Hydrofoiling is the fastest growing, tow-behind category for boat owners. A common question we get here is "how do I chose the right hydrofoil or hydrofoils for myself, my family and my boat?" We wanted to do a high-level video helping you understand how to go about choosing the correct setup, and this blog aims to go a little deeper.
We'll be breaking down three different categories of foils to consider as well as recommending different foils that fit into each category. That being said, it's always best to have a conversation to help you build out the correct setup. Don't hesitate to reach out to us via our live chat available on this page, or just give us a call. 800 622 4655.
To help you decide, let's start with the Boat Hydrofoil Categories.
Boat Hydrofoil Categories
These are the most popular by far; wings that will allow you to surf the wake without a rope. This encompasses larger foils such as the Slingshot Infinity 76, Neilpryde Glide Surf M, GoFoil Iwa 170, etc. These are also a popular choice for heavier riders at or about 200 pounds, or newer riders of average weight, who are looking to ride at lower speeds.
These are the middle-of-the-road wings. Foils like the Slingshot Gamma, Liquid Force Impulse, and the Lift Kite Wing come to mind. You won't likely be letting go of the rope with these, unless you are very light. Likewise, you won't be treating these like a high-performance wing either. The benefit here is that these work for most boats and the entire spectrum of riders.
High Performance Hydrofoils
These are the wings designed for speed and tricks. Wings such as the Slingshot H5, Liquid Force Thruster, and the Naish Thrust Kite fall into this category. You might find yourself putting straps on the board and going for aerials or even handle passes. Not too many people are practicing on this level yet but the category is growing and really exciting.
What This Means For You
So how do these categories apply to you, your family, and your boat? There are a lot of boat styles that a hydrofoil will work behind. Anything from jet skis, pontoons, wake boats, yachts, sailboats - the possibilities are endless! Hydrofoils are versatile and work well on just about anything with a motor. That said, some boats have limitations when it comes to these categories.
Depending on the type of rider you are, you may need a boat that can produce enough wake to actually surf.
Some other boats, paired with a large wakesurf wing and a small enough rider, may work but it simply depends on your specific situation. Something else to consider is rider weight. For example, a small child may not weigh enough to control a large hydrofoil, while dad who weighs 200 lbs is going to need a larger wing just to get up and riding.
Depending on weight, some lighter riders will be able to surf without the rope on an all-around foil, while most adults will absolutely need a large wing on that same boat.
You might be asking yourself - "what's the safe play? What wing will work for everyone?" That would be something in the all-around category. While you might not be able to go rope-less, it's something that will work for the whole family and for all ability levels.
In contrast, if you only have a high-performance wing, new riders or riders not comfortable with higher speeds (required to find stability) will not be able to ride. If you only have a large surf wing, smaller and lighter riders may not be able to control the wing, as it provides too much lift and will want to rise out of the water.
Outfitting Your Boat
This leads to the next point of building out a "quiver" of wings for your boat. We don't think everyone needs to have a variety of hydrofoils on their boat. That said, if you have a lot of guests or a large family, having a selection will allow everyone to have more fun and get the most out of your boat.
You might consider having some wings from each category and for different rider weights within that category. Or, maybe you or your kids have mastered ropeless hydrofoiling and you want to dive into performance riding.
Ultimately - foiling is quite complicated. We'd love to help you sort through the mess of foils. Give us a call at the shop anytime to discuss these points further!
Nate has been with us since 2011. If you have any questions about kiteboarding, snowboarding, skiing, electric bikes, or foilboards, chances are, Nate knows the answer. You can catch him on the phones most days of the week or on our showroom floor. He practices a number of sports and is a avid mountain biker.
With Foil boarding taking off in recent years, Nathan has really gravitated towards wakefoiling and has been helping build out immense foilboarding knowledge center