LET'S COMPARE: Wing VS Prone VS E-Foils
Foiling has made a HUGE impact on the surf scene for many years now, but there are so many ways to ride the foil now. Today, we will be comparing the Wing foil, Prone (or surf) foil, and the Efoil. We will address five simple categories:
- KooK Time: the amount of time you will look like a KooK until you gain enough mastery to be legit again
- Conditions: what conditions can you really ride these foils in, and what is needed
- Thrill Factor: once you are up and running, how much fun is it, really
- Ride Share: riding with a buddy is always more enjoyable, but how realistic is it for your buds to join you
- Expense: down to the nuts and bolts, if you can’t afford it, you can’t enjoy it long term
Let’s face it, foiling is a sport that is mostly limited to the surfers, former surfers, windsurfers, and water enthusiasts. If you are a surfer, you spent your time as a KooK, and the last thing you want to do is look like a KooK again.
If you take up foiling, trust me, you will be a KooK once again. But for how long? It depends. If we assume a daily effort, not too long. The reality is that you will be learning to foil 3-4 days a week for most.
Wing Foil KooK Time? Expect to spend weeks and months learning this foil. Wing foiling is the combination of two skills: (a) foiling, and (b) sailing. If you can’t capture the wind, you can’t foil. If you can’t foil, it is very difficult to stay up-wind. Additionally, you should be learning both on your standard stance, and switch stance. The average surfer would take 6 months at the minimum to get out of the KooK time on the wing foil.
Prone Foil KooK Time? Expect to spend weeks learning this foil. It is much easier than the wing foil, but there are some critical lessons that need to be learned such as speed, lift, and front-foot pressure. The problem is that the average surfer has built-in habits that cause too many dangerous errors on the prone foil because it looks and feels just like your normal surfboard. The average surfer would take 1-2 months at the minimum to get out of the KooK time on the prone foil.
Efoil KooK Time? Expect to spend 10 hours learning this foil. The efoil is by far the easiest of all the foils to learn. It simply is because the rider gets so many more reps in every session. No waves, and no winds to wrestle. Even the average surfer would only take 10 one-hour sessions to get out of the KooK time on the efoil.
The Wing Foil conditions required are obvious. You need wind, period. But when you are learning to wing, light winds and strong winds are very difficult.
Ideally, you also have side-shore winds that blow left to right or right to left as you look at the water from the shore. Additionally, steady winds are preferred.
Prone Foil conditions are also obvious. You need waves.
Actually, the waves you need are small not big. The slopey waves that longboarders prefer would be ideal, and it is easiest to learn in white water conditions. All you need is some swell energy, and you are set to ride the prone foil.
Efoil conditions are not as obvious. The truth is that you can ride the efoil in any condition. Windy, flat, large or small surf, even a lake. Ideally, when you are learning, you want to be in flat water conditions with low winds.
Thrill factor is really up to the individual. Some like to go fast, others like to go high. Most surfers want to have fun and get barrelled when they go in the water. The foil ride is already off the charts, but the potential thrill is really where these different foils start to separate.
The Wing Foil has an extremely high thrill factor. This is because of the potential for high speeds, long rides, and amazing tricks. With good conditions and a skilled rider, the wing foil can cover long distances on open water and provide endless fun.
The Prone Foil has a high thrill factor. The ride's length depends on the conditions and the rider, but there is potential for speed and tricks. Some of the best riders are linking 10 plus waves together without having to paddle out. The freedom and the simplicity of the ride combined with the easy flow of the wave makes prone foiling very exciting.
The Efoil has a high thrill factor, but it may fall a little short for some people. Since anyone can ride this foil, the thrill factor can be skewed higher based upon the rider’s experience. The efoil can go for 20 miles or more, ride any wave on the water, and has an endless ride.
So if you want your buddies to join you on your journey to master a foil, what is the likeliness that one or two of them actually can or will. The Wing foil is difficult to learn and requires a lot of practice. It is unlikely that a friend will continue doing it with you.
The Prone foil is similar to surfing, so your friends can keep up with you and guide you. It's unlikely your friend will buy an Efoil because it's expensive, even if you buy one.
You can easily share and learn to use the efoil, so your friends will appreciate your investment.
One note to make right away is that foils are expensive. This is primarily due to the use of carbon fiber for the boards, masts, and wings. Surfboards are primarily made out of fiberglass or epoxy, so the cost is much lower than carbon fiber foilboards.
The Wing foil has multiple components, so it costs more than the prone foil, but it is still obtainable for many. You will need the wing, the board, the mast, and the foil.
The Prone foil is the least expensive of the three being compared here. You only need a small volume board, a mast, and a foil.
The Efoil is very costly because it has a battery, an electric motor, and the technology to connect them.
When you compare the Wing foil, Prone foil, and Efoil, you'll see they're all amazing inventions and very enjoyable to ride. If you're not willing to work hard, be prepared to spend money on the Efoil. If you have the patience and the time, trying the Prone foil is a really good option.
If you're determined and have sailing or kiting experience, go for it and give the Wing foil a try. When you achieve significant success, you will experience the satisfaction and ease of the outcome, regardless of your choices.
Let us know how you do.