Ever since Kai Lenny introduced us to the magic of SUP foiling in 2016, the SUP world hasn’t been able to get enough. But while Lenny and other SUP pros make riding a foilboard look easy, learning to do it yourself presents a formidable challenge. Most first-timers spend more time face-planting and less time foiling during those early sessions.

As with most things worth doing, learning to SUP foil takes practice. To help smooth out the process, we enlisted San Francisco-based paddler and videographer Clay Schmitz (aka Clay Island) for a crash course. In this three-part skills tutorial, Schmitz talks us through the process of learning to SUP foil--the good, bad and ugly of it. Because it’s always easier learning from someone else’s mistakes instead of your own.

In Part One, Schmitz documents his first few times attempting to SUP foil in Maui and the lessons he learned from those experiences. It provides an excellent look at the challenges SUP foiling presents and what steps to take to stay safe while getting your foil on for the first time.

Watch Part 2 of Learning to SUP Foil: Knowing Your Equipment 

Watch Part 3 of Learning to SUP Foil: Lessons Learned