Foiling can give you a feeling of flying like nothing else behind the boat. It’s a unique watersport that can bring a new thrill to anyone from first-timers to two-time world wakeskate champion and team Malibu athlete Brian Grubb. Since foiling is unlike any other towed watersport, Grubb has some tips to get you started the right way. 

Getting Up

Get up similar to a wakesurf board with the foil either submerged beneath your feet or with your heels resting on top. Have your stance forward on the board so your back foot is on top of the mast or just in front of it. You want to keep your weight forward on the start to keep the wing down in the water. Get the nose of the board pointed toward the boat as the speed comes up. Have the driver start slow and very gradually bring the speed up. Use a wakeboard-length rope so you can stay away from the prop wash and move out toward the flats before the waves form up. Make sure to keep the board relatively flat and your hips up. You don’t want to break at the waist. Remember you’re not really riding the board you’re just using it to control the wing. After getting comfortable in the flats, move over into the second roller and start flying without the rope.

Getting Comfortable

Keep the board in contact with the surface of the water at first. Don’t fold at the waist and keep your gaze 15 feet in front of you, not down at the board. Take it slow and get the feel of using the foil a little at a time in the flat water at slow speeds.


If you start to fall don’t try and save it too long. Try getting the board back down and then fall behind it. Always get your arms up and protect your head. The board will keep moving in the water even after you fall off so try to stay out of its path.

Choose your Wing Wisely

Everything with foiling is a balance between your size, skill level, and what you want to do with the setup. A bigger wing means more glide and easier pumping in the flats, but slower turns. You get more lift at slower speeds with a bigger wing, but the starts can feel out of control if you’re just learning so it’s best to start with a smaller wing (170 square inch or smaller) when learning. For most people, a 200 square inch wing on the front and a 40 square inch stabilizer in the back is a great compromise between agility and pumping power after they’ve gotten over the initial learning curve. You can also use a high aspect wing for more stability and maximum pumping power

Board Size

The above wing and mast setup with a 4’5” board works great for most people. You don’t need a lot of board surface area when you’re up, but it does help on the starts.

Materials Make a Difference

The lower-end wings are made out of aluminum and have more weight along with a less responsive feel than the higher-end carbon fiber wings. Although good to learn on, once you try a carbon fiber wing and mast like a LIFT foil, it will be hard to go back to heavier aluminum setups. You can buy a board like the Hyperlite UTE that doubles as a wakesurfer and invest in a more expensive mast and wing when you are ready.

Take it slow

Most people get out of control on the startup with too much speed and too big of a wing. Don’t get out of the hole quickly like pulling a wakesurfer or wakeboarder, take it extra slow at first and try to keep the board down and in contact with the water until you get your bearings. As opposed to wakesurfing where you’re loading your back foot, keep all your weight forward on the start to keep the foil from lifting out of the water as the boat gains speed. When you get the hang of it, you’ll end up going around 12 miles per hour, but at first you want to go much slower. Remember, the angle of the board and the wing are the same, so if the nose of the board is higher than the tail the wing will be coming out of the water soon if you don’t level it out!


Less can be more here. Half ballast might be more than enough, and the more mellow the wave face the better. Malibu’s wave pushes toward the back of the boat rather than away from it, making for a perfect foil wave with a smooth face and mellow transitions you can carve from top to bottom. I run my front tank all the way, then start with about half in the belly tank and rear tanks and run Power Wedge III on Lift or 1, its most mellow position.

Watch Now



Pumping gives you speed when you’re not on the wave. Start learning the motion in the flats with the rope before taking it to the wave. Keep the wing high and just below the surface without breaching for maximum efficiency. When you’ve got your technique down in the flats, get some speed off the wave, then turn and try to pump out into the flats and then back to the wave again. Pumping is easier when you start with speed and then maintain it so use the speed you get from the wave to make that happen.


When you’ve got your pumping down, transfers from the first wave to the second or third are within your reach. And of course, wear Malibu’s exclusive Surf Band to transfer from side to side with Surf Gate. Just hit the button while you’re foiling, listen for the horns to tell you when it’s time to switch, then pump and glide over to the opposite side. When you reach the top of the wave you’re transferring to, trim the foil high and reclaim the wave (less mast and wing in the water means less drag) and you should catch it.

Party Wave

Thanks to the efficiency of a foil, you can get a rider on the first, second and third wave back, or one rider on the left and one on the right. There are a lot of possibilities with a great wave and some foils.


When you’re done riding, strap your foil to the bimini to keep it out of the way. Just make sure the wing and mast are over the arch of the tower since that’s the heaviest part of the board and needs the most support. Now you’re ready to run down the lake.

Whether foiling or wakesurfing or cruising to the next cove, Malibu is the world leader in towboat sales because of its continual focus on you, our customer. Our patented wake innovations create the most versatile wakes and wave on the water today, and the process is effortless. Build your new Malibu today or experience the versatility of a Malibu firsthand with a free test drive at your local dealer.


Brian Grubb Wake Foiling Behind a Malibu Boat Wakesetter
Brian Grubb Wake Foiling Behind a Malibu Boat Wakesetter
Brian Grubb Wake Foiling Behind a Malibu Boat Wakesetter
Brian Grubb Wake Foiling Behind a Malibu Boat Wakesetter
Brian Grubb Wake Foiling Behind a Malibu Boat Wakesetter
Brian Grubb Wake Foiling Behind a Malibu Boat Wakesetter

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