June 26 - 2011 : Today we went up and had a day on the lake with old baseball friends Trey and Lewis. Jack started us off on water skis, nailed some aggressive cuts and jumps (no video) and tired out after a lap around the portion of the lake we ski. Lewis was next on the skis and after a bunch of false starts got up and did well, so well that he never wanted to stop, lol. Trey tried some skiing too and did well. After a long run he thought he'd try to get out of the hole on a slalom ski, after a couple/few tries he gave up. Good effort, I think he had nothing left in him to try that at that point. I foiled some, mostly for the amusement of Trey and Lewis. At the end of an ok run working on control and cuts I went for a jump and landed too far back and relaunched. I proceeded to lean forward and chest and face planted nicely. Video of all of the above coming soon in the next couple of days. Jack is eager to try wakeboarding next. Need to enlist David next door to teach him. Fern, Sam and Liu were content to ride along and drink plenty of soda and gatorades. We swam a bunch back in the cove too and played some trac-ball in the water. Good times.
June 24 - 2011 : Took a vacation day and went out with two co-workers, Rick and Mike. Jack did some skiing and was extremely confident, cutting out hard, mostly to driver side but then cutting across wake over and over getting a little air each time (partial video to right). Rick and his daughter, Kyra, played on the tube a while (pics to the right). Mike brought an old school wakeskate made out of wood (video off to right). I've never seen anyone on a wakeskate before, seems to be like a wakeboard but without the bindings and a bit smaller. I, of course, rode the foil and landed my first jump on video (video on the right). It was a nice little hop but it is the second time I have landed one and first on video. Good times also playing ping pong, horseshoes and relaxing in the great weather.
June 12 - 2011 : Went out in the morning with Darby, Brent and little Mia (and my two boys). Between the morning runs and again some after a lunch break, Jack had three really strong, aggressive runs. He was pushing it on his cuts, more than I have seen him do previously. When hitting the wake coming from the outside, he was getting a little air (on water skis) and having a blast. He did wipeout on his last run, one of the skis slipped under the surface and caught and spun him a little bit and then the wipeout. Brent spent his energy trying to get up on a slalom ski. Never did get up (trying to come out of the hole on one ski) and switched to the hydrofoil. He got out repeatedly but longest ride was probably 5-6 seconds after getting up. Will need to focus him on balance next time and get him staying up. Darby recently hurt her back and shoulder so took a pass on riding anything. I took two runs on the foil myself. First run in the morning I focused on managing the elevation and clean riding while cutting etc. Had fun and continue to "figure" things out. After lunch I took a run and tried some jumps. First two attempts I would label as unfocused and didn't come close to landing them. For the third and last attempt of the day I went through the mental check list better before going for it and came down and was riding high on the ski for a couple of seconds before feeling it was going to crash and chucking the rope. Not truly landed unfortunately.
Late May/early June : Amazingly life and work have blocked any additional seat time since the Flatland Fly-In. I'll finally get on the water tomorrow (June 12th) and get to ride and see what I can do with the jumps. Bought a new rope off ebay: Helium® Suspension Mainline Ski Rope White, No Stretch - Dyneema infused mainline, Sectional - 5 sections (60'+5'+5'+5'+5') ; got it for $32 plus shipping, assume it is a good deal for a good rope that will last a long time.
May 19/20 : Outstanding couple of days riding with a bunch of different foilers at the Flatland Fly-In. This is a new event for Georgia, likely to be an annual event as most Fly-ins are. All in all they were expecting 10 boats and up to 70 riders from, literally, around the world. Many of the top pros arrived and while I wasn't ever on a boat with one of the pros during the two days we could see some of their tricks while out on the water ourselves. Other than working on getting used to the new setup, I worked on landing my first jumps. Had some great tutors (Brad Schmidt, Ken, Dr. Will) helping me get over some of the physical and mental challenges. In my third (and final) session on Friday I finally landed a jump without crashing. There were two quick bunny hops resulting from my jump that ultimately led to an easy drop of the rope and float into the water but the initial jump was landed! Will see next time out on Allatoona whether I can easily repeat it. Traveling companion David, neighbor from the lake, worked on a gainer (back flip) and came very close to landing one. This was my first Fly-In, looking forward to more in the future.
May 14 - 2011: First day out on the water for 2011. Jack did some skiing, looked like the first day, a little tentative but ok to build off of. I did some basic riding on the foil, nothing fancy, just trying to get used to the new t-bar length (~ 39 inches wet, up from 29 inches on the old one) and the new wings. All in all a good first day out and looking forward to the Flatland fly-in down in Cordele Georgia about 2 hours south of Atlanta. Going for Thursday and Friday only (not the whole weekend).
2010-2011 offseason: This offseason was busy a one for the boat, the lakehouse and my hydrofoil. Here are some of the improvements and changes made:
- Added a wake tower to the boat. This will allow the rope to feed from a higher point and not get caught up in the wake all the time. The tower is a Monster MT1 tower. Pictures to the right.
- Added a hydrofoil rack to clamp onto the wake tower to hold the heavy/cumbersome foil when not in use
- Bought a used 2007 Yamaha VX110 Waverunner. Pictures to the right.
- Bought a great, outdoor high quality ping pong table
- Bought a teak chess set (king 8") and Brent (friend in water skiing pics to right towards bottom) is making a cool table with chess board on top to use.
- traded in my older model sky ski pro ss t-bar, fuselage and wings
- purchased new B39 t-bar and fuselage, had them anodized black
- purchased used N2Orbit wings, XXX and UFO, both previously anodized purple
- worked with a custom vinyl wrap guy and had a wrap made for the top of my board
- pics to the right of all
Ready to get the season rolling!
2010 September 25-Oct 9-10: I continued to improve my riding, even started attempting some jumps. Some video posted to the right. Jack began jumping, using the wake as his ramp and continued to gain confidence. Liu tried the kneeboard a couple more times and continued to enjoy it. Purchased another set of foot bindings to install closer to the seat tower so shorter people have a more comfortable and natural seating position. Great end of season as from middle of August through mid October went out almost every weekend.
2010 September 18 & 19: Good days riding on Allatoona. Jack skied and tried a knee board, Liu Yi tried the knee board (and loved it - video off to the right), and I hydrofoiled and practiced flying some more. Worked on cuts back and forth, inside and outside the wake while trying to keep the board level and above the water. Also took out the helmet camera on the lake for the first time. It worked great and video is posted over to the right.
2010 September 12: Back on Allatoona with my boys on board (Jack did some endurance water skiing, my arms couldn't hold the camera easily when he was done - 12+ minutes for a single run) and neighbor David driving and foiling with me. While Friday on Oconee I didn't evolve much, Sunday the 12th was a different story. Something clicked. Something was different from the moment I felt the first pull on the rope. Whether it was built up confidence fueled by the teachings of the mentors on Friday, I don't know. Whatever it was, it is working! I can now say I can ride the hydrofoil above the water, the way it is meant to be. Not totally in control of course but enough to be extremely fun and eager to continue to progress. Not much time left in the season, look for additional updates each week until the boat gets pulled for good and/or the water gets too cold. Video on right of 9/12 riding.
2010 September 10: Went down to lake Oconee, which is SE of Atlanta for the day. Bunch of us met up for a day of foiling. There were two boats and about 10 people foiling and a few people along to watch. I had the pleasure to ride on Nathan's beautiful Mastercraft X45 and take advice from Brad (http://www.eastcoasthydrofoils.com/current/) and from Cliff. While I listened and absorbed the advice, not much of it showed on Friday while riding. I had a great time and met some great people and hope to get out on the water with them again in the future.
2010 August 22: Invited Darby and Brent out for some foiling, had neighbor David join us too. Everybody improved including Jack doing great on water skis (video of ~5th pull ever to right). Darby and Brent both foiled and tried slalom skiing. I can now ride foil behind boat with the board on the water pretty much as long as I want. Steering is not a problem either. Working on raising the board off the water (flying) and video to the right shows a brief excerpt from one pull where I was experimenting and "riding the bronco". Each time out getting better and loving it.
2010 August 21: Went out today with lake neighbor, David. Couple highlights - Jack said early on, "I want to water ski". He had tried last year once without much success. Nothing since. Today, he had multiple rides over 3 minutes each. Very impressive. Both Liu and Fern tried a learner ski that has the wood flat base that is connected like a giant horseshoe across the top. Liu sat her butt down and was dragged around as if it were a knee board except it continuously threw water in her face. Fern either doesn't have the leg strength or balance and struggled a bit. Both enjoyed riding the tube though. I rode some more on the hydrofoil. Eclipsed last weeks record length run with a couple runs over 3 minutes. Was experimenting with steering and with elevation (getting board off the water). Had fun, will be out again tomorrow.
2010 August 14: Went out with my new neighbor on the lake, David. David owns an older Airchair and has ridden with his sons for years. With his tips and with buildup of advice over the couple of years I enjoyed some of my best success to date. I was able to get up and ride for a while (for me). Longest ride was 1:05 (video to the right). Going out again next weekend with David, hopefully I can extend time up and maybe get the board off the water too.
2010 June: Went out once with Darby and Brent again, ready to expand on our learnings from 2009. We all had minor successes getting up more consistently but not riding more than 25-30 seconds still. Regardless, we still had fun and look forward to getting out again.
2010 High expectations: With the boat now at our dock at the house and with some good lessons learned at the end of the 2009 season.
Offseason between 2009-2010: With the cooler weather and all the rain we've had I have ended the season on the boat. Other than waiting for spring, not sure what, if anything I will add to the gear or do before getting out on the water in late April or so.
2009: I had high hopes of tremendous progress for 2009. As April and May rolled around I was anxious to get out on the water but was having difficulty getting two others to head out with me. My two main boating buddies moved away in 07 and 08 respectively so frustration was mounting with lack of water time. In June I hooked up with Rich on Lake Lanier. Rich is the foiler that sold me the foil and gave me my introduction to the sport. We went out on Lake Lanier and he dragged me through the water (literally) as I struggled with his advice and my own mental blocks. He said something in his advice that coupled with some advice other riders on foilforums had given that I felt encouraged about.
Fast forward to early August, went out on Allatoona with my friend Darby and her husband Brent. With these new learnings rattling through my mind we all had our first breakthroughs and got up and would ride for a very short time, nothing more than 20-25 seconds but we all were very excited. Unfortunately the weather and having 5 kids limited the times I could get back out on the water.
In September I reached out to another foiler in Georgia on Lake Oconnee which is an hour or so east of Atlanta. Cliff offered to take me, one of his friends that had never been foiling before and Eric, a very experienced foiler, out. We met and got out on the water. Cliff and Eric were offering up advice based on what they saw and as the day wore on I had a blast extending my time up on the foil but still not riding on extended time. I left really excited about 2010 and with a belief that with more saddle time it will come.
Offseason between 2008-2009: I figured that 2009 was going to be a breakthrough year so I bought some cool gear in the offseason. Bought a helmet cam video camera that is waterproof and takes some great video. Bought some additional ropes and handles as backups. Some water sport specific sun glasses too. I was ready!
2008: I bought my first foil in September 2008 (used) and was only able to get on the water with it in 2008 on the day I bought it. I didn't have any real success. Riding a foil is all about balance and learning where that balance is while sitting on a foil is not something that is intuitive.