Foiling injuries - post them

I think the whole topic of getting injured from a foil is not being sufficiently reported in the community and there’s almost no evolution being done in the designs for safety and in safety gear.

It’s unclear which component injures us the most (stab? mast?)

I suggest we’d start with a thread that contains any injury we had personally or in our local area.

Here, we had 2 mast injures recently in our crew:

  1. Prone, knee+ high depth, arm landed on mast(surfer is not 100% sure), board touched the ground, extremely deep cut revealing tendons but not damage. Wetsuit wasn’t cut, surprisingly.

  2. Prone, board came straight towards the face, mast(surfer is not 100% sure) hit the face, plastic surgeon was required for stitches in 2 locations.

Post yours!


In four years mostly minor but annoying injuries, no foil contact though so far. Whiplash seems to be my most frequent issue followed by ribs, just from high speed crashes. Finger damage from neglecting to let go of the wing is also a regular occurence. Worst injuries have been from mast trailing edge impact just above the achilles dismounting to exit the water :roll_eyes:. Trailing edge to a rib in shorebreak on another occasion. Both required 2-3 weeks off…

Had a unique new crash yesterday that caused both whiplash and a slightly sprained ankle (front footstraps), just trying to get over a breaking wave. I probably couldn’t repeat it if I tried in the next twenty years.

Areas where I feel like I’ve gotten lucky: On numerous occasions I’ve crashed with some speed downwind of the board. So far it hasn’t hit me and once it even blew over both me and the wing.
A helmet is not a bad idea, at least in higher winds.

I think there may be a lot of hestitation about people posting injuries because it may be more ammo in case a location ever tries to ban foil surfing. Just like when SUP surfing started. The raglan surf report on youtube with the machete’s on the surfboards talking about foiling. And then there was the one photo going around with the dude with stitches all around his face from supposedly a foil surf accident. Of course surfers hate everyone, so be it. Like no one has ever gotten hurt surfing.

I have started wearing a helmet winging and SUP foiling. For 2 reasons. Sup foiling for the speed and the speed when wiping out. Had 2 incidents of the board hitting me in head. One cut me but not bad enough for stitches. The gath I bought has the ear covers. I am a freediver also and few times been launched and landed flat on the side of my head where it made me worry about my ear drums. Either from the higher speeds of riding the foil. Or that I flubbed and launched quite a bit higher. Or the really bad one of a combo of both. The speed thing on waves has made me wonder about whiplash too.

With winging I never seemed to worry about wiping out at speed. Worried more about the foil going through the wing. I am just starting to wing in the waves so I am sure there will be some discovery of “oh shit” 's to come with that. What has scared me the most with winging is screwing up a transition and losing speed. Then everything just folds straight down with no opportunity to push or dive away. That is when I have had the most encounters with to close for comfort distances between my head and face with the HA front wings. I have taught a fair amount of people to foil behind my boat and always instruct them about how to avoid the foilding / jack knifing by diving away from the board and do not try to save it even if they even think they are gonna fall. But the speed loss of failed transitions is one to watch out for.

As a sup surfer, I would always knee paddle out through the impact zone in order to get through there as fast as possible. If a wave was going to break in front of me where I knee it could turn into a yard sale, I would just dive over the front of the board straight under it. Learned the hard way not to do this on a foil sup as that launches the board. So dont do it. The timing usually works perfect for the front wing to catch you right across about mid thigh level. The second time it happened was when I figured out what I was doing wrong and now just dive off to the side. I literally thought I broke both my legs.

I’m actually amazed how safe foiling is. In almost 3 years I’ve had two incidents of contusions, both from failed prone foiling takeoffs. One stabbed in the back and one on my calf. No cuts. I’ve also taught many people behind my boat and only a few had very minor injuries. I’ve done over 3000 miles of winging in the last 2 years with only minor bumps and bruises.

Yes, there is potential for nasty contact in a folding taco fall but these seem to be very rare in my experience. Most importantly I’m not aware of anyone getting injured by someone else’s foil.

Agree with @beavis, this post could inevitably be used by some angry surfers to get foiling banned somewhere. I also don’t see what a manufacturer could possibly do to make this safer other than make the gear duller and slower. Everyone already knows to wear a helmet or impact vest if you want more protection.

Cedrus Project masts has a rubber leading edge so it may have been ables to prevent the 2 injuries our foil crew suffered from recently. Other than that there’s much more to be done without major performance impact, so IMO I’d rather have those safety improvements than keep silencing the injuries. If we’ll have a safer equipment, ban is less likely to happen.

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I don’t think anyones trying to silence injuries, just don’t really think people generally feel like posting something happening to them publicly.

Anyways improving the safety of a foil, based on your example (Cedrus) would revolve around making the foil softer or duller. I cant think of anything else honestly. That would result in a pretty big performance cost, I doubt many people would take that tradeoff.

Curious what other ideas you might have when you said “there’s much more to be done without major performance impact”?

Awareness is net positive imo

This is the one that possibly freak accident but I’ve seen most beginners getting into it run dry into 10 inches of water and face plant, rocky beaches and you have a real risk

In case any haters are reading this, the danger from a foil is for the rider. The leading edge of all our gear actually pretty dull. It’s the trailing edges to watch out for, and it seems like the rider encounters those more.

My worst so far was prone, hand slipped off the edge in take off and the board shot up into my crotch. I think one of my vas deferens got bruised or stretched.

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I hit a sandbar that sent me into a foot of water and broke my wrist.

This is a good point. I’ve yet to see anyone hurt someone else, countless instances of people hurting themselves.

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If this guy hit me while I was sitting waiting for a wave and then told me not to worry the leading edge is actually pretty dull I’d feed it to him :joy:

If you hit someone you are completely out of line, no questions.

Decades of shortboarding without injury but foiling is an entirely different story. Quite a few shin-meets-foil in early days. Some serious bruising from my efoil - when they bite, ouch. MCL stepping off my wingfoil (on flat water at end of session). Old man knee wear and tear made worse by pumping (trying “shockwave” therapy - expensive - but seems to be working).

After foiling for 4 years my injuries are pretty much all the same as my years surfing, suping, bodyboarding, etc: reef cuts, tendonitis from paddling, bruises from falling on my board. I’ve gotten tagged by my foil a few times, the kujira was especially bad for that, but nothing as bad as the time I got my wrist slashed by the trailing edge of a Controller quad rear when I fell dicking around on a 1 ft wave. I’m not sure its much more dangerous than surfing at the same speed given that you would be falling on much larger waves if you were hitting foil speeds on a surfboard.

Prone foiling daily and the occasional kite foil for the last 6 years. All strapless and mostly with 4/3 suit and 6ft leash when prone. Only a few minor bruises (touch wood). Worst injuries were caused by stupidity. Picking up the mast grabbing the sharp end and it slipped, cutting my thumb to the bone. Doing a superman dive off the back of a wave landing on my side and popping an ear drum - 3 weeks off. That’s all. Glad i quit MTB 6 years ago…

Mostly winging three years with very minor things like shin or thigh to the board, chin to the board prone. Mostly due to lack of wax. One small cut catching a Foil blowing over in the wind.
I like the idea of rubberized/softer leading edges or maybe even trailing edges if they can be made without efficiency losses with some fancy material. My biggest gripe is all the small scratches or chips I eventually repair, that probably wouldn’t happen at all to a rubber-like material.