Brand: Starboard Foils
Interviewee: Tiesda You, Owner and Chief Designer of Starboard Foils
Has the foiling hype weakened? Can the sport exist beyond a niche market?
I don’t think so. It seems to be going more viral everyday, spreading from rider to rider, from spot to spot. At first, it feels like a hype but then the fundamental premise sinks in: the foil offers an amazing sensation and in less than ideal conditions. That suddenly makes it really attractive in a fundamental sense and beyond the niche.
Kiteboarding and windsurfing laid aside, which one of the following has the most potential: SUP or surfing?
I see them both as wave foiling, I don’t believe there’s a real need to separate the two. If you really want to split the group, I’d say surfing has the most potential.
Foil designs are getting abundant: small waves, larger waves, pumping friendly, stable vs responsive… Please guide us through your range ?
We have three styles: the Wave is steady, glides fast and has the most flow thanks to its thinner, flatter wing shape. If feels the most like flying. The Wave Pro has the classic thick concave wing shape. It’s lifty, has a nice steady speed that many people like and the concave makes it turny and easy to roll. The third style, the Ocean Surf, is our most efficient wing. It’s designed for downwind swell riding and for easy, low speed take-offs on small, slow mushy waves. It’s thin like the Wave and concaved like the Wave Pro.
Each style is available in two sizes, smaller or larger. Each model is available with either a top plate fitting or deep tuttle fitting.
In addition to the premium carbon offering, more and more hybrid solutions are launched (alloy, fibre)? What is your take on those constructions ?
I like them! We used to offer Carbon beside our hybrid Carbon Aluminium models but our top riders all preferred the Carbon Aluminium because it was stiffer. It’s easy: stiffer equals more stability and more control. It also reacts and responds directly to your input. No one wants a noodle mast.
Safety remains an issue for the sport’s development : how do you handle those concerns (technically & education) ?
There are lots of technical innovations in the pipeline for safety. Not just from Starboard, from many brands, I’m sure. Education is also a big one. There are more injuries from handling on land or when coming out of the water with a little shore break than when actually surfing because people forget to think you can still hurt yourself just flipping the board upside down on the beach. Let’s also not forget experience. We humans used to feel that fins and pointy board noses were dangerous. With experience, we understand that ok, they are dangerous – but in context, it’s something we can keep in check by educating, surfing safe and being respectful.