Stab Magazine | Joel Tudor On Hydrofoils: If You Ain’t Kai, Laird or John John ...Fuck Off!"

Joel Tudor On Hydrofoils: If You Ain’t Kai, Laird or John John …Fuck Off!”

The foil debate rages on!

news // Mar 14, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

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”

And @Micahmoniz (brother of Josh and Seth, son of Tony) returned fire: “I would love to see anyone or any donkey tell me my dad or brothers to foil somewhere else haha #loyaltothefoil

Screen Shot 2018 03 13 at 12.01.13 PM

@Westcoastfoilclub hit back again this morning — right in the gut!

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.

Think about it: In one corner, you have your foilers — the conservative NRA/WCFC members who love their penis-compensation toys and believe that, when used correctly, the things are perfectly safe, and that anybody who says otherwise is an idiot/snowflake. In the other, you have your (freedom) haters — the liberal gun/foil opponents who believe that a lack of regulation, both in regards to ownership and terms of use, will lead to widespread foil-related casualties, which is why they should be heavily controlled by the government/surfing community.*  

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. 


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Snake’s Measured Hot Take On The Surf Ranch Imbroglio

'Cop it on the chin and move on'.

Jun 4, 2023

How John John Lost To A Surfer From Germany

The underdogs are barking: here's what's happened at the 2023 ISA World Games thus far.

Jun 3, 2023

SEOTY: This German-Born, Spanish-Speaking Ubermensch’s Clip Is For The Every-mensch

Watch Leon Glatzer make the ocean his Autobahn in "Águila".

Jun 3, 2023

Made Lana’s Special Relationship

Sunset at The Edge with Uluwatu's favourite son.

Jun 1, 2023


“We Woke Up And A Bear Had Chewed A Wetsuit To Bits”

Didn't know there were so many slabs in Canada, eh?

May 31, 2023

Britt Merrick Becomes Winningest SITD Shaper

Here's how he did it.

May 31, 2023

2023 ISA World Games Preview: Olympic Ballyhoo With 4 New Countries Competing

And why El Salvador’s President says that surfing is “one of the pillars” of the…

May 31, 2023

WSL CEO Erik Logan Responds To ‘Unfair Judging’ Claims In Open Letter

“It is a breach of league policy, for surfers to choose not to engage with…

May 30, 2023


‘Vertentes’ Is 16-Minutes Of Seamless Surfing And Self-Animated Artisanship

Time off tour has done nothing but good for Tomas Hermes.

May 30, 2023

The Man Who Tortures Surfboards For Science

Here's what Dr. Luca Oggiano and Donald Brink think surfboard manufacturers are getting wrong.

May 30, 2023

Gabriel Medina Gives Scathing Review Of WSL Judging After Controversial Surf Ranch Final

‘The surf community has been mesmerized by the poor clarity and consistency of judging for…

May 29, 2023

Griffin Colapinto And Carissa Moore Lift Lumber At Groundhog Day Rodeo

"There's so much in your control that you almost overthink things."

May 29, 2023

Surfing’s Decadent And Depraved Kentucky Derby: Day One

'It's still a wavepool comp'

May 28, 2023

Stab In The Dark With Italo Ferreira, Episode 4

And the shaper behind 2023’s best high-performance shortboard is…

May 28, 2023

Your Loss, Tahiti’s Win

Betonline.AG are donating 100% of their earnings (your losses) from Lemoore towards Tahitian flood victims.

May 26, 2023

The Surf Ranch Pro Preview: 2% Wildcards, Sudden-Death Duels, And Game Theory

Same swamp, (slightly) different rodeo.

May 26, 2023

Exclusive: Stab Speaks With El Niño 

"I’m just focusing on staying potent, moist and warm. I’m not really thinking that far…

May 25, 2023


Watch: Gabriel Medina Ping Pongs Off Brazil’s Most Exclusive Pool Coping Before Lemoore

'The waves at Boa Vista Village are so extravagant, they come with their own personal…

May 24, 2023