Foil stories: windfoiling – do it anyway! With Jeremy Carr.

Foil stories do it anyway! With Jeremy Carr.

Foil stories continues with a very real world, and honest account of windfoiling courtesy of Jeremy Carr.

It’s very easy to think, looking at social media posts and website articles/videos, that foiling just happens. The rider in question grabs a setup and in the blink of an eye is up and riding with minimal effort. What should be kept in mind is these guys and girls are paid to showcase the sport and those spangly products being used. More often than not he/she is a pro, or at least an industry insider. Flip it to the real world and learning to foil can be longwinded, sometimes frustrating and not as straightforward as many would have you believe. This isn’t to say don’t get involved. Definitely do! But be realistic with your aims and keep in mind foiling, of all takes, takes time, effort and perseverance. Over to Jeremy for his windfoiling story…

‘I first started down the watersports route when I was about 8. My dad bought a skipper 12 dinghy. I was totally obsessed by boats after that. I dabbled with windsurfing lessons, aged 17 ish, but continued to sail dinghies for a few years. Then I joined the Royal Navy in ’92. Following that, I got back into windsurfing around ’96 with a claim to fame of windsurfing across the equator, on my way to the Falklands. I then gave up watersports as family and motorcycles took over. In 2014, after a few years of dinghy sailing again, I made a comeback. But osteoarthritis struck, dinghies became too much so windsurfing was (is) my main focus.

Foiling sprang up after seeing Robbie Naish launching his first foil board and foil equipment. Something just appealed to me. I just thought: what have I got to lose?

Jeremy’s first windfoil board at the back.

I’m windfoiling at the moment – or at least trying! Why windfoil? Because it was just putting a foil on a windsurf (foil) board with the rig just staying the same. I wouldn’t have to learn how to use the power source – as per wing foiling.

Has foiling panned out the way I thought? Hmm, not in the slightest! I went from a Kona longboard to a JP 135 foil board and I just thought: ‘where’s the board’s nose gone?’. I have one of the early NP Glide foils, with a small front wing which was hard to learn with (nobody was talking about bigger foil wings for light winds at that point). About a year of getting used to board bigger foil appeared but I was scuppered for a while longer with Lockdowns. I then got a matching foil-specific rig and actually started getting somewhere! I never give up! But more Lockdowns resulting in more time off the water meant progress was slow.

Jeremy’s latest windfoiling sled.

I’ve since changed my board to a JP Free Foil 130 and have had one brilliant session to date. Where I live we haven’t had a lot of wind – or when the wind’s turned up I haven’t been able to get out. This has dented my confidence a bit. Limited time on the water, due to work and life commitments, is something everyone faces. And it does make the learning/progressing intermediate stage longer. But there’s nothing we can do.

Honestly, I found foiling both easy and hard. It’s nowhere near as hard and demanding as some say. You don’t need to be able to sail in both straps. And sometimes you don’t need a harness. You don’t even need to have windsurf planing skills. Just being able to go in a straight line is enough to start foiling. Confidence and learning the foil are then key.

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from foiling is don’t be scared of foiling! It looks intimidating to start with, but it’s just a windsurf board with a big fin on it with wings. Just be mindful of the actual foil and you’ll be fine.

Jeremy’s local windfoiling spot looking respendant.

My biggest inspiration for foiling is loving anything that flies. That’s it!

Where’s my foiling now? I feel like being back to square one a bit with my smaller board. Even though my old 135 and new 130 may look similar on paper they’re are a million miles apart in terms of actual shape and performance. Dimensions – especially focusing on one number – means nothing. The recent Foislhop UK article talking about this is so true!

I’ve also had setbacks with pulled muscles which do your head in a bit. In these cases I find leaving it all alone for a while, resetting, and then starting again is best (for me). It’s no big deal, just a little frustrating.

Jeremy out and about – even in the rain!

I won’t be doing jumps and backflips anytime soon! I do want to foil along the coast from Brixham to Torquay, so that’s one goal. But above all, I just want to have fun. Foiling is an escape from normal life. But I do want to try a wing on my board, as the Free Foil can be wingsurfed as well. That’s the plan. Will it happen? I have no idea.

Has the general foilscape changed? Pretty much. I purchased my initial gear late in 2018. But now three years on, everything is so much more user-friendly. There’s a lot of choice with equipment. With the arrival of winging, foiling is opening up to so many more. Which has got to be a good thing. There’s also a lot more info and knowledge out there to help riders like me.

Happy windfoiling days at the beach.

To me, the most spectacular foiling vessels now are the 60 foot foiling monohulls. Sailing a 60ft foiling beast around single handed is just amazing! But with board sports, it seems currently the big manufacturers are making hay while they can with wings – can you blame them? But £800+ (in some cases) for a wing is a bit excessive I feel. Hopefully with smaller brands coming along with same quality, but much lower prices, it will keep things affordable. Winging is certainly growing and wil no doubt continue. And the highly efficient, hi aspect winging foils are being used by some for windfoiling. I’ve also seen new AI, self-leveling foils coming on the market. That’s going to be some tech, but at what price?

I was very dubious about this article, as who wants to read about someone who struggles at times with foiling. But maybe that’s the whole point. If I can go foiling, then anyone can! Don’t be put off by the kit. You really don’t need to spend a fortune. There is some decent used gear about. If you’re not sure about foiling talk to the expert. From my experience, they’re all very encouraging. But, to reiterate, if you want foil just do it! Don’t be put off.’

You can find more real world Foil Stories via the links below.

And if you have any questions about windfoiling or any other foiling discipline get in touch with us here at Foilshop UK.