Tips by David Ngiam
Video : Tan Suter
Photo : David Ngiam
Getting up on a wake foil (without foot straps), is similar to getting up on a wakesurf board or wakeskate. However, because the foil sits alot deeper into the water, it can be a little clumsier.
Like getting up on a wakesurf board, you can rest your feet on the board and lie back on the water as you wait for the boat to give you some line tension. Some people find it easier to grab the toeside edge of the board with the back hand and get up on the board with only the front hand on the handle. If you don’t think you can manage getting up with only one hand on the handle, then keep you heels lined up to the heelside edge of the wakefoil board as you rest your feet on it. If you don’t, it will be difficult for the board to snap up to your feet since the foil is so deep. As the boat starts to pull you up, suck up your knees tight to your chest and let the board to snap up to your feet. Make sure you feel that the foil is directly underneath and inline with your body, before slowly standing up. As you have alot of weight on your heelside edge, quickly wriggle your feet as you are getting up so that its on the center axis of the board. Else, you will be constantly on your heelside edge and the board once to turn away from the wake aggressively.
For your stance on the board, you should have your back foot near the tail and slightly behind the mast. Your front foot should be about shoulder width apart from the back foot.
Once you are standing tall, try to keep the weight centered over the board. You need to try to think of the foil as an extension of your legs downwards. If you ‘break’ this extension, you snap into a taco either forwards or backwads and it can be a little dangerous as you might land directly over the foil wings which can be pretty sharp. That being said, if you are foiling for the fist time, wearing a helmet is highly recommended, and cover your face when you fall, and keep it covered until you are sure the foil board is not going to torpedo and hit you in the face. Also, if you find it difficult to maintain your balance on a wake foil, try riding one with a shorter mast.
Your weight distribution should also be even on both feet. If you have too much weight on your back foot, your foil wants to shoot up out of the water. If you have too much in front, the board will ride flat on the water like a wakeboard. You want to shift your weight back and forth slowly until you can find the sweet spot where you are riding about midway up the foil mast at least.
Once you are comfortable riding at a constand height above the water, try riding with only your front hand on the handle so that you can square off your shoulder to the board and learn how to edge on your heelside and toeside edges. Unlike a wakeboard or a wakesurf, the board reacts a little slower when edging so be a little patient, but the ride is also alot smoother as the foil cuts in effortless through the water.