Vasco Vellez owned the first eFoil in Australia, and has been teaching foiling for over five years. In this interview we talk with him about eFoil Gold Coast and his experience with Lift Foils.
How did you get into foiling?
I was introduced to kitesurfing in New Zealand by a friend of mine, Adam Schofield. He also suggested the movie Step Into Liquid (which I highly recommend), which is where I saw Laird Hamilton riding a hydrofoil, and I was hooked! I knew I had to eventually ride one of those.
How did you discover the eFoil and Lift Foils?
I found Lift Foils (then MHL Customs) back in 2013 researching the few companies building hydrofoils— they built my first kitesurfing hydrofoil board, and the first ever to be shipped to Australia. I kept in touch with Nick Leason from Lift, who swore me to secrecy and told me about the idea for an electric hydrofoil in 2016 when it was still just in his brain and early prototypes. I was definitely in and soon as I heard about it, even though I knew it would be a while before I’d see a board. Then in December 2017 I got the call, worked with a Lift Foils artist to design a custom paint job and got my Lift eFoil (named Cherry Ferrari) in May 2018. I was the first in Australia to own an eFoil.
Tell us about eFoil GC.
We’re the first eFoil School on the Gold Coast. Foils are the safest and fastest way to teach anyone to hydrofoil, and we’re always excited to introduce riders to this exciting frontier of watersports. We work with our students to learn how to eFoil, SUP Foil, Foil, SUP Foil, WindFoil, Surf Foil (prone) or Wing Foil.
Tell us about one of your most interesting water or adventure experiences, whether foil related or not!
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to experience eFoiling in many ways from flat water to waves, close to shore and out to sea. But top of my list has to be a recent whale encounter.
Being pro-conservation I know well to stay away from wild life, Keep my distance from their path and I have had several kitefoiling whale experiences before. But this calf was extremely curious of my eFoil and came close to investigate one morning. Mother and calf were very calm and we had a little play together. I kept my distance the whole time but the calf kept following me ????, somehow its mother wasn’t worried. The sheer size of these giants demands respect but I was never afraid, it is a memory I cherish forever. There’s a little impromptu video of it on my Youtube channel VVKitography.
What are some your go-to efoiling spots on the Gold Coast?
There are several flat water areas such as Currumbin Creek and Broadwater, but my favorite is by far is the ocean at Palm Beach.
Any tips for first time riders or those who are hesitant to give the efoil a try?
Yes, one of existing myths is that you need to know how to foil.. it is not the case with eFoiling. You can start on your stomach like a boogie board, then play around on your knees and finally stand up when you’re comfortable. All this is before you lift onto the foil. As the board is self propelled with battery power you can progress as slowly as you like, take your time so to speak. I have gotten people on the Lift Foils 5’6 Cruiser with absolutely no board experience whatsoever. You should see the smiles on their faces when they realize they ended up foiling, well beyond their expectations. The Lift Foils eFoil is as gentle as you drive it, truly a watercraft for everyone.