Like a Bird - Foil Drive Review

We often receive reviews and recounts of how Foil Drive has changed peoples lives. That being as little as finally being able to get on foil, or unlocking the ability to share foiling with friends and family. Other times, people share their raw feelings of just how much Foil Drive has changed their life. 

Curly is a Foildriver who sent through his story, wanting to share with the greater community. While this one wont help you perfect your technique or suggest how you should tweak your setup, it does serve is a great reminder of the joy the sport brings and just how lucky we are to, as Curly puts it, fly "Like a Bird".


Foil Drive Review

LIKE A BIRD by Curly, New Zealand

I rose at dawn and walked down to the point with my gear. Out on the water the surface was oily calm with a sweet long period ground swell mounding up and running about 300m into the bay.

The ocean was unusually clear and it was a privilege to be connected with nature on such a day. Using my electric foil drive propellor I motored easily into the clean swells then ollied up onto foil, bringing the motor out of the water so I could start foiling on wave power alone.

Surf foiling lends itself to such smooth arcing turns, like snow boarding in powder, and I enjoyed the easy rhythm of trimming along the crest of the swell then leaning into a long drawn out cut back taking me out in front of the wave then using my amble speed to swoop back up and come off the top again, banking, gliding and diving, quiet and smooth, like a bird, like an albatross.

Eventually I’m joined on the water by a surfer who I stop to chat with.

“I saw you as I walked up the beach,“ he said. “I thought is it a surfer?  Na, too fast. And you seemed to be above the waves. Like a bird. Is it a bird?  Na, too big. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure what the hell I was looking at.”

Later in the session we meet again on the inside and in the interests of interspecies relations I tow him back out to the point, connected with nature, connected with fellow surfers, no us and them (thanks Bones), just wave riders enjoying the ocean.

Foiling is an auspicious intersection of technology and the natural world. I got into it via the hand held wind wing, which allows me to harness the power of the wind to explore the coast, hunt down swells and then use the wave power to glide and turn, weightless, free, happy.

Eventually I decided I wanted a way to ride glassy waves on foil when there was no wind to tap into. The second generation of Foil Drive motor came to me like a gift from the universe, allowing me to catch almost any wave I chose, surf on a small nimble board, and ride without wing management to complicate the pure business of surfing a wave.

It may have been a gift from the universe but it didn’t come for free. Think the cost of an e-bike and you will be in the ball park. At first I thought “hmmm, I dunno, this seems like a lot of money.”

But only weeks later as I was riding wave after glorious wave on a 500m peeling right hand point break on the south coast of New Zealand, I was joined by three hectors dolphins who trimmed and leaped beside me, absolutely sharing the stoke, and all I could think was “this is the best purchase I ever made in my life.”

Back on shore I crank up the diesel heater in my van. I cook up a feed of bacon and eggs and put on a brew of coffee. Both my Foil Drive batteries are charging  in the back of the van, and its feels like everything is as it should be in the world.

I feel unbelievably sated and content. Tunes on the blue tooth speaker, dogs snoozing on the bed. I savour the feeling. Right now you could cut me off on the drive home, drop in on my wave, yell and scream abuse at me, and I would just smile and wave back, like a zen monk gorged on the serenity of the ocean and  the opportunities afforded by this exciting new phase in surf history. 

I know depression, I know the darkness. I am grateful to have made it this far, to have glided above the surface of the ocean back into the light. If the great white takes me tomorrow I won’t be happy about it but I will be satisfied and appreciative with what I have experienced, with what is possible.

I know freedom. I know what it is like to soar like a bird, hovering in a mystical zone some where between flight and surf, immersed In nature, the euphoria of connection with all that is beautiful in this world. I give thanks.  


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.