HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT HYDROFOIL & FOILBOARD
Is it your first time purchasing a hydrofoil setup, and you’re not sure where to begin?
Understanding the product, and what you need it to do, is 95% of the process when purchasing your hydrofoil setup. From there, you simply need to find a dealer, make your purchase, and put some time in on the water!
This article was written to help you understand hydrofoiling in general, and to understand what variety AK Durable Supply Co. has to offer you.
Hydrofoiling has opened up the playground and allowed us to utilize the smallest waves, flattest lakes, and light wind conditions to bring a new sensation to performance surfing.
Our love for the sport has inspired the modular hydrofoil platform, which is suitable for crossover use in surf, wake, pump, and wind sports.
The hydrofoil is the combination of the baseplate, mast, a fuselage, a front wing, and a back wing that screws onto the bottom of your foilboard.
As you might expect, these are the rigid horizontal structures that project across the centre of the fuselage, similar to an aircraft. There are front wings and tail wings, with the larger front wing providing the lift, and the smaller tail wing stabilizing the hydrofoil; which is why you will also hear tail wings being referred to as “stabs”.
The fuselage is the main body of the hydrofoil, with the front and rear wings mounted on either end.
The mast is the tall upright structure that allows an area for elevation relative to the water surface between the fuselage and wings, and the board.
The baseplate is the junction that connects the mast, and essentially the foil, to the board.
Learn More: FoilingGuide.com
The Modular Foil Platform
All AK wings, masts, fuselages, and base plates are interchangeable, without compromising the ease of assembly and robustness of the overall foil platform. We call this our Modular Hydrofoil Platform.
From your very first ride and lower speed performance to the most technical riding abilities with longer masts and higher speed wings, the modular foil platform is designed to meet your needs at every level across different sports.
The AK range of wings is split into 3 Aspect Ratios: Low, Medium, and High Aspect:
What type of hydrofoil wing suits what riding style?
A higher aspect ratio front wing like the Plasma suits pumping as well as faster riding, whereas lower aspect ratio wings such as the Trek, are geared towards entry level and intermediate riders as they offer more stability at lower speeds and through turns.
At the end of the day it’s ultimately up to the rider, and as testament to this, our very own product developer DK only ever uses the “entry level” Trek to kitefoil.
Things to consider when choosing your foil – Weight, skill level, and riding style:
What are the differences between the different mast sizes, and what are their benefits?
The two most important parts of the hydrofoil setup are the mast length and front wing. The mast, typically made of carbon fiber or aluminum, is the main link between the board and the foil. The mast length is going to impact where and how you can foil.
Consider 70 – 80cm the baseline.
If you are foiling in an area with shallow sand bars or reefs, you don’t want a mast that is too long. Alternatively, if you are foiling in choppy waters or larger waves, then a longer mast is important to avoid the foil breaching the water as the water level changes, which may result in a crash.
Your skill level is also going to dictate what mast size is best for you. Shorter masts are generally better for learning. When you’re not as high up out of the water, the falls are more gentle and you will feel a bit more stable.
Learn More: WindFoilZone.com
Do the front & rear wings need to be the same shape?
No, the front and rear wings can be different shapes, and the various combinations depend on how you want the hydrofoil to perform.
We offer two types of rear wings. An “Arc down” and a “Moustache” wing:
The Arc down rear wing is a flatter wing that allows for easier pumping and less directional stability (i.e. they are looser), whereas the Moustache rear wing offers more stability thanks to the curved wingtips.
Higher aspect foils are usually paired with the Arc down wings, whereas a low aspect foils (like the Trek) will pair well with the Moustache rear wing.
What are the different hydrofoil wing sizes and why do they matter?
We offer front wings from 850 to 2000 depending on the model.
Generally speaking, you can go faster with smaller wings as they carry less drag, but it’s easier to learn on a foil with larger, effectively slower, wings.
The rear wings can also be trimmed to generate early lift to help you get up on the foil quickly.
How does your weight affect what hydrofoil and foilboard you need?
Although your board will spend a lot of time flying through the air, it’s as important to consider board size when starting out, as it is for advanced performance. In the beginning, make sure your board is buoyant enough for you to get started slowly and steadily.
As a foilboard volume guide relative to your weight:
Surf foiling: 30 – 40 Litres of volume below your weight.
Kite foiling: 30 – 40 Litres of volume below your weight.*
Wing foiling: 10 – 30 Litres of volume above your body weight.
*Note: Or consider an ultra low volume twintip construction board.
For hydrofoil wing size relative to bodyweight,
see the detailed foil user guide per model here: Modular Foil Platform
Higher volume boards will provide enough float for you to concentrate on learning how to control the hydrofoil without having to focus on balancing your board. If you’re an experienced water sports enthusiast, you may be able to start on a slightly smaller board. Many high-level riders are using foilboards with less than 25- 30L of volume.
What type of hydrofoil suits what kind of foilboard?
The type of foilboard and hydrofoil combination you choose will depend on the style of riding you will be doing.
If you are looking for entry level performance and freeride progression, the ease of lift and stability of the Trek, or the more progressive Tracer for manoeuvrability, are well suited to medium to high volume boards, like the Phazer for surf, kite, or winging, or the Compact for dedicated wing performance.
For high performance surf foiling and pumping, a high aspect hydrofoil paired with a narrower, lower volume board, like the Phazer, will be more efficient in moving through the water and air.
Hydrofoil How To Videos: Watch Now
From surf pumping, to all-around kite foil cruising and progressive winging, the Phazer is an ultra-versatile foilboard designed to maximize your time on the water. The perfect companion for foiling at every level, each size is optimized to cater to a wide range of users across categories, with a consistent feel underfoot making it easier to size up or down. If you compare it volume to volume to the Compact below, the Phazer offers more glide at lower speed.
The Compact has been fully optimized for wingboarding, with its highly concentrated volume, and low swing weight. Perfect for intermediate to advanced wing riders in lighter conditions, the stable platform and centralized volume create a board that is easy to throw around when jumping and doing progressive maneuvers. The high apex rail maintains the feel of a narrow board, with stability provided by the additional width when not planing. The compact is also ideal if you need a shorter board for travelling, or have a small car.