Foiling the kites

It’s not as big as an Americas Cup AC72, but Jesse McCaffery says the Italian-made foiling kiteboard he’s been using still accelerates quick enough to make yachties eyes pop.

“All the yachties love it, you just go along beside them and pop up on the foil and they almost fall off their boats,” says Jessie.

He’s using an Italian designed and manufactured foil he found on eBay.

“It’s been around for a little while, maybe three four years,” says Jesse. “I knew they existed but had never seen one before.”

The Moses brand has a selection of front and back wings, so a kiteboarder can set it up to make getting up on the foil easy; or more advanced wings can make for faster turning, a little more control and a bit more speed in the water, so they can be used in the surf.

“And they are now designing a race wing as well,” says Jesse. “It’s a little bit hard to tell how fast you can go because it’s all about balance on them. You really have to keep your body in the very centre of the board. If you move your body a centimetre forward, or a centimetre back, it’s all over. You have a mighty spectacular crash.”

Importing them is expensive and Jesse is talking with a Tauranga boatbuilder about building a local version.

“We’re looking at trying to design one that will more suit the New Zealand market. But probably not for a little while yet. We are still in the design process,” says Jesse.

“We’ve got to try and come up with ideas so it doesn’t look the same as anyone else’s. We’re just talking about it, designing it, pricing it up, seeing if it is viable, because if it’s too expensive it’s just not worth doing.

“So it’s expensive toy, and if you want it you are going to have great fun. It’s the same as the Americas cup boats. Ours are a little bit smaller, but we can still have a magnificent crash.”

The good thing about the foiling kiteboard is the upwind drive is just incredible, says Jesse, and he can easily beat the course board which was to be used at the Olympics.

“They tend to beat me on the down-wind course. It’s a little bit harder to keep your balance on the downwind course. I use it in the surf a lot as well, which is really, really, cool because you are already one metre off the surface. If you are surfing a wave one-metre-and-half, you’re already two-and-half metres up.

“It’s great fun, designed for light wind more than anything else.”


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