I was able to take out my new Slingshot Airstrike 7'8" SUP foil board and matching Ride Engine SURF foil. The weather was super nice and warm, the waves were smallish, and the tide was rising. The break I chose gets kinda mushy as the tide gets higher--between this and the smaller waves, I was hoping the lineup would be less crowded. This seemed like perfect conditions for my first day out on the kit.
I pulled up to my parking spot before the sun rose--it was dark, but I could now make out the waves in the waning darkness. I hopped out, and started to assemble the foil and attach to the board.
I like the adjustability of the Slingshot foils. You can 1) move the foil forward and aft on the SUP board itself, and 2) you can assemble the mast forward and aft on the fuselage itself. According to the instructions, this can make the foil more stable or more nimble, and can place the front wing of the foil under your front foot, according to your stance.
I met a friend at the beach, he was excited to see the foil for the first time. I'd been talking to him about getting a SUP foil for a while, and it was now reality. The Airstrike is 7'8', which is shorter than the SUP I normally ride (8'6"), so I was a little tentative about how I would be able to manage a smaller board.
We pushed out onto the water. I was surprised how stable the board was. At 31" wide, it is a bit wider than my 8'6" and the boxy rails had more volume towards the edges (145 liters). My friend got a few waves while I paddled around for a while so that I could familiarize myself with the feeling of the board. I finally paddled for a wave, didn't get it. I paddled for another one...didn't get it. And another, and another...
My friend had caught several waves by now, and I had exactly 0 waves. I was growing a bit frustrated, and wanted to at least catch a wave. I figured now was a good chance to let my friend try it. A few minutes after switching, he promptly caught a wave and I saw the board pop up, and he got his first foil ride. Cool! This thing works! Emboldened, he paddled for a bigger wave, the board popped up, and he super-manned over the nose of the board as everything tumbled. I was paddling back out, and caught a front row seat to the wipeout. I met him back on the outside, and he quickly asked to use my helmet--smart.
He needed to leave, so we switched back. I readjusted my spot in the lineup poised to take rights off the peak. I finally caught a small wave and the board popped up on the wave, and continued in the white water. I was finally successful in getting my first ride! By now, a second wave of surfers had paddled out, most of them curious about this helmet-wearing SUPper. They understood the helmet once they realized I was paddling on a foil.
I got another right, this time with more speed and on the shoulder of the wave. I was moving effortlessly, and unfortunately there was a surfer in my path. I turned, and the board sent my flying the opposite direction. Note to self...remember that body shifts are exaggerated on foils.
My last wave of the day was by far, the best. I popped up quickly and rode the wave to the beach and did a few slow turns along the way. I glided over the water with a smooth and effortless speed. I hopped off the board, flipped it upside down, and walked up onto the beach with a big smile on my face. :)