Begginer E-Foil Build

Hello fellow EFoil enthusiasts!

I’m a long time surfer who has also dabbled in kiteboarding and foiling in the past. Recently, I’ve started competing in competitive wakeboarding and I’m now looking to take on the challenge of foiling. However, as a newcomer to the world of foiling, I’m wondering if it’s feasible for a beginner like myself to build my own efoil.

I’ve read that building your own foil is quite difficult, and I must admit that I’m relatively new to building things. That said, I’m a university student studying computer science in Texas and I’m very interested in taking on this project. I’ve always been amazed by the videos of people gliding through the air on a foil they build themselves, and I would love to gain the knowledge and experience from building my own efoil.

I do have a 3D printer, although I must admit that I’m not the best at 3D modeling. Additionally, my wakeboarding team has a partnership with Slingshot, so I can get a pretty good discount with them.

What do you think, is it reasonable for a beginner like me to attempt building an efoil? I’ve been lurking in these forums for some time and I see that it is extremely difficult for them to be built by beginners such as myself. I have a friend who builds surfboards, however, and perhaps I could ask him for help building that (which seems like the most difficult part from my view). I do have some experience in the esk8 community but this seems like a whole different game. Any advice (including negative) or resources would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your input!

It isn’t that difficult to build one so just fire away! I built my first in three weeks while having full time work and two kids

It rides beautifully two years after even though it still looks like sh*t :grinning:

My advice to you is: have fun and don’t go for everything at once (best board, lowest weight, coolest graphics, most powerful (or most optimised) etc )

Instead, get a functional setup, build it strong enough and powerful enough and spend the time and money you saved out on the water. Then, if you liked building, take a bit longer to do a second dream board.


What you’re telling me gives me a ton of confidence. I was thinking of making my first board out of a normal foil board from slingshot, and adding a pelican case with the esc and batteries and all that on the back and printing some cad files to hold the motor.

I want to ask, did you have much experience building things in general when you built your board? I live in austin in apartment and got jack shit in terms of building tools lol

I feel exactly like Lars describes it: Go small at first, do your mistakes and then build your dream board.

If you go with electonics in a pelicase, you dont really need anymore tools than a 3D printer, a drill and a (good) soldering iron… If you dont have one yet, dont cheap out on that, as eFoil typically involves big conductors and connectors, which suck away heat fast. I have a “TS100” with a BS2 Tip, this has enough power for the biggest solderjoints and is affordable (Aliexpress). Also a small blowtorch can help for preheating of the connectors.

Regarding board, make sure it has enough buoyancy to support the added weight of batteries and electronics + motor!

Also, when I started here, I just spent the first two weeks reading what other people did (right and wrong, you can learn from both :wink: )

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I have a bit of composites experience, have also done electric builds for some years and i’ve got tools, still i think it wouldn’t have been an enormous task if i’d done it as a 20yo.

The biggest issue for you is the apartment… these builds suit a garage or house better, they’re dirty, toxic and flammable if you’re not careful. You’ll have to find a workaround to this.

It helps if you got a basic understanding of electrical systems and power, if you’re struggling there it will be hard to make the right choices without asking about every little detail. Seems like your plans are spot on in general :+1:

Board is not complicated, it can look like a five year old did it as long as it got the right volume and size. Cutting an existing board is the easiest route, old windsurfer with volume and the likes. Around 160cm, 80-100l would be conservative but you can go smaller.

Battery: is normally the biggest part of any build, not many prebuilt ones available that don’t cost too much. I’d buy some used EV cells, or if you don’t want to solder balance leads get some 6s lipo bricks from any of the RC brands.
(These pose a higher risk for fire so i wouldn’t actually recommend this even if it works for an abundance of people in the RC community)
Don’t get a chinese battery from some seller on ebay or aliexpress. These are fake or poorly built in too many cases.

Box: get an IP67 or 68 rated enclosure and install that in the board if you want the easy route. Pelican case is a great option.

Esc: many working out there, i’d get a VESC 75200 but that’s got a learning curve before using. There’s plenty of help here though.

Motor: many working alternatives, i’d get a 65161 or 65162 with threaded shaft in 100-120kV

Propeller: many working alternatives out there. I’d get a flite prop but it needs boring out to fit the shaft. Otherwise an eml prop that is bolt on (maybe my first choice for a first build actually :grinning: ).

I personally wouldn’t choose the flying rodeo prop, i’ve tried it, it’s great but i suddenly understood why people were so concerned with finger chopping and propeller ducts.
(Many will probably object to my thinking on this, it’s my personal preference.)
The flite prop on the other hand is blunt - I think at least with gloves you could put your hand in it with only bruising as the result.

Foil: depends mainly on skills.
Don’t get a super small, fast wing as a first, as that will push both your abilities and load the rest of the system hard. You can switch later on so choose a foil brand if you have any preference.

Remote: i’ve tried a few but cannot recommend one, others will have to chime in. So far i actually like wired throttle better (but most people would likely disagree).

Thank you so much for the advice, its super appriciated, I actually have a ts100/bs2, and it’s by far my favorite soldering iron I’ve used. Doesn’t give me the problems I’ve had using others.

As for board, does the buoyancy of the board just have to support the weight of the motors and battery etc so the board does not sink at idle? Im trying to understand how I’d start to ride again if I fall etc if me being on the board pushes it under water at idle.

While it would certainly be the extreme, you could have the board only be buoyant enough to support its own weight. As you start on your belly, after you achieve a few kmh/mph of speed, the foil as well as the board itself start to generate enough lift to stand up and support your whole weight.
I guess typical boards are around 50 to 150 liters, but I have seen one use a 27-liter :smiley:
(Not my picture, also its a foil-assist more than an e-foil)

Beware that this type of board is in the realm of ”second board” builds, a super low volume board is not the best to learn on and not the easiest to optimise. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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All the advices above are good, go for it, do a first simple project,
Here an example of my first efoil project in 2 months with just a pelican case (time to receive all the parts and test everything) : First easy and low cost build in France La Grande Motte

I just had a little experience in RC glider with one LIDL glider transformed in a RC plane.

Good Luck !

Thank you so much for this. Its super appreciated. My current build setup was most likely looking to be:

65161 (can I use this prop?) + 75300 + remote kit = $800
However cheap I can get a Slingshot Board = $400?
Pelican Case
P42A battery build? (I own a cheap amazon spotwelder) / something from$500?

Total Cost ~ $1700 for a very rough, functional build that can easily be upgraded?
Those EML folding props look very very inticing however, so maybe add $150 for one of those lol.

Right now im trying to think of different ways to save costs on battery. 14s8p seems pretty standard for eFoil batteries but Im not sure how safe it is for a new DIYer to build a 112 cell p42a pack lol. 14S8P would leave a lot of room for upgradability, except its gonna be expensive as shit to jump into that.

Thankss so much for you comment its super appriciated. Sorry it took so long to respond, I thought I posted this yesterday only to come back to it unsent on my computer.

I understand that it wouldn’t be a great board to learn on, but would there be any maneuverability disadvantages using a board like that? I’m young so hopefully if I do build something like that, ill develop the skills fast to kinda work my way around that and learn it easily. And as for optimization, the fist thing I’m going to do if I were to optimize this build will be creating/buying my own efoil board to sit the electronics, for sure. I could easily sell the board to some surf friends also interested in foiling. (although if I am going to drill into it, and that affects functionality of the board, then this might be a different story) .

Also I found this site, I wonder if I could literally just cut out a box for the electronics (esc battery etc) and then fiberglass this puppy up. No way its that easy?

The outborder Propeller is too big, better skip the prop and get a proper one. They fit the motor with 12mm shaft and M8 thread.

dude thanks so much for this, and also thanks for that thread. That efoil is killer! You are getting up with <3000W? I have a question reguarding this. If people can get up using 2800W, and max speed also around there, then what makes the 65121 not a good choice for a motor, at max of around 3700W? is it less efficient? I see some builds using them and people usually congradulating them, or being suprised that they made it work with that specific motor

Gotcha, might go for the EML 3 wing prop or the folding prop then, I dont want to drill down an existing prop, that seems like work and probably too much on my plate for this buiild. Thanks so much for that advice

Yes you can cut it out but I think even the smallest blank is too long, I would not go above 1.6m in lenght and 65cm in widht. A board with 100l is easy enough to learn. Clearwater has smaler blanks, 5’0“ or 5‘6“.
See this post: What are your thoughts on the clearwater foil board - #7 by SoEFoil

94 or 82l volume.

Well, i have only seen one build with it and that was with a big board (less sinked, lower drag to get moving), small battery and heavily cut down prop.

In efoil it’s a must to produce the torque and speed to build enough thrust, inrunners are way weaker than similar sized outrunners in this regard. The 65161 is more than enough (=foolproof) while i don’t know the limits for the 65121 (how heavy rider, how small board, how fast wing, how much waves can be acceptable)

With the 6516x you almost cannot fail with your build and this is why it’s recommended. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Another note is that you cannot trust the chinese motor specs, some are roughly true, some are 100% fake - so if there aren’t multiple succesful builds with a particular setup then you take a risk that what you get won’t work.

The front wing surface and rider weight are also important. @jeffM, when you draw 18A flying x3.7x12 = 800W, what is your take-off power with your Veloce XXL (1900cm2 ?) with the different props : cut Yamaha, Flying Rodeo 3 blade, Fliteboard ?

Gotcha… so I’m gonna stick with the 65161. I was just wondering how powerful the 65121 was incase I wanted to build a eSUP or something in the future (I’m addicted).

I think I might go for the Clearwater blanks too, just to make this thing really pretty (plus the blanks are pretty cheap, might come out to the same price as just getting a normal board). Not sure how I’m going to build the box or waterproof yet, gonna watch more videos today to figure it out. Thanks so much for your help, I was half expecting to be shut down by this community and sent home telling me to learn more before coming here or something. Gonna buy that kit today just to set the project in stone and make myself commit to it lol.

For anybody that want to buid cheap and local you also have the home hot-wired cut 2019 @Clarin way, job finished by @Vincentbraillard. I hope they will chime in …
'Videos of electric hydrofoils around the world - #192 by Vincentbraillard

If you are shopping for a package deal this might interest you.