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Eight-time U.S. National Chess Champion and author Josh Waitzkin shares his love for the eFoil with author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss

Josh Waitzkin, the author of The Art of Learning and eight-time U.S. National Chess Champion, sat down with bestselling author Tim Ferriss for The Tim Ferriss Show to talk about how Lift’s eFoil factors into his learning process and his newfound passion for foiling. “It’s a crazy, intense feeling… [Lift’s founder] Nick is a real pioneer in the foil world,“ Waitzkin says, adding that “foiling is at the cutting edge of the surf world… I love it.” We can definitely relate.

Watch the full interview:

The Future of Water Sports

The Future of Water Sports - Lift Foils

It’s difficult to think of any industry that isn’t rapidly changing thanks to constant advancements in tech, and sports is no exception. Water sports, in particular, have seen major advancements because of various exciting innovations in tech. The advent of electric foiling, in which riders of all capabilities can lift above the water on a board attached to a mast with a motorized propeller system (otherwise known as the eFoil, which was pioneered by Puerto Rico-based company called Lift), has opened up an extreme sensation, previously reserved for professional surfers, to anyone who wants to try it.  

Along with making incredible water sports experiences more accessible, tech has made them safer and more precise. For instance, the Lift eFoil has a Bluetooth hand controller that gives the rider total control over their speed. If the rider releases the control, or if the controller is submerged in water, the motor automatically stops. Lift’s controller is also equipped to indicate when the foil’s battery is losing charge so that a rider can get safely back to dry land. Along with a fully submersible battery (or as Lift founder Nick Leason calls it, “17 miles of power for flying packed into a tight little black box”), the eFoil depends on five computers with individual software, all communicating together, to ensure the best rider experience. This hi-tech system is a big development in a sport that previously required a highly-skilled rider to rely on unpredictable waves and water conditions in order to propel themselves in the water.

Technology has also led to an evolution in the way people can follow and interact with water sports communities. Social media pulls more people into the conversation every day, and better Go Pro and drone tech has led to riveting, beautiful content that captures experiences like never before. A forward-thinking company today focuses on connecting people, creating spaces on social media where people from all over the world can connect. For Lift, an active presence means foiling fans and owners alike get up-to-date news, tips, inspiration, and ideas.

Consumers and companies alike have become increasingly environmentally conscious, and respecting the environment, especially oceans and waterways, has become a shared priority. It’s crucial that water sports companies take the environment into consideration as they develop products, and Lift has been a pioneer in this area. The eFoil, with its electric propulsion system, is a silent, emission- and pollutant-free watercraft so that riders can explore nature without disturbing it.

As tech evolves, it changes the way we think about and participate in our favorite sports. Companies that embrace and integrate high-tech features into their products can offer safety, more meaningful connections with fans, and more environmentally-friendly experiences. With Lift’s eFoil, technological advancements have contributed to a brand new water sport, open to anyone who wants to experience the thrill and sensation of flight above the water.

Experience the Freedom of Flight

eFoil

As anyone who loves adventuring out on the water knows, the experience of moving quickly among the elements can provide a sense of quiet and calm, and also of thrill and exhilaration. Electric foiling, in which a rider lifts above the water on a board attached to a mast with a motorized propeller system (otherwise known as an eFoil), is one of the fastest growing trends in the water sports market. Seeing these impressive watercraft in action, it’s easy to understand why this one-of-a-kind experience is taking off.

Much of what makes foiling so appealing is the inherent joy in the adventure. It’s accessible and easy to pick up, with most riders comfortably gliding over the water within an hour of their first lesson—regardless of their athletic prowess. And unlike boating, it’s something almost anyone can try, since you don’t need a special license or permit to operate an eFoil. The rider isn’t overburdened by needing to master a special skill, which frees up the mind and spirit for true exploration.

Despite the complex technology and dedicated craftsmanship that leads to such a smooth and seamless ride, the mechanics of using an eFoil are relatively uncomplicated. The rider controls the eFoil with a handheld remote to reach the desired speed and can fly fast and yet never touch the surface of the water. It’s absolutely exhilarating. For families ready to bond on vacation together and solo riders who are driven to set out on their own path, foiling is a great, safe option. A rider can cruise in places where a boat or jetski couldn’t necessarily go, allowing for a singular peaceful connectedness with nature.

Since the eFoil’s motor is silent and powered by a battery, there’s no sound or gas pollution, unlike other watercraft. The rider is peaceful and weightless, but in complete control, soaring over the water. A more serious foiler can up the ante and crank up the intensity by confronting larger swells and getting air. The ride all depends on what the rider wants, allowing for a more personalized journey. This versatility just can’t be found in other water sports. The eFoil can be used on choppy seas, ocean swells, riding behind a boat, on rough rivers, or in quiet lakes. Any body of water that’s shoulder deep is fair game, and the next adventure is always within reach.

Since the eFoils are easier to disassemble and transport than a jet ski, for example, owners can take them along on a boat trip. This adaptability means that there are many different ways to have serious fun with this incredibly innovative technology.

Among companies that are active in the foiling world, Lift, a ten-year-old foil company based in Puerto Rico, has set itself apart with its eFoil, which has already shipped to close to a thousand people worldwide since 2018. For Lift Founder Nick Leason, the hustle is all about getting as many people out onto the water as possible. “People ride the hell out these boards! It’s great,” Nick says. “Our demographic ranges from the world champion of surfing to the guy that never even dreamt about it. There’s just something majestic about flying over the water.” From the thrill of the wave to the calm of a lake, you control your own destiny on the eFoil.

Breaking down the eFoil

Experience the Freedom of Flight - Electric Foil

Nearly ten years ago, Nick Leason set out on a mission to bring the experience of flight over water to as many people as possible. His company Lift has since introduced the world to the first self-propelled electric surfboard, or eFoil. “We’re opening up foilboarding to a wide demographic of people,” Nick says of Lift. “Imagine that you’ve never surfed before. Now you’ve purchased an eFoil and you can carve perfect turns as you glide above the surface of any body of water and connect with nature. It’s the best feeling in the world.” Nick and his team meticulously crafted each of the eFoil’s components so that riders of all skill levels can easily rise up on the hydrofoil and glide at speeds of 25 miles an hour and over.

The board and hydrofoil

The optimal foiling board has to tick a number of boxes: it has to be strong but light, stable but small in size, rigid but thin, fully sealed but accessible. The Lift team spent years perfecting a board that fits within all of these parameters, and now they’re leading the market. Lift’s hydrofoils and boards are made out of carbon fiber, the best possible material due to its strength, rigidity, minimal weight, and excellent feel in the water.

The battery

The eFoil’s custom Lithium battery pack is equipped with a sophisticated battery management system to meet the highest safety standards. As Nick explains, “All battery packs are not created equal, and ours is top of the food chain.” The battery is powered to carry riders at top speeds for an hour and only takes two hours for a full recharge.

The motor

Lift contracted the best motor engineer in the U.S. to build a machine that could efficiently convert electrical power to mechanical power, to keep riders moving smoothly through the water. “I’m still impressed by what our motor can do,” Nick says, “and how well it’s holding up to the elements.” The motor on Lift’s eFoil is designed to be an extension of the rider and, because it’s electric, there’s no delay from command to action. Leveraging the eFoil’s built-in computer, which is programmed to set the perfect accelerations, decelerations, and speed outlets, the rider gets unparalleled stability and control.

The wireless Bluetooth hand controller

Lift’s team had to solve for the fact that radio waves don’t travel through salt water and carbon fiber. “You’d think that there are many waterproof wireless hand controllers in the world capable of throttle control,” Nick says, “but there were none. We invented it, and it was a beast of a project!” By pressing the throttle on the eFoil’s wireless hand controller, riders control their ride’s speed; the motor automatically shuts down when the controller is released or hits the water. The Lift team made sure the controller displays speed settings, alerts, and battery charge percentages too.

The software

The eFoil contains five “computers” with individual software, which all communicate and interact with each other. It all comes together to provide seamless control as the rider activates the power of flight.

By employing much of the same modern technology that’s used in other vehicles on the road, in the air, and on the water, Lift has not only pioneered a new sport but also a brand new, uniquely exhilarating experience. The journey from conception to mass production of the eFoil took a ton of work, but as Nick explains, “after almost a decade of tedious work and investment, things are taking off—literally.”

Off to A Flying Start: The Journey to Lift’s eFoil

efoil lift surf

The Origin

When Nick Leason was young, he dreamed about being able to fly like his favorite superhero, Superman. Over the years, his passion and fascination with flight grew. In college, Nick saw someone using a foil for kitesurfing and, in his words, “fell in love.” Inspired, he then tried foiling and was instantly hooked. For Leason, nothing compared to the sensation of connecting to nature by flying over water, carving smooth, bottomless turns.

At 24, Nick had an engineering degree in aerodynamics under his belt, and a vision: bringing the sensation and freedom of flying to all kinds of peoplenot only those who live the extreme sports lifestyle, but also those who don’t. He set himself the impressive challenge of building a hydrofoil that worked flawlessly. In 2009, together with his father, Nick opened a foil shop in Puerto Rico. He assembled a team of accomplished shapers, engineers, and artists, equipped the space with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, and named the new company Lift.

A Higher Goal: The eFoil

Initially, Lift built and sold hand-crafted hydrofoils for surfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Creating these buoyant boards requires acute attention to detail. “At first glance, you’d think it’s a simple toy,” Nick explains, “But the foil demands precision and balance to work properly.”

As time went on, Nick wanted to push things even further by building a foil board with a motor and a Bluetooth controller, so the rider could fly in any body of water, no matter the wave conditions or their athletic ability. The team got to work, starting by strapping an electric motor to their foils. “My team and I pretty much duct-taped pieces together. It took some tweaking, but eventually, we got our first ride of about 50 feet,” Nick reflects.

But what Nick and his team thought would be a year-long project to bring the eFoil to life in 2015 ended up taking years of innovation, perseverance, and grit to perfect. First, the Lift team had to create a battery that could propel the eFoil over water for many miles in rugged conditions. Batteries can be dangerous when not properly designed and integrated into a system. Much like those found in commercial aircraft, the design and construction of Lift’s battery had to be reliable and safe. The next challenge was the hand controller. A Bluetooth, wireless, waterproof, buoyant hand controller didn’t exist yet, so the team had to design, build, and test one, and then integrate it with the foil’s machinery. On top of all that were the myriad other components, like a motor and software, that needed to be conceived and meticulously constructed (not to mention, there was no similar existing product on the market to reference).

Setbacks

In August 2016, Nick and the Lift team were fully committed to getting the eFoil to market when an electrical fire burned their 4000 square foot factory in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to the ground. Luckily no one was injured, but it was a huge loss for Lift and their custom stand-up paddleboard factory, MHL Custom. And yet, looking back, Nick now believes the fire was actually a blessing in disguise. The custom boards Lift had been producing were undoubtedly beautiful, but had consumed a lot of the team’s time. Nick chose to shut down MHL Custom and concentrate 100% of his efforts on rebuilding Lift and perfecting the eFoil, and the team got back to work in a new facility.

Lift was still pushing hard in September 2017 when Category 5 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, sending the island into chaos. Forced to temporarily relocate to the United States, Nick kept in touch with his team on the island, as they all continued to forge ahead.

Lift Launches

After much perseverance and innovative thinking, Nick’s dreamto bring the experience of flight within reachis now an inspiring reality. In 2018, after nearly a decade and many iterations, Lift took flight and started shipping eFoils to customers around the world. With facilities in California and China in addition to its home base in Puerto Rico, Lift is a proud leader in the ever-growing foiling industry. As of early 2019, it’s nearing 1,000 eFoils shipped, and this number grows and grows.

But things aren’t stopping there for Nick Leason and the Lift team. “We now know a thing or two about electric propulsion and watercraft,” Nick says. “I have some wild ideas to work on that will take years, but we’ll do it. Here we go again…”

Limited Edition Classic Foils for Surf & Wake

As many of our followers know, over the last decade Lift has always specialized in the highest quality foil setups; now for wake, surf, kite, SUP, and more.  Continuing in this tradition, we are excited to announce another of our limited edition classic foil releases – a set of Wake Foils and Surf Foil complete packages with boards, wings and masts.   

We know our eFoil gets the lion’s share of attention, but foiling in general has skyrocketed as a popular sport worldwide, and so has the popularity of our classic foil setups.  We’ve done our best to create a full lineup which will allow newcomers to adapt themselves into the sport and progress to an advanced level. Our foils offer a premium feel and experience at all levels of riding.

Wake Foil 4’8 Package – Board, mast & wing          

This is a limited edition complete foil setup with board, mast, and your choice of the 200 glide wing (recommended) or the 170 fish.

Our 4’8 is a high performance board – the small size allows for more agility and maneuverability. These boards are shaped by Sean Ordonez in a limited edition collaboration with Lift Foils.

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Surf Foils Packages- Board, mast & wing          

– 5’0 orange board,  28” mast and 170 fish wing (recommended for pro’s looking for max agility). Our 5’0 surfboard is perfect if you’re looking for more agility and tighter turns with your foil.  This board also has ample volume for paddling, even with its small size.

– 5’10 white board, 28′ mast and 200 glide wing (recommended if you’re new to foiling and want a board that’s ideal for multiple seasons of getting good at the sport). Our 5’10 board is perfect If you’re getting into surf foiling, with great stability and ample volume for paddling.

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User First Rides

We’re beginning to hit some major traction shipping boards! Thanks to all of our customers for their patience, and the hard working team here in Puerto Rico and around the globe for putting in a gargantuan effort getting this thing rolling.

One of the questions our team gets most often is “How easy does a new rider learn to use the eFoil?”. To help show the experience we brought in Whitney and CT, two first time riders. Our team showed them the How-To-Videos, walked them through the board and hand controller, and got them going on their first ride, while documenting the whole process. You can see their experiences below!

Whitney's First Ride

CT's First Ride

eFoil Deep Dives

We made our how-to video series to provide the most premium experience for our users by walking through every step of the setup, riding, and maintenance processes for easy reference.   These videos are also the best source for seeing the true eFoil experience if you haven’t had the chance to ride, so I highly recommend checking them out below:

User reviews have started rolling in!  Thanks to Douglas P for his testimonial:

“Against all odds, Nick and his crew have done it! A new foiling surfboard that can make you fly above the water under its own power without waves, on any body of water. Nick has been testing this invention for years and the eFoil is the result of a lot of R&D that has paid off, as you will see when you take off on your own eFoil board. Here are some tips…. First things first, like any extreme sport bending the laws of physics, focus not on riding the board, but instead on falling safely. Use your last bit of balance and energy as you fall, to direct your fall off as far as possible to either side of the board. The board stops very quickly after a fall, so it is not a far swim to reach it. Maintain a slow, constant learning curve and do not peg it full throttle until you are a ready. For those in need of an excuse for such a high dollar toy, the eFoil is a portable/realistic replacement for a jet ski. I have seen high skill levels lead to foil tow-in antics. Thank you to all who supported Nick and his team – without your help the eFoil might not have been possible!”


From myself and the team here in Puerto Rico, thanks for your support!

eFoils Are Now Shipping

After months of finalization, we’re proud to announce that our eFoil has begun shipping en-masse.  As of today, more than 50 units have gone out of our Puerto Rico warehouse, and we’re working around the clock to help catch up on the hundreds of pre-orders.

We’ve got a new video out with some recent footage, we’d love if you’d watch and if you like it, give it a share!

We’ve been getting a ton of questions, so I wanted to go through some of the common ones here:

Wait Times If you order today, shipping time is approximately 2-3 months.

Battery Life  Battery life is running an hour or over for production units! Charge time is also hitting under 2 hours. We’re stoked on the final experience.

Additional Batteries  Additional batteries are going to be available this summer – we’ll take orders for those when your board is ready to ship and we contact for balance of payment.

Resellers  We are signing up certified dealers for our network with dealer shipments beginning this October. If you’re in the watersports, outdoors, boating, or luxury goods space and interested in more information on the program, you can get more info here.

Thanks for your support!

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