Nick leason is psyched to see that the sport of e-foiling is having a moment among boaters.
For more than a decade, the company he founded, Lift Foils, has been building and selling the toys that can be used pretty much wherever there is water. Mega-yacht owners and crew discovered e-foiling pretty quickly and have been adding the toys to their lazarettes for a number of years in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. But it’s only in the past year or so that Leason has seen a surge of interest from owners of yachts as small as 40 feet length overall.
“People are realizing that these don’t take up any space,” Leason says. If you have a tender or a personal watercraft, “you need a crane or a platform; you need infrastructure for that. These e-foils, I can fit it in a Mini Cooper. You can put it on any size boat, even if you’re buying a yacht in the 40- or 45-foot range.”
The increased interest is coming from outside the boating community too, including from beginners who want a more entry-level product. The New Lift3 F is Leason’s solution to that increased demand. It reduces the use of carbon fiber in the toy’s construction and instead adds materials, such as fiberglass, that still perform well but can take more of a beating from beginners at a lower price point overall.
“What’s also neat about the New Lift3 F is that it’s all modular,” he says, explaining that the toy can evolve along with the rider’s skills. “They can build off of that platform and spruce it up however they want.”
The cost savings for people who buy the toy is substantial. A fully kitted-out assembly from Lift Foils can run about $15,000, compared with the New Lift3 F’s starting price of $8,995, he says. It’s a price point that yacht owners are more comfortable with as they watch beginners get the hang of using the toy. “The fiberglass is really robust,” Leason says. “The aluminum mast is bomber. If you’re banging into things, these are more abuse tolerant.”
The modular design is also a feature that yacht owners and crew are gravitating toward. This is a toy that can be broken down for smaller stowage spots on board and then be put back together for use pretty quickly.
“The assembly is literally six screws,” Leason says. “It takes about five minutes to assemble or disassemble. It has carrying cases and bags. The board itself is no larger than 5½ feet by 30 inches wide, and the propulsion case sits right next to that with the battery.” By comparison, he adds, “a kayak’s huge. This is more like an inflatable kayak that packs down into a bag.”
Riders, he says, span the gamut in terms of age. The company is seeing everyone from teenagers to people in their 70s giving it a try, with most people being able to do a basic ride within about 30 minutes of starting a lesson. “We’ve gotten older people going on their first ride,” he says. “And my favorite thing about the e-foil is that it’s a family toy. It brings families together. Rarely does a family have one toy that the whole family enjoys. I think that’s pretty cool. Especially when people are going out on their yacht, they bought it because they want to get out there, and they hope the family will all make time in the schedule, so having the right toys is a big part of that.”
How It Works
This water toy is battery-powered. Riders manage the experience with a Bluetooth hand controller that displays the remaining battery life, and that lets riders switch between speed and performance settings. There are two choices of battery: a “light battery” that provides about 60 minutes of ride time and a “full-range battery” for about 100 minutes of ride time. The trade-off for adding that extra time is also adding weight, with the full-range battery packing an extra 7 pounds.
Ice Blue and Sunset Peach are two newly available colors. Both boards are made of a fiberglass blend that’s crafted into an aerodynamic shape. The mast is built of 28-inch precision-milled aluminum. At the bottom of the mast are front and back wings. All the components are modular, for easier stowage and transport.