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Germany eFoiling: Interview with eFoilution & Hydrofil.de

2022-04-14

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little more about the team behind eFoilution and Hydrofil.de?

We, Bernd and Stefan, initially met through a common friend from the Berlin startup scene where we both had our “real work life” before diving into eFoiling. Bernd had just started his eFoil business and I became customer #2 of hydrofil.de in 2020. We shared a couple of rides and we couldn’t stop thinking about eFoiling and the potential of foiling for all water sports. We have our home base at Berlin Mueggelsee and we had the idea of a second station at Lake Wannsee (also in the Berlin area), as well as a vision for a network of eFoil stations that grow and work together… the idea of eFoilution was born!

ou initially started as a rental station on lake Mueggelsee, you have witnessed the creation of the eFoil community in Berlin area. Can you tell us how you both got into eFoiling?

Bernd: I saw the initial video of the Lift prototype and was super excited. As a landlocked surfer in Berlin, Germany, I tried every single water sports but basically was “chronically undersurfed”.

In 2019, with that very first video in mind, I’ve booked a demo with a reseller and absolutely loved the feeling of flying over water. I told a close friend of mine “who needs money if not for this, I’m going to buy one of these.” He replied that it would be better to buy two of them or I would have to ride alone all the time. I hated him for that, of course, but a week later I bought two boards and committed to also give lessons and rentals, because it is true – eFoiling alone is great, eFoiling with friends is even better. Hence, the idea for hydrofil.de was born and now I am probably Germanys most committed eFoiler and try to be on the water every day.

Stefan: I was always addicted to water sports as a windsurfer, kite surfer and wakeboarder. In 2019 in Peniche, Portugal I enjoyed a tasty sundowner at the beach. A lot of kiters and surfers were out and I saw an eFoiler for the very first time, without realizing what was really happening – I was looking for his kite for quite a while before I understood that this cool thing works differently and this guy was flying over water without a kite I was excited, I met Bernd again and our journey began.

Your rental station is unique in Europe, can you tell us how you manage your Lift academy? We see new foilers and coaches each time we visit you, where do you see eFoil rentals in the next couple of years in Germany?

Our approach is always customer-centric “How would I have liked an eFoil water sports station?” We started at a time when Bernd had to convince an eFoil dealer that he has a serious interest in buying before he would even let him close to a board. Bernd didn’t had any intention to buy at that time – little did he know obviously – so we want to democratize the access to eFoils quite a bit. Also, we insist on riding together with our customers and because we believe in that shared experience of flying over water. We added additional boards soon – because why not already take the first eFoil lesson together with a friend?

At this time, we also had to bring our own gear – wetsuit, impact vest, helmet etc. Most people don’t have all this and just want to try an eFoil, which is great. We wanted to provide a first-class experience without entry barriers and have everything at the station now.

Some customers will return to rent regularly to work on their foiling skills and want access to more advanced material, others will only come 2-3 times in summer to cruise a bit. Others are so infected with the foiling bug that they buy their own boards and want to explore everything that is possible in the sport. For those people, we created a home, too. We often use the term “clubhouse” for that. And it is already reality right now, we are a water sports station in summer with plenty of lessons/rentals and turn into a “clubhouse” in the off-season.

By now we moved well beyond our initial setup of “Bernd and his 2 boards” and run a total of 14 eFoils from 3 locations with a dedicated team of 10+ eFoil coaches this summer. With our vertical approach, we are able to serve everybody interested in eFoiling – beginners who take lessons, advanced or pros who rent and work on their eFoil skills, and eFoil enthusiasts like us who buy.

We see eFoiling as a year-round sport, even in Germany. You just have to think about it a bit differently – which is why we invested in the best wetsuits, gloves, and booties. Now everybody can experience water sports in Berlin, even in winter! And maybe we can slowly change the perception that water sports in Germany are for summer only.

In general, eFoils change the dynamic of most water sports already, where everybody starts super excited and committed when they are young but as soon as your career progresses or you start a family people need to reduce their time invest or drop off from the sport entirely so that only the most hardcore people stay and drop everything once the conditions are right.

Now eFoiling is different, everybody can learn and enjoy it. In fact, eFoiling is probably the easiest board sport to learn, because you, yourself, control the speed, not some external force that you need to tame. You also don’t need to travel, almost any kind of water will do as long as it is deep enough. And even more importantly, especially in Germany, you are not relying on conditions, you can do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

eFoiling is different, flexible, and for everybody. Don’t get us wrong, you can do it hard-core, you just don’t have to. We think this will lead to a situation where on any kind of water where these boards are allowed to ride, you will be able to find an eFoil station/rental place. Of course, it doesn’t have to be all eFoilution stations, but they will be definitely the best!

This year, you made the switch and became a reseller in the Berlin area as well as at the Baltic Sea. How did you feel about this exciting new project?

Becoming one of Europe’s leading resellers is currently the project that is taking up most of our time. We will open our store in Binz in early June and we want it to be perfect. We already started selling eFoils through our home base in Berlin and did welcome our first crew of excited fresh board owners. The next big batch of boards has just arrived, we have everything in stock now and we are about to go on a Roadshow in April/May throughout Germany. If anybody is interested in a demo, hit us up via eFoilution.de or send an email to info@efoilution.de

What is your favorite eFoil configuration at the moment? You can see a lot of wings & eFoil configurations on Mueggelsee, sometimes very original?

Bernd: Haha, yes, true, we do test all the combinations ourselves and have everything available at our station for testing if anyone wants to geek out. Truth be told, it was one of the reasons for going with Lift, we wanted access to all the best wings and eFoils.

I love my Lift Pro with the long mast as well as the folding prop. So this is pretty much non-negotiable for me. I recently have gotten into carving, so I absolutely love the 150 Surf v2 with the new carve 26 back wing. What a carving machine – I also love the 120 High Aspect in waves and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 90 High Aspect. But I can also just throw on a 250 Surf v2 and cruise on the lake with friends.

Stefan: My preferred setup for Berlin and inland lakes is the Lift Sport with the 150 Surf v2 plus the 33 Carve back wing combined with a folding prop. What a dynamic combination?! If we go north to the Baltic Sea the conditions will define the setup but I’m still in love with the 200 Classic as I started my very first eFoil attempts on it.

In Central Europe, we have limited access to quality waves. The closest spot would be the Baltic Sea but even with the right wind swell that can only happen a couple of times a year. Would you say that eFoiling is the closest feeling to surf for inside lakes?

Absolutely! Quality waves in Germany just don’t exist at all. Now, most people fail to realize that the foil really changes everything. You don’t need big and perfect waves, in fact, you don’t even need breaking waves at all. Just a 1-2 foot rolling wave in the Baltic Sea or even behind a boat is enough to get the sensation that we are all searching for. The eFoil is indeed the perfect tool to experience what we have at hand locally. And don’t even get us started on downwinders. Our lake stretches over 4km and we did have down-windable waves in the middle of the biggest winter storm this winter. And even in the absence of any waves on a calm summer day, the eFoil with that “flying” sensation is actually really close to deep-powder-snowboarding! Being able to share this with friends and customers – what could be better!

Where do you see eFoiling in 10 years?

We are convinced we only scratched the surface so far. The progression we saw in foil design in the last 3 years alone is just amazing and it will lead us very, very far. Today it is already incredible but just imagine what would be possible if eFoils would only weigh half as much as today and if batteries and foils were two times as efficient. Will we get there next year or the year after? Most likely not, but in 10 years? We would be really surprised if we wouldn’t. The eFoil is the perfect training tool for everything that is to come and since you can control most factors people can train better and most tend to progress very fast. It is really difficult to imagine where the sport will be in 10 years but it’s going to be huge.

Is there any special event you would like to share with us and the community?

Oh yes! Save the date on Sunday, May 1st, we will have our first eFoil group ride this year for customers and owners. We organized the biggest eFoil event worldwide last year with 23 eFoils on the water at the same time. We are convinced this year will get even bigger. Join us if you already have an eFoil. If not – don’t worry – if you wanna buy an eFoil just get in contact with us – we have everything on stock – and you will be ready to join

Hit us up at info(at)efoilution.de if you wanna join and learn about time & place.

Thank you for spreading the love of our sport and we are greatful to have you on board. We wish you all the best for the 2022 season. See you on the water!

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