Flying on a foil have many coming back for more
I’ve been interested in learning to foil for awhile now, but it’s such a difficult sport to learn that I’ve never gotten out to give it a whirl. But that all changed the other day, when my friend Daniel Kaahanui and his business partner Mike Coleman took me out for a foil lesson. I ended up spending a couple of hours behind a ski, trying to get the board to lift up on the foil and “fly”—very challenging, but also super fun and very satisfying during the fleeting moments that I was able to maintain lift!
Mike and Daniel were great instructors, and have started teaching foil lessons on the side to help generate some extra income and “support their waterman lifestyle,” as Mike puts it. Mike is a substance abuse counselor and Daniel worked as a concierge at a hotel before COVID-19 hit, but their real passion is in the water. Daniel enjoyed a career as a professional surfer, and Mike is a lifelong surfer who transitioned to foiling three years ago, and never looked back! They SUP foil, prone foil, tow foil, and even wing foil!
Mike and Daniel do private lessons out near Sand Island, where they are allowed to run the ski on the flat water in the channel near the runway, which provides perfect conditions for learning. Typically they will give beginners classes behind the ski in flat water, as that is the easiest way to learn to fly the foil. But they also take more experienced wind surfers and kiters who have been on foil boards out into waves and teach them to tow surf, which Mike says is incredibly addicting.
Mike has 300 hours on the ski, with lots of experience towing in the ocean,
and Daniel is a great hands-on teacher who draws on his experience as a professional surfer and one of the best foilers on Oahu to help beginners figure out the basics. They provide everything for their students, from helmets and floatation vests to the ski, rope, boards, foils, and mast. Beginners will typically go out on a 7'6" Jimmy Lewis board that is 5.5 inches thick and 32 inches wide—in other words, it’s super stable. They like to start people off on a 28-inch mast for added control, as a shorter mast keeps you closer to the water. They combine this with a 220 Go-Foil with a 17.5 back flip tail, which provides a super smooth ride (or at least as smooth as beginning foiling gets!) A 30-foot tow rope puts the students far enough behind the ski that the foil won’t be upset by cavitation from the wake once they are able to get it to lift and start flying!
Foiling is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried, but it is also incredibly fun, especially once you start to get the hang of it. I can definitely see how people get so addicted to the feeling. Some people even stop surfing altogether because they are have so much fun foiling!
If you are interested in learning to foil, I definitely recommend heading out to Sand Island with Mike and Dave. You can contact them directly by phone.
Mike Coleman: (808) 723-9769
Daniel Kaahanui: (808) 542-9273