Windfoiling is slowly but surely getting more and more popular, and the level of skillful riders keeps getting higher and higher. After the first sessions trying to find out how the foil works and how to control the pitch of the board, a natural next step is to improve technical skills, like flying in very light wind, master the foiling jibe.
However, jumping and freestyle moves with a foil may be the next big trend in windfoil.
Windfoiling has been a very hot topic the past years, and windfoilers like Balz Müller have given some ideas of the potential windfoil offers when it comes to jumping and freestyling. Check out one of the insane foilstyling videos of Balz Müller.
Windfoil is definitely not only a fantastic weapon to cruise in light winds, it’s also a great tool for freestyle tricks, as the foil works like a spring, and enable high jumps even in light wind.
Freestyle Jumps With a Windfoil
Balz Müller’s show has been largely spread on social media, and he has given inspiration to many windfoilers. We are probably going to see higher jumps and more freestyle tricks in the coming weeks, months, and years.
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Remember the first forward loops in windsurf in the 80’s? That trick was just unbelievable but has now become very common. Windfoiling is at the same stage as windsurfing in the 80’s. We are just starting to learn how to control the spring of the foil and who knows which unbelievable trick will be invented?
The Precursor of Hydrofoil Jump
Even if windfoil jumping has not “taken off” yet, jumping with a foil is not new at all. Look for example at this video from 2003 (!) of a hydrofoil chair:
This video shows clearly how the foil is used to jump higher. It’s a combination of technique, timing and speed, which allows the rider to get such big airs. This technique will also be applicable to windfoiling.
6 Steps to Learn How to Jump on a Windfoil
1. Sail with your foil halfway above the water. Unhook your harness line for more safety (you don’t want to get catapulted).
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2. When you’re ready to jump, press on your front foot to dip the foil down a little bit (picture 1). Do not touch the water with the board, as it will slow you down and you will lose the momentum.
3. Immediately after dipping down, initiate the jump by applying pressure on your back foot (picture 2 and 3). It is the sharp change in direction (from down to up), which will generate the power to exit the water. The faster you change the foil direction, the bigger your jump will be.
Contrary to regular windsurfing, the sail will not have a huge impact on the height of the jump, but try to keep it trimmed the entire jump for better control in the air.
4. When the foil is completely out of the water, level the board by bending your legs and prepare for landing. (picture 4). Keep eyes straight in front of you, on the horizon preferably. This keeps you from looking straight down and landing too early.
5. The landing is the trickiest part and source of crashes. As soon as you feel the wing enter the water, keep your weight centered over your front knee and then lean back slightly to level off (picture 5). Your nose may briefly touch down on the surface of the water; almost like our good old windsurf nose landings (picture 6).
6. Then step back on your back foot to keep foiling as soon as possible. (pictures 7 and 8). With enough practice, you will get the right timing, and eventually you will land and glide away almost without touching the surface.
3 Tips to Remember
The first tip is that overall speed is not the key to jumping. Get your technique right first, and then increase the speed to get higher when you control your jumps 100%. This is to make sure you don’t get injured if you crash at the beginning. Remember to wear a helmet, impact vest, and preferably a wetsuit and boots.
Second tip: Start with small jumps, easy and safe – and go from there.
Third tip: Practice on flat water: You don’t need any chop on the water to jump at the beginning, as you want to practice using the natural spring of the foil to make you jump. Later on, you can spot a small chop to get even higher.
Here is an example of the foiling jump in slow motion:
Jumping on a windfoil is not only a cool trick, but also a great way to get rid of seaweed or garbage on your foil giving you drag. A small jump should clear your foil of junk most of the time.
Now, go on the water and practice until you manage the speedloop. Check this video from Horue!