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The Hydrofoil Company maximized their design performance using CFD from SimScale

CAD upload to results in 3 hours

CAD upload to results in 3 hours

Over 11M cells meshed in 1 hour

Over 11M cells meshed in 1 hour

the hydrofoil company logo

Driven by the power of uncompromising innovation and a passion for ocean sport, The Hydrofoil Company was created purely as a research and development company, committed to maximizing hydrofoil performance at the highest level. Utilizing cutting edge software technology tailored to hydrofoil design, THE HYDROFOIL COMPANY has created an extensive collection of hydrofoils adapted to almost every ocean condition ranging from high-performance surf, open ocean swells, the massive waves at Pe’ahi, and beyond.

Hydrofoil Design Challenges

Validating Performance Requirements

With the recreational use of personal hydrofoils steadily increasing from coast to coast, The Hydrofoil Company has been privy to witness the birth of new and exciting aquatic sports; from kite, surf, windsurf, wake and even river hydrofoiling. Yet in the wake of this modern hydro-era, the demands on design and performance for all of these activities have proved to be incredibly challenging.

Within the surf hydrofoil market alone, designs must be extremely efficient at lower speeds, but also must be able to handle quick acceleration and be easily controlled once on the wave. These types of hydrofoils must be responsive as well as stable, which can be a formidable design task.

Hydrofoil velocity streamlines from CFD simulation

Alternatively, when designing high-performance racing foils that will experience unpredictable open ocean swells, the hydrofoil designs need to be concerned with glide, pump, and maintaining high average speeds. Racing and downwind hydrofoils must be capable of traveling long distances at record-breaking speeds. In addition to these types of hydrofoils, the other aquatic disciplines also present many challenges and specific requirements that vary widely from one to the next.

Hydrofoil wind tip vortices with velocity streamlines visualized using CFD simulation from SimScale

The Hydrofoil Company’s Design Process

Online Simulation and Prototype Testing

To keep up with the latest hydro-trends and continue to produce state-of-the-art hydrofoils, The Hydrofoil Company goes through an extensive phase of research and analysis. In order to do this most effectively, designs are modeled and simulated both virtually and through real-life testing. This design-cycle is repeated until the team creates the best iteration that meets the challenging requirements aforementioned.

hydrofoil wall shear stress testing
Insights into where the flow separation begins visualized with wall shear stress testing using SimScale

“One of the key components of the design phase has been the use of the SimScale platform and CFD. It allows us to simulate models before building prototypes.”

Carlos Merino

The Hydrofoil Company, Co-Founder

How They Solved It With SimScale

Analyzing Hydrofoil Behavior Through CFD

Through the incorporation of SimScale into their workflow, the team at The Hydrofoil Company can quickly gather flow analysis data, correct their designs through iterations, and maximize the overall performance of their hydrofoils.

velocity streamlines giving insights on how the flow behaves near the foil surfaces
Velocity streamlines giving insights on how the flow behaves near the foil surfaces

In total, The Hydrofoil Company simulated 76 design iterations over the course of 262 simulation runs. This took them 12,000 hours of CPU core hours. Each run utilized, on average, 64 cores running in parallel. For the team at The Hydrofoil Company, these runs yielded anywhere from 20% to 40% in performance and efficiency improvements.

Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation, the team could quickly draw key insights from hydrofoil behavior under a variety of fluid flow conditions. Due to these insights, CFD from SimScale has become an integral part of the development and validation process at The Hydrofoil Company.

“The time savings we’ve experienced from using SimScale are invaluable and at a fraction of the cost of a standard CFD software.”

The Hydrofoil Company, Co-Founder

Results & Next Steps

Riding the Waves of Success

For The Hydrofoil Company, the results gained from SimScale have allowed them to design faster than ever before. As they currently hold many downwind course records including the famed Molokai-to-Oahu crossing, their surf hydrofoils are considered some of the best in the industry. Moreover, their team riders continue to push the envelope of what is possible with a hydrofoil.

Co-founder Ridge Lenny pictured on a surf hydrofoil
Co-founder Ridge Lenny pictured on a surf hydrofoil

As a relatively new industry that is still gaining momentum, the future of hydrofoils is much like the ocean; wide-open, and in many respects unknown. The Hydrofoil Company plans to continue its research and development efforts, as well as continue to collaborate with SimScale on its innovative designs. While the team rides the waves of their recent successes, they will never stop pushing the limits of what is possible in this increasingly competitive aquatic playing field.

If you would also like to virtually test your design with CFD or FEA in the web browser, discover the SimScale plans or learn more about the platform’s features.