An introduction to efoiling
The paddleboard of the future is here and you can rent it at XL Kites in Destin-Fort Walton Beach. Known as the eFoil, short for electric-powered hydrofoil surfboard, this Back-to-the-Future-looking invention glides silently across the water at speeds up to 25 mph as you balance on top.
If you’re looking for things to do in Destin, it doesn’t get much cooler than this. You won’t need a boat. There’s no loud engine noise to scare away wildlife and annoy waterfront homeowners. There’s no paddle to keep track of. And you can explore areas where boats aren’t allowed.
“I love the silence of it,” Michael Percy, XL Kites owner, said. “It does look a bit like a UFO hovering over the water. I ride a lot in the bayous of Destin-Fort Walton Beach and people out on their docks are shocked when they see it.”
The eFoil’s electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery that’s mounted on the all-carbon-fiber hydrofoil. A wireless Bluetooth hand controller allows the rider to navigate.
The controller shuts off the eFoil if you lose your balance and fall into the water, so no worries about a runaway surfboard leaving you stranded. The eFoil can run for an hour-and-a-half to two hours (depending on the rider’s weight) on one charge and recharges within two hours.
“It’s an active ride, just like snowboarding or skiing. It keeps your attention,” Percy explained. “People who buy them usually already own jet skis. They tell me the jet skis are for the grandkids now. They ride the eFoil because it never gets boring.”
For locals and tourists, paddleboarding provides a calm, soothing way to experience the water like never before. Instead of sitting inside a canoe or kayak, you stand above the water’s edge, enjoying a bird’s eye view of the water below. For those who have never gotten up on a surfboard before, paddleboarding is an exciting new way to get some exercise and explore.
But now? Watch out paddleboards, this electric surfboard is new in town!
“It’s a great experience for tourists and locals alike who want to do something fun and different,” Percy said.
Percy is no stranger to making waves in the area. Twenty-two years ago, he was the one who brought kite-surfing to Destin-Fort Walton Beach and made it an attraction in and of itself.
“I used to have to carry around pictures of kite-surfing,” he said. “People couldn’t grasp the concept.”
And now? It’s rare to drive by the Bay and not see a kite surfer ripping across the water.
“I guess I like to recognize fun stuff early and make it accessible to people,” he said. “It puts a lot of smiles on people’s faces and lets me have a cool job in the process.”