Lately, I’ve been designing and building tubercled wings, based upon very recent research on the amazing performance of the pectoral fins of humpback whales, which has shown that their tubercled, sinusoidal leading edge configuration achieves a structured flow management resulting in considerable induced drag reductions over equivalent, conventional leading edge wings, as well as much higher angle of attack capabilities. As far as I know, I’m the first to use tubercled wings on a hydrofoil of any kind. This winter we’ve made great progress and are quite excited about the new design developments we expect to be able to implement for next season. Although we’re still very far from achieving glide efficiencies as high as would be required to fly, for the first time in history, with the very fast moving, low slope walls of an open ocean ground swell, I trust it’s technologically possible to reach them.
Things are just getting started, and the amount of design strategies unfolding before us is staggering. I believe that, under the right development circumstances, veritable dream craft with which to fly for miles like an albatross could be built in the near future. I must confess that, paradoxically, I don’t think I ever really felt a wave until I flew over the surface of the water and was able to sense its interior; for, with a surfboard, one is limited to experiencing the phenomena of its surface—of the boundary between air and water—and cannot truly feel its inner breath, its pulse, its life, as one does with a hydrofoil. I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the intensity of connection with the ocean I experience through foiling.