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How does it work? A hydrofoil

How a hydrofoil (basic) works

In our previous blog we explained the difference between wingsurfing and wingfoiling. The big difference is made by the hydrofoil. In this blog we are going to talk about the basics of the hydrofoil.

- What is a hydrofoil?

- What parts does hydrofoil consist of?

- How does a hydrofoil work?

What is a hydrofoil?

Hydrofoils are nothing but underwater wings that lift a board out of the water. This works the same way as an airplane. Surfing with a foil board is also called "foiling". In our case it is wing foiling.

What parts does a hydrofoil consist of?

There are two wings : a rear wing and a front wing. The wings are connected to the fuselage. The fuselage is connected to the foilboard with the mast. The front wing provides the buoyant force (lift), the back wing serves as a stabilizer (stabilizier).

- Frontwing

- Backwing

- Fuselage

- Mast

- Foil baseplate

- Mounting screws

The front wing is the most important part of the hydrofoil when it comes to obtaining lift (buoyancy). This is because the front wing represents the largest surface area

The backwing is important for balancing the hydrofoil, sometimes the backwing is also called a stabilizier.

The fuselage is in fact the hull of the hydrofoil, all parts are connected to the fuselage.

The mast goes from the fuselage to the foilbaseplate, the foilbaseplate is the connection plate of the hydrofoil with the board.


Surfing with a foilboard is also called "foiling". Foilen therefore refers to placing a hydrofoil under a plank and can therefore refer to several water sports where this principle is applied:

  • Windfoilen

  • Kitefoilen

  • Wingfoilen

  • Surffoilen

  • SUP foilen

  • Elektrisch foilen of E-foilen

  • Hydrofoil-wakeboarden

  • Hydrofoil-waterskiën

How does it work? A hydrofoil

The forward speed creates an upward force that causes the board to rise and eventually come completely out of the water. Only the wing is now in the water, which drastically reduces the resistance. However, you do need enough speed to get out of the water.

What about the forward speed and buoyancy forces?

A foil 'flies' because the water that flows over the top of the front wing has a higher speed than the water that passes the bottom of the wing. This creates a pressure difference. This ensures that the foil comes out of the water, and makes us feel as if we are flying.

The wing shape provides lift but also a "forward pitch" that makes the foil want to dive down, so the addition of a backwing is important. The backwing provides counterlift to stabilize the foiler's flight.

Do you want to experience for yourself what it is like to fly over the water? Book a wingfoil class with Wingxperience.

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