I love surfing and snowboarding but haven’t really enjoyed time on a board since the pandemic started.
So, it was a big relief once I saw videos of Kai Lenny doing amazing tricks on the small choppy swells. I thought foiling would be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone.
After all, surf foiling is much more like snowboarding on water, right?
It even made more sense because of the current global travel restrictions. For me at least, I had to settle for an adventure closer to home.
Unfortunately, here in California, we don’t experience long runs of surfable conditions, so it’s a bit discouraging for surfers like me.
But with a foil surf, anything becomes surfable, and on my first day on a foil, it felt like I’m riding a perfect wave at Malibu.
The sensation of paddling one wave but having the ability to ride two is the best feeling I’ve had in surfing for a long time.
I mean, it’s so wonderful to link a bottom turn with another wave as you simply paddle into a wave, and as soon as you’re done, you can actually pump the foil back to the sea and catch another wave.
But more importantly, it changed my perspective of how I view things in life, and I ended up looking at the ocean and its energy in a completely different way.
Today, any day is a surfing day, whether on the small waves or the big overhead waves.
Plus, it opens up so many places and conditions you couldn’t or wouldn’t even think of surfing before. You feel like you’re flying. It’s hard to describe, but it’s addictive.
Of course, as with most water sports, starting is hard, and you need to surf quite well to surf foil.
That’s not all; I also recommend that you start on the small forgiving waves with a helmet on. Even better, it’s easier to learn the basics of foil surfing, how the foil lifts, and so much more if you’re towed behind a boat or jet ski.
More importantly, consider the size of your foil surfing board. I recommend a foil board size similar to that of your frequently used SUP.
I began my journey with an F-one Rocket foil board, along with a Gravity 1,200, a large massive foil.
But F-One is expensive and isn’t the only board to start with.
In the guide below, I’ll share some of my favorite foil surfboards I’ve tried and even recommend my favorite options. And if you’ve time, you can also go through my comprehensive guide at the bottom; it details everything you need to know about this sport.
Table of Contents
The Best Foil Surfboards For The Money
#1 Slingshot Sports High Roller Foil Surfboard - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The High Roller Foil is a new generation foil surfboard designed specifically for pumping, carving, and paddle-in foil surfing.
It’s unlike any other foil surfboard I’ve ridden, and I love that it comes packed with foil-specific features designed to promote easy paddling, cat-like agility, and Superman pumpability.
I’m a big fan of Slingshot’s buoyant foil design that makes it easier to paddle into the smaller waves effortlessly and keeps me floating with minimal effort.
The other benefit of the buoyant design is it greatly expands the opportunities and number of places I can go surfing with the board. It works well in the deep 6-ft big waves, as it does in the choppy, shallow, and marshy waves.
With such great buoyancy, it’s easy to think that the Slingshot is voluminous and bulky. We also thought so, but instead, this deck is compact and nifty.
Traveling with the Slingshot shouldn’t be much of an issue, but more importantly, the size makes it super- fast and responsive as your foil. It remains agile and playful as a regular board and will allow you to maneuver with greater ease.
Slingshot’s “S-Rails” are high in volume, and this is probably the reason why it is easier to paddle this foil board comfortably, even if it’s not bulky in size. In fact, the board feels and has a performance similar to that of boards twice its length.
Slingshot is also fun to use on the water, thanks to a concave deck. It gives your toes and heels more leverage, so I found it easier to turn and carve.
The manufacturer has also taken care of the overall strength and durability of the board. Slingshot utilizes carbon reinforcements that give extra support and strength to the strategic board parts.
Additionally, the underside utilizes chined rails to prevent edge setting while offering more accessible release from water when foiling.
#2 Foil Board: ROCKET Surfboard - Beginner Foil Surfboard
The F-one is one of my personal favorites as it gathers all the shapes and features that will help you get the most out of the surf foil.
It’s created exclusively for foil surfing and fits the needs of both beginners and experienced foil surfers.
One thing I really like with this foil board is that it’s available in a range of compact sizes from 4’2, 5’0, 5’8, to 6’4.
There’s a size for everyone and every level, from the pocket-size 4’2 perfect for seasoned surfers to the 6’4, which boasts high volume and width for learning.
The other desirable feature with the Rocket is that it packs as much volume as decently possible into a minimum board length.
Volume is necessary for greater accessibility and facilitating easy take-off. The Rocket, for instance, has greater floatation and will keep you levitating much easier even on your first try.
And the good thing is once it’s in the air, its shorter board length translates to more freedom and possibilities. The board has awesome carving abilities and is quite responsive.
And that’s not all!
This foil surfboard comes with an array of features to help with better performance on the water.
The parallel rails and a flatter rocker line in the center of the board help with easier and early take-off.
Meanwhile, the distinctive kick in the rocker towards the tail helps with effortless release and pumping.
Beginners or those looking to get back into foil surfing shouldn’t have a hard time on the water because the Rocket’s outline is kept wide on the nose to help with user-friendliness.
Finally, this foil surfboard stands up to the battering of the waves like a champ. The light and tough bamboo sandwich laminate is sturdy and achieves a great weight resistance to weight ratio.
#3 Slingshot Wakesurf Hover Glide Foil Board - Most Versatile Foil Surfboard
Third on our list is a versatile option that can be used on any condition and by any foil surfer. It also feels at home cruising with a long line or surfing without a rope.
The Hover Glide is also a beginner-friendly board that doesn’t slack on tech and will keep a smile on the advanced rider’s faces as well.
Versatility aside, the other thing we love with this foil board is how it comes complete as a foil surfboard package. It comes with two masts, curved wings, hardware, and a protective cover for the board.
Simply put, it’s easy to convert this board into a foil board and ride above the water or use it as a plain board for regular surfing sessions.
We love that this foil surfboard comes with a protective foil surf bag to add to the overall versatility. So, you can always skip on the foil part and carry the board for the surfing session.
The board’s top is covered with an EVA pad for better traction. It’s a soft-top foil design, so it feels comfortable and won’t hurt in case you take a swipe.
But the best thing with the deck is it has plenty of volumes to get you up and riding waves. It makes a great beginner option as it makes it easier to quickly learn how to foil.
The manufacturer also claims this Glide was specifically designed to ease riders into the sports, and we certainly think they did a great job.
For example, it utilizes a Gamma 68cm front wing shape. This provides the confidence and stability beginners need in high winds while allowing enough performance and response to please the experienced surf riders.
Meanwhile, a fast rocker line means the Hover isn’t a Slouch when set up as a wakesurf surfboard either. It feels stable and fast and will even let you float smoothly in the rough water.
And to top it off, a carbon composite construction on the rear wing makes this board durable and sturdy.
Overall, the Hover Glide is an exciting board, and I would highly recommend this package for anyone wanting to get into foil surfing. And with its proven versatility, it’s also a win for experienced foil surfers.
#4 Slingshot WF-1 Foilboard - Best Foil Surfboard for the Advanced Foil Surfers
The Slingshot WF-1 Foilboard was designed for the evolving ambitions of the advanced surf foiler.
But its greatest strength, at least according to me, is how it unlocks your surfing potential on every wave and turn you make. It also takes you effortlessly from “wake surfing to wake surfing 2.0” in a beat.
It comes at 4’6″, and the shorter, more compact design helps the experienced surfers pump farther than ever before.
It’s not clumsy either and will help you rise off the water during take-offs and can even foil in the 5-6 feet waves.
And once you decide to come down from the heavens, you’ll appreciate its versatility since the foil is removable and can transform the board into a ripping twin fin wake surfboard.
Adding the fins to the board is also a breeze. The FCS II fin boxes make it super easy to switch from foiling to traditional wake surfing in a beat.
Customization is also a breeze on this board, thanks to the foil mount track. This feature allows you to adjust the amount of upward lift you receive from the foil. Personally, I love sliding the foil back for less lift or riding waves at higher speeds. But if you like, you can lean forward for more lift when riding at slower speeds.
WF-1’s performance on the water is also unparalleled.
First, the soft EVA pad deck is grippy when wet and will offer better leverage and all the power on your front foot and back foot when making the crucial turns or even carving.
Meanwhile, the fast rocker line without the foil is Slingshot’s key to success in wake foiling.
Finally, the WF-1 is a convenient board as it fits in most regular surfboard racks. It’ll allow you to store your foil with ease using almost all modern-day wakeboard and surf racks with the foil attached.
#5 GLIDR SUP Foil - Value Pick
GLIDR from Konrad is a great value purchase that offers value for your money.
It doesn’t skimp on the performance either, and you’ll love every moment on the water with this bad boy.
Out of the box, we immediately fell in love with the board’s construction. The build quality looks great; it feels sturdy and will take the battering even the worst wave like a champ.
It also felt surprisingly lightweight under my arms, so I had no issues trekking with it for long distances to the right waves.
The finish is also excellent matt finish seems like it can hold up pretty well for a long time,
GLIDR board’s design is very much in line with that of the standard surf foil boards on our list, Short and stubby with a good volume. It also has beveled rails and a tail and a raised flat top deck.
Another nifty feature we admire on this board is the whole bunch of markings and measures which are helpful in tweaking your foil board setup and ensuring you get consistent performance. It’s quite a modest concept but has an amazing performance.
On the water, the GLIDR SUP board doesn’t disappoint.
First, it’s surprisingly stable, especially for such a compact board.
I love how clean and easy it lifts out of the water, with the bevels eliminating the “sticky” feeling that most of the SUP foil boards have.
Similarly, the touchdown is also a breeze since the bevels allow you to bounce off the water effortlessly.
The small deck is equally controllable, and it just seems perfect.
Meanwhile, the foot straps inserts and deck traction pads are laid just as they should, and it’s almost hard to get it wrong, even for newbies.
Overall, the GLIDR SUP board is a great little foil SUP, coming with a price that is hard to beat. It handles the water quite well and is everything you would be looking for in a board.
#6 KT Surfing Drifter Pro Compact Foil Surfboard - Best Surfboard for Speed
The drifter is a compact surfboard designed with speed in mind and early take-off.
It’s available in three sizes, 4’8, 4’10, and 5’0.
As with most foiling surfboards, this option has a generally shorter sizing with more volume. This is in line with a design that paddles quickly and bounces off the water as instantly as possible.
My first impression of KT Surfing is that it’s ultra-lightweight. It’s a good thing as it helps the board with impressive response and acceleration at paddling. I love how well it builds up speed instantly, allowing me to catch waves, even if I change my mind at the last minute to turn and go.
On the water, the handling performance is nothing short of impressive. I found it easy to dive underwater, and the volume distribution and rocker let you press the board down to speed without worrying about a nosedive.
It equally glides well through the water and feels like you’re paddling the much larger boards.
A recessed deck helps you achieve a natural position, while the deep beveled rails help the board drift sideways and be forgiving during takeoffs.
When touching the waters in a carve, I love how it bounces and brings you back in flight without any disturbance.
A concave deck with its tail kick pad pushes my knees to a proper surfing stance while allowing me to feel more wedge inside the board when pushing the never-ending cutbacks and off the lips.
Plus, the deck is super grippy for excellent hold and drive throughout your every move.
Overall, the KT Surfing is a great board with easy paddling that makes it perfect to charge any type of waves relating to your skill level.
Best Foil Surfboards Buying Guide
In the section below, I’ll share everything you need to know about foil surfboards.
And because it’s still a relatively new sport, I’ll start by defining what a foil surfboard is.
What is a Foil Surfboard?
A foil surfboard is a platform you stand when foiling.
It’s similar to a traditional surfboard, and they also come in different sizes and shapes.
Board aside, surfing also utilizes other components.
For example, it uses a hydrofoil, or foil, the most important part of foil surfing.
The foil is the gear resembling an airplane wing shape, and it’s the main reason why foil surfers seem to be levitating in the air.
Another crucial component is the mast. It’s the rod-like equipment that connects the board from the foil.
A Brief History of Foiling
Hydrofoil surfing may seem like a new water sport craze, but it’s not.
It actually popped into history in the early 1960s.
By then, it was a hydrofoil water ski, but it turned into a sit-down foil waterski with improvement.
After a few years later, the design was modified further into a wake foil, towed by jet skis.
From there on, people started to take an interest in this sport, but it was Kai Lenny who pioneered the modern-day foil boards.
How a Foil Board Works
A surfboard works like a bird or an airplane with flat wings.
When you lean your back foot on the board, the flat high aspect wings tilt upright, lifting from the surface area.
On the flip side, if you apply more weight on the front foot, the board dives further underwater.
But keep in mind it’s not as simple as it sounds; you need to learn how to balance, so you can control the board.
Why I Love Surf Foiling
There’re numerous reasons why surf foiling is better than typical surfing.
I’ve done both activities, and in the section below, I’ll share why I’m a big fan of foil surfing.
1) Foil surfing doesn’t require waves.
Surfing requires waves, but l surfing doesn’t need even the smallest ones, provided you’ve a well-ordered aquaplaning.
2) Foil surfing is versatile
Foil boards have numerous applications as I use them for surfing, cruising, and racing.
The fuselage holding the wing lifts the surfboard out of the water surface at any speed.
3) Greater opportunities
The third benefit of foil surfing is you can even go offshore or try new waves that you haven’t experienced before.
It redefines the term rideable waves.
4) Greater performance
The wings of a board alleviate the wind effects on the water’s surface area.
In particular, the low aspect wings on the low aspect shape boards have lesser friction.
What Are The Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Foil Boards?
Board surfing is accommodative since it gives you the liberty of surfing in any water condition.
But choosing the right oil surfboard can still be a challenge because of the added parts.
Fortunately, in the section below, I’ll guide you on everything you need to know about selecting your next surfboard.
In foil surfing, a board isn’t as important as typical surfing, where it’s the only gear to use.
However, it’s still important since it offers a standing platform to paddle and catch waves.
The best foil surfboard has the same concept as a regular board, so you should follow a similar process to that when you’re searching for a regular surfboard.
Mast connects the board to the foil.
Length is important when choosing a mast.
Generally, a longer mast offers greater responsiveness and sensitivity to making turns. It’s a good idea to pair a longer mast with a longer board.
The only issue with longer masts is they push the oil deeper underwater, so they should only be used in areas with deeper waters.
Plus, longer masts are harder to control, so not best suited for beginners.
Foil is the heart of foil surfing.
Generally, foils with full profiles tend to provide more lift and more low-speed power.
The thinner, profiled foils tend to get power rapidly, but they’re sensitive and responsive. Thus, they’re easier to control but need high speed for a lift.
What is the Difference Between Surf Foils and Wake Foils?
Here are the notable differences between surf foils and wakeboards;
4’5 to 7’7
3’6 to 5’0
The extended mast size for surfing foils allows riders to rides the small waves without touching the water. On the other hand, the shorter mast length for wakeboards lets riders effortlessly handle steep and choppy water conditions.
The wing size for surfing also ranges from large to massive and comes with added volume for paddling.
On the flip side, the smaller wing size for wake surfing boards prioritizes speed and allows riders to adapt to the different wake sizes and riding styles.
There’s a lot of foils and the dangers they pose.
But as with all watercraft, if proper use, safety, and etiquette is observed, you shouldn’t have any problems,
Here’re a few tips to consider when foil surfing:
1) Stay away from all other people when learning to foil. The three-foot blade on the bottom of your craft can harm others
2) Foils are better on swells than on waves
3) Use a leash to protect other surfers around you
4) Always wear protective gear such as helmets and impact vests when learning
5) Never take off with someone in front of you
6) Pick the right board and foil for surfing
7) Never foil alone
8) Teer away from crowded surfing lineup
Best Foil Surfing Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Why are foil surfboards so expensive?
A: Foil surfboards are expensive because the production volume is scarce, so there’s greater demand than supply.
Secondly, continuous innovation in terms of foil designs requires more money for thorough research and development. This all adds up to the total cost of the foil surfboards.
Q: Can I use a foil surfboard without knowledge of surfing?
A: Nobody will stop you, but I wouldn’t advise purchasing because foil surfboards aren’t a cheap investment.
Starting foil surfing isn’t easy, and it’s best to learn surfing first before taking this sport to the next level.
Plus, it’s a dangerous sport for new riders, and you wouldn’t want what happened to Yu Tonbi Sumitomo to happen to you.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our winner for the best foil boards is the Slingshot Sports High Roller Foil Surfboard.
There’s a lot to love about this foil surfboard.
First, it comes from one of the reputable names in the industry, so it guarantees quality and reliability.
The deck also has a lot to offer in terms of performance, functionality, and ease of use.