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New Sport of E Foiling Finds a Home on Strangford Lough

1st February 2022
E Foiling on Strangford Lough
E Foiling on Strangford Lough

Rory Martin of the Strangford Lough Activity Centre provides a variety of land and watersports through what he says is a quirky, experimental adventure centre. Though the Strangford Lough bases are at Whiterock and Sketrick Island near Killinchy on the west side of the lough, it is very much a mobile facility available throughout Northern Ireland. But apart from what is probably considered a common set of sports including kayaking, paddleboarding, boat tours and wet bouldering, there is now e-foiling which Rory calls a Magic Carpet Ride – the next big development in water sports.

Once reserved as a Millionaires’ play toy, the new sport of E Foiling has found a home on Strangford Lough. Celebrities such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, big wave surfer Laird Hamilton or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg have tried it, with the latter going viral for flying above the water on an electric powered surfboard carrying an American Flag. This unique experience can be compared with driving a supercar or learning to fly a plane. For the same price as a night out, anyone can enjoy the feeling of flying above the water at speeds of up to 30mph.

E Foiling uses an electric powered surfboard on a hydrofoil wing which lifts 80cms out of the water giving an unparalleled experience of flying as Rory Martin suggests; “It’s like riding a magic carpet or a hoverboard. If you’ve seen Back to the Future, Disney’s Aladdin or indeed Marvel Comic’s Silver Surfer then you’ll have an idea of what to expect. We have purchased four of the Lift E Foils with the help of Ards and North Down Borough Council Experience Development Programme. Lift E Foils are considered the best available on the market. They are expensive pieces of kit, but we expect demand to be high and have received a huge amount of interest. The funding has allowed us to offer an introductory rate which should make it more affordable for the public”. He continues;” The latest technological advances that were once reserved for passenger ferries or high-end sporting competitions such as the America’s Cup are developing quickly. Powered by Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries and using an all-carbon hydrofoil wing has allowed weight reduction and longer battery life with a flying time of two hours”.

Strangford Lough is an ideal location for e-foiling as there’s plenty of flat enclosed water and beautiful scenery. Furthermore, as a noiseless and pollution-less activity it is in keeping with the centre’s sustainable ethos. Rory is confident that it will be popular. “You don’t have to be a pro surfer to enjoy the activity. With some flexibility, most people can get up on the board on their first session. With all equipment provided including wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets, participants just need to turn up and give it a go”. Rory explains; “As we emerge from the pandemic, we expect the demand for newfound water sports to continue. Paddle boarding, kayaking and wild swimming have massively increased in popularity, and we have been instrumental in increasing access to the water. We expect demand tosurge but be warned! It is very addictive and some of our initial customers are already looking at purchasing boards. We are very proud to be the first people to offer it in Ireland”

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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