United States Hydrofoil
Hydrofoiling is an exciting sport that
has things to offer at all levels of expertise. From riding
and enjoying a smooth ride in rough water to performing
aerial tricks anywhere behind the towing water craft. Come
and join us in the exciting new sport!
A hydrofoil is made up of three major assemblies:
Seat Tower - This is the where
you sit on the ski. Typically made of aluminum, there
are models with a shock and without a shock. These are
called "Shock Towers" and "Rock Towers." The seat comes
with a safety belt that keeps the rider from being
released from the seat/ski.
Board - The board is typically
made of fiberglass or carbon fiber resin molded ski.
There are two bindings with safety straps that keep the
rider's feet from being released from the board. There
are bindings that can be adjusted up and down the board
for different rider leg lengths.
Foil Assembly - The foil
assembly consists of three major parts. The
strut/fuselage which acts as a rudder to guide the rider
in the direction they turn their knees/body. The front
wing which provides the lift and enables the rider to
rise/jump the ski off the surface of the water. Lastly,
there is the rear wing which stabilizes/counterbalances
the lift from the front wing. There are many different
kinds of foil configurations and these configurations
are critical for how the ski reacts and rides in the
water. The foil assemblies are typically made from cast
or billet aluminum.
A hydrofoil is towed behind some type of watercraft with a
driver and a spotter. The rider straps into the hydrofoil
and secures the safety straps on the seat tower and the
bindings. Starting in deep water, they lean back to keep the
tip of the board out of the water and then once the board
begins to plane, the rider leans forward to keep the
hydrofoil from leaving the water. Once the rider is at a
speed high enough to provide lift from the foil assembly,
they will bring the board off the surface of the water at
which time "flight" begins. This is when the "balancing" act
begins. To bring the board off the water, the rider leans
back and to bring the board down to the water they lean
forward. The rider steers the hydrofoil by moving their
knees in the direction they want to go.
One of the benefits of riding a hydrofoil is that the rider
can ride above the waves which makes it a great water sport
in rougher water. In fact, the rider is usually limited by
speed the boat can go. If the water is too rough, the boat
may not be able to go fast enough for the rider to get
enough lift from the foil to rise above the surface of the
waves. Another benefit is the ease of riding. There is far
less strength need to ride on a hydrofoil than a water ski
or a wakeboard. Hydrofoils actually ride underneath the
water which reduces the amount friction on the riding
surface which in turn reduces the tension in the rope. A
water ski, on the other hand, rides on the surface of the
water where the friction is much greater (surface tension).
This effect can be demonstrated when watching a rider
release from the rope. A hydrofoiler will "coast" for a
longer distance than a water skier or wakeboarder going at
the same speed.