There has always been a die hard group of foil kite riders who wanted to use their foil kites in waves. Whilst this kind of worked sometimes, it generally was not great. Two big changes have happened since those days, first the advent of foiling, and more specifically the larger surf foils. Secondly the development and refinement of single skin foil kites.
Foiling in Swell
I dont think foiling in waves is the right term as it conjures images of steep faces and powerful turns, this is the domain of surfboards still. Foiling in swell however, and riding those bumps and carving on the faces is a whole lot of fun and plenty of people are getting involved with this. Most of us are now kite foiling with larger foils than we used to which dont need to be travelling as quickly allowing for a more playful approach.
Foils travel fast and will quickly show up any kite that doesnt drift well. You want something lightweight, like the Ozone REO or the ALPHA, or maybe a foil kite?
Single Skin Foil Kites
The Flysurfer PEAK was the first kite to really feature in this conversation. The extra power per square metre of a single skin kite means that you can be riding a much smaller kite. Where you might be on a 8 or 9m tube kite, you could be on a 5m PEAK. The smaller kite helps a lot with reducing weight and improving turning speed. The kite weighs very little so the drift and general performance in the waves is great. The pricepoint is very attractive too. The big downside is obviously also the single skin design. Although sometimes you get lucky, as a rule, it does not water relaunch. We all ditch kites sometimes, so this can be a major drawback.
Enter the Flysurfer Hybrid. Combining the key benefits of the single skin design, but making the front third of the kite a closed cell foil kite design solves the water relaunch issue. What are the downsides? Well it costs a chunk more than the equivalent PEAK, and is less efficient, so instead of a 5m, you would be looking at a 7.5m The Hybrid is still competitively priced compared to a tube kite, or fully closed cell foil kite design, but noticeably more expensive than the PEAK.
There is a lot of fun to be had here. Whilst the all out performance of the PEAK is incredible, and this was the kite that started this craze, we think that water relaunch is pretty important. For the most part, we would recommend the Hybrid for this type of riding.