How to choose the perfect beginner SUP Foil spot

Choose your spot to start SUP Foiling

You are already doing SUP surfing, you have tested the Wing Foil or you have the ambition to try your hand at Downwind SUP Foil, these are all excellent reasons to get started in SUP Foil. You will experience unique riding sensations and above all you will enter the club of those who take advantage of all the conditions. However, certain choices such as the equipment you will use and the type of wave you will start on will greatly affect your progress as well as your safety during the beginnings. In order to find suitable wave conditions to fly safely, we give you advice on finding THE right spot near you. We don’t know all the surf spots in France but no matter where you live on the coast, there are bound to be some excellent foil spots that are perfect for beginners. To make the right choices and identify the suitable waves to start SUP Foiling, we give you some keys below to find your prefect SUP Foil spot.

But first what is the interest to practice SUP Foil?

To test something new, work on your versatility, discover new sensations or have fun in 50cm of waves, there are many excuses to try it. For Paul-Conrad, our Team Rider based in Corsica: “Once the apprehension of falling on the fin has passed, the incredible sensations of speed quickly take over. This way, the key to success is to accept this speed and to look ahead. So we can take advantage of the silence and the potential of SUP Foil. The laws of physics push the limits of our evolution on the SUP Foil spot. Going back to the peak and seeing beyond the waves requires a real physical investment, the legs are warm, the heart is pounding. It is harder than an indoor gym session! The evolution of the S-Foil really allows you to go through flat and chop when SUP Foiling. Again we evolve differently on the water. The practice of Downwind is really exhilarating, the descent into the wind is so much faster on a Foil. What a feeling to fly for tens of kilometers with only the sound of the wind! Actually, I spend more time on my SUP Foil than any other craft. No more bad surf sessions where it’s soft, small, on-shore; Besides, we are even looking for on-shore sessions when we have a SUP Foil in our quiver. “

Which type of waves according to your body size / level of practice?

The ideal type of wave for SUP Foil beginners may vary according to your weight. When you are beginning you need small, slow, long and soft waves with a well identified breaking zone and the minimum number of people around. We advise riders of less than 70kgs to try on waves that are 30cm to 60cm high (1-2 feet) to learn. While a rider of more than 80 kgs will need waves from 50cm to 80cm (2-3 feet) to learn how to SUP Foil more easily.

And after? Once you have mastered SUP Foiling (flight, trajectories, pumping) you will gain in lightness in your foot placement and therefore seek the same type of waves but your agility will allow you to draw more lift from each wave. Obviously you will capable then to try on bigger or hollower waves that are breaking fast.  The objective remains nevertheless to always find long waves which reform with precise breaking zones to keep on carving and connecting waves during a flight.

Which characteristics for a good SUP Foil spot?

The bottom: depending on the size of your Foil it will take at least between 1 meter (65cm mast) and 1.20 meter bottom (80cm mast) to be comfortable in SUP Foil where you take the wave. As long as there is this depth, the bottom can be rocky or sandy without any problem as long as the foil is not likely to touch. A rocky bottom is risky for your equipment if there is not enough depth or if the water level varies greatly between the waves but it has the advantage of making the waves break in a predictable and regular way in an identified area. For sandy bottoms, the ideal is to go to the edge of the sandbank to fly over the waves in the rip current once in flight.

Current and wind: you must be very careful with the current on your SUP Foil spot. This can be caused by the tide, by coast effects or by wind and waves. Know the current well before trying a new spot. You need a good positioning on the line-up to fly easily, therefor it is risky to learn in conditions of strong current. To learn SUP Foiling you want to focus on your flight and not constantly on your positioning against the current. As for the wind, it makes it more difficult : the take-off will be more difficult if the wind is from the coast (offshore), and will make catching waves more difficult and risky if it comes from the sea (onshore) because it doubles-up the waves.

Our foil ambassador Martin Letourneur gives some spot selection tips : “When observing a body of water we notice a large number of elements which indicate to us whether the spot is good or not for SUP Foiling, in particular according to the necessary minimum of water depth.” For this, it is necessary to pay attention to the way the water moves around the impact zone, but also to the proximity or not of the coast, and especially to the shape and the size of the waves. For example: this wave below shows little movements around the breaking zone and this zone seems well identified, there is in principle no problem to take off at the edge of the impact zone.

Getting safely in the water with your gear

SUP Foil involves carrying your board equipped with Foil as well as your paddle. To get into the water, the ideal is to put the board upside down in the water (foil up) and walk until you have water at the ribs level (about 1m20 of water). If the bottom is rocky or there is a risk of slippery algae or sea urchins, the solution is to paddle with your hands on the upside-down board until reaching a sufficient distance to put the foil in the water. You always have to look at the bottom when you are paddling, you may think that there is enough depth and suddenly with the tide or the current you arrive on a rocky slab or a sandbank. It is important to always stay on the edge of these areas which may damage your equipment and place you in the impact zone of the waves.

Important safety rules

When you start, you have no choice : you need a leash (even when you are an expert), a helmet, boots and an impact-vest which will be very useful in case of a bad fall. The most important instruction is not to practice among other users of the water (surfers, swimmers, boats), your beginnings are dangerous for you and for them. You now have all the cards in hand to identify a good SUP foiling wave near you and away from the crowds. The best way to progress is also to have a confirmed SUP Foiler who comes with you at the beginning to coach you. Finally, you must have equipment adapted to your level and your weight.

 

Which size of FOIL front wing according to your LEVEL / WEIGHT

The hydrofoil used for the SUP Foil is composed of a mast, a fuselage, a stabilizer (rear wing) and a front wing, it is the latter which ensures the general lift and performance of the foil.

To summarize: the larger the surface area of the front wing, the greater its lift (easy takeoff and stabilization), but the more its speed and handling are reduced. Find our article on how a Foil works for more details.

The four front wing sizes of the S-Foil SROKA have been designed to allow practitioners of different levels and different sizes to practice SUP Foil in the best conditions to have fun and progress.

Quelle taille de planche selon votre niveau / gabarit ?

The practice of SUP Foiling requires having a sufficiently stable board according to your size and your level. The length of the board makes it easier to start on the waves (more inertia) to take off quickly but it decreases the maneuverability and the lift of the Foil. The width and thickness allow gaining stability to help the take-off but reduce the lift of the Foil. Finally, the weight of the board influences the lift of the Foil.

SROKA developed the SUP Foil SKY RIDER 7’8×30 to allow beginner SUP Foilers to learn in perfect stability conditions while using the same board to practice up to 6 disciplines : SUP Foil, Wing Foil, Paddle Surf, Windfoil, Windsurf et Wake Foil.

 

The SKY RIDER 2020 boards dedicated to WING Foil /SUP Foil  6’3 x 29″ (120 L) and 5’5 x 27″5 (90 L) are perfect to perform and reach the highest level in SUP Foil for experienced riders or for the lightest riders. The hull of these boards has been worked with bevels on the rails and a cut tail which limits contact with the surface once in flight and optimizes speed. Cut-outs reduce drag when touching and starting. Finally, the double concave also improves stability for easy take-offs.

 

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