What’s the latest buzz on Maui? Flying surfboards!
If you are ready for a new adventure, you might want to add e-foiling to your Maui bucket list.
What is e-foiling?
Foilboarding, foiling, or foil surfing – whatever you prefer to call it, is a characterized by a hydrofoil that extends below the board into the water. When you add in an electric motor, you get the e-foil, which is essentially an electric surfboard.
When the e-foil gains speed, it will lift up and out of the water. The rider glides above the water and controls the speed with a wireless bluetooth remote control, typically at 4 to 8 miles per hour.
E-foiling has Maui roots
E-foiling might seem like the island’s latest water sports craze, but many don’t know the sport has roots on Maui.
While the first hydrofoil dates back to 1869 and was commonly used for U.S. military purposes, foiling as an ocean sport was pioneered by Hawaii watermen Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama in the early 2000s. They were famous for their big wave tow-in surfing, and translated this to surfing on a foilboard. Back then, they strapped their boots onto their foilboards, got towed into big waves by jetskis, then worked their foilsurf magic on Maui.
E-foiling continues to be popular among the next generation of watermen, like Kai Lenny, who can be seen gliding on his foilboard along Maui’s waves, both large and small.
The sport has also become popular in Southern California and other lakes, beaches, and rivers around the world.
If you’re curious about e-foiling on Maui and want to give it a try, you’re in luck. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to learn how to e-foil.
How can I try this sport?
E-Foil companies recently began offering private foiling lessons to get beginners riding with an emphasis on fun and safety.
Founded by Nick Hoke, a retired military veteran and first responder, Aloha E-Foils provides an unforgettable experience that might otherwise be too expensive and difficult to learn on your own.
“The best part of my job now is empowering people and putting smiles on their faces,” says Hoke, who is one of the few individuals to ever ride an e-foil across the ʻAlalākeiki Channel to the back side of Molokini. “We always have a ton of fun.”
What are some tips for beginners?
- It’s best to take it slow, but at the same time, push yourself out of your comfort zone, according to Hoke. This will lead to the quickest growth and improvement.
- Unlike surfing, you don’t need to pop up quickly on the e-foil to ride it successfully. Your body’s natural balance, coordination, and flexibility will go a long way.
- Expect to fall often. The water is warm and it’s part of the fun.
Safety and instruction
Similar to our surfing lessons on Maui, Aloha E-Foils offers personalized instruction for beginners, which is important for learning a new sport. Group lessons are small and intimate, with only 1 to 3 riders at a time and typically a 1:1 student to instructor ratio.
Riders are provided with a helmet, life jacket, and safety briefing prior to lifting off.