Engineering a new future for Hydrofoil design
Posted: 02/Apr/2018


As an island nation, kite surfing is a sport that is enjoyed by many people up and down the UK every year, but current kit designs can limit the amount of time and enjoyment kite surfers can get out on the water.

James Crook is looking to rectify this problem with a new design for a hydrofoil that makes use of the latest thinking in mechanical engineering and new, and sustainable, materials that deliver a higher level of performance.

“The new design will enable kitesurfers to go out in a wider range of conditions,” he says. “Hydrofoils are essentially underwater wings to improve efficiency, but existing designs are too big for using in shallow waters and they are also harder to learn as they are single directional - my hydrofoil will be multi-directional to help overcome that, as well as more portable and designed for shallower waters.”

James is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers with 14 years experience of working in design, structural, fluid and dynamic analysis. He is keen that this project not only engages the local community through his partnerships with higher education institutions, but also that it promotes engineering as a career choice for young people.

“One of the requirements of becoming Chartered is to try and inspire more people to become engineers.  This project has been a great opportunity to do that; I currently have a Master’s Student from Southampton University helping me with the calculations for this new design of hydrofoil.

“I have also been going to other universities to make use of different facilities, and I have received a mini-grant to start exploring the latest materials that are available, with a focus on sustainability.

“I really wanted to engage more with the institution to help promote the story of what I am doing and to help inspire more people into mechanical engineering,” James added. “The amount of skill you can build up as a mechanical engineer can be underrated, so it is important to promote the profession and inspire the next generation of engineers.”