GONG PACK SURF FOIL EVOThe perfect pack to start and prograss in surf foiling!Sale!
GONG PACK SURF FOIL HIPE FREEFLYThe versatile and safe inflatable pack you can take with you wherever … The versatile and safe inflatable pack you can take with you wherever you go!Sale!
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Foils need no introduction as they now equip almost everything that moves on water, from boats on open ocean races as the Vendée Globe, to kitesurfing or SUPs, and of course surfing.
Surf foiling is a fabulous sport that complements surfing and quickly becomes essential to increase the number of sessions. It is an accessible sport provided you start in the right conditions with an adapted gear. Here are our tips for choosing the right equipment.
For who ?
Many of you want to get into surf foiling, and you are quite right because flying on a surf foil is magical, and allows you to multiply the number of sessions. We have calculated that on the European coasts the number of good foiling sessions is ten times that of good surf sessions! Way enough to maintain fitness and drastically reduce frustration.
Many mistakenly believe that it takes a level of world champion to get started. However, experience in surfing to position yourself well, a correct paddling technique and experience on short to mid-length boards are sufficient.
A beginner would first have to know how to surf on classic surfboards. Surf foiling requires a minimum of experience on a surfboard, and the rather small size of surf foiling boards will not allow a beginner to be comfortable with this format.
An experienced surfer can easily and quickly progress, provided certain points are respected, such as not entering directly on equipment that is too demanding or technical, or in conditions unsuitable for his level.
How to choose your pack
The board is a key element in surf foiling. First, to paddle efficiently and get up without shaking, because you can quickly be punished for a failed take off. Then to go back to the peak without losing your shoulders. Finally, because a good foiling board conditions your balance and how you feel in the air. Your choice will be largely guided by what you already use to surf every day. But keep in mind that this board is intended to help you take off on waves of 30 to 50 cm at first, waves with little energy, so a board with a minimum of length and volume to paddle and start the most easily possible. If you are already good at surfing, and your everyday board is a shortboard with a volume of around 30L, you can go for a model of around 5′, but with more volume (at least 10 to 15 liters more) than your everyday board.
Surf foiling beginners should absolutely prioritize the length to have a fast paddling board because as soon as you fly you go a crazy distance without realizing it. The volume is also important to facilitate the take-off in small and windy conditions. A board will never be too big or too bulky to start with. Remember that duck dives are rarely needed when you are new to foiling because the waves are tiny. When in doubt, always choose the larger size for easier learning. And in any case, choose a larger volume of at least 10L more than your usual surfboard.
Indeed, the easier a board, the more waves you will take, so the more pleasure you will have, and the faster you will progress.
To be comfortable we recommend removing 25 to your weight in order to define the ideal volume. For example on the Lance:
- If I weigh 65kg, I take 25 off, I get to 40. So I’m going for the Lance 5’0.
- If I weigh 75kg, I take 25, I get to 50. I go for the Lance 5’4.
- If I weigh 85kg, I take 25, I get to 60. I go for the Lance 5’8.
If you are not used to small boards, prefer comfort, in any case an “excess” of volume will never be a problem in these type of conditions and for your first flights.
You will want to change to progress more, to push in your turns or to pump more efficiently. But in any case, it will take several dozen sessions before going around the material of your beginnings. And this material is in great demand on the second-hand market: you will sell it easily. Thanks to GONG and our sales model without distributor and shop margins, you will lose almost nothing on the value of your equipment. So do not take the risk of having a hard time starting out with too complicated equipment. You need the perfect equipment for your current level. If you take material that is too complicated, you will progress less quickly and feel disgusted.
So even if you have a light build and want comfort, there’s nothing stopping you from starting out on a 5’8.
3 technologies are available among our packs. The inflatable techno is perfect for reducing bulkiness as much as possible: easy to store, transport, and inflated in a minute. Ultra resistant and really safe in the event of a fall. The EPS techno is perfect for its lightness and affordability. The FSP 2X techno is the perfect mix between low weight and solidity.
The carbon plate which is a real revolution by GONG makes all the difference. It is firmly glued under the inflatable structure. This piece, composed of 1.9 kg of pure prepreg carbon and two foam stringers, is a jewel of composite know-how. By its design, it brings precisely what it takes of mechanical strength to be as rigid as a classic board, without increasing the total weight.
In surf foiling, small sizes are perfect, especially the smallest. It’s hard to tell the difference with a rigid board, except on very sharp sensations. But to fly, carve cool, pump and connect a whole set, that’s great !!! Strapless only on the other hand.
In wake foiling, the HIPE Perf is just great. It’s clearly the perfect board because it’s really easy on board, never hurting the boat or the passengers. And it’s hard to find a downside on the water as its proximity to a rigid board is important, plus the advantages of an inflatable board (especially in falls). Inflated in 1 minute, the 4’8 is essential for wake foiling.
FSP 2X techno
These boards are equipped with an innovative technology called FSP 2X for the best weight / strength / performance compromise on the market.
The addition of a biaxial fiber greatly strengthens the board and the PVC forms a 3mm hydrophobic shell over the entire board. This PVC sandwich offers the best dynamism while maintaining strength, at an incredible weight.
It is by designing a new finishing technique, as close as possible to our prototypes made in our French factory that we have managed to save weight. We work with tinted resins to avoid as much as possible the paint which loads the board unnecessarily. Tinted in the mass, your board gains in nobility and durability.
The wings in our packs are low-speed load-bearing wings. When you start out, the parallel with surfing is very easy to understand, you choose waves with little energy, and you are either taking off with the foam or far from the wave. A beginner in surfing will therefore prefer a board with length and volume to compensate for its lack of technique or placement on the wave. In foiling, it’s exactly the same thing, we will start with a thick profile which will offer lift at low speed. So whether you are “badly” placed on the wave or the swell bump, you will fly, even at low speed. A thick profile will be stable and relatively slow, but when starting out with a foil speed is not really a priority.
In our range, the X-Over wings will be the most suitable.
What size of front wing?
We will consider here that you are a beginner without experience, or a sporty beginner. These recommendations are therefore valid for a foil which will be used under ideal conditions, namely knee high to a hip high waves.
- X-Over M for less than 60Kg.
- X-Over L for surfers between 60Kg and 80Kg.
- X-Over XL for surfers over 80kg.
To sum up
Beginner with no experience: The best to start without breaking the bank.
-> Lance FSP 2X X-Over Surf Foiling Pack or HIPE X-Over Surf Foiling Pack (frequent practice, once a week on average): Ideal for getting started with ease. A board with length to have a fast paddle. The volume in the nose facilitates the take-off, even in the most windy conditions. The X-Over foil is easy to handle, but with a thinner profile, it will guarantee more room for improvement.
For very good level of surfing:
-> Matata EPS Curve Surf Foiling Pack: Definitely the best compromise between performance and simplicity. An ultra compact and light board to facilitate pumping and working on carves. It will accompany the rider throughout his progression.
Experienced: Your level allows you to choose your gear outside of full packs to optimize your quiver.
Which foil mast?
The mast size commonly used in surf foiling is 65/70cm, but to start smoothly and feeling more in control, you can do your first sessions with a shorter mast of 45 to 55 cm. You will familiarize yourself more easily with the sensations of flying, and you will gain confidence more quickly with a more docile foil.
The main constraint in surf foiling remains the water depth. In fact, to start well in surf foiling, it is necessary to favor small waves, from knee to hip high.
In these types of conditions, for the waves to break, there will be very little water. So, to get off to a good start, you should favor a 45 / 55cm mast. It will make the first straight flights go smoothly without constantly hitting the bottom. It is also more reassuring, because as soon as the foil rises you quickly lose your bearings, no longer knowing exactly how high you are. A short mast will limit this feeling. It is also more reassuring in the event of a fall, the board will not turn over completely, thus limiting the risk of falling on the foil.
As soon as the first flights are mastered, we then move on to a bigger one. This is a relatively short step in the progression, but necessary for good progress thereafter.
Once the take-off has been mastered, a 65cm mast will be preferred, to be able to gain angle in the turns, but also to have sufficient height when pumping.
Positioning of the foil?
The more advanced the foil, the more load-bearing and powerful it will be.
The more you move it back, the slower the take-off will be.
An advanced foil also offers more pivot while a foil set at the back of the boxes offers more stability.
Thus, it will be necessary to privilege the control for the first sessions, therefore moving the foil back as much as possible. Take-offs will be smoother and more gradual. Thereafter, each surfer will adjust his foil according to his sensations, his stance, but also the conditions and the front wing used.
You will find graduated indications around the US rails on all our boards, so it is very easy to keep the same setting or to change it. So feel free to experiment with different settings.
The leash is important for your own safety and the safety of others. A classic straight surf leash equal in length to your board or a 5’5 ankle coiled leash are preferred. The latter will have less tendency to wrap around the foil, or to get stuck in the stab.
And like any leash, it should be inspected regularly, and replaced if it shows any signs of wear.
Even if the foil has become widely democratized, it is a support that can still scare the other practitioners in the line-up, so there is no need to add more by surfing without a leash 😉
If you respect the following recommendations, there is no reason to injure yourself more than in surfing, but nothing prevents you from wearing a helmet to be more relaxed during your first sessions, or later in bigger conditions.
A life jacket can also protect you from the foil if you fall on it.
Always remember that anticipation is the best protection: you don’t throw yourself off a foil without thinking! Caution, caution, caution. Better to do nothing than hurt yourself or someone else.
Finally, keep in mind that it is the rear parts of your foil that are the most dangerous: the trailing edges. The front parts are very round, at least as much as a surfboard nose, so in principle less dangerous. You must therefore avoid falling on the rear parts of the foil, in particular by refusing a take off in a wave that is too big or by throwing yourself backwards. It is better to fall in front or on the sides.
Which board bag?
For the board bag, it should be a bit bigger than the board. First to fit the board there, then to have room for extra accessories, protections, etc …
Day bag or Luxe bag? The name is part of the answer. The Luxe Bag is ideal when traveling but takes up a lot of space on a daily basis. The Day Bag is great for everyday sessions. At GONG both types are very strong. It’s up to you to decide.
What spare parts?
Nothing could be more annoying to arrive on the spot, to see perfect conditions, and to realize that we are missing one or more screws, or that being in too much of a hurry, we just screwed up the head of the screw. Consider that the screws are consumable and must be changed regularly, and ideally have some in spare.
We also advise you to protect your Alu foil against galvanic corrosion by using Tikal Tef-Gel. This will prevent the formation of blisters on the metal surface and reliably protect against corrosion by galvanic currents between different types of metals. You will also avoid jamming your screws, and you will have a much better tightening torque.
How to choose the right spot for surf foiling?
With the surf foil the potential for good spots has widened. Soft, knee-high waves that are struggling to break are now considered good conditions! Likewise, the fallback spots change rank. The right spot for foil surfing combines several parameters.
Preferably choose a spot that you know, on which you have your bearings. Choose waves empty of all surfing, small and soft waves that will be neglected by other riders.
To start off well, the size and shape of the waves are essential. Slow waves, with little slope, from knee to hip high, which ideally will have a hard time breaking, and will die in too much water. It could be a current edge, or a reef with too much water at high tide, for example. Ban all hollow waves at first.
Hitting the bottom can cause great damage to your foil. It is absolutely necessary to foresee a safety margin under the foil. By just looking at the waves, it’s not easy to estimate whether the depth offers this safety margin. The breaking principle is relatively simple and the depth is a component. But the influence of the wavelength, the size of the swell and the typology of the relief make its estimation complex.
If you don’t know the spot, ask the locals. In all cases, carefully analyze the surface of your playfield.
- Pay attention to the surface of the water around the surf zone. If there are chops around this area, it is probably a sign of an unwelcoming underwater bottom.
- The shape of the wave is also an indication. If it’s hollow, it means that the depth decreases sharply.
- The distance to the beach is also a parameter to keep in mind. It’s obvious that if it breaks too close to the beach the chances of getting up and out of the wave in time are low. Conversely, if it rises far from the beach you will have time but you will have to be careful of the shallow water which generates the wave.
A breaking wave (or not…)
To get up with a surf foil, you need a wave with a gentle slope that breaks a minimum. Too much foam will throw you off balance and could put you in a dangerous situation. You have to choose a breaking wave that is just enough to push you. This breaking point can even be a breaking line because unlike surfing without a foil, a close-out is no longer a lost wave. Firstly because on a surf foil it is easier to catch up with the section. Secondly, because this close-out can be the start of a series of waves that you will connect by pumping up to the peak.
If there is no breaking wave to get up, there is still an option. However, it is reserved for seasoned practitioners. This is the beach start. It’s technical and requires a lot of explosiveness, as well as suitable relief. Well executed, the beach start can provide access to nearby waves that do not break but whose swell power allows them to be surfed with a foil.
Do not practice foiling in the middle of other users of the spot (surfers, swimmers, boats). You wouldn’t make friends and rightly so. A collision could have serious consequences. Even if you are experienced, keep your distance. Flying a surf foil is very fine, do not overestimate yourself.
These 3 parameters are the basis. There are many spot configurations that allow you to have fun surf foiling. It goes from the wave that rolls in a pass to the beach break that just allows you to get up. There are still other options such as tow-in with a boat, a jet-ski or why not a kitesurfer to enjoy a spot.
How to get started with surf foiling the right way?
The first take offs
Forget your surfer reflexes, don’t jump on your feet when high on the wave. Let the board descend slowly in bodyboard mode, and do your take off at the bottom of the wave on a flat area. By putting a lot of pressure with your hands on the front of the board, you will prevent the foil from getting up too early. During the take off, focus on your front foot, it must be placed perfectly in line with the board, it is your front foot that determines 80% of the balance in flight.
This is the key to good stability. So stay relaxed, and keep good flexion.
Do not force yourself to fly on your first waves or during your first session. Just try to feel the whole thing lighten up, and if you can feel the whole thing going sideways it means your front foot is not perfectly centered. To make it easier to control the foil, adjust it towards the back of your board.
The first flights
The first mistake is usually to be surprised by the rise of the foil, and having the reflex to put your weight on the rear, the foil will then pitch up, and you end up stalling. Flight is all about small adjustments, very fine downforce. It’s the speed that will get you off the ground, so as soon as you feel the foil going up, gently lean forward. This will be enough to put weight on your front leg and stabilize the flight, the best is to move your pelvis forward.
Set steps for yourself to progress smoothly
A few sessions to fly straight with the foam, simply to learn how to stabilize your flight. Then a few sessions to follow the waves, doing diagonals. Then gradually, you will tighten these diagonals. Your first turns, first wave outings, first pumping, first connections, …
The path may seem long, but with each session, at each stage of progression, you will be rewarded with new sensations.
If you also have the option of doing a few sessions towed behind a boat at slow speed, or if you have a cable park nearby, don’t hesitate, these few sessions will save you time.
There are only two categories of surf foilers, those who give up after two sessions, usually due to totally unsuitable conditions or equipment, they get scared, and give up. Then there are the others for which surf foiling becomes totally addictive. There is no in-between.
Why practice surf foil?
There are a million reasons to go surf foiling, the first is generally the need to exploit the days that are near-flat or deemed unsurfable with a classic surfboard. On average in Europe we have 10 good surf foiling sessions for 1 good surf session. This is an average which obviously varies depending on each spot, but it gives an order of magnitude of the “return” of the sport.
Avoid crowded spots
A good surf foiling playground is generally a spot neglected by other surfers, because many will find that 40cm sets or a few knots of wind that damage the body of water make for uninteresting conditions. Also, a wave that quickly fades in deeper water may not seem worth it for most surfers, but if the ripple remains sufficiently formed, it will be enough to make you fly.
Discover new spots
A small reef that interests no one, the edge of a rip current, tiny waves that don’t even appeal to surf schools, a reef that at high tide will give waves that are too soft, whitewater just long enough to take off, the options are plentiful. A hollow wave that breaks is perfect for surfing, but it will instantly lose a very large part of its energy and therefore of its interest in foiling since the wave will disappear. The perfect foiling spot to learn is a wave that will break gently with a light slope, just enough to help you start or take a take off with soft whitewater, and if then this wave turns into a swell line, it’s perfect to link crazy turns.
Ride the longest waves of your life
Unless you live in front of J-Bay, a wave surfed for 7 to 8 seconds is still a good wave. In surf foiling, you can surf for 30 seconds, 1 minute, or more. The distance covered during a surf foiling session versus a classic surf session can easily be multiplied by 10, if not more. Go on a left, then go right, then return to the left… The waves do not close-out anymore, you will catch up and pass closing sections with amazing ease. Watch a good surf foiler in action, he will cross the spot from one end to the other then back again. You can literally fly over the spot.
Work and maintain your physical condition
In surfing, your legs rarely get hot, unless you live on a world class spot. In surf foiling, you will work your legs and cardio, because inevitably you will progress, start pumping, and you will end up connecting your first waves. And it will be the start of a very long series of technical and physical victories that make the unthinkable possible! During your session, you will have taken waves and done your weekly jogging.
Looking up thanks to the foil
From the take off you reach the speed of a CT surfer, which requires you to look far to read the wave further ahead. When you take a surfboard again, your maneuvers are more anticipated. Foiling gives you one of the keys to surfing: the feeling of having time.
Surf foiling will not replace surfing, the two complement each other perfectly.
But your surf foiling equipment will be on the water way more. So you will maintain your paddle fitness, even during the summer periods, when the swell is rarer. You will be ready on days of good conditions, and you will choose to surf on days of good conditions only. It’s the end of surfing in mediocre conditions. Every day is amazing.
Do dock starts,
On a lake, in a harbor, by a river, in your private Olympic swimming pool … An ocean that is really flat can be the occasion for a dock start session among friends. This type of training is perfect for developing your physical condition and precision of the stance. This will make you twice as strong for the next session in the waves, in foiling as in surfing.
Getting into beach starts.
You all have in mind this wave that rises but never breaks for a take off. With the beach start technique, you can get on this kind of wave and the festival begins. In general, there are 25 attempts to make a successful dock start, and double for a beach start. But what else would you do that day? Nothing, or mountain biking, so these attempts are a great game between friends and really not a waste of time. You have to be strong on your legs, have cardio and goooo.
Surf the smallest board in your quiver
Surf foiling boards are shaped to have the greatest length / volume ratio. This will allow you to easily surf with a 4’8 thanks to a volume close to 50 L. And the foil helps you to drop earlier. Surfing tiny boards has never been easier. One must admit it’s really cool to fly on a micro board! And it fits in the trunk hey hey …
Surf with finesse
If you are not really a powerful surfer, that’s good! The foil is a story of finesse, whether with your stance or when reading the wave. Surf with grace, effortlessly, and noise-free. Surf foiling can look like a mix between the Hoverboard of Back to the Future and a Snowboard session in 50cm of snow powder, that’s about it but better, because there is no friction.
For the sensations
You will have the same sensations when foiling a 50 cm wave as surfing triple the size, make a turn and you accelerate. Whatever your level in surf foiling, you will be rewarded, making your first stabilized flight is indescribable. Think back to your very first wave in surfing, and the joy it took, multiply that by 100, and you’re almost there. At each step you open the field of possibilities, you discover new tricks.
If you’re interested in surf foiling, it usually means you’re quite open-minded, having tested many shapes with the idea of always taking better advantage of the conditions of the day. Either way, now is a great time to take an interest in other things so that you can spend even more time on the water,
The first ones to get into foil surfing are generally surfers, but not only. It is interesting to see how surfers who switched to surf foiling, then went on to practice wing foiling to do the same thing as surf foiling but on windy days. And thus discover the world of the wind.
A wing quiver to do the same on windy days?
A SUP to go for a cool stroll or with your family?
And of course other front wings to continue to exploit all possible conditions in surf foiling. Our catalog of spare parts will allow you to upgrade your foil without any limit.
The time you spend on the water on one boardsport will enrich your practice of the other. Nothing replaces experience, the time spent at sea, the variety of weather conditions, sharing with the elements and friends.