It’s happening. The past 10 years have seen Surfski design and innovation growing exponentially. Stable boats, twenty-foot elite skis weighing in at 20 lbs, cockpit innovations, adjustable bailers, and more. With the recent SUP foiling trend, it was only a matter of time before surfski intelligence solved the equation.
South Africa’s relative newcomer REVO Kayak’s have just fired the first shot across the bow. Since their inception, REVO has clearly been on a mission to push the envelope of ski design. Dreadnaught bows, proprietary tool-less rudder removal, and redesigned hulls are only a partial list of features seen on their line up.
With their recent patent approval and subsequent announcement, they are now officially the first brand launching a foiling surfski.
We spoke with Greg de Beyer at REVO to sort out a few details as we wait to see where this trend will take the sport.
SN: Many of us have seen the popular video of the foil sprint boat. Will your design function in the same way?
Greg de Beyer (REVO): No, I see this boat as a primarily downwind fun boat - it will obviously be very fast, but we have also designed a slower wing for the person that wants stability and fun with break-neck speed.
SN: Will it work as well for flat-water or is it primarily aimed at downwind?
de Beyer: It will not be a flat water boat - it is a wave riding boat, however, it will be able to ride the wake of a powerboat in flat water
SN: What are the characteristics while down winding? How does the boat behave on the wave?
De Beyer: Very much the same as a foiling SUP, but it will be easier to ride as you are sitting down and when it comes off the foil you do not lose stability.
SN: Will it increase manoeuvrability on/off the wave?
De Beyer: Off the wave the foil adds resistance ( for people that use tennis balls on the boat to increase resistance in training - it is about the same resistance as 1 tennis ball) on the wave it is like riding a surfboard - you can turn and go anywhere at will.
Sn: Will a special (longer) rudder be needed and if so, how long?
De Beyer: The rudder is not used at all once the boat is foiling
SN: What, if any complications or difficulties did you encounter while creating the foil?
De Beyer: The biggest challenge was to generate initial lift - on an SUP you create the initial lift by depressing the tail of the board and increasing the attack angle of the front foil - you cannot do this on a ski.
If you put a permanent positive attack angle on the front foil you cannot keep it in the water at speed so it was an unsolvable equation initially , but once we found the answer it was so obvious and simple.
SN: Does it have the potential to completely redefine the surfski experience or do you see this as nearly an additional facet?
de Beyer: It’s a combination of both, in a downwind race a functioning foiling boat will be unbeatable, as a fun boat - well foiling is just an awesome experience on whatever you foil.
I think this is just the beginning of some really fun stuff happening in the industry and the sport - look at what foiling is doing in surfing , SUP and Kiteboarding let alone yachting
SN: What about pricing compared to standard skis?
de Beyer: We will be releasing pricing once we have tested our new foil but with the cost of the foil it will carry a higher price tag.
SN: Is there anything else you can tell us regarding what to expect from your design?
de Beyer: Other than the fact that we are having awesome fun with this, I think that we are just starting to make people think of the possibilities of what and where surfski paddling can be.
We called our brand Revo for the fact that we would start a REVOlution in design and thinking - we are not arrogant enough to think that we will be the only people changing the way that designers will design Surf ski's in the future, and we may not be the leaders , but we believe that we are the catalyst of change and the change is happening.
It's exciting to be part of it.
Check out more from REVO: http://revokayaks.com/index.html