I wanted to do a write up for myself and posterity on my own foil adventure. Most of it will be me rambling on about other electric projects, but I will get to the foil part soon enough. If you don’t care just scroll down for the pictures. I know I didn’t get here first and their were many people with greater skills than I have that helped me and everyone else get to this point,
It’ll all started back in 2010. I saw this video on Youtube:
I think his name was Humboldtstoner420 at the time. I had a super heavy lead acid eskate at the time that put out 600w. Heavy as crap, with huge wheels. This mountainboard is what I needed. Looked way fast and could go offroad. He had a build writeup on the old Hobbyking forum. During this time I was getting back into RC cars and after struggling for days trying to get a Nitro to work, the local hobby shop recommended I go electric with Lipo batteries. I tried to copy Humboldt stoners build and ordered all the parts. I had a few mountain boards as I was into kiting with them out at the salt flats. The area I rode got shut down, so I needed to find a use for them. Humboldt moved over to Endless Sphere to post and I followed him over there. The build took some time with my lack of skills, but finally got some metal plates welded up and everything fitted. The chains kept popping off. I decided I needed some aluminum mounts and my brother in law was able to get some made at the machine shop he worked at. I think this was about a year later. Here’s that vid:
I realized how this worked so well, I mine as well get it put on a longboard to ride the streets. My trails weren’t the best for the mountainboard and I had a few too many crashes. Amazingly Boosted boards announced a kick starter around this time. There $2000 board didn’t look much different than what I had planned to do. Parts from hobbyking could make this thing similar for around $500 and there was a six months or so lead time to get the Boosted board. Some guys on Endless were already starting and a few guys, Pyschotiller, Papo, beetbocks and Matthias were already riding their boards. I finally got my board going in 2012 with the help of some welders and even did a write up on Endless about it. User DIY skateboards was starting to charge for the same how to and was starting to sell kits, so that upset me enough to do a whole writeup to make it easier for anyone to make one.
Around this time, a friend of mine wanted to go mountain biking. I went with him and he killed me! I decided right there, I would do the same to him next time. I was going to buy a hub motor kit and whip him up the hill. I had the batteries and such, just needed the motor. I bought a $200 kit off ebay and proceeded to do an ebike. Endless Sphere was mainly focused on bikes at the time, so tons of helpful info from there. I’d also finally looked into the water part of the forum, but I’ll get to that later… I ended up really enjoying the bike. We have tons of local trails that are perfect and I loved being able to stop when I wanted and not crashing due to hitting a pebble. My street roads had just been paved with gravel, and I couldn’t ride the electric skateboard much. The issue I always had with the ebikes was the size of the controller. Why did they have to be so big? They were meant to be put on a bike! The bafang 750w middrive came out and I had to get this, the controller was in the motor. Awesome kit. A buddy had just gotten the $7000 Haibike which is cool, but so expensive. This bike had so much more power and was so much cheaper. Like every builder, I still wanted to go faster and have more power for climbs. I decided to go with the Cyclone 3kw and now the Surron.
During all this, I continued to be interested in doing a surfboard. Matthias had started a build, but with limited info, it was hard to piece things on what he had done. Here’s his vid from 2012:
It has been a dream since I was a kid to learn to surf, living in Utah with no surf made that a challenge, but I started snowboarding back when that came out, wakeboarding when that came out, kiteboarding when you didn’t know if you’d actually die launching your kite and then wakesurfing. I almost bought the gas powered surboard version from the 80’s and there was a Popular Mechanics article about the self driving boat that would pull you as a water skier that seemed fun. Both products looked like junk and I knew that an electric surfboard would be lighter weight and easier to maintain. I think Jetsurf was starting to show up around this time too, but still too expensive and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep the motor working. Even back then there was discussion about an efoil. To prove the point, along with the history, here are a few screenshots from ES going back to 2009:
Here’s a quote from my post back then to Matthias:
Blockquote Re: Electric Surf Board
What is the latest on this project? I watched the videos and it looked like it would work well. I am curious what battery and motor setup you are using. After finding out the price and performance of the gas powered surf board, I want to build one for myself.
I made a few attempts at this over the years. I bought an old jet ski for the pump, bought a Kayak to try it out, bought about 4 different props that never seemed to work. Motor would always go out of sync or I’d have issues like the prop falling off. Here’s on of the reasons why I had so many issues, didn’t realize it at the time:
There were others on the forum, Bazaki, Ratking and Jezza that were interested in doing the electric surfboard - apologize if anyone else is here that I didn’t mention. Not much luck from anyone. After hundreds of hours in the garage and time driving back and forth from the lake, I realized I would have to be patient on this project. In the meantime I had almost given in and gotten the Onean board that was coming out. Finally something reasonably priced for what I was paying for. I actually had planned to fly to Spain and test it, but things never worked out.
Thankfully I saw Lift and their working board in late 2016. Pacificmeister, Hiorth and a few others finally got working efoil boards in the summer of 2017. I purchased a slingshotfoil and 3d printer (which I should have done long ago!) that summer 2017 and decided to learn to ride so I could eventually build one myself.
As the summer of 2017 was coming to an end and at least being able to stand on the foil, I finally got a chance to try out my first setup - a c80100 motor with a 3d printed prop and a 48v Hobbyking ESC that I’d used for an emoto. Exciting times. I figured I’d be cruising around the lake for the first time since I wanted this six years ago. After hooking it all up and getting in the cold water, I hit the throttle. I hear the dreaded sync squeal, but I did go a few feet with some power. I try it again with some kicking and then smell smoke. Shiii…!! I open the Tuperware waterproof box I was using and see the ESC burning. Water had gotten into the box. So what was the problem, water or the ESC? I knew that the issue people were having was the same common thread from ebikers that were using RC components - no current limiting coming from the ESC. I thought that would be the best route to go now, even though I had purchased all the components to do a similar build to Hiorth’s. least now I knew that it does work to hydrofoil and what kind of power was needed. I had two options that I had in my garage - the c80100 that I’d used for my kids emotobike and another Boma motor that was similar, but an inrunner. I printed out 3d parts to connect both to the mast and I had two ESC’s set up - The ebike controller that was 48v and 80a and the SeaKing.
To be continued…