I rounded up Brian Grubb, Jeff Langley, and Meagan Ethell, our Orlando locals and fellow foil enthusiasts, along with Tyler Soden and Shane Bonifay to make sure they captured the magic. With the weather starting to line up, we dropped the boat and the Seadoo into the water and headed to the bridge. It was a tight fit with the boat and it took some focus on the driver's end to keep the boat straight so it would not crash into the pillars. Once we got the first practice run out of the way, I knew we were looking good. Grubb would be the guinea pig first in the water and he did not disappoint. As a 20+ year Red Bull team veteran, Brian Grubb has seen it all. Grubb picked up foiling before the rest of us and knows his way around the wave better than anyone. Once up, he immediately dropped back a couple of waves and went to town. As I drove the boat, I tried to keep an eye on him and the path in front. I could just barely see his figure bobbing and weaving around pillars and ducking every 50 feet or so to avoid hitting his head on the supporting beams. As the run ended and he pumped back to the boat, our shouts of excitement echoed underneath the bridge signaling that the rest of the day was bound to be epic. He continued to blow our minds by pumping all the way outside of the bridge and then flying back under to catch the rollers far behind the boat. He definitely set the bar high for the rest of us. Meagan Ethell, a 6x women’s world champion wakeboarder, went next and navigated her way through the first row of pillars while drawing some fun lines under the concrete beams. She flowed through the pillars with a relaxed look and it was refreshing to have a lady's touch in the mix. The combination of these two foiling made me eager to have my first shot at it.
“As we moved down the bridge, we had to duck lower and make more precise movements to avoid smacking our heads.”
We took a small break to review the shots you see in this magazine (long live print!). The symmetry that was being lined up and the raw urban feel of the photos got me even more excited to get out there. Once I was up, my first thought was “don’t fall”. My second thought was “holy shit, these pillars are coming in hot”. The rest was autopilot taking over and looking three steps ahead to find my way through this concrete maze. It was an unreal experience as we could make a few turns in-between pillars before putting on the gas and lining up the section we would soon be shooting through. We found the sweet spot on the fourth roller where there was a gap in the beams above. You could post up on that wave and straight-line it down the bridge watching the supports fly by with ease. It was like something out of a dream. I’ve seen clips of people shooting piers, but this was cranked up another notch because they didn’t stop coming. As we moved down the bridge, we had to duck lower and make more precise movements to avoid smacking our heads. The combination of everything added up to one of the most exciting days on the foil that I’ve ever had.
“Once I was up, my first thought was don’t fall'. My second thought was holy shit, these pillars are coming in hot'…”
Jeff Langley got it after me and continued the hype by finding new lines. He worked on the inside of the pillars on the second wave and found some awesome rhythm while going back-and-forth. The sun began to turn golden and Langley kept the session going until his legs gave out. Grubb and I capped off the evening with a doubles session. It was like a game of cat and mouse as he led the way, and I tried my best to keep up with him. It got a little tricky as we both shot through the same pillars at once, but we maintained most of our control. Seeing him draw a line and me trying to follow suit right behind him was insanely fun. As the sun went down, it was time to pull the vessels and head home. We all made it out unscathed and, most importantly, with our foils intact. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. The foil opens a whole new door for exploring unique bodies of water and turning an average session into something extraordinary. I encourage you all to take a second look at a bridge or rivers you cross on the way to work or to the beach. See what lies underneath and make something happen.
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Due to the varying water levels and my eye-ball-approach to the spot, I needed to get out with a crew to see if it would actually work…