How has foiling effected your surfing?

I started foiling this year after 30+ years of surfing addictively. Foiling has been a bit like methadone for my surfing addiction. (*With the caveat that I have no first hand experience with methadone or heroin.) (**Additional caveat that my wife would probably say that now I’m just splitting time between two addictions instead of dedicating myself to one.)

For all the foilers here who started as plain vanilla ocean wave surfers, I’m interested to hear how foiling has effected your surfing. How many of you have quit surfing? No longer focus on it? Have more fun surfing now, or less? Hate other surfers more than you used to? Or just feel sorry for them? Harder to ignore how close-minded most surfers are? When do you still surf and why?

I live in NorCal and the waves have been fairly cooking the last few weeks. I’ve been foiling when its small and surfing when its big. In some ways surfing feels easier than it used to - safe, slow, more time to react and be deliberate. But I also don’t feel nearly as invested in it, which means I’m less aggressive in the line-up, which means less waves. I’ve also found my positioning in bigger waves has been thrown off by foiling. All those hours spent seeking the smallest easiest mushiest white water roll ins for foiling make it harder to switch mindsets and put myself behind the peak on an 8’ gun / triple overhead wave with the intent to knife the drop and pack a barrel…kinda feeling like being less obsessed with surfing has made me less inclined to push myself.

I saw the thread on Prone Foil back to Surfing already, so I’m curious about the aspect beyond technique - how you’re feeling about surfing now…


Can not deal with crowds anymore. I don’t even bother with surfing now.


Now that I can get the speed and turn feels of a great day surfing everyday foiling I don’t feel as desperate on the good surf days. Here is new jersey we get one day of pumping barrels every other week or so. I remember working so hard to maximize every minute of those good days knowing I wasn’t gonna surf much til the next swell, but now I have some relaxed fun knowing I’m gonna have just as much fun the next day when its two foot. I imagine in California with the crowds it’s gotta be painful to battle on the good days. That being said Short boarding good uncrowded waves still feels great.


The biggest realization I’ve had about regular surfing is how bad the waves are in Southern California.

I love shortboard surfing, took a trip to Fiji last summer and brought the foil stuff as the first part of our trip was forecast to be pretty small. Ended up surfing the whole trip, trying to rip the small days and trying to get barreled when the waves showed up. The times I tried to foil I kept thinking, “I should be surfing.” That said, I was on a trip with surfers and family, if I had been on a trip with foilers it may have been different.

At home I’m mostly foiling, it’s just more fun and satisfying. I’ll surf when the waves get “good” but it’s pretty seldom overall. All the waves feel mushy or clesed out now, maybe one out of every five sessions I’ll surf.

I had a lot of trouble switching back and forth between shortboarding and foiling at first, but now I can pretty much jump on either.


It’s made hitting white water way easier!

1 Like

What’s surfing? Like foil surfing? I know what that is, but I often see people who forgot to attach their foil. Is that on purpose?!


Thinking about Laird’s mention of surface tension led me to coin the term SURFACING, the act of riding a planing board on waves. IDK if it’s already coined, but in case it hasn’t…

It made surfing much less fun :slight_smile:


@sethstaff getting barreled is the one part of shortboarding I can’t really imagine giving up on. But it’s pretty rare to get a chance to surf proper barrels without a crowd. And I can understand how surfing in a crowd is a tough sell once you are a competent foiler @rycpt

@Erik are you still surfing even though it’s less fun for you?


im 2 sessions back in and i am finding side to side stability (ankles and calves) are the thing im goign to have to get used to again. could perhaps be that i am standing really offset when i stand up which i never used to. the boy has just started asking to go surfing after school every day so i thought id use it as an oppurtunity to get back on the slowboard after 2.5 years.

My surfing has gotten better. It took a long time before I could surf normal again but now my legs are so damn strong. I foil a lot of bigger days but when it gets hollow no matter what size I love being in a surfboard. Crowds don’t really bother me as I can out paddle everyone now.


I don’t surf anymore. And i have no motivation for it.
Every time i take a surf board , i feel very inconfortable , even for paddling . So much wobble. Once i get up, it’ s like i am stuck, everything is very slow. The sensations are poor.
Some days, when foiling is bad, i go back on my sup. I find it easier to switch from foiling. And with a sup you catch more waves than when you surf.


After spending a few years addicted to learning prone foiling and wanting to push my comfort level of the waves I was paddling foil into even when I should have been surfing, I’ve finally been hoping back on the shortboard and when it’s hollow and large, it feels so good. I am not a good surfer by any means. I think going back and forth depending on conditions is super fun though and good cross training even if your just giving different muscle groups a rest.

The caveat is living in a place where there is “bad” surfing waves most of the time but a few time a month it’s firing for surfing.

One difference I’ve noticed as far as finding a flowstate in surfing vs wave riding foiling is that in foiling once you are up, you have so many options and decisions to make it can feel a little less “in the zone” than surfing where there is more of a defined path to follow.

But of course having all the options and length of ride and being able to go back and hit the same wave sections multiple waves in one ride is pretty freaking addictive.

Totally agree that foiling redefines how “good” of a wave you need to have fun on a surfboard.

I think part of the draw to downwind foiling is although you might have options there is more of a maze of connections to follow and connect the dots vs prone foiling in the surf where sometimes you find two or 3 or more good options and get confused LOL

1 Like

Haven’t surfed more than once or twice since I started prone after a lifetime of primarily focusing on surfing (poorly).

I do wonder how long I will remain satisfied with the foil-mush stoke. I’m at the point where I much prefer clean glass offshore than onshore, chop and backwash kill the stoke and I would very much like to make a trip somewhere tropical. A year ago none of those were on the agenda at all.

1 Like

I think it is hilarious watching surfing culture fight the foil. Sponsored pros, magazines etc all deliberately ignoring what is in my opinion inevitably going to supplant a portion of the highly competent bored surfers.

At some stage foiling is going to be socially acceptable and I will be glad to be beyond the beginner stage when it does as things will probably get messy.

Surfers are sheep. Here are the details

Must be added that I deliberately waited for foiling to get beyond the awkward early years

Edit - it has started, though the comments are predictable


I think it actually helps my surfing. For sure the first wave or two after foiling feels awkward, but all the nuanced movements of foiling helps make your trimming and flow better.

If its overhead with some push, I’ll happily surf. When its smaller, the foil is the go…

I never intended to stop surfing after picking up a foil! Plan was to surf on the really good days and foil when conditions are less than optimal. In practice, our local point breaks are so crowded over the last 2-3 years any time I’ve been tempted to grab the shortboard I realize I’d rather catch a ton of waves foiling than wait in a 25 person line up!


I thought these two clips back to back pretty much summarised my feelings towards surfing these days. Same spot, different experience.


Wow. But why is nobody surfing in that second clip?

1 Like