Leading the Charge

Riding the tide of innovation and adventure that are distinctive factors in the eFoil realm, a growing number of women are taking up eFoiling, and in so doing, the proportional gender balance in comparison to a few other disciplines is leveling out. We spoke to a selection of female eFoilers who are out there carving their own path on the open waters…


What first inspired you to start eFoiling? 

Dena Cipriano (Lift Foils Affiliate): I was on vacation in Bonaire when I first saw kiteboarders foiling. Then later that same day, I saw a video on YouTube of someone eFoiling in Miami. I knew I had to go back to the Caribbean and try an eFoil as soon as possible, because it looked like something that would be awesome to do on the Great Lakes.

Katrin Andreeva (SiFly Brand Manager): I wouldn’t say it was an inspiration but rather a necessity. I had already started working at SiFly and I didn’t think I would be able to do my job properly without learning how to eFoil. My assumptions were, needless to say, correct!

Erika Lane (Lift Foils Ambassador): My goal was to learn to wing foil and the eFoil is the least traumatizing way you can learn to foil! After my first lesson I realized getting an eFoil would give me the freedom to fly solo, spending the most time on foil learning. It gave me the greatest experience between wake foil lessons and wing foil wrestling.

Moona Whyte (3x Kitesurfing World Champion & Fliteboard Ambassador): I started eFoiling when David (Trewern), the founder of Fliteboard, invited my partner Keahi and I to try out the boards near Byron Bay in Australia. We went out on a beautiful, calm river and picked it up right away. After that we were hooked and joined the Fliteboard team soon after.

Elena Dimitrova (Pro kitesurfer & Entrepreneur): What initially sparked my interest in eFoiling was the combination of my love for water sports and a deep commitment to sustainable practices. I spend almost 300 days a year near the beach so that was my perfect choice, especially after living in Zanzibar, this amazing water adventure seemed like the perfect way to merge my passions.

Carolyn Pigford (Lift Foils All-Star Employee): My son and husband both eFoil Lift foils (my husband is an affiliate) and although I love to swim, I was nervous about board sports. I decided I just had to see for myself. We had a crew of female eFoilers here in PR on vacation and they were so rad!

Lynsey Dyer (Professional skier & Fliteboard Ambassador): I love the water and always wanted to fly. When I saw foiling I had to find a way to try it in the mountain lakes where I live.

Philipa Murphy (Fliteboard Global Marketing Director): The job at Fliteboard. Without first-hand knowledge and experience of the product, I wouldn’t be able to effectively market it. I can genuinely convey the sensation of flying over water for the first time, the sheer joy of being immersed in the moment while out on the water, the quick learning curve, and the ease of improving with each ride (particularly when compared to my ongoing two-year journey of learning to surf!). 

Katrin Andreeva

Are there any considerations when choosing an eFoil for lighter and smaller riders?

Katrin: Definitely. Lighter/smaller riders have to compensate for their lack of weight with a stronger push on the nose of the board with their leading leg during acceleration. That makes riding larger boards and larger wings quite tiring. The strong upward force is also why they should opt for a lower gear of the motor. The higher the gear, the higher the nose of the board rises and the stronger down force you should exert with your leading leg.

Elena: Lighter and more petite riders should pay special attention to eFoil models like Aerofoil that offer adjustable settings, especially regarding the wings. Opting for a foil with a smaller wing can also enhance the riding experience for those who are a lighter weight.

Dena: When a customer enquires about eFoiling, I always ask where they plan to do it and how much experience they have in the water. I've eFoiled in a variety of lakes, rivers and ocean locations, and I think the board set-up can have a big impact on the experience, depending on the nature of the water.

Lysa Caval (U21 Formula Kite Youth Champion & Takuma Ambassador): For lighter and smaller riders, opting for a smaller wing size is advisable, along with adjusting their body position slightly toward the front of the board.

Paula Novotná (2x Wingfoil World Champion & Fliteboard Ambassador): eFoiling knows no gender or size restrictions. I would recommend the Fliteboard Pro version; even those on the heavier side have successfully managed eFoiling with this versatile board. And for lighter riders, starting with a larger foil like the 1500 Cruiser offers a stable and enjoyable introduction to the world of eFoiling.

Moona: I would say it comes down to your level of experience and what you want to get out of your eFoil, more than your size. Everyone should start out on a bigger board at first to learn how to get up on foil, and then work your way down.

Paula Novotná

Moona Whyte

eFoiling is often touted for the levels of freedom it allows. Is this its biggest appeal to you, or is there another aspect that you find more relevant to you?

Moona: I would have to agree with that. I do many different types of foiling and they all have their limitations. With eFoiling you aren't dependent on the conditions, and you can go anywhere you want. To me it's the best way to explore on the water.

Philipa: For me, it’s all about the versality of the eFoil. You can be on the water having a great time on calm waters, admiring the scenery, observing marine life and chatting with friends. If the swell picks up, you can get the thrill of riding waves. I also love sitting on the board with friends and soaking up the surroundings – it’s my kind of board meeting.

Kimberley Mens (Entrepreneur & Model): Apart from the freedom aspect that I very much agree with, I love to explore remote spots along the shore. My favorite thing to do is to go out for sunrise, enjoy the calm sea and feel all the elements around me. I like to go for long rides in remote places and once I’ve found a beautiful spot I would go for a swim and just enjoy nature.

Lysa: Undoubtedly, the freedom to eFoil in any conditions is a significant draw for me. With eFoiling, you're not restricted by the need for specific weather conditions like wind or waves. This flexibility allows you to enjoy a session whenever you please, without being dependent on nature's whims.

Paula: I mostly go out when there is no wind, and I can really enjoy the calmness and meditate on the water. eFoiling gives me lot of freedom, gives me possibility to disconnect and enter the beautiful world out there. Pure joy, happiness. That’s what I get when eFoiling.

Katrin: Freedom, yes, but I would also say that another cool thing about eFoiling is the possibility to become a good rider relatively quickly. The learning curve is one that is not often seen in other water sports like kitesurfing and wing foiling.

Carolyn: I love the freedom for sure…the ability to check out and become one with nature but I absolutely adore that it is a great way for my whole family to spend time together, in nature! We check on each other, challenge each other and help each other.

Kimberley Mens

A few foil disciplines are pretty disproportionate in terms of male/female participation. Where do you think eFoiling sits in terms of equality, both on the water and in the media?

Kimberley: This is actually quite an interesting question. From my experience my girlfriend learned much faster eFoiling, while men seemed to have a harder time learning. The remote and the board are both very sensitive and react to the smallest movement. I feel like women are a little more observant in the beginning and adapt to this instead of rushing ahead. Furthermore, I actually think that women have a bit of an advantage because our center of gravity is in the hips so we have more stability compared to men who usually have small hips and wide shoulders. Once men or women have mastered the first challenge to fly and control the board, men are often a bit more daring in terms of speed and tricks but that really depends on the character.

Dena: Lately, I've been proud of the way Lift Foils is portraying women eFoilers on its website and in social media. This is where we need to start first, because women need to see other women eFoiling. However, we have a lot more work to do to balance the sport. In my region, many more men than women are eFoiling. I'm not sure exactly why this is the case because our SUP community has more women than men. I do get a lot of questions about the difficulty of the sport, and I think there's still a perception that eFoiling is more difficult than it actually is, which may deter women.

Paula: I always advise women to choose foiling as it has less impact and is very healthy sport. You need to use a lot of core muscles to adjust the balance. Having a strong core is the key to success in any sport. It prevents you from injuries. Your body will become stronger in a healthy way. I encourage all the women out there to enter the foiling world and don’t be afraid. Challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone with these sports will help you to succeed in your life.

Katrin: Water sports, especially extreme water sports are definitely still quite predominantly male. With the development of effective safety methods, more and more women are coming out of their shell. As eFoiling probably ranks as one of the safest board water sports, I believe it will attract more and more women. Presently, there are a still a lot more men eFoilers than women, but I think women are warming up.

Moona: eFoiling definitely offers up an even playing field. It does not require a lot of strength to do it, and anyone can learn it quickly without any prior board sport experience, so in that way it's equally accessible to both men and women.

Lysa: In the media, eFoiling appears to strike a good balance in terms of gender representation. It's often seen as an accessible discipline compared to others. However, on the water, there seems to be a higher male presence. This may be due to the perception of foiling as a risky sport. It's unfortunate because eFoiling offers a gentle introduction to foiling, making it an excellent starting point for anyone looking to experience the magic of riding a foil.

Philipa: I am excited to see the increasing presence of women on the water this year. We’ve seen a remarkable increase of 30% in female-generated content on Instagram, and our website’s female audience has grown by 20% in the last two years.

Elena: eFoiling has the potential to be significantly more inclusive as a sport, due to its easy learning curve. Emphasizing gender equality both on the water and in media coverage is really important. This can inspire more women to participate in the sport and create equal opportunities for all. Encouraging women’s participation in eFoiling not only enhances diversity within the sport but also makes it more appealing and thrilling for everyone involved. I would love to see more female riders out there.

Elena Dimitrova

Erika Lane

Tell us about a favorite eFoil moment…

Erika: I love sea creatures. Silently flying by a huge fever of rays in crystal clear waters and having a pod of dolphins cruising along with me checking out the foil are two of my favorite eFoil memories.

Dena: During my very first eFoil lesson in Puerto Rico, I started foiling on my stomach before I even learned to stand up! That was totally wild. I guess you could say I couldn't wait to fly.

Katrin: If favorite memories can be scary ones, then here is mine. We were eFoiling in the channels of Fort Lauderdale and a colleague was filming me when he shouted that there was a dolphin ahead. I was so scared to fall because the channels aren’t very clear and you can’t really see what you are riding above, but when he told me he saw a dolphin, I completely froze. And yes, the dolphin re-emerged, and yes, I fell off the eFoil out of fright, but it was definitely something to remember!

Kimberley: Riding about 20km down the coast in Menorca. The water is completely flat and the cliffs are high. The sun is low above the water because it's 7:30am and there are no human beings around. Just me and the water, breathing deeply and feeling the wind on my skin.

Carolyn: I am a fluffy middle-aged lady and to think that I would be riding in the Caribbean with both of my sons and my daughter on an eFoil was an absolute dream for me. Last February I had my 25-year-old son, my 29-year-old daughter (who is covered in tattoos, also something you never see in water sports!) and my youngest son at 14 all on eFoils together, cruising… it was just absolutely magical for me! As my kids age it gets harder to find things we can all do together and eFoiling 100% made this happen.

Moona: One of my favorite experiences was when I was eFoiling early in the morning, pretty far from shore, and I spotted a pod of dolphins going by. I stopped and sat down on my board and as they came closer to me, and I slipped in the water to swim with them!

Elena: There’s one cherished eFoil memory that will forever be etched in my mind – a mesmerizing sunset ride on Zanzibar Island accompanied by dolphins gliding next to me. It was a magical time with nature that words can hardly describe.

Lynsey: Exploring some of my favorite lakes below giant cliff walls, just me and the birds. I'm so grateful to have been born into a time where this technology is available. When people ask, we like to say it's like riding the fourth dimension…

Lynsey Dyer

Are there other female riders out there who inspire you?

Dena: To be honest, I'm inspired by every woman who inquires, gives eFoiling a try, or buys one – especially if she doesn't have much water sport experience. This is a wonderful sport, and I love it when another female gets as hooked on it as I am.

Elena: I draw inspiration from the incredible journeys of fellow female eFoilers such as Kimberley Mens. Her skill, and passion for the sport serve as powerful motivators for women looking to join the eFoiling community.

Paula: Moona Whyte. She rocks. I like to watch her smash the waves and ride them so smoothly. eFoiling is more than just a sport. It's a lifestyle. It's a world where women find inspiration, empowerment, and a sense of belonging.

Erika: My friends Jenna and Glennel on Oahu and Skeeter and Gabby on Maui are standouts for me. But truly I am inspired by anyone that foils because it means they have grit, they are tough and athletic and they don’t follow the crowds.

Katrin: I love Moona Whyte’s style. I aspire to someday catch waves with her fearlessness.

Moona: Actually any time I see another girl out on the water foiling I'm inspired! Inspired to keep getting out there, improve my riding, and have fun. The girls are always having the most fun!

Carolyn: Annie Reickert, Paige Alms… Erika Lane is another woman that is always cranking out content and showing how it’s done! We have some amazing female riders and they are stark raving lunatics for eFoiling, which I absolutely adore.

Lysa: While there aren't many specialized eFoil riders, I admire the smooth style of Mo Chauvin, whose riding embodies the beauty of the sport.

Kimberley: I love to see content from Elena Dimitrova, flying elegantly above the water. She’s a badass when it comes to watersports.

Philipa: Women working in the eFoil business. We have female partners establishing their own businesses, selling boards, giving lessons, and servicing equipment – in a male dominated industry, that’s commendable.

Lysa Caval

Carolyn
Pigford

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