The Basics of Hydrofoil Surfing

Hydrofoil Surfing is a type of surfing that makes use of a hydrofoil surfboard. This is simply a type of surfboard that’s made of hydrofoil, that extends below the board and into the water. This design causes the board to leave the water’s surface and move at various high speeds. This is because it significantly minimizes drag which in turn boosts your speed.

You have probably noticed different types of surfboards while at the beach, and this is one of them. The hydrofoil enables the rider to glide smoothly with the wave while harnessing the kinetic energy in the underwater swell.


The hydrofoil also minimizes the effects of rough conditions or “Choppy.” This is due to its underwater characteristics. The rider can angle their surfboard higher and into the wind than any other traditional kiteboard while riding on the surface of the water.

The Basics of Hydrofoil Surfing
Image Source: YouTube

Here Are Some Basic Tips to Help You Kick Off Your Sport 

It Has to Be Safe

The hydrofoil surfing board does not require a wave for you to be able to surf. Unlike the regular board which requires a big wave to get you going. What this means is that you can surf at a safe distance from other surfers or even swimmers. This will keep you and those around you safe.

All you need to do is paddle into the water to the level you’ll feel comfortable. When you stand up, you should have all the power you need to begin your ride. A jet ski or a boat can help you learn the basics and adapt to the board. Get hold of the rope tied to the Jet Ski or boat, and then as it moves you will get an overall feel of the board.


The Stance Matters

Standing on a surfboard is almost similar to skating. The difference is the surface on which both sports take place. In water, surfing requires more balance than skating on flat surfaces. The secret is to find your sweet spot on the hydrofoil board. Every surfer has their own idea of how it works best for them.

Generally, your traction pads should exactly be where your feet are as they will guide your stance. Secondly, your back foot should be over the mast, or maybe a little bit behind it and the other foot should help you locate your sweet spot. 

You should notice after a few tries that the pressure on both your feet will vary from time to time as to create a balance.


Should you want to start pumping or make a turn, you put more pressure on your back foot and you should be right on the kick tail, and it is magic from there. You are ready to go. After a few tries now you are ready to try waves!

Trying the Waves

Once you spot a wave coming, you should paddle towards it until you feel you’ve caught it. On a foil board, the take-off process is identical to that of surfing a regular board. 

As soon as you stand up, you’ll need to put more pressure on your front foot, just like snowboarding on the slopes. Remember the steeper the wave gets, the more you should lean forward.

In your initial rides, you’ll experience a difference compared to regular surfing. You’ll first have to adopt a squat stance. Your chest should be vertical and your shoulders wide open. This will help you to maintain the right balance so that you don’t fall.

Should you fall, get up, and repeat the process. Practice makes perfect!

How the Board Works

The process is similar to that of an airplane or birds’ wings. The more pressure on your back foot, the more the board is going to tilt upright, resulting in more lift. On the other hand, the more pressure applied to your front foot, the more the wing will tilt underwater.

Foil surfing 101 with Kai Lenny will give you a clear demonstration of how to tilt forward and backward. Also, he will show you how to paddle as well as your initial steps of standing up.  The secret however is practice.

The Basics of Hydrofoil Surfing
Image Source: YouTube


Surfing is a sport which is fun and to some, it is a career. Your intentions in joining the sport will determine the kind of practice you’ll require. Whatever your objective is, it is obvious that you can’t skip the basic steps and the learning process.