How often in life do you come across a toy that costs as much as a small car? Seldom to never. But last week I was lucky and was able to try an E-Foil worth $12’000. Most of the time you only see these things in videos on social media, or in the halls of the super yachts on the boot. But not for the average citizen.
A friend of mine knows someone who can afford such a toy without any problems. So I had the pleasure to try out an e-foiler and thought: Why not make a little story out of it? Especially if you look under the hood of the E-Foil there is lots going on and you get to understand whey they are not cheap.
Under the hood
There is a lot going on under the hood. The actual engine is directly attached to the foil mast. The current is led from above through the mast. The battery is as big as a small briefcase and weighs as much as 20 of them. According to the manufacturer 29 pounds, which is about 15kg. To prevent overheating there is even a cooling system built in. The gas pedal is held in the hand and connected to the battery via Bluetooth. The board plus mast with engine weighs 40kg again. So until you are in the water you carry plus minus 60 kilos with you. This is not suitable for travelling. Lithium batteries are not allowed to fly anyway.
Amazin battery power
So we meet on the beach with my colleague and our kids. They also want to try all this out. My colleague, Brian, who got the E-Foil on loan, is a heavyweight foiler himself and wants to take the kids out on the water with the E-Foil. For this purpose he attaches a leash to the mast. We are busy for more than an hour to pull the boys into small waves and try the E-Foil ourselves. In other words, the engine has to do a lot. The E-Foil masters this with flying colors and we are in the water for over an hour until the remote control tells us that the battery is 5% charged.
How difficult is E-Foiling?
It is definitely not as easy as it looks. Even with foil experience it takes some time getting used to it. The board is quite big, so you have enough space to kneel on it. Then you push the gas, but only slowly. When you are fast and stable enough you take your front foot forward and stand up in the “drop knee” position. Just like when you are surfing. Now you have to increase the throttle.
The board has a tendency to sink at the rear due to the weight at the rear. When you are standing you have to shift all your weight to the front foot and accelerate until the board starts to glide. Now it is almost done, the board starts to fly by itself.
When I was on top, I clawed my toes into the board for the first few meters and my forefoot was so cramped. This thing is really hard and requires a lot of concentration. You also have to be careful not to fly too high, because when the motor and the foil come out of the water you lie down properly. The part does up to 35 things. Driving tight turns was not yet possible. I lay down very gently in the curve and drove very large radii. My exits were a lot harder than I am used to. Like I said the thing has a top speed of 35km/h.
But you need a few battery charges before you can really heat up radically with the E-Foil. But my 15 minutes were really cool.
When and where does an E-Foil makes sense?
I have the feeling that the excitement will wear out after a while. Driving back and forth will probably get boring at some point. With waves an E-Foil is certainly more interesting, and there are also propellers that fold up backwards like on sailboats. Surely it is also great if you live on the water and want to use the E-Foil as a means of transport or to discover new waterways. As a toy on a yacht, the E-Foil is certainly great too. But if you have to carry the E-Foil a long way, you will quickly suffer.
But one thing is for sure: Once you are somewhere you can rent an E-Foil, you should definitely do so. The fun is worth it.