ridden a Sky Ski, so I have nothing to compare to. The cult of hydrofoiling definitely seems to swing toward Sky Ski, though. Anodizing would be kind of nice as it does stop the tarnishing that occurs on polished cast foils. I noticed my Air Chair tarnished within a few weeks. At my level, I couldn't feel any difference in performance, although I did note that when I polished it recently, it stopped "singing" as it went through the water. Billet vs cast foils - I don't know. I was a little put off by pictures I've seen of bad welds on the T-bar and reports of some rather spotty customer service from Sky Ski, but many say that the billet foils have less resistance in the water.

A lot of which way you go depends on your spending inclination. If you buy the base-level Sky Ski, you'll spend around $1500 compared to $1000 for the Air Chair. Once you've learned on either, you'll likely elect to upgrade. With the Air Chair, you can sell it for $500-$700 and buy a new whatever. With a Sky Ski, you'll spend at least the same difference upgrading the foil assembly (I think). Shock-absorbing towers are hot for the guys that are into the big air, but boy are they spendy. In my early stages here, I can't even imagine that that would do anything for me. Hydrofoils are a blast even without the air. It's entirely possible that Sky Ski is easier to ride for beginners, but it's really hard to sort through the hype on the subject. I don't regret going with the Air Chair at all and I'm glad to have saved the money. I didn't know if I was going to be able to do it at all, or if I was going to like it. I can and I do, but still don't feel compelled to get a different foil. I haven't even put on the intermediate (radial) rear foil yet. I suspect that my epiphany will come when and if I get to a fly-in and get a chance to ride someone else's Sky Ski. I'm completely open to the possibility that I will find it superior for somone who has mastered the basics and is looking to progress more rapidly. OTOH, I feel like I have some time - as big an enthusiast as AJ is, he mentioned that it was a couple of years before he landed his first invert.

If money is no object, I'd probably go Sky Ski. With two of you riding, it might be cost-effective and there does seem to be more upgrade options once you become an advance rider. Also (I suspect-but-don't-know this) you will likely take a fair amount of (mostly good-natured) crap if you show up at a fly-in with an Air Chair. Geno Yauchler aside, I think the majority of the real hydrofoil enthusiasts ride Sky Skis.

AirJunky
09-12-2005, 11:44 AM
Hey Mac,
Get on the curved rear blade...... soon! You will find that your AC foil will liven up a lot! Jumps will get bigger, skidders go for far longer, overall performance will increase a ton! It won't ride like a Sky Ski, but it will definitely perform better than with the flat rear blade.

I've riden just about all the foils out except for the LEX38 & the V38 (new SS & AC advanced foils). The major difference for me has been that the SS foils were more foregiving. The curved front blade was so quick that recovery from even a basic jump was difficult. The end result in most cases has been that people progress faster & ride away from new tricks sooner.

The welds you mentioned come from the welding of the billet foil assembly. When the foil is anodized, the welded material accepts the anodizing differently than the billet aluminum, creating a darker spot. No one to this day has broken a billet foil, period. Over the years, I've broken 2 cast foils myself, and bent like 3 or 4 others, mostly from sloppy landings & learning new tricks. So I guess I recommend billet foils if your over 140 lbs or likely to push the envelope at all (even my 38 yr old wife attempts backflips all the time). It's just a safety thing.

Also, along the safety lines, get the Cinch belt & FootStays no matter what foil your on. They are stronger & have much higher quality velcro than anything either SS or AC make. http://www.cinchmax.com

And I'd welcome you to come & ride any time. At the NW Flyin last month we had 30 SSs & 3 ACs attend. I don't believe anyone made the AC riders feel unwelcome at all. I taught one of the jump clinics & had them all attend.

bigmac
09-12-2005, 01:56 PM
Hey Mac,

The welds you mentioned come from the welding of the billet foil assembly. When the foil is anodized, the welded material accepts the anodizing differently than the billet aluminum, creating a darker spot. No one to this day has broken a billet foil, period.

Bill:

I was thinking of this thread (http://www.foilfreaks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=306)


http://www.foilfreaks.com/forum/files/broken_sky_ski_009_resized_605.jpg
http://www.foilfreaks.com/forum/files/broken_sky_ski_007_resized_838.jpg

I'm sure it's rare

I'm going to put the curved rear blade on and shim it a little. I look forward to trying a Sky Ski - probably have to wait until Jason has his next Minnesota get-together.

AirJunky
09-12-2005, 02:53 PM
I just talked to Jake @ SS. I guess they have had 3 t-bars do that & they were all made about 2 yrs ago. Regardless of the age, SS honored the warranty & gave Don a new foil.
And since then, they have made a number of design changes. They used to do a mortise & tenon joint with a strip weld around the edge of the two. Now they do 4 plug welds & the strip weld. You might notice the new welds on the very bottom on either side of the keel. He said it makes the joint like 5 times as strong.
Anyway, sounds like their learning from it & making it right with the riders, regardless of when the warranty expired.