Downwind Paddle Boarding
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is currently the fastest growing watersport in the world. Downwind paddle boarding is basically paddling down-wind on the open ocean in strong winds that create large swells, that you can ride.
Or like supboardermag.com puts it: “Downwinding gives you a fantastic sense of freedom, you are powered by the wind and ocean swells, and use your paddle to surf waves for mile upon mile of ocean. You can explore places you might never normally visit, improve your paddle fitness and help your surfing by getting a great understanding of board trim.”
In other words, downwind paddle boarding is great fun. But a revolution in downwind SUP boarding may be right around the corner.
A Revolution is Coming
A few months ago SUP racer Kai Lenny (currently number 7 on the World SUP Racing chart) amazed the stand up paddling community by riding a downwinder on an adapted 12’6 Naish race board with a large SUP hydro foil attached to the bottom. Other watersports like kitesurfing and windsurfing have adopted the foil quite some time a ago, but for stand up paddle boarding this is a first.
In the video Kai flies above the water with seemingly hardly any effort at all, occasionally pumping with his legs to launch or relaunch the board. According to Kai, SUP Hydro foiling downwind is the future. And it sure looks really fun.
On Totalsup.com Cyril Garbous is asked the question: “What new sensations do you get from using a hydrofoil?” To which he responds:
“Using a hydrofoil feels pretty much like flying above the water. The board doesn’t make any noise any more and the feeling of speed is increased. In kiteboarding, foils were introduced primarily with the aim to ride with very little wind. As the technology around hydrofoils evolved, everybody understood that you could go at full speed in any kind of weather! In Stand Up Paddle, it should allow you to reach amazing speeds and get new sensations especially in downwind conditions.”
In an interview with SUP magazine, Kai predicts that: “In a year, all the top guys will be downwinding on hydrofoils (…) It’s the fast way to downwind paddle.” A bold claim, but considering Kai’s fast experience on just about anything that floats, he may just be right.
Kai has been working together with high-end SUP manufacturer Naish, and this fall Naish will launch a dedicated SUP foilboard for downwind or open ocean swell-foiling.
Is The SUP Hydro Foil The Future…?
So perhaps the future of downwind SUP is indeed right around the corner. Check out the video and ask youself, is the SUP Hydro Foil the future in downwind SUP boarding?
Read our Review of these Cheap Inflatable SUP Boards.