As I am writing this in April 2020, we are amidst a pandemic that nobody saw coming and that many people are struggling with. Still, I am so positive these days it is ridiculous. The only reason is that for me this pandemic coincides with discovering and ferociously falling in love with efoiling. I discover new aspects of the sport on a very regular basis and I am on the water almost every day. In fact this is my first day off the water since probably a month. I am so physically exhausted that I just needed a day off. I wanted to use this time to capture why I am so excited, why I fell in love with the sport and why you might, too.
Here are my 20 reasons. I’ll update this list if I discover new things, but feel free to also add based on your own observations in the comments.
1) It is in nature
You go outside, and you will go places that are far from other humans and far from buildings and other signs of civilization. At the same time you are not destroying what you came to enjoy. It is quiet, it is pollution free, it doesn’t produce wakes. It lets you enjoy the water with disturbing anyone.
2) It is easy to learn the basics
You will get on foil in your first session. You’ll practice your turns in session 2. 3rd time you are cruising like you have been doing this for ages. Progress obviously differs for different people but I keep repeating that it is the water sport that is easiest to learn. That is due to
a) you can repeat the same thing that you are learning over and over until you manage to execute it properly
b) you are in control of it. No need for the right wave, the right wind, the right timing...
It helps to start without waves of any kind though and on the largest board and the largest foil available.
3) You’ll continue to make progress fast and will continue to learn new things
It doesn’t stop there. You can practice your turns, your fast rides, your rides in choppy water/waves, your motor breaches, your waves/wakes, your jumps, your riding with feet parallel, riding while sitting..., riding with two people... I have yet to hit the end of the learning curve after 70+ sessions.
4) It is physical
Sure, you can just cruise along, but if you start putting in turns and some pumping you will be surprised how exhausting it is. In fact, very few people can pull off two back to back sessions with two batteries. A friend of mine referred to efoils as e-faul (German which translates to e-lazy). While funny, the truth couldn’t be farther from it.
5) You’ll see your surroundings with different eyes
Suddenly, everything becomes foilable. Lakes, rivers, ponds, pools. Ok maybe pools not so much, but definitely oceans and any larger chunk of water (think Ostsee/Nordsee for us Germans)
6) You see small waves with different eyes
I am a surfer and waves need to be big and powerful. But suddenly, this doesn’t matter anymore. When the speed is coming from the board, you can enjoy every ripple. Wakes, small wind waves, you name it. In fact things become surfable that you wouldn’t even have looked at. I actually surfed in February this year the day after storm Sabrina and I kid you not, there where waves in the 2-3 feet range on our local lake. They were not beautiful but boy did it feel like being in the ocean.
7) it is an all year round activity
With the right amount of gear (gloves, booties, wetsuit/dry suit) you will enjoy it so much, you’ll go in winter. I am at 70+ sessions now and we have mid April. I even got a tan line from the wetsuit while efoiling in winter in Germany.
8) you’ll meet so many friendly, positive people
It is a new sport and you hardly leave the water without explaining what you do and how this actually works. You’ll never leave the water without a friendly talk. It is like a magic carpet ride that people just cannot understand and feel drawn to.
9) it is sooo mobile and you will explore your area
This thing travels. Just put it in your car and go to a new lake/river/what not. I can easily fit 2 boards inside my car. Ok well, I do have to dissemble the mast of one though which takes like 2 minutes.
10) Easy to assemble/dissemble
Ever saw kiteboarders/Windsurfers unload and then put together gear for half an hour. Not the case with efoiling. In 2 mins you are in the water. 5mins max if you have to assemble the board first.
11) it doesn’t need much storage space
You don’t need a boat house, no dock, no own yard with private water access. Store it in your cellar, pack it in your car. And you are all set.
12) you can do it with your less fanatic partner or friend
Most of the fun sports are difficult to enjoy together since most of the time both are at very different levels. Not the case with efoiling. While your partner is leisurely cruising through the water you throw in a couple of extra turns or drive circles around things. It still will be a shared experience that is hard to get in surfing, wind surfing, wakeboarding, kiting etc.
13) you can do excursions / sightseeing
Pack your board and cruise past your favorite sights. Particularly in the Berlin/Brandenburg area there are plenty of castles on lakeshores and riverbanks. Or just go to a different lake in your area and explore it.
14) no hassle
There is hardly any maintenance, particularly if you avoid salt water. The Lift efoils are well designed and don't provide any trouble. You'll spend your time riding not cleaning or fixing.
15) it is fast
I still ride in governor mode 3 out of 4. 4 is for madmen (and madwomen) only. So far my speed record is about 40kmh. Flying over water. It feels ridiculously fast. Fastest speed is supposed to be above 50 kmh. However, I find the most enjoyable cruising speed is between 20 and 25 kmh. Still fast on water but you can easily do carving turns.
16) the combination of efoils and surf is magical
Now, full disclaimer, so far I have only ridden in lakes and rivers hence this is based on theory and videos I have seen. But I plan on surfing with it in the sea and oceans (stupid Corona! I would have been in Portugal and on Usedom by now.) But already now in small boat wakes this is so much fun, it can only get better in "real" waves. I actually believe it will open up the Baltic Sea for surfing.
17) you don't have to be hard core fanatic to do it
Being a surfer, kiteboarder or wind surfer means you have to be committed. You are checking conditions every day - if you live close to the beach that is. Else all your vacations will be close to water. For ever. With efoiling, you can lead a "normal" life and still get out on the water a lot.
18) You can schedule it
Since there is no need for special conditions, you will easily find 1-hour-slots where you can and will do it. For me as a dad of two kids below the age of 5 that means after they have gone to sleep at night or when they nap. But people do it before or after work or even during their lunch breaks. It also helps that you will be off the lake in 1h since your battery will run empty. Almost no way to overrun your slot. At least not by as much as with surfing.
19) You can tow people
Again, for me this is still theoretical. But I will try this out. You can pull another rider, even another foil-surfer.
20) it is so powerful, two people can ride on one board
So one time I lost a remote and only realized once I was at the lake with my wife fully in wetsuits and booties ready for our session. Bummer, right? We still went together on one board and it ended up being the funniest session ever. It is super challenging as two people will change the center of gravity and we fell a lot but we laughed our asses off and got to fly together on one board. FYI - In the meantime the remote was found, so the story has a big happy end, too