In the voice of Breaking Bad's Jesse Pinkman, "Foil me Bitch" makes complete sense.
And to be clear, this is about foil boards, not foil kites.
So for years, I've been intrigued with foil boards, but not until Adrien Seguy bought one while on our trip to OBX this spring did I have a chance to actually try one. It was only 15 minutes due to some gear malfunctions. Then, Jake Chanson, who moved from the Gorge area to Madison has an original MHL Lift that he's let me use for the last month. Thanks Jake. Some Miller is on the way.
I've put off and put off posting anything until I had a basic knowledge of riding these bad boys.
I wanted to ride these before ever committing to selling them so I would have some knowledge to pass on to potential customers. I have a much better understanding of the hurdles and obstacles and of course the cool stuff about riding foils boards. I have a hard time committing to something like foil boards without riding and knowing firsthand what it takes to ride them.
After finally getting to the point now where I can foil 80-90% of the time, I've been able to learn a lot in a short time frame. However, I'm still a beginner and have a long ways to go before I consider myself a good foil board rider.
I have now committed to selling MHL Lift Foilboards
Below is Jake Chanson's white board which is one of the original MHL Lift boards and the newest generation board that just arrived now that the winds look to be laying down. Haha...just my luck.
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I have spent a lot of time looking and talking to many different brands and MHL seems to have one of the best foils and a trusting brand. It's also very reasonably priced compared to most on the market. We had some problems with the foil that Adrien bought from Real and MHL took excellent care of him until it was resolved completely.
I'm sure Adrien or Jake will chime in, but here are some things to consider. I'm not into just promoting without riders knowing what to expect and there are some major hurdles and things to consider before buying. 1st the positives. Positives:
1) Riding foils is unlike anything out there. It's a really cool feeling and when dialed in it's very relaxing. See below about the dialing in part.
2) Once you learn how to go upwind, it fricking rips upwind. I'm not kidding, the angle of upwind is sick. In Madison, it took me 2 long tacks to get upwind to a point where I don't even bother to go when on twin tips and surf boards.
3) You can explore different parts of bodies of water. Explore.
4) Smooth. Did I say smooth? And quiet.
5) You will learn something new. Progressing is cool.
6) I'm stoked to ge to the point of doing Johnny Heineken style tacks and jibes. I can do tack transitions on surf boards and looking forward to learning them on foil boards.
7) There's a huge amount of satisfaction riding he foil. Knowing how hard it can be, makes it a greater achievement when you nail it. Hurdles and negatives:
I hate using the word negative in general, but here it's imperative that new riders or potential new riders understand what they are getting into.
1) The foil can be a weapon. I'm not kidding. Riders should and must wear helmets and should wear chest protection. Shin guards?
2) You WILL be humbled when learning.
3) You WILL be humbled when learning.
4) The foil can be a weapon.....Ok, got your attention? Fall the wrong way and the foil can hit you in places that can hurt. I've been lucky so far. Great falls of course but no serious injury yet.
At kiteriders, even with new students who are learning to kiteboard, I've always posted videos on my lessons page of what can happen if all hell breaks loose to make sure the new rides are not overconfident and have the right respect for kites, etc.
With foil boards, now magnify this aspect. Even as an expert kiteboarder and kite flyer, the foil board should be respected. It's amazing how fast the s**t can hit the fan even when you are going along at ease and then BAMM.....down you go.
5) The learning curve will take you back to the basics.
6) Learning how to just handle the foil while getting to deep waters will take time. Getting it on your feet will take time. Getting up will take time. Riding the foil will take time. You get the picture. I've been taking good notes since the beginning and developing what I think is a very simple progression for new riders, but it will still take some time to learn.
7) You need deep waters that are weed free. We're lucky in Madison to have both great shallow water riding spots, but then in the rest of the lake, it's deep and perfect for riding foils.
They are expensive if getting a modern carbon fiber foil. All the companies are making them in mostly custom shops and MHL is doing a good job of using modern technology and manufacturing methods to make great products.
9) The designs of foils vary greatly.
10) You'll want to learn in calmer waters. Bigger waves will screw with you.
11) You'll ride about a kite size smaller when learning and maybe 2 kite sizes smaller once advanced.
12) Riding in lighter winds suck if you can't yet foil. Riding in light winds is cool when you know how to foil. Dropping the kites in these conditions may mean session over.
13) You will awaken muscles that haven't been used in normal kiteboarding.
14) I mention above that it's a really cool feeling when dialed in, but it's unnerving when on the brink of crashing when you are at speed and 3 feet above the water.
The list could probably be 2 times as big for both the positive and negatives, but this is a good start.
As mentioned above, I'm developing a good lesson progression, so if anyone wants to learn and cut way down on your learning time, call or email me and of course let me know if you want to get an MHL Lift. http://kiteridersllc.com/karty2/index.php?route=product/product&path=73&product_id=138
Take care and always, thanks for looking.