Wikipedia describes HydroFOILING as a “lifting surface, or foil, that works in water.” Basically, it’s a wing-shaped underwater fin that lifts whatever craft it’s on out of the water when it reaches a minimum speed. This significantly reduces drag which in turn increases speed.
Foiling may seem like a recent technological phenomenon but it has actually been 100 years in the making. The first development of a foiling water vessel was a 60hp motorboat designed and built by Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini in 1906. Later, in 1919, Alexander Graham Bell broke the world marine speed record with his Hydrodrome 4. Foils were invented for boats in order to make them go faster without having to use more fuel.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s and 1970’s that foiling technology was introduced to the military and used commercially with the launch of the Boeing Jetfoil. Between the late 70s and the early 80s, Toen Nederpelt designed and built a new “plugin” for his Mistral windsurf board – the hydrofoil. Much later, in 2003, legend waterman Laird Hamilton brought hydrofoiling to the masses in Dana Brown’s movie entitled Step into Liquid. Then, in 2004, Mango Carafino made the first hydrofoil for a kiteboard and then followed Kai Lenny. In 2016, we saw footage of him Stand Up Paddle hydrofoiling in Hawaii, and we were astounded. Moreover, in 2017, Lift Foils made the world’s first eFoil commercially available which was followed quickly by the arrival of modern wing foiling. I say modern because in the 80s Jim Drake had created a kind of hand held wing which was mounted on rigid tubes and was very heavy and bulky to handle. Not quite ready to take the world by storm!