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WAKE ZONE
Getting Started on the Hydrofoil

We have been fascinated with hydrofoiling since we saw some riders at our lake early this summer (see the previous article High Flyin' Hydrofoilers). We were lucky that one of the hydrofoilers that we saw that day happened to see the picture of them we posted on our local lake website LakeAnnaBuzz.com. He sent us an e-mail thanking us for posting the pictures. Typical of the hydrofoiler community, a local rider offered to stop by our dock sometime and give my husband a lesson. We tried to set up a date a few times, but kept getting rained out.

Then luck was with us. We were having a busy weekend with a houseful of guests, when we happened to see the same hydrofoilers we had spotted earlier this year out on the water. We stopped to say "hi" and introduce ourselves. They thanked us for doing the hydrofoiling article, and we struck up a conversation. My husband mentioned that he had been hoping to get a lesson on the hydrofoil this summer, and they offered to stop by and give it a try.

Sure enough, an hour or so later, they came cruising up to the dock and offered us a ride. First, we got to take some great pictures of Ray Brantley (shown riding here and above) doing some impressive tricks. These were taken from inside the tow boat, pulled by the president of the U.S. Hydrofoiling Association (USHA, www.hydrofoil.org), Brad Scott. Watching the pros is always a great experience. They make it look so easy to do the big tricks and you can tell they are having great time.

Next, Ray spent some time explaining the theory and approaches to flying over the water on a hydrofoil. I have been enjoying watersports my entire life. I love waterskiing, kneeboarding, and wakeboarding. I was hopeful that I would be as successful at hydrofoiling. Ray got into the water to help me get started. The boat pulled away and up I went, and then down I went. For about a half hour I tried and tried again. Our new hydrofoiling friends patiently pulled me again and again, and eventually I successfully completed a few short runs.

Every water sport has its own guidelines for riding successfully, and it took some time to get the feel of the hydrofoil and understand how it responds to various leans. Wakeboarding requires the rider to lean back for stability, while the hydrofoil launches high into the air with the same movement! Needless to say there were a few air launches, which I wasn't quite ready for. The pro riders said I did great for my first time, and with a little more experience would become very comfortable with my newfound sport.

Safe to say, there is most likely a new water toy in our future. My only suggestion is that perhaps we could start with a used one, rather than going out and buying a new one right away.

More pictures of Ray Brantley:
http://www.lakeannabuzz.com/photos/2004/2004-08-22.htm

More hydrofoilers:
http:/www.lakeannabuzz.com/photos/2004/2004-05-16.htm
 

 


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