How are you guys thinking about hydrofoiling? Expensive, fun, or boring?
Well I know, there are a lot of different opinions and thoughts about this side- path of the kitesurfing sport.. Al of these thoughts went around at least one time in my head, pretty sure about that!
Hydrofoiling & Mariska: A long lasting relationship or just a try out? This is my story:
Like in all new relationships you are not really sure, still new to each other. In the beginning, there was still some distance between me and the foil (not sure if this relationship was a long lasting one or only one of those quick -never again try outs). Let me tell you a little secret before starting the real story: I am (was) probably the best example of hating that stupid foilkites and for sure I am (was) the biggest opponent of that way too expensive, big, breakable and impractical hydrofoil. I am never going to use that (just like I always said I never need a boyfriend).
12 knots and my 12m is just enough for light wind ( I mean really light wind) freestyle. When would I use that foilkite and hydrofoil? Or in other words why would I buy an expensive big kite with a lot of lines, too slow for someone with not so much patient. I can find all reasons not to: what if it gets wet? I can`t relaunch it. The bar is two times the size of my freestyle bar, for what reason? A hydrofoil is expensive, to much effort assembling it, dragging it to the beach and after all it is boring (more for older people, just mowing the lawn).
“Not the typical ingredients for a good relationship, what do you think?
Keeping in mind that I always refused to try the foil kites, the kite will always fly over you, fly backwards and isn`t reacting fast enough. It never but I mean never listens to what I want it to do. The first time I was almost crying and wishing it to be a tube kite…
“Relationships are made to be always more complicated and never end by one day, they follow you…”
Two years ago in South Africa, Sharks Bay waiting (yes it is possible) for the wind, which unfortunately never came that day, at least not for us the normal kiters. While hopeless trying to fly our kites, we saw two kiters coming upwind, all the way from main beach. Gaining attention of all (!) the 30 kiters sunbathing. Taking a better look, two hydrofoilers with foilkites. At that moment I though (or convinced myself), they are kiting in a channel that should help him go upwind, next to the mountain is more wind. They started at main beach, there should be a little wind over there. Secretly I was not really convinced about it and we made our way to main beach checking it out… nothing.. no wind at all. This moment always stayed in my mind as a big puzzle. How did they managed to make their way upwind? How did they.. launched their kites? How are they still kiting? How…. I thought I would never know or find an answer to this.
“A little voice in my head said…you see this, they are kiting and you…waiting for wind, what if you………”
Should I have learned it, investing time (and money ) in the foil kite and hydrofoil relationship. But hey if there is no wind you can do other things, being social, wakeboarding, studying, playing soccer..
… On the other side, you can over -act it: studying, seeing family and friends is nice but, if its for more than two days… that little voice stayed in my head together with the picture of 30-40 kiters all watching the two only kiters, interesting. It took a while before I discovered that in Dutch summer time there are a lot of days, that the wind is not enough for your 12m, just not enough to have some fun. We all know these days right? Thinking by myself; as a kiter I would like to be on the water as much as possible, right? So that was it, I had to find out what that kiters in Cape Town did, I had to learn it. Before making an opinion about hydrofoiling and flying foilkites.
“I never did it before so I think I can do it”
I managed to find a beginners foil and started practicing ( I might should have read some theory or watched some YouTube videos to make it a bit easier, not having to find out the “wheel” again. Well, nothing wrong creating your own way). End of the winter, safely with a tube kite I started. That safely was one thing but a tube kite staying in the air with light wind was another thing (because hydrofoiling is supposed to happen in light wind right? ). I noticed that not every kite is so easy to handle in light wind.. do I really had to try a foil kite? Or is it my lack of skills? That day it took a while (and some of the usual frustration) before I finally got on the water with the foil and kite in deep water. Lasted for half an hour, than the wind died so, I didn`t really get the feeling. See it as the first date.
Now I started, I had to discover what those people experienced that day in South Africa, there must be something good. Something good, I did not discover, yet. And if I start soemting I will never give it up. In between I went to Vietnam and Thailand for the KTA (Kite tour Asia), I took the foil with me in case I got the change to try it. It just never packed out right to really try it (maybe a small try, struggling in between not so friendly yellifishes). But I saw some foil kite action, people showing one footers, board offs and that three times in one jump, all with foil kites in the light wind. Usually at the moments I was struggling with my 12m tube kite. That made me more motivated to learn it.
“Again a little voice in my head said: you see these people? Having fun and flying and you…”
Back home in Holland I went on with the foiling part 1.2 even though it was winter . Actually it happens to be a great alternative instead of doing freestyle with hand gloves and booties. I even managed to ride it finally in a proper way, we started to become friends, the beginning of our relationship with respect from both sides.
And just like after a first date, more is following. You remember I said; tube kites are not that easy in light wind, so that one day came. Mariska with hydrofoil and a foil kite into the ocean… totally against my opinion but I indeed always say you have to try everything once in life. When I touched the water I was not even thinking about hydrofoiling I was thinking about how to not crash that kite and if it suddenly drops out of the air and, and… and…. Normally I never think that much about what I am doing especially not while kiting. The first tries where a little crazy but .. within a couple of minutes I was foiling.. and the kite, was perfectly doing his job (way better than the tube kite in 8 knots). Did I discovered a new way of kiting? In only 8-10 knots? That changed my mind a bit. But since I am more from freestyle on the snow and on the water……..
“if I really liked it and this kites? Is this really for a long time relationship adventure? I was not sure, yet.”
Hold on, more is coming. Time to hit the snow, participate the Redbull Ragnarok`16, yep with a tube kite. Not the best choice I know and about that I am totally convinced at the moment writing this story. Some of the winning participants showed me that. While the tube kites were lying on the trailing edge like really “dead” they cruised along with there foilkites if it was blowing like crazy. And no way my kite was going to fly… I walked up the mountain to the checkpoint. Just ignoring that little voice in my head…You probably know what that voice was saying…..
Since I am always looking for a new challenge, back in Holland I decided to grow my foil skills. I participated the Foil Cup Holland where I definitely learned a lot and noticed I had to learn a lot more. But I also realized that racing with a foil is fun and challenging, not boring at all – just some thing different. And actually quiet the same to racing on skies. The first competition I was flying of the foil, crashing (and doubled in rounds through the rest). Luckily there where a lot more stops, on the end I discovered going downwind with a foilkite is more easy than a tube kite, I actually made all the rounds without beeing doubled and had a lot of fun. Even ended up as second and best talent! Some motivation for the next year.
From jumping and crashing of the foil to learning how to turn it in/above the water, participating a race. Hydrofoiling has more possibilities than you think. Maybe it is even more fun than lightwind freestyle! Well maybe.
“ Is this the than finally the start of our long lasting relationship?”
To end this story I have to tell you about Brazil, end of 2016 (a year ago) I discovered foiling isn`t that boring at all and can even be scary from time to time. With low tide and lighter wind (35 nots) I was doing fine to unhook my 5m but with high tide it tends to be really choppy and windy (not perfect for freestyle). I went out foiling, a new challenge, foiling with the 5m in choppy waters, overpowered… it turned out really nice and fun. Discovering backrols, frontrols, onefooters, jumps and gaining more and more speed: Making the best of the conditions we had! This was just the beginning, if relationships survive difficult periods and a traject about failures … they will last. The same way I changed my mind about Hydrofoiling, it will not happen that often I change my mind (since I am a woman and womans are always …). I can definitely say: foiling is fun, challenging and the foilkites are really nice! It is just another adventure …
“How are you guys thinking about hydrofoiling?”
And yes it was the start to a long lasting relationship