Magic Carpet Ride
Take a gander out on the water this summer and you might see some strange new ways to harness the wind and waves. Some people call it the “magic carpet ride” or “foiling,” and they are all activities that involve a hydrofoil attached to a boat or board of some sort.
What is a Hydrofoil?
If you are not familiar with a hydrofoil, it is essentially a wing that “flies” under the water. Just like a wing in the air, once the foil (another name for wing) reaches a certain speed, it starts to lift the boat or board out of the water. It’s the most efficient way to move through the water, which gives the sensation of floating on a magic carpet, or some have compared it to the feeling of floating when snowboarding through deep powder. Since it is extremely efficient, sports involving the wind become much more exciting at lower wind speeds. And at higher wind speeds it becomes akin to Formula One racing on the water.
Water sports involving hydrofoils are branching off into a mind-boggling number of disciplines. Over the years hydrofoils have seen various incarnations, but usually in the context of a novelty that was experimental or too expensive for the mainstream. This year things are finally lining up to bring this technology to the masses. Professionals such as Kai Lenny are pushing the envelope and showing people what is possible on a foil, and companies like Slingshot Sports and Naish are offering hydrofoil surfboards, stand up paddle boards, kitesurfing boards, windsurfing boards, as well as wake surfing boards.