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Beginner foilboard buyer's guide

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Since 13 Aug 2019
2 Posts
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PostTue Aug 13, 19 8:54 am    Beginner foilboard buyer's guide Reply with quote

Hi Everyone!

I've been kiting for 8 years now and moved to Seattle a year ago. I decided to join the magic carpet craze and learn how to foil to maximize the amount of days I spend in the water.
I've been doing some research online on what gear to purchase and I am completely overwhelmed by the multiple offers and don't know what gear to purchase. I've been looking at this setup, it looks like the most affordable option for someone on a tight budget.

Should I go for this? Will I outgrow this setup soon? Do you have any recommendations on other gear?

Any input is much appreciated!

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Since 21 Jul 2009
1186 Posts
Hood River
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PostTue Aug 13, 19 9:15 am     Reply with quote

That setup is for wakefoiling behind a boat but would be fine for kite.
Not sure about the board as it's designed for wakefoilingbehind a boat - the Alien Air would be best.
Contact the store and see if they will substitute the board for an Alien Air and if they have 24" mast.
You should also advertise on NWkite classifieds - tons of hoverglides and Alien Airs collecting dust in garages as people have upgraded to smaller boards and Ghost Whisperer.
The easiest and fastest way to learn is on a short mast (24" or shorter) and graduate to a 30 inch mast.
The Alien air with the Slingshot Hoverglide NF2 is a good combo.
Slingshot phased out the Hoverglide NF2 and replaced it with this ->
Either one is great - whatever you can get a good deal on.

FWIW - Slingshot has done themselves a huge disservice by using names that don't describe the product.They need a lesson in Marketing 101.... or maybe not as they are #1 in foil sales.

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Since 06 Dec 2011
442 Posts
SE PDX volcano

PostTue Aug 13, 19 10:22 am     Reply with quote

I agree with LD. That board looks similar to the Slingshot Simulator which is great for the first 10 hours of kite foiling but too big thereafter. Windance has one used for $380 but their used Lift 4’6” would be a keeper. Lots of Slingshot Hoverglide setups around for $400. That wing is the h5 and is intermediate speed, easier to learn on an h4 or h2 but they are too much lift for high wind. Those solid color wings are quite heavy and this years version are a lot lighter and are black with orange edges. Lighter weight helps with keeping the board on edge for water starts. Get foot hooks and start with a 24” mast, then 30 and 35.

When is Slingshot going to make a carbon fuselage and retire the heavy aluminum one?

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Since 19 May 2005
3763 Posts
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CGKA Member

PostTue Aug 13, 19 10:33 am     Reply with quote

Take lessons before you buy gear. A lot of people learned on setups like that, it is a good beginner setup. However, some people have a lot of difficulty with the heavy setups as they are a lot harder to waterstart with. With a heavy setup, the wing drops quickly. Some do fine with that. Others--myself included--had great difficulty learning to water start when the wing wants to drop so quickly. The lighter your wings/mast are, the easier it is to keep the board on it's side while you get ready to go. Some setups will stay on their side indefinitely. Take a couple of lessons at least; put off buying your gear till after that. You'll have a much better idea what kind of gear you want/are ready for.

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Since 23 Jun 2006
1655 Posts
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PostTue Aug 13, 19 11:33 am     Reply with quote

the SS should work. I know a lot of riders who learned on the hoverglide, then moved on to other foils.
your first foil should be durable as well as easy to ride.
In my opinion, I would steer clear of carbon fiber wings for your first setup. its just you have to be so aware that it can get damaged so easily. when you're learning its tough to focus on things outside of flying the kite and managing the board on your feet. Its basically like learning to kite again. the last thing you want to deal with is damaged wings that prevent you from more sessions.
Contact joe the kiter in stevenson as he provides foil lessons/coaching with jet ski support and head set radios to always tell you what to do.

Disclaimer: I make foils/wings and joe has been teaching with them. He uses them because they seem to work well for any levels, from beginner to advanced.


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Since 13 Jan 2006
1508 Posts

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PostTue Aug 13, 19 1:28 pm     Reply with quote

My $0.02 would be you can get more, for less used. As LDHR said, the Alien Air is a great board to take you through season 1. Starting with a short mast is safer, more fun, and you will learn much faster.

three years ago I followed LDHR's advice pretty much to the letter:

1. Alien Air and Slingshot NF2 wing, or current equivalent
2. Set of Foil Academy masts: 15/24/30"
3. Sign up for Slingshots free "Foil Academy" video lessons.
4. Watch the videos in order, and work in the skills in that video. When mastered, move to the next video. They will progress you through the mast lengths as you go

After 20 sessions and all of the Foil Academy videos I was on a full length mast, and completely hooked. I was actually hooked during the first 10 minutes...

Stringy is 100% correct, in that you will beat the hell out of your wing when learning, so getting carbon from the get-go is not a great idea. I have known Kiter Joe for years, and taking lessons from him may be great way to go if you are limited to how often you can get to the water, or simply want some personalized instruction. Stringy is a bit of a legend for all things kiteboarding, so you can bet anything he designs will be rather good. So, his wings are another great option.

If you post up on NW kite that you want a set of gear to learn on, stuff will pop up.

It's an amazingly fun sport. You will also be amazed at the winds you can foil in. "Dude, you missed it," will be mostly a thing of the past.


I only kite if I am alone, or with somebody else.


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Since 06 Dec 2011
442 Posts
SE PDX volcano

PostTue Aug 13, 19 2:05 pm     Reply with quote

Jones Beach is where I learned and it’s great for foiling with a long sandy beach, deep water, and No crowds. I didn’t take a lesson but did watch a lot of videos. If you know someone who foils, it’s a great help to have them around your first two sessions to hand off a surfboard and ride in your foil if you tap out. I just stayed within a few hundred yards at Jones and was fine. I’m sure foiling behind a boat would help too. I’d suggest using 1m smaller kite than Twintippers at first unless you get a larger surf wing like the h2 or my LF Impulse where you’d drop 2m. Joe the Kiter at Stevenson is great with headsets, a jet ski, and beginner foils

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Since 25 Jun 2019
20 Posts


PostWed Aug 14, 19 3:25 am     Reply with quote

SS hoverglide with short masts. Try to buy used. Maybe post "wanted ads". Many people have them sitting is their garages, not bothered to deal with and try to sell. I would just buy a big used board. Volume is your friend when learning. After x number of sessions, you will be ready to buy your new kit and have a better idea of the style of foiling you want to do. You can sell your beginner stuff to the next newbie.

Welcome to the club, you will love it.

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Since 14 May 2006
427 Posts


PostWed Aug 14, 19 9:04 am     Reply with quote

I just did the super big wing from slingshot, on the medium school mask behind a jet ski for approx. 4 to 5 hours of actual on board time. Then I got on the med mask and a space gate, road for 10 min, through a kite up and spent 3 hours in light wind at lake floras, and I'm making long reaches and started trying, but failing, toe side turns. (For what its worth, and I don't know anything about actual foils, but that was my experience.)

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