The Perks and Perils of Hydrofoiling — the Water Sport That Landed ‘Today’s’ Allison Langdon in Hospital

Allison Langdon

Today show host Allison Langdon knows all too well the perks, and the perils of hydrofoiling. 

The mum-of-two is set to undergo knee surgery and take a hiatus from her presenting duties, after sustaining injuries attempting the water sport during a segement for the Channel 9 show in Queensland. 

So what exactly is hydrofoiling, and is it always so dangerous?

Essentially hydrofoiling is a water sport whereby a hydrofoil is placed under a board —think surf or kite — or boat therby extending the vessel into the water. As soon as the board or boat gains speed, the hydrofoil lifts it out of the water due to kinetic energy.

Participants can achieve greater speeds in hydro surfing than in other hydrofoil sports such as kiteboarding and with far less wind and fewer and less powerful waves. although controlling the board exerts a fair amount of energy so typically cannot be maintained for long periods of time.

Hydrofoils work under the same principles as an aeroplane, with two wings: one in the back and one in the front to stabilise the board it’s attached to, with high and low pressure areas on the wing. As the vessel moves through the water, the wings create lift just like on an aeroplane and gives the rider an exhilarating sense of flight and freedom.

While they may seem like a modern day invention akin to the drone or hoverboard, the hydrofoil has actually been in use for well over a century with the first evidence of the technology being traced back to as early as 1869.

Later, hydrofoil boats were created by Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor of the telephone) and his chief engineer Casey Baldwin in 1908, and were used extensively during the First World War by American troops to avoid the waters which were trapped by mines.

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As with any adrenalin based activity, there are dangers to participating in hydrofoiling, particularly if you fall off awkwardly as Langdon did. 

If you are new to the water sport, it is always best to sign up for a lesson with a professional first and to follow all instructions and water safety protocols.

Channel 9 said in a statement that both Stefanovic and Langdon had “had a wonderful time” despite the “unfortunate accident.” 

“They had a comprehensive safety induction, and a thorough run-through of all aspects of hydrofoiling,” the network told News.com.au. “As with every shoot, safety requirements, briefings and subsequent after-care, are strictly followed and prioritised.”

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