Vipin Chourey glides and then flies over the backwaters making it look like a miracle. But he is actually on an eFoil board, slicing through the waters.
A new introduction to Chennai’s water sport scene, eFoiling is like surfing. However, the board is powered by a battery and also comes with a motor, foil, mast, and propeller. It is remote controlled and the wireless technology for the same is concealed within the five feet board.
“The eFoil helps elevate the board above water and this is why it looks like a mix of surfing and flying. These are the coolest surfboards in the world and have been trending for a few years,” says Vipin, an experienced surfer, who has been practising eFoiling for the last six months. He is now an instructor at The Alampara Resort in Marakkanam, ECR where the sport has been introduced, apart from Surf Turf in Covelong.
Despite the motor, eFoiling is noiseless. The motor eliminates the effort of paddling so people from any age group can try, assures Vipin. So far, he has conducted 20 sessions that have attracted mostly the 18-50 age group. “It is quick to learn. In 10-15 minutes, people can grasp the basics of how to ride an eFoil. In the first class itself, most manage to get 95% of it right . Eventually they are taught how to return, take a sharp turn etc,” he adds.
The board that is being used here comes from a Puerto Rican company called Lift Foils and costs around ₹13 lakhs. It can do speeds of up to 25 kilometer per hour. While the remote takes care of the acceleration, it is important to know how to balance on the board. No wonder, watching people fall into the water is something Vipin is accustomed to. We provide them with safety gear like vests, helmets and shoes so they don’t hurt themselves, he says.
The backwaters at Alampara Resort are seeing exceptionally busy days with wakeboarding too thrown into the mix. It is similar to snowboarding but it is done in water. Riders stand on a wakeboard that is attached to a boat. As the boat powers through it tows the rider, usually at speeds of upto 25 knots per hour (approximately 46 kmph).
“We teach them to turn, jump over waves, somersault,” says Arun Vasu who owns The Alampara Resort and Surf Turf and is the chief managing director of the TT Group.
“Anyone can do a lesson anytime. In addition, we are also running a camp on weekends to try and build this sport,” he says. At a time, around three people are taken in a boat and then each one takes turns to try out wakeboarding. It is physically demanding, says Arun, adding that he sees children as young as five years and adults aged 60, giving it a shot.
For details, log on to www.thealampara.com