Stab Magazine | The Future Is Here: Hydrofoils

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The Future Is Here: Hydrofoils

This is our generation’s watershed moment.  

style // Nov 25, 2017
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There have only been a few advancements that shake the surf world to its very core. You see one, maybe two, in a lifetime. The switch to fiberglass. The birth of the thruster. The first ever Hypto Krypto to be ridden in 3-5 foot Upper Trestles. These are the things that explode past the boundaries of what is considered to be possible. 

And, folks, we are currently witnessing one such advancement. It’s called the hydrofoil. 

Invented by Laird Hamilton in 1996, the hydrofoil surfboard utilizes a wing design to achieve what WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow struggled to do throughout his entire career — lift the surfboard out of the water. Laird’s original hydrofoil actually inspired the world’s first aircrafts. 

However, that first bright flicker was followed by an era of darkness for the hydrofoil. KP ended up doing that one double grab at Keramas and Laird was voted world’s most humble man by Time Magazine, but the hydrofoil disappeared into relative obscurity. 

Until 2017 came around. 2017, regarded for being pretty fucking annoying, re-introduced the Hydrofoil to the surfing world. And this time, it’s here to stay. 

If you look at any lineup these days, you can see that the biggest threat to surfing isn’t pollution or over-crowding — it’s having to use the rail. The lift of the foil and the consistent thrusting of the rider eliminate any potential for rail surfing, thus leveling the playing field for all. People forget that the Huntington Hop is technically more functional than the Air Reverse.

And then you have to consider the cultural implications of the hydro-revival. Over the past few decades, more and more poor people have started surfing which has lowered our GDP per capita thus rendering us a less appealing market to major companies. The Hydrofoil, with a price tag that makes a new Channel Islands look like a Wave Storm, preserves surfing for the privileged. This ensures that we will continue to see a stream of useful products such as the Apple Watch that allows you to answer phone calls from the lineup. 

So, really, the future is now. 

The Hydrofoil is changing surfing in terms of both culture and performance. This is a watershed moment for our generation of surfing. And you can either get lifted or get left behind. 


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