Pros and cons. Let’s be practical and direct. First, cons: why is foil windsurfing a hassle?
More equipment parts, more trouble, of course. One more bag to carry around and less money in your pocket because a foil is more expensive than a fin. Everything is a little bit heavier, and you have a new set of adjustments to take care of. We’ll come to that, but the new things are:
- Mast (different lengths, different materials)
- Fuselage (different lengths)
- Front wing (different shapes and functions)
- Tail wing or a stabilizer (different shapes)
All that attached to your board is bulkier and heavier to carry to the water. You have to be more careful NOT to damage the foil in shallow water. Forget water start; most of the time, you’ll have to uphaul. It is dangerous to swim near the board because foil can hurt you badly. The same is valid for crazy uncontrolled crashes where you lose control or even contact with your board (avoid that for any cost). Fin can cut you, but foil can do worst. I was reckless once and paid for that with three stitches on my lower leg.
The main pros of foil windsurfing are not on the side of the equipment. They are in the FEELING.
But, first, let me tell you that many people will advocate foil windsurfing for an increase in the number of windsurfing days. You need less wind to get going. You’ll also use smaller sails in the same wind force. You’ll spend less time trying to find that perfect spot with perfect conditions. You can foil anywhere, chop, small waves, waves, flat, it doesn’t matter. Suddenly, the spots you didn’t even consider as windsurfing spots become quite attractive.
Wind foiling is a bit on the weak or moderate wind force side, but if the wind is strong, you can always use the fin, right?
Another reason for the increased popularity of foil windsurf is that you can get up in the air much faster than you can master full-speed planning. My partner Emina was kind of a jumper from beginner/intermediate windsurfer to an amazingly skillful foil windsurfer. That does not diminish the need for mastering all windsurfing skills, but such steep improvement does wonder for motivation and increases fun and enjoyment in windsurfing.
And finally, the main reason: a feeling.
Foil experience is a pure soulwindsurf experience! It is easy, floating, ethereal. It delivers a feeling of freedom inside the full cooperation with the elements. The zone comes easily, much quicker, and more often than in classic windsurfing. Maybe because there is not so much effort in it, and with much less force, you can achieve the same effect of gliding through the air, this time literary over the sea.
I don’t know if it will be helpful or inspirative for you, but one way of describing it comes again from Emina. She noticed that classic windsurfing has a lot of male, forceful energy, while foil windsurfing is a more feminine, dance-like activity directed inward.
As a male, I can tell you that I didn’t lose any of the strong, masculine demands of a windsurfer, but I did gain a lot of easiness and even more introspective, meditative feelings while foil windsurfing.
To conclude, if you are a windsurfer, it would be a mistake not to try the foil. The equipment part can be a hassle, but the experience part is amazing!