Five questions about hydrofoil boards answered

28.02.2020

What is a foil board and how does it work?

Let’s start at the beginning. What is a foil board and how does it work? We talk about a foil board or a hydrofoil board when a hydrofoil is placed under a board that extends the board into the water. As soon as the board gains speed, the hydrofoil will lift the surfboard or kiteboard out of the water due to the kinetic energy.

What is the difference between hydrofoil kiteboarding and hydrofoil surfing?

Kiteboarding – Hydrofoil kiteboards allow the rider to achieve the same result with the use of a kite. Because you are lifted above the water, the resistance decreases. You suffer less from choppy conditions. This will increase your speed. 

Prone surfing – In surf foiling, the wave will give you the initial push to get up on the the foil. As soon as the board lifts out of the water, the drag is reduced to a minimum. Allowing for much greater speeds and more efficient use of the wave power. You don’t need much of a wave to get going, and when you are going, you need even less. All the way down to no wave at all, as you can maintain speed by “pumping” the foil. You won’t last long doing this as it takes a fair amount of energy! 

What shape and construction works best for a hydrofoil board?

The boards are usually flatter and shorter, as the board is only in contact with the water for a short period of time. The back of the board needs to be flat, so the connection to the foil is at 90 degrees. You cannot just use any board shape and convert it to a Hydrofoil board!

Pro surf foil side

Surf foiling

For prone surf foil boards, the boards are usually quite fat. As you need this volume for the first few paddles and to get into the wave early. A foil board is much stiffer, to allow for a direct feel of the foil and efficient pumping.

Kite foiling

Kite foil boards also have some volume, for easy take off, and so the board does not sink and dive on touchdowns. To make the boards stiff and light, carbon fiber is the best option. It offers the ideal weight and stiffness. If you would like to know more about our construction, take a look at our Foil technology page.

Mini kite foil full carbon

How do you connect the hydrofoil to your surfboard?

Most foils on the market are connected using a 4 screw plate mount, with two tracks (actually US box mounts, like the ones you find on a longboard) spaced at 90mm apart. Most load in the setup is exerted on the connection and the box mount, so this is where most boards will fail.

Appletree foil boards have a unique construction with an ultra hard PET honeycomb sandwiched with carbon fiber on both the inside and outside. The two tracks are fused together with this foam and the carbon fibre. This ensures a connection that does not fail. It delivers optimal power distribution from the foil to the board for most efficient pumping and control.

Is foil surfing fun?

Well, what do you think? Off course it’s fun! The speeds you can achieve are much greater in kiting and you can ride with much less wind, giving you more options on days where you normally would stay at home. And in surfing it is similar, you need less waves and less powerful waves, so in areas where proper swell is rare, foiling is a great option! But give it a go for yourself and you be the judge.

Join the hype and learn how to foil surf with our foiling tutorials: