Foil Surfboard Buyer’s Guide Review (2020)

The foil surfboard allows you to have a thrilling and new experience in surfing. They look very unusual for a surfboard, but they offer a very dissimilar surface water pastime.

foilboard or hydrofoil board has a design that is completely unlike a regular board, because floats under the water, so the approaching and riding are completely different. These boards use a couple of varying parts to distinguish them from regular surfboards.

However, the familiar component of these boards is the actual part of a surfboard – the bit that you stand on. There are also various types of hydrofoils and it’s important to get the characteristics of each one.

These boards allow you to get new impressions of the sport, and reach those places where regulars surfers wouldn’t be able to go.

If you want to try this exciting water activity, you will need to learn the essentials of foil surfing, so you could choose the proper foil board. The following article will more closely consider hydrofoil surfboard and all its features. So let’s take a closer look at foiling and how to pick one of the best hydrofoil boards.

How does a Foil Surfboard work?

Foil surfing comes from the early 60s and has become an exciting experience of riding the waves using a special foil surfboard. Additionally, it can result in longer rides that you have more control over. These new boards with foil vary from regular surfboards, but the deck that you stand on is the same as usual. It can be long or short and vary in thickness. The most important difference is using a hydrofoil. Foil wings are mounted on top of a strut under a board extending the board into the water.

Thanks to these wings surfboard can float on top of the water like a catamaran. So, what’s this all about? Surfing a foil surfboard is like aquaplaning and the design of boards allows you to reach new heights floating above the sea surface.

It is an entirely new sensation, that allows you to glide the surface of the water at various speeds. A regular surfboard allows you only to ride waves, but hydrofoil boards may not require waves to get surfing.

It is possible to use them on ripples, small or big waves. You can reach many new places for surfing with foil surfboard inaccessible for regular surfers. Also, you can enjoy much longer rides.

The Invention of Foil Surfboard

Firstly hydrofoil was used in waterski in the early 60s. An aeronautical engineer Bob Woodward patented the design with foils. But it was developing over the years and finally became a sit-down hydrofoil waterski.

A couple of years later, around Kauai’s north shore, Laird Hamilton started riding a modified Air Chair. He took the chair part off and strapped his feet down with snow boots to the board and was dragged like a wakeboarder. The Air Chair was the first commercial foil board sold and is still produced and ridden today.

A group of first tow-in surfers called themselves “The Strapped Crew” and started gliding in big wave places with their upgraded foil boards. In some time, this fascinating way of riding waves became popular. And, of course, the quality of boards progressed and manufacturing also started to increase.

Kai Lenny was the one who experimented on the first foils and innovated the current look of hydrofoil surfboards. As a result, an innovative approach was discovered and another riding waves watersport opened up.

What kind of a foil surfboard you should buy.

It is trickier to choose the perfect foil surfboard than a regular surfboard because there are more parts and curves. If you are looking for the right foil surfboard, you should pay attention to the following boards, delivering an exciting experience:

The Foil Design

The design of the hydrofoil is the most important thing in a board. The surface area of the foil wing is usually measured in squared centimeters and will advise you how much lift you can get from the board.

The profile of the foil is also matters. For foil surfboard generally, a thicker profile is used. This allows for more lift because it provides more power at lower speeds.

The thinner profiled foils are designed for higher speeds. You can move faster and have more control on such a board. But they also have disadvantages like sensitivity to small changes, so you will require greater speed to lift up. Thinner foil profiles are mostly used in kiteboards.

The Shape of Foil Wing

The wing serves as a critical component in the stability of the foil at any speed. The wing of the lifting foil can be high or low. The ratio of the chord and the wingspan determine the shape. Low aspect wings are shorter and fuller, while high aspect wings are wider and thinner.

The speed of sailing is another important point. It is easier to control high aspect wings at high speeds and they are great for pumping. However, this design has the disadvantage of poor control at lower speeds and they drop quicker than high wings.

You can get boards with flat and curved foil wings. Carving is more possible with curved wings, but they are less stable. Flat wings provide higher lift and less drag. Though, if the hydrofoil surfboard has curved down tips of the wings, they are more stable. As much as regular surfboard fins.

There is also the back wing, which acts as the stabilizer in boards. Smaller tail wings provide less lift, and to balance out the front wing, you need to apply more pressure on your back foot. But smaller tail wings make boards looser and it is easier to turn and pump. With some foils, it is able to adjust the rear wing.

The Mast

The mast’s length influences the stability and manageability of boards and the lift of the foil. A longer mast provides you more clearance for bigger and sharper turns while keeping the board’s rails above the water, which is important for longer boards.

However the long mast is located deeper, so to use a foil surfboard with a longer mast you should choose deeper spots, so you could have enough power for a proper launch. Although being a little trickier to control these masts can be more fun to surf the wave.

The Board Itself

You should choose the surfboard on top of the hydrofoil. The rules are almost the same as for choosing regular boards for surfing. The board can be short or long, or you can even get a SUP board for foiling. This depends on your specific likes and dislikes and the surfing conditions.

The board type determines the way you catch tiny or big waves and paddle, balance, and turn. But it is important to choose the board that is suitable for hydrofoil setup.

See Top 5 Foil Surfboards

Do you want to buy the perfect foil board that will fit your purpose? We provide you a list of top options for foil surfing that will help you to make a choice:

Slingshot Sports High Roller

This foil board is perfect for beginners. The High Roller is an advanced generation of foil surfboards designed specifically for paddle-in foil surfing. These foil boards provide easy paddling, carving and pumping, and early takeoff.

Features

  • High volume “S-Rail” paddles like a board twice its length
  • Superb heel and toe leverage for responsive turning and carving provided by the concave deck of boards
  • Comes in three length options
  • Compact, easy to travel with and transport
Volume

Its high volume makes the paddling easier in tiny waves and the foil is compact enough to remain agile and playful once you are foiling. The high volume S-Rail paddles like a foil board twice its length.

Size

The board sizes are big and small: 4’0”, 4’6”, and going up to 5’2″.

Overall, this model is the perfect choice to start foil surfing.

Naish Foils

If you choose the right foil surfboard, then you should consider the products of Naish. The company produces many types of foils that are suitable for any surfer. Soft top, SUP boards, and compact board of varying shapes are available.

Features

  • A famous brand Naish
  • UP/SURF FOILBOARDS, WINDSURF FOILBOARDS, KITE FOILBOARDS, HYDROFOILS
  • Makes a wide range of soft top and carbon boards that are perfect for every level of surfer from novice to intermediate and advanced
  • Boards and foils are sold separately

Perfect For

Naish tries to provide the best board for all kinds of surfers. So each gear of Naish is uniquely designed for an optimal experience. A Naish board is the right one for a surfer with any weight or height and every type of surfing conditions. Of course, each of the Naish boards is suitable for flying above the water.

Lift Foils

The legendary shaper Sean Ordoñez creates optimal decks to help you in paddling and foiling. You can take any boards in small or bigger sizes, in different shapes are available to all kinds of surfers, styles, and conditions.

Features

  • The makers of the original best-selling eFoil
  • Longest pastime, easy to use, low maintenance
  • Guaranteed to last for years
  • Suitable for every level of surfer from novice to intermediate and advanced
  • A wide range of foil boards
Shape & Construction

The lift provides high performance and the best quality. You can get boards in a wide range of designs. The masts are made from the highest quality carbon fiber, and wings are made in particularly any existing shape and size. The company creates some of the most superior hydrofoil boards.

Perfect For

Lift foil surfboards provide the perfect balance for ultimate performance. Boards are matched with the perfect masts and foils.

Takuma Foils

Takuma designed a wide range of foiled boards for various watersports. Foil comes in different designs for wakeboarding, kitesurfing. They make SUP foils, surfing foils, and wing foils. You can even take an e-foil to discover the unique feeling of flying over the water if it is what you are in search of.

The e-foil is using its own propellor system. Even if there are no waves it is possible to use this innovative electric board.

Features

  • Takuma is specialized in all types of foiling activity
  • Innovative e-foil is available
  • Quality materials
  • A versatile foil surfboard brand

Design

Takuma understands this craft better than most, and so their range of boards is ideally suited to each different watersport. Their surf foils also come available in different board shapes, wing designs, and mast sizes. These can be customized based on your individual preference.

Perfect For

All riders, both beginners and expert riders, will appreciate this gear is a high-performance board and it is easy enough to control.

Overall, Takuma is a good brand to discover unordinary territories to surf.

Cabrinha Double Agent

A rider who wants a board that crosses seamlessly between surf skating and foiling should consider this option. Are you in search of such boards? You can find it with The Double Agent of Cabrinha, as they make multifunctional boards.

Features

  • Performance hydrofoil boards that are incredibly easy to ride.
  • Wood constructed foil board
  • 3 different mast sizes available
  • Multi-use as foiling/surfing skate/wake boards

Construction

The Double Agent is available with a wood constructed surf skate shape deck mounted with a hydrofoil system for any conditions. You can take the Double Agent, as it has a carbon/glass construction, which is improving control and stability to the diverse usability of the board, so it is suitable for experienced surfers for sharpening up their skills as well as for beginners. The foil surfboard comes with TT quad fins and a thick EVA deck pad.

Size

It comes in three different mast sizes (40, 65, 85cm), which provide help in getting a high speed or high lifting wing set. It is fully customized.

Perfect For

Every level of surfer from novice to intermediate and advanced gets an easy way to paddle, a perfect experience for foiling, surf skate, or wake surfing with this top gear.

Where to buy a Foil Surfboard

With the craze of foiling now taking over the world, every manufacturer has its own site and online shop with a wide range of products, where you can buy boards directly or you can just order it on Amazon or any multibrand surfboard online shop. That’s not all options. You can find that any board including a foil surfboard of the top manufacturers can be bought this way. But if it is important for you to touch and feel and look at the bord before buying, it is also possible.

In most offline surf shops you can buy good surfboards. There are even some shops which specialize in selling lift foils and a wide choice of these boards is available. As foiling is possible in different conditions, you can find the right surf foilboard in many good surf shops all around the world.

Conclusion

Foil surfing is a hybrid of surfing and hydrofoil technology designed to give riders a fascinating experience. As foil surfing gains in popularity as a new exciting way of surfing even on flat water. Riding wave on foil surfboard is somehow like controlled aquaplaning that provides a whole new sensation on the water. If you want to try something new, you should get started a foiling.

Foiling is good not only for surfing though. There are boards for kite surfing, wakeboarding, and SUP.

The shape, size, and materials are parts of complex science, and impact performance on foil surfboards. Different parts of foil surfboard will give you a different experience. The selected above top boards are some of the best gears for all kinds of use both for beginners and advanced surfers.

You should certainly try these boards out, it will reinvigorate your love for windsurfing and will bring you a new sensation of an effortless silent flight! It’s as addicting and the way you treat the wave is different. It is a real help in opening your eyes to new opportunities and brings you a whole new experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is it to use these surfboards?

You still need to be a quite good regular surfer with a lot of experience to surf a foil. You need to learn the mechanics of foiling in a small wave with a helmet on as there is a lot more going on in this sport. It may take time to learn how to enjoy these boards.

Are foil boards dangerous?

One important thing about foils surfboards is that they are dangerous for other people. That’s why never use foils in crowded line-ups, as these boards can potentially become a dangerous and deadly weapon. These new boards are also more dangerous for surfer than regular ones. They travel at very high speeds and riders should be extremely cautious.

Are foil boards expensive?

Foil surfboards cost more than traditional boards. They have more parts designed to give a different experience. And the price of some new specialized foil boards, such as e-foils with motors, can really go up.

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