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Foil Boards and Downwind Riding

Last week, we asked you what you wanted to know about kiteboarding. This week we have your answers! Cabrinha team rider, Damien LeRoy, gives us the scoop on foil boards, light wind and downwind riding.
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You’ve been riding a foil a lot lately. How hard is it?
Well the truth is I have been riding a foil a lot lately because I have not seen wind in Florida more than 12mph in weeks! The foil is ideal for light winds, making it possible to ride almost everyday. Yes, it is tricky to ride at first. It usually takes people a good hour or two (of the biggest beating you’ve ever had!) to learn.  Then, after you figure out not to move on the thing, it’ll click and it’s all fun from there.

What are the ideal conditions for a foil board?
I, personally, think 12 knots is ideal for the foil. For sure, non-wavy conditions help when you first start on the foil. The kite flies well in 12 mph, you’ll have plenty of power, and the ocean will be flat because the wind is so light!  It is perfection. Longer lines, like 27 meter to 30 meter long, really help too when you first start.

What is the best technique for riding downwind for long distances?
This is a very good question! The trick to riding downwind for long distance would be to get yourself a bigger board like a slalom board or a directional surf board or even a foil!  A twin tip is harder. As you get tired on the downwind leg, you will start tripping over the nose of the twin tip.  The other boards have a higher nose making it easy to plane and keep your speed up. As for the kite, you want to dive it down and ride toward it to get the most pull deep down wind. Then, as the kite is getting close to the water you start edging against it making it turn fast as you bring the kite back up and then back down. Repeating this process, you will go as deep into the window as possible with the fastest speed — while covering the most distance — straight downwind.

 

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When would someone choose to use a foil over a twin tip or race board?
All the time! A foil board is the fastest thing around a race course hands down. Foils will take over everything.  When it gets really windy, and you’re still racing slalom, you might still be on a slalom board or bigger course board, but eventually a course racing foil will dominate in all conditions.  There’s no question in my mind that a foil is the future of light wind riding and racing. Distance racing as well… you name it.Is a foil board something realistically within reach of an average kiteboarder?
For sure! Everyone can learn to ride a foil.  You must respect it when you start, and the trick is not to be overpowered on your kite. Always keep your body in-line with the strut or shaft below you, and never bend at the waist. Line extensions at 27 to 30 meters will really help too.

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