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How Hydrofoil Surfing Works [Guest Post]

How Hydrofoil Surfing Works

Introduction- How Hydrofoil Surfing Works

By Carmela Smith

Foil surfing has been a trending topic among sea-sports lovers in recent times. Since it is a relatively new form of surfing, there are many who are still unfamiliar with how it works.

Those who want more spice in surfing or love the thrill of water sports would love hydrofoil surfing. Are you prepared to be a pro hydrofoil surfer? Well, surfing and hydrofoil surfing are quite different. If you already have an idea about basic surfing and want more thrill and fun, let’s dive in to find out more!

What Is Hydrofoil Surfing?

Hydrofoil surfing is a new addition to surfing methods. Unlike regular surfboards that can’t catch new waves or offshore surf breaks, hydrofoil surfboards allow you to access all kinds of waves.

To put it simply, hydrofoil surfboards do not need large waves to go on. Even the smallest of waves could be considered “rideable.” Riding on a hydrofoil surfboard involves aquaplaning to glide over water effortlessly. Some of the well-known surfers who took up hydrofoil surfing, and made it popular, include Laird Hamilton and Kai Lenny from Hawaii.

How Hydrofoil Surfing Works

What Is a Hydrofoil Surfing Board?

A hydrofoil board is a surfboard with a hydrofoil connected to the bottom. A hydrofoil is a long fin-like object with wings designed hydrodynamically to operate in water. At the end of the fin, it looks like a small airplane is attached.

This specific hydrofoil design offers the feature of being able to ride on any wave. It maintains the effect of wind on the water surface. This reduces friction to a minimum and allows you to glide over water.

Design of Hydrofoil Surfing Boards

Before you think that you can DIY your regular surfboard into a hydrofoil board, think again. Not every surfboard can be transformed into a hydrofoil board with all structures and dimensions. So, knowing the design and setup of this board is essential.


You can get a hydrofoil surfboard made of fiberglass, aluminum, and steel. These are the perfect materials to lift from water even in low waves and at slow speeds.

Connecting a Hydrofoil to The Board

The ideal construction of a hydrofoil board should be solid carbon fiber, arranged in a honeycomb sandwich structure. It should be secured on the inside and outside. Most foils are attached to the board in two tracks with four screw plate mounts, placed at 90mm (3.5 inch) intervals.

The two tracks fused with foam and carbon fiber make a solid and durable connection. This design provides the optimal power distribution from the hydrofoil to the board for better pumping and control.

How Does Hydrofoil Surfing Work?

Don’t worry; it is not rocket science. Just look at how birds’ wings or airplanes work. The process of hydrofoil surfing is almost similar. When you attach the hydrofoil under the board, it will gain speed easily. This mechanism helps lift the board out of the water.

As the hydrofoil is positioned at the end of the board, you can go faster and lift higher by leaning on your back foot. Putting pressure on your front leg has the opposite effect of causing you to dive. Therefore, learning how to balance is a big part of hydrofoil surfing.

Where Could You Buy a Hydrofoil Surfing Board?

There are two types of hydrofoil surfboards available in the market and online. Those are-

1. Surf Foiling

You would need many paddles to get into the low waves, so the surfboards tend to be bulky. Surf foiling boards are stiffer and allow you to get a direct feel of foil.

2. Kite Foiling

Kite foiling boards also ease up the take-off process from waves. It helps to keep balance and motion in water.

Now, depending on your budget and preferences, you can find many kinds of hydrofoil surfing boards.

Is Hydrofoil Surfing Fun?

Hydrofoil surfing is more than a fun and thrilling experience for those who love surfing. It is pretty dissimilar to regular surfing.

In general, the smaller the waves, the lesser the wind. Regardless, even without waves, you can float on your hydrofoil surfboards as long as there is some wind flow.

It needs time to maintain balance, take off, move, and position yourself. However, once you learn all of this stuff, hydrofoil surfing will be your favorite option to spend time on the beach.

Hydrofoil surfboards look very unlike regular surfboards or typical noserider boards. Check this link to learn more about the best noserider longboard. Now, you can do foil surfing on any level of waves.

How Hydrofoil Surfing Works

Tips and Tricks

Here goes some tips and tricks for you in case you’re interested in learning hydrofoil surfing-

  • Find a place with small waves and an almost flat-water area where the waves will be within 1-2 feet in height. Then, it’ll be less dangerous.
  • Find a less crowded place on the beach to learn. This is to reduce the annoyance and risk to fellow surfers and swimmers.
  • Try to master your stance and position and keep it consistent.
  • Practice the take-off process for better balance.

[Editor’s note: This video by MACkiteboarding shows some introductory tricks when learning to surf foil:]


Wrap Up

I hope you have learnt more about hydrofoil surfing, and hopefully developed an interest in the sport. If you have not tried it before, make sure to sign up for lessons with a competent professional!

Author Bio

Carmela Smith is an outdoor enthusiast and pro surfer. She has experienced all kinds of adventures with different surfboards. On her website, you will find comprehensive guides and tips related to surfboards and surfing. She hopes to educate others about surfing and outdoor sports.