Are eFoils worth the $$?

Hey guys, been considering splitting a Lift eFoil with someone, but am curious if anyone has had experience and can chime in. I was thinking it’d be especially sweet for towing another foil, but it’s a little hard to justify at $13K.

I got a Lift E3 with 170 HA last December and have been loving it.

Definitely expensive, but if you’re cross shopping against something like a jet-ski, it’s not ridiculous. The quality of materials, construction, design, and service/support are commensurate with the price IMO.

I chose to get one b/c where I live, the wind is really inconsistent, so it could be weeks or more before I get a decent winging session, and even then, the window of rideability might only be a few hours. Having the lift helps me get my foiling fix far more regularly, and it really is fun to cruise around, carve turns, and catch boat wakes. Would have I bought one if I lived somewhere with more consistent wind and more opportunity to wing? Maybe, or maybe I would have saved the money and bought a larger wing quiver.

If you choose to buy, join the Lift efoil group on Facebook. They have plenty of advice (buy the longer mast) and there are tons of affiliates in there that will message you their code to get a little discount.

The only other expenses I’ve had related to the efoil was registration and insurance. The regs don’t say anything about efoils, but I consider it a power driven vessel so I registered it ($65 for two years) in my state and insured it as a personal water craft (~$300/yr).

The last thing to consider is that the parts and accessories are expensive. If you buy the efoil, you’ll probably love it, but then you’ll want the folding prop, and of course, you’ll want their brand new clip on/off system they introduced ($990), and then expand your wing range ($$$$), and maybe a spare battery ($3500)… it can add up fast.

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Thanks for the insights! Did you get the 4’2 board? Conditions here (Central FL) are very inconsistent as well, to say the least. The mast length makes sense, especially if you’re going 30 mph on a HA wing.

Have you towed anyone with it?

I was curious and almost committed to a DIY as a winter project but after demoing a Lift (or Eflite idk) I found it fun but not particularly compelling and was glad I hadn’t spent any money.

Definitely go and demo one for a few days running and see if it grabs you.

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Just tried towing with a buddy last weekend for the first time using his Lift eFoil. Used an 8’ surf leash with a DIY ski handle made from some rope and a piece of pvc pipe. After a few attempts we actually both were able to pull each other up and into what little swell was in the water that day. A couple things we learned.

  • Weight has to be way forward in the eFoil to keep it level.

  • Best to have the eFoil driver stay prone or on their knees until the person being towed is up in foil.

  • The single leash worked ok, but I think two leashes with their rail savers linked together as the handle would be a safer alternative and would probably also be less draggy for the eFoil.

Damien LeRoy has a good demo video on his YouTube channel showing how to set things up. The person being towed in the video is using a SUP foil board, but when we tried we were using just a regular prone board and were still able to make it work.

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The eFoils are fun but not the same feel as a surf foil or wing foil. It’s amazing how much you notice the swing weight. There is also more drag than you’d expect. The mast is thicker, and the prop adds a ton of drag. It’s not surf-able like you’d hope. If you dump power on the face of a wave you’ll nose dive, you have to take the throttle to like 2% to keep it spinning.

If you do it definitely longer mast.

My $0.02 from riding most lift sizes

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Sweet! Wish I had been there. I saw the self-towing video from Damien, but not the one you talked about, so I’ll check it out.

That’s what I’ve heard from a few others, thanks for confirming. Nick makes it seem like you could power into head-high+ sets, but I’m guessing that’s just good marketing. Not that we get waves that often like they do in PR, haha.

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I’ve used them for towing into waves and it can be fun but also challenging.

You need to have a friend who is good at E-foiling/tow foiling also since the takeoff takes good teamwork.

I used a 5’ 80L wingfoil board in tow so my tow partner could start on enough volume to float him since he had less tow experience.

I found the 6’ E-foil board worked better than the 5’6(they were Lift v2’s so might be wrong about length) since it was more stable and seemd to get on plane quicker without as much drain on the battery.

I would almost always tow while kneeling on the E-foil since the jerking of the tow rope by the towee makes it harder to balance while standing on foil or even off foil.

It’s easier to tow while keeping the E-foil board plaining on the water not on foil; however, too much slow speed towing while not E-foiling can overheat the Efoil. In the case of Lift efoils I would ride faster on foil in between tows to help circulate water through the cooling system.

Smaller waves and glassy conditions are much easier. Beach break waves over 3’ can be hard enough to navigate on an E-foil not to mention when you add someone in tow. Same goes with choppy water, the bigger the chop the bigger the challenge

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So many forums, I got a lift a month ago, been blabbering on about it here and here

Hope the cross-post is ok. I won’t repeat all my points again here, but a few additional notes:

– it has been a nice surprise for being able to sneak in some quick water time. For me, anyway, less driving, less rigging up time, in an hour total I can get some zipping around to scratch the itch. These are days I would otherwise get nada.

– riding boat wakes ranges from pretty fun to quite fun. I live on a harbour with lots of small and medium boats passing by. Trips to places with larger boats, cruisers, ferries, freighters, tugs…coming soon.

– my first experience in actual surf kinda blows my mind on the potential. I was riding offshore lumps in the middle of nowhere by myself. These would be unrideable with anything other than jetski / boat tow-in, which is never going to happen. This was not “ripping” by any stretch, drop into shoulder high-ish lump, turn off power, a few swooping turns, kick out and repower, back out to the one behind…repeat. Maybe closest to powder snowboarding. I really like powder snowboarding.

– regular wave riding involved getting in really early, little swoops, then kick out before it breaks. I was riding super cautious. This feels a lot like winging in surf.

Tanner: do you have folding prop? I am very happy with the glide and pump. Nowhere near a surf foil, but massively better than with folding prop.

4.2 board: buddy has that one and it’s a serious pain for learning and for choppy seas. I have the 4.9 and zero regrets. I don’t believe the gains from the 4.2 are justified by the pain introduced, I suspect my buddy would disagree…to each their own.

No towing experience yet…coming soon maybe.

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I got the 4’9” board. I would have gone 4’2”, but wanted to be able to have friends and family try it with some modicum of success.

Removing the prop shroud reduces a lot of the drag and is a smoother more enjoyable ride, but still not the same as an unpowered foil. If you go that route, You can get a 3d printed tail cone on eBay for 1/3 the cost of the Lift part.

I have tried the folding prop but not a ton of time on it. I’ve heard great things, but when I rode it it seemed like it only folds at 0 throttle, and at very low throttle it kind of waffles, for lack of better term. Almost like the prop opens through centripetal force, and if there isn’t enough you get the worst of both worlds - unfolded prop that isn’t creating thrust - i.e. tons of drag. Maybe its a throttle technique thing where I’m used to ‘idling’ it and that what was creating issues. I haven’t tried taking the shroud off, that’ll be next. What wing/tail are you using? I’ve pretty much only ridden the v2 surf wings, but I’m curious to try my 120HA, and I’ve been eyeing a foil parts adapter to try new tails. Are you able to pump yours without motor for any kind of distance?

I am on HA170 and 38 surf stab.

Folding prop…you used it with shroud? I didn’t know that was possible…mine is open. And that is definitely a safety concern…that’s the tradeoff for the surf-y performance.

Agree about low power … feels like you can’t get below 10% without problems…so I suspect it’s more on (20%) or completely off. Your idling method is how earlier efoil surfing (pre folding prop) was explained to me, eg those videos of Keahi in Fiji a couple years ago…kept it at 10% power.

For pumping, definitely not any distance! But I expected nothing and it’s been a little better than that. I can get 3-4 pumps before it drops down. Keep in mind I am not a master pumper on surf foil either, working on it. I found the really heavy board had an interesting feel on the down pump, as there’s a lot of weight / force to engage it back up…dunno, maybe with more practice it would be possible to get more out of it.

I found that as I drop into a wave, the nose will do a quick dip as I turn off power, then a strong pump brings it back up to max mast height. From there it glides on the wave. But if I got to max mast height just as I dropped in, it sometimes didn’t nose dip…got immediate glide…more time and experimenting needed.

No, sorry I should’ve made that more clear no shroud with the folding propeller, but I understand you can take the shroud off with the regular one.

I wonder if you’re up above the motor pod when that happens. So you’re not getting the drag that killing the motor would normally give.

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<ding ding, give that man a cigar> that makes perfect sense and I think is a reasonable explanation for it. It raises the follow up question: is that a reasonable performance goal to strive for? With about 3" to spare, that’s a pretty tight margin for error…I think not. So call it a happy accident.

But with the FD / FD+ alternative, raises the question of where the optimal motor mount placement is. With FD, we had them about a foot down from board, then about 9" down for pump practice…minimizing accidental motor dunking, as that’s a glide killer. For FD+, they seem to be mounting them in typical efoil position, right above the foil – but maybe for wave riding, about halfway up could be optimal, so you get sufficient power for regular efoiling, but have greater potential to ride without drag.

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Thanks for all the replies!

I think the gist here is eFoils are largely NOT worth the money, at least for the use case I was thinking (powering out to surf bigger swells). Seems like it only stands up well in comparison to a jet ski, or if you have the luxury of commuting to work via water.

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There are several guys in Malibu, CA who have stopped surfing and foiling all together and ONLY efoil. The fact that there are a couple perfect waves for it out here where there are swell lines 50-100 feet outside surfer’s that just roll forever is a big factor I’m sure. But, don’t discount using an efoil to surf waves.

The difference has been explained to me this way though. It’s more like motocross riding than foiling. You’re using the torque of the engine to muscle the heavy board around.

Watching them flying 20-30 MPH for an hour and a half straight, and getting into insane sections no one else can be near, including pocket rides on double overhead breaking waves is pretty crazy though. Looks like it could be fun, provided you don’t mind getting a $13k toy rolled by white water when you start pushing it harder.

Then you have to buy a 2nd one so that a friend goes with you of course. Otherwise you’re always by yourself. Which could be good or bad.

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" think the gist here is eFoils are largely NOT worth the money, at least for the use case I was thinking (powering out to surf bigger swells)."
Sure hope I didn’t incorrectly give that impression, 'cause I am 100% opposite opinion! Next level stoked to pursue exactly what Hdip is describing, scoring swell rides that are otherwise impossible, and generally winning. :slight_smile: Very expensive toy, but the sting of the money faded quickly, now I am just left with the fun.

But I can certainly understand being a minority opinion, as those pros all come weighed against associated cons. It’s not quite Leroy Jetson with the space skate … just the closest I can find yet.

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I have ridden a Takuma a few times, and while it was ok, I would never put down that kind of money for one. They are heavy and really quite boring after a while. Just my two cents. A PWC would be a much better investment, and enjoyment.