The end is near: we'll all be electric in <5 years

I dig this post. I’ve ridden a few of the best efoils for just a short time. Honestly after prone/SUP/Winging/Downwinding it isn’t that fun. I know exactly what the problem is - and it can totally be fixed.

The problem is all the throttle controllers are controlling RPM of the prop. The response is super non-linear and leads to a very lurchy application of thrust and terrible drag/glide. When you release the throttle there is so much drag and all of a sudden the pitching moment is totally different.

If someone were to develop throttle curves that translated a throttle position to THRUST (rather than prop RPM). Then, when you go to zero throttle, you get zero thrust. Which would be just enough motor power to counteract the prop drag. The foil would feel drag free like it does without a prop.

This kind of control would be a game changer, and I’m convinced its possible. We’ll see it soon (maybe with the Takuma?) and in a few years they’ll all work this way.

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I’m now out on my Foildrive most days. We have bay conditions so on no wind days it is dock start practice without a dock. You use the Foildrive to gain speed then pop up with the pod/motor out of the water and see how far you can pump. It’s a real cardo workout, I’m managing 15-20 second pump efforts until my legs are jelly, but I’m only learning and getting my fitness up. As the board settles back into the water just touch the throttle to get back up to speed for another pump run. Heart rate are hitting 130bpm and after 40 mins I’m done.

As the wind builds life gets easier, you’re pumping through swell lines, pick the bigger ones and gliding to the next. A touch of throttle if you need to climb over a swell in front that pumping won’t achieve.

I’m on a 32lts board flying the Axis PNG1300

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Very much so to begin, but after many dozens of sessions with my Flite Ultra in the surf I’m able to anticipate - I gas it and give it a pump just as before releasing the trigger and I’m flying. Coming off the wave requires careful trigger feathering. Flite made this much easier with their 2.2 release last year.

Heard a whisper that Flightboard have something that sounds too good to be true coming very soon.

The throttle controllers should not be targeted to RPM. Typically, the throttle curve is in terms of amperage. Punchier at the beginning of the battery than at the end when the voltage drops off, but should feel fairly linear.

The hardware should also support custom throttle curves to dial in a given prop, battery, motor, rider weight, board combination.

Idk what the electric foil manufactures are working with, but this has all existed open source with plenty of companies making controllers for esk8. Checkout the VESC project. esk8 controllers are smooth.

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Mtn biking has been my primary hobby for the last 3 decades or so…and I’m a firm ‘no’ on e-bikes…got into wing foiling but I live where there are no waves and crappy wind, so I bought a Foil Drive to get some time on foil and just have the experience of foiling. Super stoked on that opportunity and was a great learning tool (need time just getting comfortable riding switch? just go pull the trigger and spend time riding switch, any time)…probably saved my ages of struggling and had a blast doing it.

Got the efoil position Cedrus model, and now I’m considering moving on after spending the summer getting comfortable, trying a few different foils (Cedrus :+1:).

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I’ve always been a purist. Whenever possible no motors. I’ve been foiling with my kite for many years and started prone a couple of years ago. I had a stretch of 3 great days in a row for prone and by the last day was doing great. Then for over 4 months, not one good day for prone. Could not paddle into the waves at all. I came across Foil Drive assist plus and was a bit reluctant at first. (no motors). The more I looked at it, it just seemed like it would make my spot work. Get on the outside bumps early and ride. Well I did get one and it has exceeded all my expectations. Basically I can now be in the water every day. If there is wind, kite foil. no wind, foil drive. I do ride a bigger heavier board, which does make pumping more of a challenge, but have been progressing with that as well. I’ve actually pumped all the way out and into another wave. At first I did not think this possible with the size and weight of this set up. I get to ride my foil when it is almost flat. Still have an awesome day with Foil Drive. I did get 2 marginal days in a row last week where I could paddle in. I always look to paddle in first, but no matter what, I can get out on the tiniest bumps with my foil drive. It was a game changer for me. I am sure it would also be great for down winding. Since I ride my bicycle to the beach, I always like to get in and out in the same location, so for this I just usually kite. Ride the bumps and swells downwind with a foil kite just floating there, flip around and race up wind and start over.

Using Foildrive in a high position, eg 20cm off the board is so much better. Yes you can still efoil but a quick ollie and the motor is free and drag is gone. It’s like a totally different foil sport.

I’d totally use a boost system like Stoked or Foildrive (if it weren’t janky). Yes, I love pumping around too, but to be able to get out and catch unbroken rollers with a little boost and then pump around connecting waves normally seems like a game changer. It would allow me to take off in a completely different zone (outside) from all the surfers.

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An 8’ x20” board will do the same thing but weigh just 12 lbs vs 30 lbs.

I agree it’s all about catching em outside but I just spent a summer in New England catching everything from 6” to 10’ hurricane swell on a homemade downwind board. Every single day. Age 50+

But in 10 more years I’ll probably have a motor.

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This post has aged well although looks like the title should be changed to:
“The end is near: we’ll all be electric in <3 years”

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Fixed it for me.

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capitalism actually works despite the naysayers

Electric assists will be available for under $2000 USD within two years.

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I had wrongly imagined that electric would be excluded from racing… and yet now I imagine it more likely to make up the bulk of the racing?

https://www.instagram.com/p/C29PT7vP87L/

Why was Josh Ku electric this weekend? Guess just to have fun in the marginal conditions?

Light blue is an employee of foil drive. Dark blue means they used a foil drive in the race. Josh did not use one in the race. Paul Cooper DID use a foil drive in the race. Which is why his “4th” place isn’t official. Paul was on a prone board and foil drive. Paul had a post thanking Josh Ku for the use of Josh’s gear.

Ah ok, then we are indeed safe for a while longer and must continue the SUP slog

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I won’t deny the appeal, especially for specific conditions or locations. I could skip a lot of the struggle and logistics associated with down winding.

Reason I wing a lot is because of time and logistical constraints. Prone is not as available due to tides and depth of the breaks. With foil drive I could literally pick everyday of week. I do dock just to get on foil. I would tow, but finding the time to drop a ski nearby, clean it, maintain it, lining up schedules is literally an act of god. I also don’t have any other foiling friends at my level or who prone, downwind ect.

Price is always a deterrent early in technology, but I foresee more options and trims of drive systems based on needs/wants. I will wait a bit and see what happens. Happy to go through different learning processes and the challenges associated with them, but for me my main concern at the end of the day is logistics. X amount of time on water, x amount of days, how can I maximize my time out there. Foiling has literally transformed my time on water already. and conditions I never thought I would be out in.

I look at my kite friends, they still wait for outgoing tide, flat water, warm water, and 15 mph plus winds. Have a bad season you may get 10 days during the summer waiting for that to line up.

I would definitely use it for specific conditions, i would still prone and wing as much I could pending conditions,

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Good on ya! 55 year old here and seem to be accelerating. Rad video. Takes an efoiler to know the some significant commitment there.

Sheepishly admitting, here in hostile territory, that I am on e train too. I will always prone first, but when conditions aren’t optimal the e gets me a lot of waves when everyone else is standing around with their hands in their pockets. It also allows me to catch bigger outside set waves that are not realistic prone (as sadly, with a ton of effort, I am coming to the hard realization that I may never meet the 1 minute challenge needed to pump to those outside peaks).

I sup foiled before prone, then switched to prone as the riding was so much more dynamic and flowing – like shortboard surfing vs sup. But I’d still sup, often after paddled out, for hours 3-5. With sup my rides tend to straight and long, and because I can make the drop on bigger waves, they can also be much faster. I love prone but sometimes it feels kinda meh to be inside catching waist high reforms while the surf crew are on overhead bombs 100m further out. It is super fun, only a foiler knows, but also kinda kooky if I am being honest.

The efoil has allowed me to get outside again, as big as I am willing to go. And then after a 500m wave, I can turn around and race back to the peak and sometimes catch the last wave in the set too. As you say, 50-60 waves an hour.

What i have enjoyed more than anything is catching the start of the groundswell way way outside, just barely perceptible, go off power and feel it build, speed increase. I will often kick out before it even really forms a wave, just ride those swells over and over. This is similar to winging and what I imagine tow foiling feels like. e-foil is a self tow-in, without requiring the logistics of a crew and launch.

Though the downsides:

  • there is extra drag, mostly noticable in smaller waves and windswell…once above waist high, it isn’t a factor

  • at towards 80lbs, the extra weight makes it less maneuverable for sure…think poor sup foil vs prone. The extra weight also makes consequence on wipeouts that is a little scary.

  • because I can now catch any wave at any size, I have had the strange revisiting of my fear/safety line, which I haven’t experienced since the shortboard days decades ago … the point where I am willing to go, or where the consequences feel too substantial to be worth it. I find I am kicking out of “probably” makeable waves because the risk is too high in wiping out an steamrolling overhead grinder. Being run over by your own foil at 30mph is not good. Breaking your leash outside the pack is really really not good…actually completely unacceptable, just can’t go there.

  • foil gluttony is a real thing. With prone foil and regular surfing, your catchable waves are limited by your paddling strength and stamina. Catching more than 20 long waves in a session is probably a realistic cap, so there’s some governing on how far you can push it. With e, you can catch a wave a minute easy, or more, and after 2 hours, I am SORE. Do that twice a day, day after day, and my 50+ body starts to say ‘no bueno’…I am getting repetitive strain injuries in joints, knees, hips, etc. Which is one of those “good problems to have” of course, but still a real problem. Wingers/kiters also experience this, as the wind is doing most of the work, your muscles aren’t really strained…but all that wind power goes through your joints. For the first time in a long while, I am pursuing non-surf daily exercise and stretching, as a way to prolong sessions and keep injuries at bay.

Anyways, there’s a long essay on pros and cons of the e, from someone who fully admits it’s a crutch … but also can say this crutch is next level fun. For now, I remain e-positive. :slight_smile:

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big overestimation of 5 years

It is almost exactly 1 year later from this original prediction and already some of the highest profile surf foilers are (or appear on Instagram to be) riding electric assist on almost every session/clip.

Our fearless leader Erik can’t be found without a remote in his hand, same with surf-style-lord Bennets (although at least hes going a little more green than his usual jetski tows)

The end is not near, the end is here!

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For those of you proning with a motor, are you still pumping back out to connect (just using power to chip in) or are you mostly just motoring back out?