Cornwall Water Sports

Experience foil boarding in Cornwall

Foil Boarding on the ocean

October 02, 2023

What is foil boarding?

Foil boarding is the sport of riding a surfboard or SUP style board that has a hydrofoil system attached, where one would usually find the fins. A new take on traditional surfing, this technique has been around for quite some time, made mainstream by big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, who used it in big-wave conditions proving it to be a valuable weapon in most swells. Kai Lenny, another professional big-wave surfer, was also one of the first to test the hydrofoil system when windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing and even bodyboarding! Thanks to the popularisation of this particular activity, it has become an ever-growing must-try for those that already have an affinity with the water, and even for those that don’t. 

How does a foil board work?

The hydrofoil system works similar to the wings of an aeroplane, which acts as a lifting force underneath the board. There are several laws at play when it comes to the scientific explanation of foiling, the easiest way to describe this is Newton’s 3rd Law, ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Due to the water being displaced downward it creates an upward force that lifts surfer and board out of the water. It is technical, to explain and to master, it takes practice and it is known to be much harder than traditional surfing. 

Foil Boarding on the ocean

Who is foil boarding for? 

Foil boarding is more commonly taken up by people who have experience in windsurfing, given the translatable skills and that come with using a foil board and a kite, but it is expanding past this barrier into the wider realms of surfing, and it’s not just the professionals who are giving it a go. 

Surfing in Cornwall is iconic thanks to the myriad of breaks available all year round, no matter the swell, and foil boarding is becoming ever more popular as a way to master the waves we have on our coast. We at MAD Water Sports are a leading provider of water sport equipment in the Duchy, and with our excellent selection of foil boarding products it’s no surprise that this is where people come for their boards, whether they are beginner or seasoned. 

Foil Boarding on the ocean

Which foil boards are best for beginners?

For beginner foilers, we have the Aztron Falcon Inflatable Wing Foil package, ideal for those just starting out. It comprises the Aztron Falcon 7’6 Inflatable Foil Board, the Aztron Rocket Foil 1450 and the Aztron 5m Wing. The perfect combination to combat those learner waves and beyond! In addition to this, the Starboard Wing Foil Package, which includes a 7’0 Wingfoil board, S-Type 2000 Glass Foil and FreeWing Air 2 5m Wing is a great option! It makes learning a lot easier, but still offers that awesome free-flight sensation by using a handheld inflatable surfing wing.

Once you have mastered this, we also sell an upgrade package. You can either buy the whole kit as one package, or you can buy the individual items to level up your game bit by bit. Regardless, the team here at MAD Water Sports are happy to help and are on hand to offer any advice we can should you need it. 

Foil Boarding on the sand

Why should I try foil boarding?

There is a plethora of reasons why one should try foil boarding, and one of them is that it can be done all year round! This is an outstanding factor here in Cornwall, thanks to the interchangeable weather we experience at the most inopportune moments. Foil boarding relies mostly on the wind, rather than the weather, which is lucky given that we have that in abundance on our shores. A range between 15 and 20 knots is ideal for foil boarding. Too little and you’ll struggle to generate enough speed to start flying, too much wind and you may lose control of your board. 

Foil boarding without a kite

If you are foil boarding without a kite, then you’ll need some waves or to paddle the board to gain forward momentum. Luckily, given our accessibility to north and south coast swells you are likely to find that even the smallest of waves are good enough for a foil session on our surf foils. Why not get the complete package by investing in a Surf foil board with a wing too? When you are first starting out, the recommendations are to wear a helmet, and to aim for nice forgiving waves. It is a steep learning curve, so take your time and be safe. This is the perfect sport to see you through any lull in the surf, or when it's too windy for paddleboarding, allowing you to keep in the ocean all year around. You don’t need a wing or waves at all to enjoy the sport; simply paddle foil on the gentle water surface or practise your SUP foiling if the sea is feeling flat. 

Foil board without kite

Once you have mastered the art of foil boarding, and it is an art, the ocean becomes an expanse that is conquerable where it perhaps wasn’t before. Open ocean swells are accessible, hidden breaks are surfable, and the best part? It feels like flying! You are becoming a part of the ocean unlike you were before, and learning to use the energy it creates in different ways. Here at MAD Watersports we are always eager for others to enjoy the ocean as much as we do, that’s why we sell an impressive collection to get you started not just on foil boarding, but on a range of other water sport activities, like surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and paddle boarding to name a few. We also stock all the accessories required to get you in the water at any time of the year, from 5mm hooded wetsuits to keep you warm in the winter, to glasses and sun hats to keep you protected under the summer sun. 

As foil boarding can be done all year round there really is no time like the present to take a trip to our store in Wadebridge and explore all that we have to offer. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email via our contact page, we are happy to help!