Bungee Foiling in the River

Hi Guys,

love the idea of this forum.
I am stocked surfing in the river water flow with a bungee attached to a bridge.
It works like every day, no need for wind or wave and it is too much fun.

Let’s use this topic to share setups and tuning for Bungee-Foil-Surfing.

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Do you have to use a bungee or will a wake boarding rope work?

How fast does the river current need to be moving or does it depend on the foil?

Does it work better in fresh water vs salt water?

Buddy of mine has been wanting to get on this. He’s quite safety focused – river flow can be dangerous if you are attached to a fixed object, current can drag you under and hold you there. What safety precautions do you use or recommend? (eg if you wear a leash, quick release on it, etc) Have you had any close calls that others can learn from?

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Also saw somewhere that this is surprisingly dangerous for how un-dangerous it looks

Exactly…my impression with rivers is it’s easy, mellow, no worries…until it isn’t. A miniscule risk with huge potential consequence. Where I’ve heard of issues is people down-river sup’ing, I think the rule is you never wear an ankle leash, in case it loops around a submerged log, worst case is it pulls you under and can’t reach the release.

Anyways, not intending to be Debbie Downer, as this looks fun and I’ve thought about trying it out too when the rivers are running. Just a lot more fun to not end up “that guy” by doing something stupid and avoidable.

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Is it Dangerous?
Well, even SUP on flat water can be dangerous.
It’s like always: You should know the spot and the main rules.
I have spent more than 300 hours foiling the river and never had a bad or dangerous moment.

These are my main rules:

  1. Never foil alone. Take your buddy with you.
  2. Choose the right spot. Easy entry and exit. Make sure you have enough time for safe exit. No rocks. Not too much current.
  3. Don’t grab the rope before the handle. Because if you do so and extend the bungee and if you then would let go, the handle will catapults right into your head from behind.
  4. Don’t weare a Leash. If you don’t have enough time to swim after your board, you probably have not checked rule 2.
  5. Make sure to not attach the bungee on top of the railing. Because it probably could flip on top of the bridge and hurt some passengers. Attach it to the lowest point possible.
  6. Respect conditions. You don’t need a lot of water flow. Less water flow and low currents makes everything more cozy and fluid. Choose a bigger foil in slow water instead of small foil in fast water.

I had way more dangerous moments in wing foil than in the river. In wing, you are most of the time far away from cost and from someone else. In the river, your buddy is right next to you.
It actually feels pretty safe on my spot and I even take foil noobies out there.