LEARNING TO FOIL

If you are interested in kitefoiling, either racing or freeride, there are some handy hints and tips you should know to ensure you have a smooth and safe progression into the sport. Learning to foil does take some patience and practice, but is well worth it once you achieve the magical feeling of flying on the water.  Below are some different stages of learning that you may be currently experiencing and some recommended pathways to ensure a smooth and steady development in your skills and enjoyment of this magnificent sport. If your really wanting to progress your foiling, you should think about joining weekly training session at the Fremantle Sailing Club's Kitefoil Academy.

"I have never tried kiteboarding, windsurfing or sailing sports, but I am keen to go foiling…"

It is commonly agreed amongst foilers that being able to kiteboard (on a twintip) is the first step to Kitefoiling.  Having a basic understanding of staying upwind, relaunching, the wind window and kite control is a must to begin your foiling journey.  Your first lessons should be with a certified kiteboarding school (see here for a list of WA kite schools).  From here learning the art of kiteboarding on a twin tip or surfboard with a supported leading edge kite will give you the proper foundation to build your skills and comfort with kite and board control.   Kiteboarding is very accessible and a very fun discipline in itself (surf kiting, freestyle, wakestyle etc) with twintip racing also offered at seasonal events.

"I can kiteboard already, or have experience sailing and windsurfing etc…"

Having some basic kite control skills is an absolute must to learn kitefoiling. If you have sailing or windsurfing experience, this will greatly assist you to learn how to kiteboard on a twintip or surfboard and having this skill under your belt is the first step.  Once you can stay upwind, relaunch and have reasonable kite control skills with a supported leading edge kite, you are ready to try a foilboard. Your first time foiling will be made much easier if you use the appropriate gear. ‘Learning foils’ generally have short mast options, bigger wings, low aspect ratios and big boards. You should also use a SLE kite. Having the right gear to learn on makes the progression much, much smoother. You don’t learn to drive in a Ferrari, so you shouldn’t try for the first time on your mates race foil. Chances are you will hurt yourself, damage your mates gear or get extremely frustrated. As you progress, you will find yourself wanting to go faster or try better equipment.  Remember that certain equipment will help or hinder your progress. If you try something too fast too soon, you will most likely slow down your progression, break expensive equipment or limit your enjoyment of the sport. Your first sessions foiling can be stress free if you keep these basics in check – remember, learn to walk before you run!

"I can foil, and I want to step up to foil kites and faster foils…"

If you can foil on freeride gear and want to step into the racing arena, there are a few things that can make the switch that little bit easier. Firstly, if you are struggling to tack and gybe on your foil gear, try practicing on a surfboard or formula kite race board.  This is a crucial part in your development for foiling and racing. Nailing this skill on an easier board will still teach you the kite skills needed to tack, but avoid the risk of trying to learn on an unforgiving race foil.  Once your nailing tacks on these craft, jump back to your (freeride or race) foil and you will feel much more comfortable.  Secondly, if you are still crashing your kites often, avoid getting a foil kite too soon. Foil kites are expensive and delicate compared to SLE kites.  They require a little more care and maintenance then an SLE but they behave very well when they aren’t crashed often. Their power and efficiency are incredible for racing and foiling, but they also demand more respect and care in their use, and as such require intermediate - advanced kite skills to ensure proper use and minimal crashing.  If you can use your foil kites and are getting the hang of your gear, race training is provided on Monday afternoons at Fremantle Sailing Club to help you get faster and smarter on the race course!

See the Progression Guide page for more detail on recommended learning outcomes

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