Hydrofoils are long fins with wings attached to a board, and represent the future of water sports. They expand the playground of surfing, as you hardly need waves or wind to get going and fly above water thanks to the lift generated by the foil. At the same time, foiling has a steep learning curve for even experienced riders.
The iUP has been designed to make foiling 10 times easier than classic surfing and accessible to all.
In fact, TAAROA has spent the last two years perfecting the heart of this next-generation foil. The iUP is built with ease of use, control and the upmost safety in mind. It appears like any other hydrofoil from the outside - comparable size and weight - and can be attached to any surfboard, SUP or windsurf.
On the inside however, everything is different. Inspired by drone technology and aeronautics, the iUP integrates an onboard computer with control software, various sensors and automated wing flaps. This architecture enables an active control of the dynamics of the foil and height above water.
Considering the exponential growth of the smartphone industry as well as the increase of demand for personal drones, sensors and onboard computers are now relatively cheap and ergonomic. After building successfully our first prototype, we’ve productized the iUP at a competitive price.
While cruising with the iUP, riders stand on the board as they normally would. External factors like wind and waves or a rider’s bad board positioning might create instability. In that case, the onboard computer will sense and compensate for the instability with the wing flaps. More specifically, the electrical actuators, which are controlled by the onboard computer, activate the control surfaces to change the foil’s dynamics and stabilize it.
The onboard computer also enables very early take-offs with full flaps on (as with an aircraft at take-off) and maintains constant height between the board and the water to avoid “oscillation effects” at medium to high speed (thanks to its height control sensors).
Depending on the user’s weight and level, different navigation modes are available through an app.
The parameters can be set before a ride through a simple smartphone app that’s wirelessly connected to the onboard computer. Inside the app, riders can choose the level of assistance should they want to focus more on balance or high performance. Riders even have the ability to share their data to enhance the AI, creating a crowdsourced effect for continuous product improvement.
Benjamin Tillier, an experienced rider who has been one of the main driving forces behind the foiling movement says about it: “It’s such an exciting time to see technology make its long awaited foray into surfing. The iUP creates a new dimension of foiling with artificial intelligence, expanding what’s possible across all experience levels. It is an incredible breakthrough.”