Name: Balz Müller
Sponsors: MB Boards, Severne Sails, Moses foils
Balz Müller is an up and coming windsurf freestyler, well known for his creativity on the water, regularly inventing new moves and pushing the limits of the sport.
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Windfoiling has until now been most interesting for freeriders, as it has offered the possibility to plane with winds under 10 knots. However, Balz Müller has again pushed the bar further by testing freestyle moves with a foil.
His windfoil freestyle moves have been widely spread on social media, which will hopefully inspire many freestylers to give it a try.
His creativity may have started a brand new discipline in windsurf: Freestyle foiling, also called Foilstyling!
1. Balz, tell us a little bit about yourself and your daily life
I’m not a professional windsurfer yet. I don’t like so much dealing with sponsors and really fail in the office work.
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That’s also the reason why I’m still working as a landscaper in Switzerland. So my daily life is pretty much working/digging 9 hours a day, creating nice gardens around my home lake Bierlersee.
While working, I’m dreaming of windsurfing and looking forward to a nice evening or weekend windsurf session. I hope this situation will change soon, as I’m really living for windsurfing and trying to go surfing as much as possible. There is so much I want to try and invent, especially in foil windsurfing.
2. What is your favorite windsurf moment?
Every session is balsam for my soul. I most enjoy stormy conditions as I love to fight against raw nature. It’s so impressive how small you feel in big waves and heavy winds.
Even if you think you handle the windsurf gear, you can suddenly get surprised by an unexpected gust. Those are the moments I love the most.
I had a similar feeling the first time I tried foiling. It’s something new, and you really need time to learn how to handle it.
3. Who are you looking up to?
I’m looking up to people who are living their dreams and creating a living out of them. People who are motivated to try new things and are creative in their own way.
4. You started foil windsurfing earlier this year. What’s your impressions with windfoiling?
I’ve been foiling more or less twenty times, so I’m still “a beginner“, but already I can’t get enough of the wonderful feeling of flying over the water. When you cruise 60cm over the surface in silence with a super light breeze – so light that you normally never would go windsurfing – and hear the whitecaps breaking under your board, you quickly find yourselves dreaming away.
5. We have seen you jumping high on a windfoil, could you describe your basic technique to jump higher on a foil?
It’s actually quite easy: The foil always produces lift, so if you fly down low over the water surface and then release the pressure off the board, you will kick in the air. Use the lift from the foil and make a proper chop hop. It will catapult you high above the surface, even without a chop.
6. Is there any risk to destroy the board’s fin box or foil itself when jumping?
Sure, there is a huge amount of pressure working on your foil and fin box, even when you just are foiling straight. Therefore, I did some additional reinforcements around my fin box on my own custom “Red Ferrari Foilboard”, just to be sure it will hold.
After every landing I keep being surprised of how much those carbon wings can cope.
7. What about freestyle foiling: do you think the trend you started will continue?
There’s a big potential in foil freestyling, or foilstyling as I call it.
A foil is like a trampoline: the lift you get from the wings is impressive. I am sure that as soon as freestylers will get into foiling, many new moves will be created.
Freestyle foil pioneers, like the dudes from Horue foil, have been doing loops and carves for more than two years already. I am sure there is much more to come.
8. What about you, is windfoiling your favorite water activity now?
To be honest, it has completely taken over my time on the water. The wind in Switzerland has simply been too light for windsurfing recently but just perfect for windfoiling.
Therefore foiling has given me more actual sailing time the past month and I really feel how my body stays fit due to the intense training on the foil.
I think windfoiling is a great way to stay fit, have fun, and further I improved my sail abilities and balance a lot.
9. What equipment would you recommend to those who would like to try freestyle foiling?
First of all, I recommend using an easy, beginner foil: not too fast otherwise you will be scared to try anything.
Do not choose a sail with too much power in the sail. For example a newer 4.4/4.8 freestyle sail with 20 knots of wind. The shape of newer freestyle sails have a lot of lift and power, but are still super light and maneuverable.
Do not take a big board: 100L or smaller will do, because in the air you will feel every liter in your ankles. As soon you feel comfortable just start trying duck jibes, heli tacks, chop hops, and backloops.
10. In your opinion, what is the future of windfoiling?
Looking at how easy some of the foils are bringing windsurf rookies up in the air, I am pretty sure we are going to see more and more people fly over the water.
I have helped a 9-year-old boy making his first steps on a windfoil and see on the other hand an 81-year-old “grandmaster” flying it, proving that windfoiling is really for everyone.
I see a big potential in countries like Switzerland, where light wind often frustrates windsurfers, and I think that Foil-windsurf combo-boards will be in 90% of windsurfers’ quiver 10 years from now.