Wings on the Water

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Sam Deacon 2
Sam Deacon, a Newport Beach resident who sells boards and offers eFoil lessons through his business, OC Foil

Sam Deacon, an avid eFoiler and founder of OC Foil, knows just what to do to make you fall in love with this rising water sport.

By Ashley Ryan

 

There’s something so addicting about riding atop a surfboard, over rolling waves, while taking in views of the beautiful coastline. But that’s nothing compared with eFoiling, a newer sport that is rapidly gaining popularity among adrenaline junkies.

The electric boards, which feature hand-held Bluetooth controllers to help you maneuver around, can pick up considerable speed and seem to lift up out of the water to make the user feel as if he or she is flying. Once you’re able to stand up, you’ll get a rush like no other as you glide along above the waves.

Although lessons and boards are still pretty difficult to come by, locals are lucky: OC Foil, started by Newport Beach resident Sam Deacon, provides interested parties with the chance to try, buy or both. Read on to learn about the company’s offerings as well as why the sport is so appealing, the best places to eFoil and more. 

 

What exactly is eFoiling?

Sam Deacon: eFoiling is like a mix of surfing, snowboarding and skating, combined with a magic-carpet feel.

 

How did you first get into it?

A good family friend is the rep for Fliteboard and he brought them down to Southern California two years ago so I could try one—the rest is history.

 

Why is this sport so appealing?

Having no wake, no noise, no emissions and relatively no experience needed … is what makes eFoiling so unique.

 

OC Foil
Deacon aboard a Fliteboard

What do you like the most about eFoiling?

I enjoy riding with others in the ocean and sharing the fun with others around me.

 

What are the biggest benefits?

There are many benefits to eFoiling. … [It’s a] great mind clearer and also a great physical workout [especially for the core], as you are constantly engaging with the moving swell of the water.

 

What gear is required?

A wetsuit, a coast guard-approved life jacket and a water sports helmet

 

What are some of your go-to spots for eFoiling?

As for local riding, the [Newport] Harbor is always a great spot [as the speed limit is set] at 5 mph; however, … I often like to fun ride to either Huntington Beach or Laguna [Beach] and back. For lake riding, Tahoe is optimal.

 

Do you have any tips for people who want to try eFoiling?

For those looking to get into the sport, taking a lesson should be the first step, as this will cut your learning down by half. If you opt to just buy, the learning curve is around one to five rides. … The best spot for those starting out would be in flat waters with mellow beach break [and] small surf.

 

What is the most challenging thing about eFoiling?

The most challenging thing about eFoiling would be getting your weight over the front of the board and making sure you stay calm when learning.

 

How can OC Foil help interested parties learn how to eFoil?

I offer single lessons and double lessons. Whether you want to bring a friend or do the lesson alone, the experience is something that you’ll remember for a lifetime. For those looking to do more than one lesson, a discount will be applied to two or more lessons. [I’d suggest for] lessons … to be taken on separate days as I have found that most people get tired after the first hour.

 

What do you offer on the retail side of things?

We sell a variety of models and accessories to get you flying in no time. From the Fliteboard Air to the Ultra, we will ensure you are getting the best board for you. We also carry spare parts, such as wings and different prop options, as you progress.

 

Why did you decide to start the company?

I started OC Foil because I saw a huge opportunity to offer this unique experience in Orange County. With lots of water around us, beautiful weather and beaches, the opportunities are endless.

 

Swell Sessions

These items will help you make the most of your time on the water.

Fliteboard ULTRA Black_hero
When deciding which Fliteboard model to grab, weigh your options: The AIR is great for beginners, with a longer, more stable body and great buoyancy, while the sleek ULTRA (pictured) is made for those looking for more action, with a smaller size and fitted foot straps so you can jump high and make more radical turns, both $12,495, at OC Foil. (949-520-0830; ocfoil.com)
GATH SFC helmet
Whether embarking on a lesson with OC Foil or trying eFoiling on your own, water safety is of utmost importance, so grab a SURF CONVERTIBLE HELMET from Gath to ensure your head is protected; this model can be customized with comfort strips for the best fit, $119, online via Razor Reef, Costa Mesa. (949-945-3043; razorreef.com)
Nineplus Men's Full Suit 3:2mm
Hit the waves in style with the Nineplus YAMAMOTO FULL SUIT 3/2MM wetsuit, which will keep you warm in the cool Pacific while also protecting your knees as you learn to pop up on the board—the retro look is just a bonus, $349, at Daydream Surf Shop. (949-612-7175; daydreamsurfshop.com)
Zanzibar Zebra Full Zip Rashguard with Pearl Solids Shirred Band High Waist Bottom - Tommy Bahama Women's Swimwewar
Those looking to stay warm while turning heads in the waves can opt for the Tommy Bahama ZANZIBAR ZEBRA FULL-ZIP LONG-SLEEVE RASH GUARD, $125, which has a zipper all the way down the front for easy on/off, paired with the brand’s PEARL HIGH-WAIST HIPSTER BIKINI BOTTOMS, $56, at Tommy Bahama, Corona del Mar Plaza. (949-760-1886; tommybahama.com)
O'Brien Men's Flex V-Back Neoprene Life Vest lime green
Stay safe in the water with a life jacket, such as O’Brien’s MEN’S FLEX V-BACK NEOPRENE LIFE VEST, which offers lightweight comfort and maneuverability to ensure you are able to move freely while learning to eFoil, $99.99, at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fashion Island. (949-640-1107; dickssportinggoods.com)
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