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  • James Van


As some of you may know, I caught the foiling buzz this past year. For me, foiling represents something of a dreamy type of windsurfing that I have fantasized about since I was a kid: it is a smooth, fast, and floating sensation. Acceleration is quick, turning is precise and quick as well. It is also new, and it challenges my instincts of windsurfing for over 30 years.

When asked to compare it to regular windsurfing, I typically express that it is like the difference between snowboarding on powder versus hardpack snow (back to that floating sensation). It is quiet, absent is the sound of the board slapping the water. The only sound you will hear is the trickle made by the blade of the mast, as it slices through the water.

Don't get me wrong, I love traditional windsurfing as much as I ever have. I will always want to ride a board with fins, and feel that sensation of the board slapping the water. I don't believe that will ever change. In fact, I believe I am amped about windsurfing more now that I have started foiling. It's hard to describe why, but I think it is connected to this idea that foiling has opened up more possibilities for sailing in certain conditions, beaches, and renewed my desire to experiment and try new things.

I lowered my wind alert threshold on iWindsurf down to 10, and I may even lower it to 8! Yes, it gives me more reason to look forward to lighter winds--winds that in the past, I would have paid no attention. This lower wind threshold opens up the possibility of sailing at spots I had previously never seriously considered. Case-in-point: I foiled off the beach in Aptos this past summer and had a blast! I would have not even brought my gear if it were not for the foil, the wind there is not constantly strong.

I've caught the foiling buzz, and I cannot wait to see where it takes me!

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