1 - Renaud, tell us a little bit about yourselves and Mantafoils
I am an engineer and have been designing and building my first foils back in 2003. In 2008 I started to build foils for friends and finally in 2012 I became OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for Zeeko kitefoils (meaning doing all design and manufacturing for them), until 2015 when I decided to start my own brand.
We initially started with “thekitefoil.com”, then added “thewindfoil.com” in 2016 and in January 2017 changed our branding for Mantafoils covering all foil activities (kitefoil, windfoil, supfoil, surfoil)
2 – Mantafoils has a long experience within kitefoils. Why are you expanding into windfoiling?
We were one of the first kitefoil producers, and we are always trying to be ahead of the trends. In 2016 we were the first brand to propose aluminium windfoils based on our kitefoil experience. At that time public interest was not yet there but we already knew it was coming…
In 2017, we are selling hundreds of windfoils around the world, it is one of the fastest growing market together with surf foils. Kitefoils is now stable, with a large number of brands.
3- There are many new brands entering the windfoil market this year, and probably even more in 2018. What would you say is differentiating your brand and products from the others?
First of all, few brands can claim having such experience in foil design and even the “majors” are still catching up with production issues and other concerns, which we don’t have anymore.
We are designing our foils ourselves and have very fast product update rates, which allow us to be very reactive in terms of product modification. Also at we are offering one of the cheapest product loaded with tons of options, like adjustable stabilizers, carrying bag, multi support foil, etc…
So in short, lots of features and a really attractive price point.
We also have some unique products like our inflatable supfoil/windfoil board.
4- Your alloy foil Mono has a very competitive price for people who want to try foiling for the first time. What would say of its performance, compared to your more advanced carbon edition?
Our Manta Mono is a foil you can use for learning but also for casual racing. It was used during the PWA in Japan for example. We have participated in a few races in France with the alloy foil and we even finished ahead of many carbon foils in one of them.
You can also start with a basic kit and add on carbon wings to go faster later on.
Of course our carbon series are much faster, but cost nearly 3 times the price of our mono foils.
It is a surprisingly nice product and very useful as it is easy to transport. We packed it with the latest 30psi drop stitch technology, which allows us to have a fairly light (8.5kg) and rigid board.
Of course we can’t compare it with our full carbon models, but for supfoiling it is really nice and safe, you won’t get injured falling on the board!
We have the possibility to fit straps and use it as a real windsurf/windfoil board and here again it is really cool for the casual rider.
6- Windfoiling for the large public really started in 2017, but it is still confidential compared to regular windsurfing. How do you see the future of windfoil? Will it remain a niche within windsurfing, or will windfoil gear be in every windsurf quiver?
I guess it will take a few years to grow, but people are now realizing that they can fly using smaller gear after only 2 or 3 sessions, so they can resell their larger rig.
Recent survey shows that our customers are now riding foils 60-70% of the time, which mean that this is for them a great alternative or let’s say a new opportunity for light wind where before they could only sit on the beach.
7- Do you have anything to add as a final word?
Foiling is very addictive and opens an whole new world of riding opportunities. It is surely not as hard as people initially think. Also considering the fact that you can ride with smaller sails, today’s foils does not increase your quiver cost!