Legends on Lake Powell

Lake Powell on the Colorado River set the scene for some high-level sit-down and wake foil fusion back in June, as prolific foil engineer Armie Armstrong joined forces with Airchair inventor Mike Murphy, organizing a meeting of some of the top talent from both disciplines to collaborate, share experiences and – top of the agenda – have a lot of fun… Joining them on the boat were wake maestro Noah Flegel, sit-down foiler Alvaro Lewin and all-round foil frother Austin Tovey. 

Photos: Dan Jenkins (unless specified) 


Alvaro Lewin

Any Lake Powell trip is an amazing experience. It is a vibrant, serene, and almost alien landscape and truly a wonder of this world. Now, throw in houseboats, ski boats and hydrofoils and you have the making on an epic trip. How do you up the game from here? The answer is, you add foil godfathers and legends, then let their worlds collide… When you disappear off the grid for five days with foil legends like Mike Murphy, Armie Armstrong and Brian Schumacher, no foil was ever going to be left untested and untouched. These guys are the founders, innovators, and riders that have defined sit and surf foil technology; not to mention invented the sport as we know it. Combined, they have over 100 years of experience designing, testing, and riding hydrofoils.

With sit foil legends like Tyler Narans, Torey Narans, and Al Lewin on board you could name a trick, any trick, including mobes, spins, and doubles, and it would be thrown on command and with mind blow-ing amplitude. Five boats wide, three jet skis, and Lake Powell as the background while these guys rocked through the Rincon was no less than absolutely epic. Noah Flegel and Austin Tovey… Legendary water-men who are now defining the sport of wake foiling, were pulling strapless 3s, backside 3s, backflips, mobes, and the most epic wake poach ever, at dawn in Iceberg Canyon. And not to be outdone by the boys, Sierra Stack was also on deck showcasing the grace, ease and depth that makes surf foiling so inspiring to watch.

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In between sets the crew managed to do some sightseeing all the while trying new things. Tyler and Al took out the hand wings, Noah got some barefooting in, and Armie learned how to sit foil and even jumped his first time out. It was five days of riding, tuning, and testing new foil gear. Five days of collaboration and cross pollination between disciplines. Five days that forged new understanding and new alliances. Five days that will impact the hydrofoil world, both surf and sit, both wake and wind. It was not only an epic Powell trip, but the trip of a lifetime for a hydrofoiler.

 

Mike Murphy

Over the years I have taken many exciting water sports adventures all over the world and I must say the houseboat trip Armie and I took to Lake Powell this past summer was absolutely epic. It is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen and seeing these shots I think you would have to agree. We couldn’t have asked for better hosts than the Narans family and the weather couldn’t have been better. I know that Armie was absolutely blown away by the extreme riding on a sit-down foil that Tyler and Corey Narans and Al Lewins demonstrated. Massive double back flips, huge airs and soft landings directly to foil. Not to mention the amount of talent his team riders Noah Flegel and Austin Tovey brought to the party. It was almost unbelievable to me to see spins and mobes being thrown without a rope at wake surf foil speeds. It’s truly mind boggling where the sport of hydrofoiling is going just in these two disciplines.
Not to mention winging, kiting, tow-in surfing, SUPs, prone surfing and downwinders…

It was so cool to introduce the world’s best wake foil surfers to the world’s best sit-down foilers. I think a lot of respect was gained by all. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have an annual houseboat event on Lake Powell, bringing as many of these foiling disciplines together!

Austin Tovey

Photo: Alvaro Lewin

The Lake Powell trip was one for the books! We took a little private plane fully loaded with foil gear over Moab with our great pilot/photographer/foil frother friend, Nate. From the plane looking down it looked like Mars. Nothing but beautiful red rocks and Grand Canyon like features. We landed and were greeted by the legends Armie Armstrong and the founding father of hydrofoiling, Mike Murphy, the inventor of the airchair. From there we got on the Narans’ houseboat for the weekend. The Narans are a family full of absolute airchair senders, it was unreal to watch Ty and his brother Tory going massive (sometimes 30 feet high across the wake). They were throwing double backflips, frontflips, and back-mobes. It was super inspiring to watch those guys ride, and it stands as proof that our sport of stand-up foiling has a long road of progression ahead. 

We were riding in the most surreal place called Iceberg Canyon, which was like riding in a deep, buttery crack in the surface of the earth. It’s hard to explain in words, but it was definitely the most unique and breath-taking place I have ever had the pleasure of riding a foil in, and it was great to hang with Armie and Mike Murphy. These legends have such a high level of stoke, immense amounts of energy, and incredibly good jokes that had the boys dying laughing. Armie had the back deck of the houseboat looking like a full-blown foil workshop. Constantly chopping and tuning foil setups to keep us all dialed and riding at our highest potential. 

We had some pretty progressive sessions as Noah was stomping his flip and nearly rode off with his signature “dirty dancer”, which is a combination of a backflip with a backside 360. But the highlight of the trip for me was riding off with my first foil backflip that I stomped in the canyon. I was so hyped that I backed it up with a nice line of a frontside slob grab and a frontside 360 after. Stoke levels were at an all-time high. Another pretty epic moment was when I pumped away to hijack the wake of a massive yacht that was plowing at a perfect foil speed through Lake Powell. 

We rounded the days off with delicious dinners prepared by Mrs Naran and then checking out the football while partying under the stars on the top deck of the houseboat. It was a sad day when Noah and I had to head back to Florida, made even harder when the wind came up and Armie said “That’s your call to stay!” as he proceeded to pump up his wing and score a session on the lake. I can’t thank everyone enough for such an unreal trip that will never be forgotten. And to anyone who is thinking of checking out Lake Powell for a shred-fest: all I can say is do it, because it’s the most unique and breath-taking place you can ever go ride… 

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