Spoiled by the foil – when hydrofoiling becomes obsession (it’s hard to go back).

Foilshop UK’s Tez Plavenieks tells it like it is.

I used to salivate over waves and wind. Proper waves and wind I hasten to add. Although I’m not talking death bombs and hurricanes. That said, I’ve been known to drop into overhead hollows and face off against 40+ knots. Nazare, though, I’ll leave that to the pros…

Windsurf forward loop sequence – pics: James Jagger.

Back when I were younger overseas seasons were what I did. Reason? Mainly because it was the only way to guarantee water time, being the land locked born individual I am. (That and parties, women and good times – different story though there, which I’ll leave for another time).

Lanzarote surf SUP sequence – pics: Caz Rigby.

The biggest issue with seasons was not everywhere delivered consistent wind and waves. Not unless you were gifted the headline spots, that of course, every instructor wanted and only a few actually got. So whilst sun drenched beachscapes were a given often water time was still lacking. The full power type at least. You could always go for a lunchtime flick flack, light wind windsurf sesh – which we did, often. But there was definitely a clammering for proper breeze. (If only we’d had foiling back then…).

Dahab, Egypt windsurf vulcan sequence – pics: Jules Toms.

Now don’t get me wrong. I loved my time abroad. It was the making of me. I wouldn’t change things. But wanting more full power conditions was one reason for moving back to the UK.

SUP surfing lip hits – pics: Reuben May, Fi Plavenieks.

There’s no question: when it works at home it works. We get some of the best windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing and stand up paddle boarding weather in the world. It’s comparable, at times (in the right spot), to any other world-class location. We just don’t have the consistency. 

Freestyle windsurf action Dahab, Egypt – pic: Jules Toms.

At the risk of sounding like a moaning old bleater there lies another (slight) issue for anyone addicted to brine time and living in Blighty. Some weeks can absolutely fire – especially in winter. But there can often be droughts where nothing but flat calm water extends as far as the eye can see. At this point I’d be scratching around for other forms of amusement. MTB, skating, running; it’s all been done when Mother Nature goes on hiatus. Unfortunately none of these things quite tick the box.

Slalom windsurf ‘tastic in Dahab, Egypt – pic: Jules Toms.

And then foiling turned up to my door….

First it was windsurf foiling – which made sense being a windsurfer. Close behind came SUP foiling. Again, that also made sense being a paddler. Four years down the line and I can now list wing foiling, eFoiling, surf foiling dabblings and the occasional sesh behind a boat/ski aboard a wake foil. 

First strapless windfoil runs in the sun.

In a nutshell: no more hanging about, staring forlornly out to sea. These days I have all the toys, locked and loaded ready to go. Hit the beach and whatever’s going down weather wise I’m armed with the necessary to make use of all scenarios. Basically, no more waiting for perfect forecasts. Instead: session guaranteed!

Now, this has thrown up a new ‘issue’. I’ve gone full circle and rather than scouring for good windsurfing, SUP surfing or surfing charts I’m wishing the weather Gods would do one and NOT deliver the goods. The more rubbish the conditions (as every foiler knows) the better the foiling. The irony… 

These days I’m not hunting different spots for the cream. I’m happy to stick with doorstep sessions minutes from home. Of course, this means that when ‘good’ wind and waves show up I’m sometimes turning my nose up at it, wishing the blow would go and swell ebb back out to sea. 

I know, I know. You can’t please some folk. But what can I say? When you’ve been spoiled by the foil it’s very hard to go back…