Tell us a little bit about VI Foils and your team!Where are you based, how many people are on the team, how did you meet, what’s the culture like etc.
First, we want to thank you for your interest in VI Foils. We are a 2 person start up consisting of Capt. Jeff Schneider & Jane Cerulli. We are an entrepreneurial couple that has relocated from a small fishing community in Tarpon Springs, Florida with a strong passion for the water and new exciting challenges. VI foil’s is the product of those passions. Our home base is now on St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands. We operate regularly on the beautiful beaches surrounding St. Thomas, based on weather conditions and client preference. We also service St. John by appointment. We love the island vibe and all the foiling opportunities it provides. The tropical setting offers flat water conditions for training first time flyers, surf waves for the experienced foilers, and island hopping for the adventurous. We never get bored exploring these islands on our Lift Efoils.
How did you discover Lift Foils?
Like most, my first encounter with any kind of foil came from social media. I was like “What?! That guy is flying around on a small surfboard. I must know more!” That was 6 months ago. Since then I have done my research, been to the factory, hung around with Nick and “the crew”, learned to fly with Seakindly in Puerto Rico, trained to become a trainer, and moved with my girlfriend to the islands to start an e-foiling venture. With Lift being the industry leading manufacturer of e-foils, I decided to become an affiliate, offering lessons, sales, and rentals on Lift boards. – Jeff
What’s your efoil size or wing configuration and why?
I ride a 4’4” board, “the Zephyr”, and change my wing regularly. My go-to wings are the 150 Classic. For any waves or foiling without the motor, I use a 200 Surf wing with 40 fin. I use a collapsible prop, in order to transition between e-foiling and foiling the wave without the motor. Jane rides the 5’0” with the 150 classic wing, but she rides my board as often as possible, and prefers the carving ability in the smaller boards and wings, as well.
What regions do you work out of, and what does your company offer demos, lessons, etc?
We operate primarily on St. Thomas at whichever beach provides the best conditions for that day, or the specific client; and St. John by appointment. We offer foil relevant services, including Lift e-foil demos, lessons, rentals, half/full day excursions, & sales. Our goal is to accommodate any or all foil needs for the Caribbean, and to promote both VI Foils & the Lift brand.
Tell us about one of your most interesting water or adventure experiences, whether foil related or not!
Jane: Sticking to the subject of foiling, there are a number of options I can immediately think of. I think the most outstanding experience is credited to the novice state I was in while experiencing it. Jeff & I decided to go to the local surf spot on a day we heard would be good for surfing. We had been advancing on flat water, and wanted to expand our ability to riding waves. We loaded the foils through the break, and headed out toward an area where the waves were not breaking, but swelling around a rocky point. It was breathtaking! I followed Jeff, how most of these stories start, into the open water and fell off of the board. I get on my board & accelerate back toward the shore. I looked back & all I can see behind me is a rolling mountain of water coming toward me. It was magnificent & terrifying all in the same moment. The swell passed under me & I saw Jeff riding out in the distance, so I turned back toward him & foiled the mountainous swells in complete awe. It was the first time I realized how different the water environment here in St. Thomas is than in Florida, and how much growth I had ahead of me still. Maybe Jeff will tell you about the next trip we took to the surf spot, that’s a good one, too.
What are some your go-to efoiling spots in the Carribean?
Our frequent riding spots are located all around the island for different reasons. Vessup Beach is one of our favorite spots, as it has many obstacles like boats & mooring balls to make your own playground, we also have the ability to chase the big boats as they get on plain and foil their wake! Hull bay is the local surf spot & is a lot of fun when the surf is up. Sapphire Beach is great for island cruising around the Cays. We also enjoy efoiling from St. Thomas to St. John and watching the people on the ferries all get there phones out as we pass them. There is no bad place to ride on St. Thomas!
Any tips for watersports enthusiasts visiting St Thomas?
Come fly with us! We’re the newest and most exclusive active watersport in the Caribbean! In addition, St. Thomas offers all kinds of water activities year round, including snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, hikes to private beaches, etc. Surfing and sailing are extremely popular when the trade winds are present; however, e-foiling is our top recommendation no matter what time of year it is!
How can people in your area reach out?
We are present on most social media, including Facebook : VI Foils Instagram @fish_cant_hide and @vi.foils. We also have a live chat, contact form, and booking abilities through our website www.vifoils.com. For more direct contact, our email address is [email protected] and our phone number is 913-530-4562. We welcome any & all interest levels to contact us in which ever way is most convenient. We would love to “share the stoke” with you!
Cheers to new adventures!