Riding high after my first try at foiling!

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The Jensen Beach crew taking turns on the RS:One Convertible foil board!

By Adam Locke

The US Sailing Center of Martin County (USSCMC), together with Neil Pryde and Adventure Sports, hosted an RS:One Convertible windsurfing demo on September 30, 2017. Local windsurfers from the Treasure Coast of Florida were invited to spend a hands-on weekend with one of the most exciting windsurf innovations to hit the water in years: foiling!

So what is all the fuss in the sailing world about foiling and why should I even care about the latest fad to hit the water? My wife and I are long-time windsurfers, and yes, we have seen lots of changes to the sport we love over the years. I remember the Wind Weapon that was supposed to transform our windsurfing into hang gliding, and so many variations of sail cut-outs and Zbooms and other innovations pushed by manufacturers and magazines to transform our experience. And then came the kite that persuaded many of my friends to just dump the sport.

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First steps under Brendan Healy’s watchful eye!

But now there is this new energy, this innovation that has taken the entire sailing world by storm. From the America’s Cup to weekend warriors, everyone is catching the wave of this new phenomenon! In my younger days sailing off the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami, Florida, back in the 1980’s, we all knew a guy named Andrew who had two foiling boards that he handcrafted and tested out every weekend. Yeah, we thought Andy was just a little nuts because every time we saw him on the water, he was flying at least two feet above the water and had the most incredible wipeouts. Now speed up the clock some twenty years later, and it seems that Andy was way ahead of his time!

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Julie Zahniser, all smiles on the convertible foil board!

So Julie and I started to watch the videos of Kai Lenny and so many others who have taken this foiling thing to another level. We watched friends who kite and paddle jump into it, and we too got drawn to this new thing which, we know, will ultimately have us part ways with some of our hard-earned dollars. Now, being a family of four with twin daughters who are 14 and are incredible sailors in their own right, we decided we’d better give this a try. Lucky for us, our friends in Miami at Adventure Sports offered us the chance to have a foiling clinic right here in our backyard. Nothing is better than OPG (Other People’s Gear) to try things out when something like that comes to a beach near you! So we jumped at the chance to learn something new, and we were not disappointed!

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Julie pumping hard to get it going!

Julie took to the new gear almost instantly, changing her stance from hooked in and holding on to now moving her weight over the board and unhooking from the harness lines. The board responded quickly and the lift made the equipment fly. What a rush! Over the weekend, we had about a dozen locals show up and everyone had their turn to try their hand at this new sport on the gentle waters of the Indian River Lagoon.

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Jeff Gregory, Brendan Healy and Ron Ternullo at the clinic on the Indian River!

Brendan Healy (from Adventure Sports) and Jerome Samson (from US Windsurfing) were with us the first day to get us started and take pictures, but the wind was quite light and we were admittedly a little green with that equipment, so most of the pictures that come with this article aren’t showing us in full flight. Why is it that the photographer is never around when we’re at our best? But look at the smile on our faces!

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You think Ron Ternullo is having fun?

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Ron Ternullo getting a feel for it!

The RS:One Convertible is a new addition to the Neil Pryde fleet, and it can be sailed both as a foil board and a slalom board. If racing is your thing or you just want the sensation of flight, this board aims to please. It was great to have Adventure Sports visit us and bring the toys and give us a fantastic day on the water! If you are interested in learning more about this new equipment or would like to find out more about Adventure Sports demo days (there’s another clinic coming up at the Lake Lanier Sailing Club in Georgia this coming weekend!), you should definitely contact Brendan Healy.

See you on (top of) the water!

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Randy Callahan ready to take off!

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