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 –