Foil Friday with the Slingshot Crew
Throughout the history of watersports there has been a recurring trend for new ideas and devices to come along to tow behind the boat, most often they get immediately get dismissed by the core. By core we mean the dedicated media in addition to the athletes … so Alliance essentially. But all of these things tend to come out in the wash if it is fun enough, challenging enough and you are not on your knees. This is exactly how skiers saw skurfing/wakeboarding in the early 90s and exactly how many wakeboarders have viewed wakesurfing in recent years. It’s all fun and games to heckle the newcomer until some folks come around and make that activity cool.
In the last year or so it’s been more and more common to see notably “core” wakeboarders out on a foil. We aren’t talking about the commonly pessimistic core, but the riders who actually have led the charge in innovating wakeboarding like Guenther Oka, Jeff Langley and Brian Grubb. Add in legends like Chase Heavener and Jeff McKee and there are some big-name wakers on the bandwagon. Once you spend a moment watching what they can do and the stoke they are feeling the FOMO begins to build.
The idea of hydrofoil technology has been around since the 1890’s but wasn’t seen in the realm of watersports until the 1960s with hydrofoil skis, which branched off into other realms with varying popularity. The current day iteration of foiling has gotten a lot of attention recently. This is partially based on a video of Kai Lenny (accomplished big wave surfer) using hydrofoil technology on a surfboard in July 2016. That video quickly amassed 1.2 million views and the bandwagon was immediately on the road. Slingshot had been on the foil tip for years in the kiting world and released their first wake foil just 4 months after Lenny’s video. Point here is that Slingshot was certainly one of the earliest brands to participate and help revolutionize the foil movement. Over the last 6 years they has been working on growing their foil catalog to offer whatever type of ride you may be looking for and ultimately making it easier and more fun.
Throughout shooting this video it was intriguing to see different riders gravitate towards certain board sizes, mast’s, stabilizers and wing sizes. As a common wakeboarder, I couldn’t get a grasp on what all this tech talk meant, but throughout the day it was clear that Jeff Mckee and the crew had a setup ready for whatever riders were looking for.
Foiling will never replace wakeboarding but to call foiling a fad that will die off is clearly unlikely.