What Is Hydrofoil Surfing?

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Are you looking to take your surfing skills to the next level? Then you may want to give hydrofoil surfing a try. It’s a relatively new watersport that’s been gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason – it offers a unique and exciting experience that’s unlike anything else in the water.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of hydrofoil surfing, including how it works, the equipment you’ll need, and some tips for getting started. But first, we’ll answer the question on many people’s minds: what exactly is hydrofoil surfing?


What is Hydrofoil Surfing?

Hydrofoil surfing, also known as foilboarding or foil surfing, involves riding a surfboard with a hydrofoil attachment that lifts the board out of the water. The hydrofoil is a long, slender wing that’s submerged below the board, and as the board gains speed and the water flows over the foil, it generates lift that raises the board above the surface of the water.

This creates a sensation that’s often described as “flying” over the water, as the board glides smoothly and silently above the waves. Hydrofoil surfing requires a different technique than traditional surfing, as the board is lifted out of the water and no longer in direct contact with the waves.


The History of Hydrofoil Surfing

Hydrofoil surfing is a relatively new sport, with origins in Hawaii in the 1990s. Early pioneers of the sport experimented with different foil designs and board shapes before settling on a standard setup that’s now widely used.

In recent years, hydrofoil surfing has exploded in popularity, with surfers all over the world giving it a try. It’s become a competitive sport, with events and competitions held in locations like Hawaii, California, and Australia.

How Does Hydrofoil Surfing Work?

Hydrofoil surfing works by using the principles of hydrodynamics to generate lift and reduce drag. The hydrofoil is shaped like an airplane wing, with a curved surface on the top and a flat surface on the bottom.

As the board gains speed and the water flows over the foil, the curved surface on top generates lift while the flat surface on the bottom reduces drag. This combination of lift and reduced drag allows the board to lift out of the water and glide smoothly along using only a small portion of the board in direct contact with the water.

To ride a hydrofoil board, the rider uses a special foil-specific board that is typically longer and narrower than a traditional surfboard. Additionally, the rider will need a hydrofoil attachment that fits onto the bottom of the board.

The hydrofoil attachment consists of a mast, a front wing, and a rear stabilizer wing. The mast is a long, slender pole that attaches to the board and extends down into the water. The front wing is attached to the mast and is the main lifting surface of the foil. The rear stabilizer wing is typically smaller and is used to control the pitch and stability of the board.


Equipment Needed for Hydrofoil Surfing

To get started with hydrofoil surfing, you’ll need some specialized equipment. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need:

– Hydrofoil board: This is a special board designed specifically for hydrofoil surfing. It’s typically longer and narrower than a traditional surfboard to provide stability and reduce drag.

– Hydrofoil attachment: This is the piece that attaches to the bottom of the board and contains the mast, front wing, and rear stabilizer wing.

– Wetsuit: Depending on the water temperature, you may need a wetsuit for warmth and protection.

– Safety gear: While hydrofoil surfing can be a lot of fun, it’s important to remember that it can also be dangerous. Wear a helmet and consider using a life jacket for added safety.


Getting Started with Hydrofoil Surfing

If you’re ready to give hydrofoil surfing a try, here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Take lessons: Hydrofoil surfing requires a different technique than traditional surfing, so it’s important to get some lessons from a qualified instructor. Look for a surf school or instructor that specializes in hydrofoil surfing.

2. Start small: Start with a smaller hydrofoil and work your way up to a larger one as you gain experience. A smaller foil will be less stable but easier to control, while a larger one will be more stable but harder to control.

3. Practice in calm water: When you’re first starting out, it’s best to practice in calm, flat water. This will help you get a feel for the board and the foil without the added challenge of waves.

4. Keep your weight over the foil: When hydrofoil surfing, it’s important to keep your weight centered over the foil. This will help you maintain balance and control over the board.

5. Stay safe: Remember that hydrofoil surfing can be dangerous. Wear a helmet and consider using a life jacket for added safety.



Hydrofoil surfing is a fun and exciting new watersport that’s gaining popularity all over the world. It offers a unique experience that’s unlike anything else in the water, with a sensation of “flying” above the waves.

If you’re interested in trying hydrofoil surfing, be sure to take lessons from a qualified instructor and start in calm, flat water. With some practice and the right equipment, you’ll be on your way to enjoying this thrilling new sport in no time.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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