Here's something new for you. Again.
While making the first short board hydrofoil in 2013 there were a lot of foils made with different materials. One of them was this beast made of 1 inch thick XPS but no sooner had the resin dried I realised that this level of buoyancy wouldn't help with foiling as it would always be trying to pop out of the wave. Ideally a foil should be neutral buoyancy so it goes where you ride it, but this one never made it onto a foil board and sat in the garage with all the others prototypes.
Construction was 1 inch thick XPS with carbon top/4oz glass bottom, vacced with a lazy gloss coat afterwards.
The next day it was head high and hollow but a bit nasty and and I thought I'll take it down and see how it performs as a single foil, maybe just by holding it in my hands and see what happens. I thought it might've just been ripped out of my grasp by the wave or just been crap but you've got to give things a go. Maybe it'll be great scientific experimentation, or maybe another blood letting experience and sad cautionary tale.
Paddling out was a bit awkward as there's a sharpish leading edge and a chunkier trailing edge and it's designed to ride laterally in the water, sideways rather than lengthwise. But I got out there and figured out the best place for it while waiting for a set was under my butt. It gives enough buoyancy so that my shoulders are out of the water. Better visibility than normal bodysurfing so that's a bonus.
One-arm paddling into a wave, grasping it by one end and quickly grabbed the other end as the wave caught me.
I'd forgotten to have a morning coffee, shower or make any attempt to wake up before hitting the surf and suddenly I'm dropping into a nasty head high barrel with a newly designed sharp edged carbon blade with no freaking idea of what's about to happen.
Dropping like a stone, I instinctively push both arms down to distance and protect myself from the sandy bottom of the barrel and the foiling effect kicks in. The width gives lift and instantly the front half of my body is out of the wave, the wave steepens and the outside end of the foil is now out of the water with the inside end stabbed into the face and Im actually moving along the wave with good speed. In each millisecond I'm waiting for disaster, something hideous to happen to punish me for taunting the wave gods.
I shoot out of the tube and it's over. Done. I'm adrenalised.
I think...Is this something ? Great new idea or just another unholy bastardisation?
There's a bit of adjustment with the inside hand onto the top of the foil to reduce drag but I shoot out of most of the waves I took in the next 30 minutes proving that bodysurfing with a single foil is functional, a bit odd to start with but it works. It's actually a new way to ride waves. Handplane, bodysurf, mini bodyboard, bodyfoil...
I wander home stoked in the summer sun, smiling at the experience, constantly turning the foil over in my hands looking for what Magic it contains.
I carefully nestle the foil beside the front door for use that afternoon and the wife asks if I'd like a coffee ?
Nah I'm fine thanks.