My foilboard arrived on Friday, and when I saw the 9-13mph forecast for Saturday I knew there was a good chance of giving it a go straight away.
I opted for my 18m vantage, but the wind was much gustier than forecast, probably in the range of 8-20mph, but I knew it would cope with this without any issues.
Maneuvering the foil on the water is one of the biggest issues you first encounter - it's best to keep the board close to you with your hand on the top rail pulling the foil out to the water away from you. In this position you can make good progress upwind once you get the balance of things right.
Getting on the board was easier than I was expecting - providing you're quick - get the feet in position (close to the windward rail) and dive the kite before the foil sinks. The foil and the board both give resistance and its not too difficult to get yourself upright.
However, this was where the problems started :)
Initially, I found that once upright the board would do what ever it could to squirm out from under me - kind of like a board with no fins, but even worse. After a few failed attempts I tried keeping the board more angled toward me, and this paid dividends and I managed to get my first few runs on the surface for a short distance.
At this point the foil was still well and truly submerged and providing no noticeable lift and it was just a matter of getting used to riding the board on the surface. But before long my submerged friend had to join the party and all of a sudden the whole board would lift totally unexpectedly - chucking me into the drink and mocking my progress.
This became the modus operandi for the next dozen or so attempts - ride along, feel somewhat comfortable, then get chucked off abruptly :)
It was only after I could start to predict this pattern that I made further progress - as my board speed picked up I learned to creep my feet forward and lean more to counteract the increased lift; and although it was still like a bucking bronco ride which I only lasted for 5-10 seconds, it was a definite improvement on before.
Once I managed to wrestle a tiny bit of control, the feeling was awesome; It's truly is like what I'd imagine riding the hover-board out of Back to the Future II would be, yet with much less control of the outcome! The lift you get is surreal when you don't expect it, but I can see why everyone who has foiled before raves about it so much :)
From there onward the trend continued - I was starting to travel a bit faster whilst learning to anticipate what the foil would do, and doing my best to counteract it.
The strangest feeling is when you're riding along in comfort then all of a sudden the board just rises out of the water as if its possessed by some rival kite manufacturer - I'm sure when you try it you'll know where i'm coming from - trust me ;-)
Here's a quick video from some of the footage I gathered, plenty of wipe-outs and a few runs which have been carefully edited to look like I know what I'm doing :)