The past week I tried downwind foiling in the San Francisco Bay with wind in the teens. Not enough wind for me to get the foil to lift. Yet I had the thought that if only I had just a little boost, enough to get the foil to lift and then with less drag I could ride those little bumps.
I got off my board and tried pushing the board into the little waves with my hand and after about 5 feet the foil was flying! It took very little energy to lift. I was like wow there has to be some simple way to get a little extra juice and launch us into these waves?!?
The Banshee bungee and other bungees came to my attention when I was looking into river surfing a while back. Some of the videos I saw made it look really easy and fun and others really hard and sketchy. There are some horror stories of the bungee anchor being ripped out of the sand flying back hitting the rider and causing serious injuries. Initially my biggest concern was safety, finding a big enough anchor that would stay put and be safe.
New anchors are pretty pricey and the biggest one I found used on craigslist was 16 pounds. Some of the recommendations are at minimum a 25 pound Danforth anchor. Our bungee in this video ended up being 100 feet, it has enough weight and length that even if the anchor came free I don’t think it would be dangerous. The anchor held like a champ, the bottom is a more like mud than sand and once secured the Danforth anchor didn’t budge.
We also had an inflatable buoy to let us know where the anchor was and hopefully serve as a barrier if the anchor came loose. The other function of the buoy was to keep the bungee up and mostly out of the water. My thinking was that a raised straighter pull would help us lift the foil, whereas a downward underwater pull might make it harder. The buoy also helped the kite boarders see us and our bungee line and go around it.
The trickiest part of this first Bungee test was getting up on the board and staying balanced in he first few seconds while launching the bungee. We have some improvement ideas for the next outing and can’t wait to try them. All in all really fun and exciting day. Often surfing for me is the guys go and leave the wife and kids at home or on the beach away from the action. With the bungee our families were all together the whole day, very sweet and awesome!
One of my motivations for this is to find a human powered inexpensive way to practice and have fun foil surfing. Also this beach is in our backyard so we stay local and are kinder to the water and nature.
I had one ride when the camera was off, my best ride of the day. I pushed down on the nose and felt the resistance or the foil loading up, and when I stopped pushing it the board came back up. I got the feel of the pump! Super stoked to practice more and get it wired and see how far we can ride!