Why is someone pushing to help launch the rider? I’d want to be able to ride without needing someone else's help. I just want to get out and foiling myself without needing a friend- seems like a lot of admin...
We get it all the time. Luckily, this was a deep consideration when designing the XE-1. As a first time rider and on semi-familiar product a little help from a friend, especially when learning, can entirely change not only your first ride experiences but also speed up your learning process as you become a more skilled rider and master the art of flying on water.
The Hydrofoiler has multiple ways to be launched with a clear progression from one to the next. Here’s our guide to launching on the Hydrofoiler XE-1 in the order we recommend you learn:
Platform (Dock or jetty) Launch
This is the launch technique Manta5 typically uses when teaching new employees or first time foilers to ride. Why? Starting here means that you can take in the ride experience, focus on where you are riding and become familiar with the feeling of flying on the water’s surface for the first time ever.
Launching from a pontoon, boat, or jetty offers near instantaneous foiling. As you push off from the platform, the foils already have sufficient lift to get you planing on the water's surface, giving you (a new rider) the best chance of foiling on your first go’s.
This technique is your first taste of solo foiling and is by far the best way to get familiar with your XE-1. New riders typically take 3-4 attempts at the platform launch before being able to continuously launch and ride around comfortably. This launch forms the basis of your foiling knowledge and once you’ve cracked it you are now able to move onto the next technique.
Learning tip: Ideal platform height is around 30-60cm with relatively high water conditions. If you do not have these conditions, use the assisted beach launch technique for your first rides instead.
Beach Launch (assisted)
Beach launching does take more practice as you need to familiarise yourself with not only your body, but also hydrofoil bike positioning. We recommend learning with a friend (this is what you’ve likely seen when we have first time riders in our videos where a Manta5 team member pushes the rider so they get up & foiling). This is done not because it's impossible, but rather because it’s an intermediary step before you can solo launch.The assisted beach launch is something we do with learner riders as it helps the rider focus on getting up and foiling so that they can then go on to master the technique themselves. From years of teaching and testing, we know that rider confidence grows significantly once they are able to get foiling along the surface, turning and riding successfully time and time again.
Beach Launch (solo)
This technique is ride-changing once mastered. You’ll no longer need to choose riding locations with platforms in order to get out onto the water, unlocking even more riding experiences. As long as you have a smooth & sandy seabed/ lake floor with a 1.5ft draft, you’re good to go. Beach launching has 2 parts, the assisted launch & solo launching.
Once you’re familiar with beach launch style, solo launching is simply using your strength, body weight and bike positioning to adjust the Hydrofoiler, pedal forward and begin launching. You can see more about the solo beach technique in our Learn Ride Series here.
This is the XE-1’s most advanced technique and where the learning curve comes in. As a now well-seasoned foiler who can launch from boats, platforms and the beach, you’ll be looking for the next step to add to your arsenal. Submerged launching typically takes a fair amount of practice (30mins-1hr consistently), but your ride experience dramatically changes when able to re-launch from deep water. To watch the breakdown of this technique, click here.
Learning to ride the Hydrofoiler XE-1 takes practice. By learning the 3 different launch techniques above, you can foil almost anywhere as you explore, cruise and ride throughout the world’s waters. The Hydrofoiler XE-1 has been designed to be cycling’s new frontier and offers riders a skill ready to be honed.
Whilst we recommend learning these various launching techniques in succession, circumstances (such as no platform for launching or having low water conditions etc.) may see a first time rider beginning with assisted beach launch and then moving into solo, platform and ultimately submerged launching. You never know, you may surprise yourself with your immediate riding abilities and find that you can foil & solo launch easily without needing to begin your journey from step 1.