E-Foil Rental idea, Help


#1

Hi everyone,

I’m really interested in building / buying 2 - 3 boards for holiday makers to hire out. But first I would really appreciate your opinions on whether the average person could just jump on a e-board and go.

I know I could get a bigger foil for beginners to make it easier, and ideally the board would be able to float whilst being stood on as it will be launching from the beach.

I also need to get about four hours ride time out of each board for it to be profitable.

Any advice / thoughts from anyone would be appreciated!

*edit, what about adding some ailerons to the rear foil that increase the lift when the user lets go of the throttle so the board doesn’t pitch down as much.

Thanks,
Lucca


#2

A mentor of mine suggested making the pitch self stabilizing. This can probably be done with the aileron or by angling the whole foil. There are a few mechanical ways to self stabilize it as well, so you won’t need it electronically controlled. It may be worth considering if you’re renting the foil out to beginners.


#4

Hmmm thats interesting, I thought they would be able to hop straight on.

I wonder if there are any boats of similar size with seats, maybe like a mini Jetski bicycle hydrofoil design, as this would be more suitable for the average person.

Also I think the whole hydrofoil / flying on water is a great marketing point for holiday makers to have a go.


#6

How long does it take most people to learn how to ride? It might be profitable to give lessons or something like that as well.

I also imagine it’s a bit more stable at higher speeds since tipping results in a turn. I’m not sure about pitch stability.


#8

I think the only way this is feasible is if the board has regulating electronics like on a segway and also some kind of mast to hold on to. You cannot let people injure themselves on the sharp wing and mast. Maybe only let them sit.


#10

I don’t think renting or lessons on these things is close to a good idea. I know plenty of kitesurfing and kitefoil instructors and the learning curve is plenty steep. Never got hurt personally in 20 years kiting. But with foiling I know of no one including myself that has not got somehow injured or at least got hit by the foil


#11

I would agree with MaxMaker that the board has to be regulated electronically or mechanically for the average person to be able to ride it
It took me about two hours to learn, with lots of crashes. It’s way harder than a flyboard for example and your customer might get discouraged


#12

Thanks for all the input! I really appreciate it.

I’m thinking about something like a standup Jetski (handlebars that move up and down on a hinge) but a very lite version with a small hyrdo foil. Or maybe a handle on each side.

I think there was a post on the forum the other day about a sit down hydro that was designed on cad, looked very nice and beginner friendly.


#13

something like this possibly?


#14

I have an air chair (sky ski) and can ride it well behind a boat. I noticed it’s almost impossible to control once you let go of the ski rope. It’s too hard to move your weight enough. Whereas the rope gives you something to leverage against. It is definitely safer than a foil board though. I rode a foiled board behind a boat and saw that foil coming up at my face every time I fell. Luckily I never actually hit the foil.

I have been developing a sit down foil boat with three wings. You steer it with your feet and fly the kite with your hands. Pitch and roll is self adjusting. It’s similar to the K2 kiteboat https://project.kiteboat.com/gallery/k2/ except mine is for a single rider and disassembles to fit in the trunk of my car. My plan is to put an electric motor on it. Something like my boat would be excellent for rental.


#15

True, you don´t have enough weight to shift around when sitting down, but you could automate it of course like a plane.


#16

Hi Lucca,

We have had about 30 different beginners on Fliteboards in our testing. The larger cruiser wing we have developed makes a big difference. Having a wing optimised for slow take-off speed is important as often people are scared to ride fast enough to be able to foil. Board volume is another important consideration. If a rider can kneel or stand it takes away a couple of steps and helps them get going faster. Certainly we have found that lighter riders find it easier, and this is due to a combination of more volume and more lift relative to their weight. Slower take-off speed required and also less inputs from a lighter rider. Another really important consideration is the hand controller. Balancing the throttle while trying to foil for the first time is challenging, and even experienced foilers will find a sticky throttle an added challenge to balancing. We have a solution for that with a very smooth throttle, but also algorithms and settings (with safety features) that act a little like cruise control so the rider can focus on balancing the foil. In terms of how accessible it is, it varies on the rider. We have had experienced (and brave) watersports enthusiasts foiling within 5 minutes. We have had semi-pro surfers struggle to foil (usually because they think they can do it with sheer balance, rather than trusting the foil and taking time). The typical scenario is probably 5-10 minutes getting used to throttle and positioning weight on the board. 5-10 minutes developing these skills on knees. Then standing up and rising fast on the board with weight forward but not foiling. Followed by starting to foil at a low height with touch downs. it typically takes 2-3 40 minute sessions for people to really get it. My 12 year old son learned to foil in 2 x 20 minute sessions without much in the way of crashes because he is so light.

When you consider to learning to ski, snowboard, play tennis, windsurf or drive a car - is actually pretty good. Learning to foil on waves or with a kite is a totally different ball game. I think it took me about 20 hours to learn to kite foil 5 + years ago.

People will crash, get wet and there is always a risk that people fall on the board or foil, so they need to be prepared for this and be taught properly. We have a Flite School program that you can see on our site here https://eu.fliteboard.com/flite-school/ that might be of interest. Our inflatable AIR board has been designed specifically for this purpose.


#17

Since we are all new to this, it would be cool if you could share some general tips and tricks to learn this.


#18

I too am interested in renting these out to holiday makers. The advantages are that you can do it in calm water - a lot of resorts are located in calm bays where windsurfing etc is no go. I don’t think it will require a great deal of strength or fitness. And I reckon as time goes by, the technology will improve to a point where it’s pretty easy to get going. The downsides are, I think that will take a while for the tech to get there. Efoils are a long way from Segways for now. And while fitness might not be requisite, weight will be a problem for the foreseeable. Like kiteboarding, there will still be a learning curve, still be a lot of expensive gear involved, still be certain conditions that are more favourable than others. But as a rental proposition, you can always make it work. Some punters will always want a go, and will pay anything, sign anything. You just have to work out your 4 Ps - Price, Promotion, Place, Product. What you need is tourists with money who are young - or light, and fit enough to learn without nailing themselves. As for a 4 hour battery, yeah that’s going to be along wait too.


#19

I am working on unit that is build for rentals. Its going to be bullet proof, durable, low maintenance and super stable board and foil. Its all about getting your renters up and foiling as quick as possible without injuries. Once they master it, they will extend for another rental session or be back t do it again!


#20

Super keen.

I think there’s definitely a market - think about all the beachside resorts that have calm water. You have a steady stream of cashed up tourists looking to have fun. Kites, windsurfing, surfing… there’s a learning curve, conditions have to be just right, it requires a certain level of fitness and skill… But if you can create a foil that’s relatively easy to ride, can work in a wide range of conditions, and doesn’t require a great amount of fitness or skill (can be learnt in an hour or three) then you’ve got a good money maker. The novelty factor alone will work in your favour for years to come. These are new and look amazing and there’s a knowledge price barrier to start with - most punters aren’t going to buy one themselves (unlike say a surfboard which is relatively cheap). I reckon they’re a rental dream come true. I’m also thinking they’re a good fit with ebikes. Lots of places are renting those now - again, great for unfit, overweight, cashed up tourists just out for a bit of fun. Given efoils and ebikes use similar tech, and fairly simple mechanics, your maintenance team can be across both.


#21

Definitley right.
Only keep in mind that foiling, like it’s been and it still among kiters, ain’t easy nor an immediate pay back for newbies. As you said, it has a rather steep learning curve which demand constance. But, if you’re looking the good side, it’s not that bad because open the way for rent& coaching, with few tips and somebody that follows you, the learning curve will be definitely shorter and more pleasant!


#22

I think mass renting efoils to inexperienced riders in busy areas will lead to this

I think the beauty of efoils is you can get away and surf/ride isolated areas


#23

Yeah. Plus we do have a motor, can you believe that Police on jetskies pulled me over the first trial I made? They were mostly curious but they also said that “probably” I should have insurance but Efoil is still so new and borderline that they were unaware! Now I run early morning… before they hit my spot!


#24

that’s hilarious. What country?