Joel Tudor On Hydrofoils: If You Ain’t Kai, Laird or John John ...Fuck Off!"
The foil debate rages on!
When the world was first introduced to hydrofoils in 2003's hallmark surf film, Step into Liquid, the overarching sentiment was: "Hmmmm, interesting."
It wasn't good, it wasn't bad... primarily the foil was just another quirky Laird invention -- something intriguing to watch and fun to joke about, but far too obscure and futuristic to ever become mainstream. Like self-driving cars or sex robots.
Aaaaaaand welcome to 2018. Where unmanned automobiles, fuckbots, and decapitation devices disguised as surfboards can be found in any highway, closet, or lineup.
Even as recently as 2015, when foils were clearly on the up-and-up in elite surfing circles, it was difficult to imagine that they'd reach the common consumer/lineup due to their inherently dangerous design. Yet here we are, three years later, and twice in the past month I've nearly been beheaded by a 4-foot machete-rudder at a busy San Diegan reef.
I won't argue with the fact that surfing is dangerous in its own right. There are fins and sharks and reefs and a million other variables that could lead to unforeseen deaths or dismemberments. But hydrofoiling is on an entirely different plane of peril -- both literally and metaphorically.
Joel Tudor agrees.
In a recent Instagram upload, in which Tudor reposted the below video from @westcoastfoilclub (a semi-satirical account of SoCal surfers/industry heavies Ryan Hurley, Jeff Hurley, Pat Towersey and friends foiling in the OC), he left a very clear caption: "If you ain’t kai , laird or Jon Jon ....fuck off with these dangerous things in crowded lineups - you donkeys are gonna kill someone."
Joel politely denied our request for comment, so we took the liberty of gaining further insights from his post's comment thread. In it, Joel helped clarify his message, saying: "Foil surfing is super cool and innovative- however taking them to Cardiff on crowded weekends makes you dangerous goon - way to many empty waves in town for you to take these things around small kids learning to surf - not a good look or cool."
Joel's point was backed up by ex-CTer and forever-legend @bennyboosh, who commented: "It baffles me that people would try and ride them at Cardiff and other surf breaks?? All you need is the worst wave ever to have a blast on one of those things! I've been doing it for a month or so now and love it! I get to ride waves with just a few friends that no one would ever think about surfing!"
Then the @westcoastfoilclub -- via its co-CFOs (that's Chief-Foil-Officer) @ryanhurley / @jeffhurley and unpaid intern @punkerpat -- fired back.
@westcoastfoilclub: "Amen Joel thanks for the repost. Where’s the tag tho? By the way, just us donkeys out there, but who cares. XO"
@punkerpat: "Thanks for sharing the PSA Joel, thank god we have you as the voice of surfing."
@ryanhurley: "I’ll talk to you guys later, I’m foiling RN" (Ed. note: Lol)
Encinitas local and X-Games announcer @salmasekela shared his two cents: "If I saw one of these in the lineup I’d go full Wolfpack"
The list of names and opinions goes on (and you should really keep reading them), but overall this thread has led me to one comical conclusion: The foil debate almost perfectly mirrors America's ongoing dispute over gun control.
Guns are fun to shoot. Foils are fun to ride. But is there a way in which both sides of surfeopolitical spectrum can compromise to reach the common goal of ocean/citizen safety? Or is our only option to explore the extremes -- either outlawing foils altogether or giving one to every man, woman, and child?
Because as we all know, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a foil is a good guy with a foil.
*It's my understanding that both sides are proponents of sex robots and self-driving cars. Especially when used in conjunction.