Anyone beady eyed will have noticed of late we’ve been testing a McConks electric hydrofoil prototype. Whilst this might not be for everyone it’s certainly pricked a great deal of interest. If you’re looking to get into eFoiling with the McConks electric hydrofoil board then here’s a handy set up guide that’ll allow you to take those first tentative steps with ease. You can refer back to this article or download the attached PDF document at the bottom.
McConks eFoil set up guide, basic safety considerations and pre-flight checks.
McConks’s eFoil set up, comprising of board, electric hydrofoil, Lithium Ion battery and handheld, wireless Bluetooth trigger throttle is as plug and play as you can get. There are, however, a few things to consider before going afloat and getting those first flights.
Be aware that any kind of hydrofoil activity, but especially electrically powered foiling, carries a degree of risk to you and others.
Pre-flight checks – eFoil safety
DON’T EFOIL CLOSE TO OTHERS! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF SPACE TO LEARN AND PROGRESS. WHEN YOU WIPEOUT THE EFOIL WILL TRAVEL QUITE A DISTANCE. IT DOES HAVE AN AUTO-OFF FAIL SAFE BUT YOU NEED TO HAVE PLENTY OF ROOM.
Choose a sheltered location, preferably with minimal tide, current, swell and wind activity. IF YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR APPROPRIATE WEATHER CONDITIONS THEN DO SO!
Wear a helmet, impact vest/buoyancy aid, wetsuit and possibly boots in case of accidentally kicking the foil.
Make sure your chosen location has deep enough water and is free of obstacles such as rocks, mooring buoys and similar. AVOID BUSY SHIPPING LANES IF ON THE OPEN SEA.
Check to see what local laws, guidelines and legislation is in effect for powered craft. If you need to inform authorities of your intended activities then do so.
Pre-flight checks – battery, throttle controller and foil inspection
Ensure the battery is fully charged. All green LEDs should be illuminated following a two hour charge. Switching the battery on before connection will tell you how much power the battery has.
Check your throttle control is fully charged. This is done via a wireless charging pad included. Holding the righthand palm grip button down more than two seconds will switch it on. The battery metre should be full. Squeezing the front trigger should increase % of throttle whilst the top brake lever brings it down to zero. Make sure everything looks good to go BEFORE going afloat.
The included throttle control trigger has three speed settings – USE THEM! SP1 is 0-100% and can’t be changed, SP2 and SP3 can be set according to rider skill, weight and experience. We’d recommended setting SP2 at 30% and using this first. 30% throttle should give the board enough momentum for riders to get the feel of the eFoil moving forward. Agile pilots may be able to get to their feet and ride the equipment without it flying. This is good practise with learning how to direct and turn the board. SP3 should be set at 70%. When you’re ready to fly hold the break lever down for a few seconds will see the throttle screen change the setting. At 70% a 90kg can easily lift onto foil once standing. Getting familiar with the sensitivity of the throttle control is essential.
Check this video for how to access the throttle control interface and change its settings –
Check your foil connections. Ensure the bolt connectors are tight and not likely to come loose. You should coat all screw threads with Tef-Gel to fend off saltwater corrosion. This should be done before setting the foil up.
Slot the Lithium Ion battery into its deck hold and connect to the motor. Then connect leads to their corresponding, colour coded plugs. If you’ve already gotten a session under your belt make sure the connectors are moisture free. Water will get into the hatch.
Switch your battery on and make sure the controller and battery are paired. This should happen automatically. If for any reason you need to unpair the controller and complete the exercise again then refer to the video above.
Check the controller works by squeezing the trigger gently on land. The eFoil’s propeller should kick into action. WARNING: don’t do this for too long as you can damage the eFoil when not in water.
IF YOU NEED TO INSPECT THE FOIL PROPELLER MANUALLY THEN MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS SWITCHED OFF. THE PROP WILL EASILY REMOVE FINGERS AND THUMBS!
Ensure the eFoil’s battery hatch is shut and secured properly via the hatch screw discs. These should be tightened with your fingers.
Before launching check one final time the throttle and prop are paired by squeezing the trigger quickly.
Throttle recalibration and leashes
If you should fall the eFoil with automatically shut down and disconnect from the Bluetooth controller. Likewise, if you hold the throttle trigger under the water the eFoil won’t power up. The Bluetooth sensor is located in the nose of the board. You need to have this out of the water slightly following a wipeout. Weigh the tail of the board whilst sitting and wait a few seconds until the throttle control display shows a connection. You can then begin again.
When you wipeout riders ideally need to jump/fall clear of the equipment. Having a leash is therefore unsafe as it keeps the rider close to the board and foil. We recommend a leash therefore not be worn during first flights.
Advanced riders, who head out in more challenging conditions, however, may choose to use one. Extra care should be taken if this is your choice. A coiled leash will be the preferred option. There’s no specific leash fixing plug so it’ll need connection to one of the deck mounted handles.
Safety whilst learning to eFoil
Start slowly and build up to fully elevated, foiling flights.
Make sure you’re on the board in prone position BEFORE squeezing the throttle trigger.
KEEP YOUR FEET AWAY FROM THE FOIL!
Don’t ride too shallow and be aware at all times of changing weather, water conditions and users in the vicinity. If you have to stop your session for safety reasons then do so.
If you can get a lesson before going it alone then do so.
Any further questions about the McConks eFoil please get in contact with us at McConks HQ.
Donwload the McConks eFoil set up guide here –
Crantock Beach, Cornwall
Open ocean, Atlantic facing, tidal location with an estuary style river that works at high tide.
As you’d expect with Crantock facing the open Atlantic it’s a beach that gets its fair share of ground swell. Such is the case it can be great for SUP surfing with various sand banks lining up on different occasions to produce decent waves. The bank in front of the River Gannel mouth can be particularly good, however, there can also be a LOT of current here – partic on an ebbing tide. In contrast Crantock’s super mellow River Gannel, flat water spot, could be somewhere else entirely. At high tide it’s an idyllic touring SUP location, or beginner playground, with riders able to hop on the tidal conveyor belt all the way up to just outside Newquay. Time it right and navigate all the way back with the outgoing flow.
Tides and currents can be problematic if you aren’t aware – especially towards the River Gannel. Other water users need to be taken into account. And the huge sand dune you need to navigate to get onto Crantock beach should be given thought, at least as far as carrying your gear goes. Powerful swell should also be considered if there’s ‘weather’ in the mix.
Crantock is an easy beach to get to with a gradually narrowing country lane leading to the car park. Then it’s a case of summiting the massive sand dune before descending towards the beach on the other side. If the tide’s in the water’s edge is close. If not then you’ll need to walk further to access the put in.
Being two miles SW of Newquay does tend to see Crantock fairly busy during good weather. Locals looking to escape Newquay crowds will head here, along with the usual high season tourist melee.
Crantock Beach is overlooked by an RNLI lifeguard tower. You’ll also find public toilets and a fairly large car park. Back in the village there are two quaint pubs, a small supermarket and a couple of restaurants. Even though you’re super close to Surf City UK (Newquay) Crantock feels like a world away from the sometimes hedonistic hustle and bustle of town. A static caravan park also overlooks the beach.
There’s a super hollow right hander that breaks off the rocks at Pentire Head if the sand bars are lined up. In the river mouth there can also be a decent wave, which is more SUP and longboard friendly. In terms of quality it all depends how the currents have affected things. In the southern corner, with massive swells, is almost a mythical left. It’s an experts only wave though so best left alone. For flat water touring, and/or beginners, the River Gannel is idyllic. As the tide fills paddlers can ferry glide all the way up to just outside Newquay or simply stay around the shallower parts of the river working on their technique. With sunshine and light wind the Gannel is blissful. Crantock’s village itself is a sleepy affair. Of course, during busy summer months numbers of tourists increase but it’s much quieter than it’s rambunctious neighbour – even with Crantock being a mere stone’s throw away.
What do you do if you can’t get out for some stand up paddle board action with your family? Simulate it of course! In this instance we simulate in a stop motion animated style.
What do you think? Should we keep going with this and turn it into an animated stop motion SUP series?
McConks SUP reading corner: The Fisherman – an ocean lesson for all.
And now for something completely different…
Sitting on the quayside, bathed in late summer sunshine, the weathered fisherman tended his nets, expertly picking away unwanted debris and splicing holes too large to make each interwoven link sound again. His daily yield depended on each net being just the right configuration to ensnare his intended catch, let smaller sea life escape and not cause harm to those bigger marine dwellers if accidentally tangled. If bigger fish were captured then the old fisherman did his level best to free them back to their previous life. No unnecessary fishing, or overfishing as some describe it.
The fisherman’s face glowed in a leathery fashion with too many hours spent in the glaring sunlight and being whipped by fierce wind and stinging salty rain. He looked up from his perch briefly, stained blue captain’s cap jauntily atop his white-haired head. Approaching from his left were two men, around thirty or so, clutching boards and paddles. As they edged closer the fisherman could hear their excited chatter. Both men were rabbiting on about the waves off to the main beach behind the sheltered harbour wall. The waves weren’t big, currently, but they were groomed smooth by the slight offshore wind.
Briefly, the fisherman arched his gaze towards the open sandy beach and observed a slow-moving swell approach the shallows. What started as an open ocean pulse of energy quickly started to fall over itself and ‘wall up’. Soon enough the wave crested and its lip began to feather signalling the imminent breaking of the wave. It curled elegantly before reeling along the sand bar, each droplet of saline spray glinting in the bright light, dancing like diamonds. The fisherman laughed wryly before turning back to his nets, briefly eyeing the two surfers again who were also transfixed.
Their behaviour became more animated and chatter volume increased. Then one spotted the fisherman. ‘Hey mate. How’s it going?’, one of them asked. The fisherman looked up and smiled, the warmth of his return greeting almost as balmy as the sun. ‘You’re a salty sea dog,’ the tall one carried on. ‘So you must ‘get’ weather and stuff’. The fisherman chuckled at this and said, ‘You could say that…’. The taller surfer paused and then carried on. ‘What d’ya reckon about the surf? Gonna get bigger, isn’t it? Proper pumping!’.
The fisherman rested his nets and threading tool on the quayside wall. He gazed out to sea, away from the beach and towards the horizon. Out in the distance, dancing on the haze were more boats bobbing about. He rubbed his chin, briefly looked up to the sky and then focused his attention back on the two men. ‘Well?’ Asked the second in a slightly more arrogant tone to the first.
‘Yep, the surf’s going to get big alright. But it’ll be accompanied by some strong winds. It won’t be too clever to go surfing in that kind of weather,’ said the fisherman nodding subtly at the equipment each man carried.
The second, brasher, rider let out a huge guffaw. ‘What d’you know old man? The forecast reckons it’ll be all-time and perfect!’ Loud mouth’s friend looked embarrassed and nudged his friend hard in the ribs. ‘What?’ the arrogant one turned to his mate. ‘It’s true innit? There’ll be some big waves but it’s gonna be perfect. What does an old fisherman know? He don’t surf!’.
As the years had crept on and age increased the fisherman had learned when he was wasting his breath. He’d been involved in similar conversations at times in the past. When confronted by a know it all there simply wasn’t any point arguing. Instead, the fisherman shrugged his shoulders and went back to his work.
‘Come on,’ surfer two said. ‘There’re waves to be ridden and some chunky ones incoming. Let’s get on it and show this old-timer a thing or two about surfing. You ready to watch us shred mate?’ The fisherman barely looked up, instead focusing on his nets. There was a subtle, knowing smile that appeared briefly, but he let the two ‘watermen’ carry on their way. The first surfer bowed his head as he hurried past whereas the louder of the two continued his blaring appraisal of conditions and how he couldn’t wait for ‘Big Saturday’ as he put it.
Around mid-afternoon, the first weather front swooped in from out to sea. It came with howling winds, lashing rain and a serious storm surge. There were waves alright; the type of waves that you could fit buses in to. Salty behemoths marching from the depths before throwing their furious energy directly on to the sandy beach. The fisherman peered from behind his curtain and listened to the rain drum loudly on the glass. He sipped his tea, shivered slightly and heard a huge gust of wind whip around his small cottage. There was a door banging somewhere out back and he heard next door’s dog begin barking. Briefly, he thought about the two surfers and whether they’d managed to score their waves. He considered what they’d been saying about forecasts and how he’d never looked at one in thirty years. All his weather knowledge and ability to predict Mother Nature’s moods had come from hard graft and experience on the sea. He rarely got it wrong, after all his livelihood depended on it. But he didn’t like to boast. Watching, learning, noting and waiting is how he’d describe his education to those that wanted to know.
The following day was still a little breezy but it was only the remnants of the storm in effect. The fisherman donned his thick double-breasted jacked, grabbed his hat and headed to the harbour to inspect for any damage. On the way he met a few locals who were all deep in conversation about two surfers who gotten into trouble whilst braving the furious seas. One was described as being completely arrogant and determined to surf regardless of the conditions. His friend was more cautious but had gone in after his friend, apparently.
The fisherman learned the RNLI had been called out after both riders had been swept out to sea and down the coast. It had been touch and go for a while, as the rescue boat fought extremely difficult conditions to locate the men. At one point an RNLI volunteer had been sideswiped by a wave and washed off the lifeboat’s deck. Fortunately, he’d been tethered but was left dangling over the side as colleagues tried to get him back on board. After a few torrid hours, the surfers were located, both suffering from hypothermia and exposure. It was lucky they were both alive.
The fisherman shook his head, pulled up his coat’s collar and headed towards his vessel which was gently bobbing in the remnant wind and chop…
Go Inspire: It’s all about the kids…
…If that’s not stating the obvious.
So what are McConks SUP planning? We all know how important outdoor exercise is for mental health and well being. And we also know how great watersports are for improving water-confidence and improving team and social skills for our young friends. So what we’re planning is of benefit to those paddlers who are of a younger age.
Of course, McConks SUP are a business, and a large part of what we do is about selling stand up paddle boards, paddles and SUP accessories. But we’re also human and a brand that wants to go beyond just selling gear. We want to do more – we want to give back as much as possible.
We’re still finalising all the details, and calling in lots of favours to get a few more things lined up. But we’ll be going live next week.
So stay tuned to McConks’ channels (website, social media) next week when we’ll be announcing something special for all the younger generation of SUPers out there.
If you’re not already following McConks on Instagram or twitter, then hit us up to stay in the loop –
p.s. if you’re one of our friendly instructors or SUP businesses that might be interested in giving something back to the kids (and we’re not already in contact), please message us.