Decapitation by aluminium blade!
Hydro-foils. You know ’em.
You might’ve thrilled to Kai Lenny riding one in Tahiti two weeks ago.
You like the way Lenny rides a wave to the death, flies off the back of the wave with enough speed to catch the wave behind it? Yeah, me too.
They’re savage looking things, though.
Imagine getting sliced by that aluminium blade, the razor edge sawing through the neck like a medieval executioner for whom no gold coin is offered.
Jamie Mitchell, the paddleboarder turned big-wave surfer, says he knows what’s coming.
In Jamie’s opinion, someone’s going to get iced by one, and real soon. In a pretty emotional post on Facebook, he writes:
“So lately I have been asked consistently about my thoughts on the so called “NEW” foil popularity and haven’t really said much but, yesterday, sadly, I saw a photo that I knew was coming sooner then later.
Foils are for open ocean swells, outer bombies and places where there are no people or very few people doing it together. Foils are dangerous. Very dangerous. And do not belong in the surf zone with the masses and general public.
Yes, Kai and and a few talented kids can probably control the boards amazingly well, but you can’t control other peoples actions and movements. I see more and more clips everyday of people trying the foils and I am so scared that someone will pay the ultimate price and die.
Look at this photo below. If a foil hits you or you hit someone with the foil it’s going to end badly. I sure hope the people and companies that are making money off these are doing their best to educate people about the dangers. I don’t think this will be the first or last incident unfortunately.
I’m very happy that the gentleman in this photo will be ok. Please think about your surroundings before you just jump in and start surfing those boards.”
The surfer in the photo is Yu Tonbi Sumitomo, a bit of a figure in Japanese surfing. No kook. Which, says Jamie, is his point.
“He is an experienced waterman that was doing it in the right way, in the right place and look what happened. Imagine someone who isn’t experienced or even if they are that are in a crowded spot! To me that’s a recipe for disaster!”
In response to Jamie’s post, Yu writes:
“Hi Jamie Mitchell san. This was my bad. Waves are waist to chest. No one around except me and my father. Had struggle first 30 min. Then I start figure. Had such fun time. Then see what you see what happen. I been surfing since I was 8. 36 year experience. Your friend Sean O. is my best friend we made SUP 11 year ago. I thought foiling is easy. It is easy but easy to turn very dangerous. What I learn from this is have to be careful. Surfing. Or sup. Or foiling. Thank you for the comment and hope no one get’s hurt like I did. Sure foiling is amazing.”
I gotta say, the sell for ’em is compelling. As this surf shop on Maui writes:
The hydrofoil has become one of the most sophisticated forms of gliding through the water. The feeling of lifting onto a surface and riding in three dimensions unlocks new experiences and sensations that one is unable to achieve on traditional boards. Imagine the feeling of flying over the surface of the water with a direct connection to the conditions below. Experience a drastic reduction in drag and complete silence as you lift your board off the water and fly. It’s as if kitesurfing meets deep powder snowboarding.”