The new kid on the block...
The Lake George Area is the home of the Original Vacation. Most people's annual visit is spent doing the tried-and-true, never-get-old activities like hanging on the beach, boating and swimming in the lake, and exploring the amusement parks and other attractions. Occasionally, something new and noteworthy shows up every once in a while and takes the region by storm.
We think we've found the next big thing: the eFoil. Standing for electric foilboard, the eFoil is a battery-powered surfboard that sits on a hydrofoil, which is a fin on the bottom of the board. Devil Ray Water Sports is the first and only company in the region offering this exhilarating new sport.
So, what exactly is eFoiling? The foilboard was popularized by big wave surfers like Laird Hamilton as a way to harness the kinetic energy of a wave. At certain speeds, a surfboard with a foil, or fin, on the bottom could be ridden out of the water, creating a soaring experience. In 2017, a company called Lift Foils out of Puerto Rico introduced the electronic hydrofoil, a battery-operated creation controlled with a Bluetooth, hand-held controller.
Aidan Switzer, owner and operator of Devil Ray Water Sports and an eFoil affiliate of Lift Foils, decided to bring this thrilling new sport to the Lake George Area. He grew up here, so he knew the people who spend their summers swimming, boating, kayaking, and cliff jumping would be stoked to join the eFoil revolution.
Switzer invited us to join him in Harris Bay on a cloudy August morning for a demo and lesson on a Lift eFoil board. We jumped at the opportunity and met he and his business partner in Harris Bay on the east side of Lake George. We chatted for a few minutes, discussing the beauty and quiet of the east side of the lake, and then it was time to begin the lesson.
Using two empty foilboard storage bags, Switzer explained the fundamentals of riding an eFoil:
- You begin lying on the board on your stomach. The controller is in your dominant hand.
- Gradually pull the trigger and the propeller will begin to move the board. Using your non-dominant hand, slide your knees under your body into a kneeling position.
- Move your non-dominant leg (left leg if you're right-handed) from on the knee to on the foot, with your knee now right below your chest and your foot centered on the upper middle of the foilboard.
- "Roll" your back foot over, stand up on the board. Keep the trigger pulled.
These fundamentals seemed easy and basic when I was listening to the explanation on the dock. I was in for a surprise. After a few questions, we put the boards in the water and waded away from the dock.
The air was brisk, and a light drizzle was falling, but the water was warm and comfortable. We paddled the boards out to deeper water, did a brief check of the nearby water to look for boats, and then Switzer let me loose. I pulled the trigger and the foilboard began to cruise. I promptly fell off the side, water shooting into my nose. Switzer pulled up next to me and made some corrections to my form. He's an excellent teacher and was able to diagnose what I was doing wrong between each fall. We turned down the power on my controller by 25% and I tried again.
This time I got up. I kept my the trigger in my hand pulled and slowly cruised the water, trying to keep my balance and turn with my hips. I fell off the backside of the board in no time, but I had gotten up. After a dozen more falls, I had a tentative grasp on getting up on the foilboard and riding it.
Now that I could cruise on the foilboard and turn by shifting my weight, it was time to attempt to actually "foil." While in the proper position, with weight on my front knee and my chest high, Switzer encouraged me to move my hips back. After a few more falls, I was getting the board off of the water and surfing on the long foil underneath. I was able to rise onto the foil, then return back to the water, then rise back up. I wasn't able to do it too many time before falling, but I had the movement figured out.
And then the lesson was over. I was exhausted, my back hurt from falling, and my knees were scraped, but it didn't matter. I had just experienced one of the most unique adventures to be found in the Lake George Area.
Want to learn how to eFoil? Book an appointment here or contact Devil Ray Water Sports at 518-791-4614.