Kites for Hydrofoiling: What to Grab?
What do you grab? Kites for Hydrofoiling Edition.
4-9 knots: HQ Matrixx Foil Kite
We choose the HQ Matrixx for extreme light wind conditions for one reason...Weight. In sub-10 knot conditions most inflatable kites will not stay in the sky without major babysitting from the rider, The Matrixx weighs only a fraction of a similar sized inflatable kite and has been specifically designed for flying in a whisper of wind. The Matrixx is an efficient kite that delivers great power and speed. However, it is a little challenging to move this kite downwind quickly due to its efficient shape and sluggish turning speed. The trick is to not get caught upwind too far and to make long slightly downwind tacks that do not risk overrunning the kite. There are other options for foil kites out there but no one matches the ease of use and affordability of the HQ Matrixx.
9-14 knots: Single strut kites - North Mono, Airush Ultra, Naish Boxer, Liquid Force Solo
We tend to grab the single strut kites in this light wind because they are lighter than average inflatable kites but still offer the handling and downwind performance of your average freeride kite. While not quite as light as a foil kite, these single strut options are the simplest and affordable option for someone looking to foil in light winds. They can be flown with your normal bar, offer great wind range, smooth power delivery, and a familiar feel to the other kites in your quiver. Extra bonus, they pack down super small so when traveling, you can pack about two kites in the same space.
11-50 knots Cabrinha Drifter
When it comes to a fun kite for freeride foiling it is pretty hard to beat the Cabrinha Drifter. It's quick turning, smooth power, and obvious drift ability makes it the absolute champion of anything except the lightest winds. A longtime favorite of our crew with surfboards has found a cult like following with hydrofoil riders. Once you experience the freedom that the Drifter kite brings, it is pretty tough to go back to another kite that requires more attention to back stall when riding downwind. I would like to name some other kites that offer a similar experience but they simply do not exist as of now. The Drifter really is a unique and magical kite, a unicorn among horses.
Dear Cabrinha, please make a 2m Drifter next year :)
Fresh Prince of Foil-Air
"Ok, the Rhyme game has begun. Step up to the plate foos" - Tucker
Now this is a story all about how
My quiver got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became a surf kite Foil-air
In West Foil-adelphia board start and raise
Ridin' Lightwind is where I spent most of my days
Chillin' out tackin' upwindin' all cool
And all ridin' some rollers upwind of fools
When a couple of kites who were raising their voice
Started making trouble in my quiver choice
I got in one little back stall and my Mom got scared
She said, "You're movin' back to surf kites, and you're a Foil-air."
I begged and pleaded with her day after day
But she packed my C kites and sent them away
She gave me a Drifter and then gave me my Matrixx
I put my Walkman on and said, "I might as well play Traxx."
First class, yo, this is bad
Ridin' chop out there like its glass.
Is this what the Foil-Air Feelin' is like?
Hmm, this might be alright.
But wait I hear they're fast, can't unhook, all that
Is this the type of kite that they just send this kite cat?
I don't think so
I'll see when I get there
I hope they're prepared to convince this Foil-Air
Well, the gear landed and when I went out
There was crap wind standing there calling my name out
I ain't trying to get rescued yet
I just got here
I sprang with the Drifter like lightning, disappeared
I whistled for a land and when he came near
The tee shirt said "North" and he had Dice in the rear
If anything I could say that this Cab kite was rare
But I thought, "Nuh, forget it."
– "Bro, get back out dare."
I pulled up to the launch about 7 or 8
And I yelled to the cabbie, "U sick, see you later."
I looked at my Quiver
I was finally there
To sit on my board, why not? I'm a Foil-Air