There was once a time when I never really thought I'd say this, but I wish we had a tower on our boat. Lately, if you can't tell from reading my posts, I've been kind of obsessed with air chairing. Only those of you who have actually "flown" on the thing realize why this is. Maybe some of you who have cleared the wake on a wakeboard can come close to understanding, but the air chair/sky ski is just a whole new level of fun. It's amazing to be able to jump wherever you want, and even though I don't get way high all the time, it's even better to land, and not be jarred by hitting the surface of the water. Every time I switch from a boat with a tower to one without, or the other way around, I'm amazed at the difference that it makes in how easy/hard it is to fly. So, since a lot of people aren't familiar with hydrofoils, I've decided to give a little info. on them:
I'll summarize here, but for the full article, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrofoil
So the concept of a hydrofoil is very similar to an airplaine wing. As water passes over the rear blade of the foil, which is angled slightly downward, the front wing is tilted upward. When the water passes over the front blade, the water going over the blade has to travel faster, and the pressure above the blade is reduced, thereby increasing the net force upward, providing lift. (Sorry, I have to sound scientific when I talk about stuff like this.)
Because of this physical property, some genius people (including Alexander Graham Bell - see above article) realized that they could lift a boat up out of the water, reducing drag, and increasing speed. Which is what they did. Several hydrofoil-equipped boats were made, and used in the military. Because the blade rides beneath the surface of the water, turbulence is almost eliminated, and it really feels like you're flying.
I'm amazed that there aren't any postings on wikipedia for hydrofoiling as a water sport, for air chair or sky ski. So, I had to gather the rest of this info. from their respective sites:
Basically, it took a few years to get to the types of foils they have today. I have a 5-6 year old sky ski, and I love to ride it!
I've posted a few videos of one of the best air chair gurus in the world - Geno Yauchler (see below - just ignore the break dance instructions). Also, you can watch these:
And you can watch one of my several attempts at a backflip on my facebook page.
If you or anyone you know wants to try it, let me know!
Except, we don't have a tower... ;)