How to Hydrofoil; Q & A
So you saw someone out on the water flying above the water's surface and getting huge air and now you're asking yourself "what was that thing they were riding?!" Well, it was a hydrofoil, and Sky Ski is at the top of the hydrofoil game. The best news is, you can do it too! Check out the FAQ's below...
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How does the Hydrofoil work?
The Hydrofoil works just like an airplane wing, except it works in the water instead of the air. Since water is 600 times denser than air, the wing can be much smaller and still provide enough lift to fly a person out of the water at slow speeds. When you’re sitting on the seat of the Sky Ski in the water, leaning back puts your upper body weight behind the hydrofoil tipping the hydrofoil up, creating a climbing affect. This raises you above the water. Leaning forward puts more weight in front of the hydrofoil creating a diving affect, bringing you back down to the water’s surface. The rocker of the board keeps the tip of the board well clear of the water even while riding the board on the water’s surface, so you don’t have to worry about crazy faceplants!
New to Sky Ski?
How old do you have to be to ride a Sky Ski?
People of all ages can ride the Sky Ski. Really, the only limitation is whether or not your feet reach the bindings when sitting on the seat. In order to be able to steer the Sky Ski effectively, you need to have about a 60 degree bend at the knees. The standard Sky Skis are good for people in height ranging from about 5’4” to 6’4”. For people outside of this height range we offer adjustable bindings, which is a feature that allows you to move the bindings closer, or further away from the seat tower to accommodate a wider range of heights. For riders smaller than 4ft tall we also offer a Junior model, and this model can be set-up with adjustable bindings as well!
How fast do you have to go?
In the beginning stages the average size rider (175 lbs) will learn to ride at about 14-15 mph. Heavier riders will learn a little quicker, about 16 mph, while lighter riders will learn at around 12-13mph.
What Happens when you fall?
One of the things that makes Hydrofoiling so safe is the fact that you ARE seat belted in, and cannot be hit by any part of the ski or foil in the event of a crash. And since the Hydrofoil acts as a counterweight, when you fall all you need to do is relax and let it self right, and pop your head & shoulders out of the water. Typically this takes somewhere between 1 & 3 seconds. Once you’ve self righted, you’re automatically in the position you need to be in to re-start!
How hard is it to learn?
Learning how to Hydrofoil is a very unique experience, quite unlike most other things you’ve ever done. Due to this, the beginning stages might take an extra day or two to get the hang of. After that, the learning curve is much easier and you will progress faster than in any other watersport.
How fast do I need to go to get BIG AIR like I see the pro’s doing?
First rule of thumb here is that speed is NOT the key, get your technique right first! Although you can speed up to help get big air, things happen very fast at speeds over 22 mph. So save yourself a few crashes, once you’ve mastered riding the foil at 18-20 mph, keep the speed under 22mph and practice all the jumps and tricks until you have them completely mastered, 100%. With the proper technique a 175 lb rider can easily and successfully jump or flip in excess of 10 feet in the air at just 22mph!!
How can I learn faster, are there any Hydrofoiling camps or schools?
Although there are no official schools or camps, there are a few places you can go to get some lessons. The best route for this is to get yourself to a fly-in. Fly-ins are freestyle types of events where riders of all abilities go to just ride and have fun. There are many of these events all over the US through-out the summer, just go to www.hydrofoil.org to get a current years’ schedule of events. You can also get more connected with the sport of Hydrofoiling by joining these two online communities;
We also offer instructional DVD’s here at Sky Ski, they cover everything from just learning how to get up all the way to the most extreme, advanced flips, spins, combos & mobius tricks currently being performed by the top pro’s.
If you’re interested in one-on-one instruction tailored to fit your specific needs, there are a few individuals around the country that offer this, just give us a call here at Sky Ski and we’ll get you hooked up with someone nearest to you or your travel plans!
Is Foilboarding harder than Wakeboarding?
No, in fact it is even easier because it takes less pull and less speed to foilboard.
How do you start out your ride?
Just like a deepwater start on a wakeboard or waterski, you start with the foilboard on in the water. You begin stomach up and let the boat pull you vertical. Please refer to the instructional video for a walkthrough.
Why do you use snowboarding boots & bindings?
For safety reasons, it is very important that you not become disconnected from the board during a crash. As long as you are connected to the top side of the board, the bottom side (with the foil) can’t ever hit you!
Can you foilboard behind a personal water craft?
Yes, absolutely! While the pull up on a Foilboard is about the same as a wakeboard, once you’re up there is significantly less resistance on a Foilboard because the foil flies the board & rider above the surface of the water.
For explanation of Hydrofoil related terms you can refer to our Glossary of Terms