The 6 Best Hydrofoils for Outboard Motor

Best Hydrofoil for Outboard Motor featured photo

If you’re a boat owner, then you know the struggle of keeping your vessel moving through rough waters. Then there’s drag from your boat’s hull, and putting too much load on the engine could damage it over time.

Hydrofoils can help you tackle these problems, so we’ve rounded up the best hydrofoil for outdoor motors to get your craft ready for the next boating season.

We’ve put the SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil at the top of our list because it offers incredible stability even in very rough water conditions. Another thing we love about it is SE’s patented Turbo Tracs which reduces drag. Plus, it’s not as expensive as the other competing hydrofoils in the market.

While a well-fitting hydrofoil has several advantages, it may not be suitable for all boats and situations. You must consider the size of your craft and whether the hydrofoil you choose is compatible with your engine. The right foil will provide you with the optimum planning performance, giving you a smoother boating experience.

In this post, we’ll explore the best hydrofoils for outboard motors. We’ll also discuss a few things to consider before deciding to install a hydrofoil on your outboard. This way, you’ll be able to choose the right foil for your needs.

What Is Hydrofoil?

A hydrofoil is a triangular, fin-like device attached to the transom (flat surface at the back of the hull) of the vessel. They are intended to lift the boat’s hull from the water, reducing drag and allowing the vessel to glide more effectively and smoothly.

If you are a water sports enthusiast, a hydrofoil will help enhance the overall experience.

Outboard hydrofoils are typically found on smaller boats and personal watercraft (PWCs) like jet skis, dinghies, and speedboats. They function in tandem with the motor, producing lift and enhancing boating performance. Such devices are adjustable to let you fine-tune the amount of lift that your boat requires.

These hydrofoils are often made of lightweight, durable materials. You can choose from marine-grade aluminum and composite models. Most of them are also made to be easily mounted and detachable from the boat.

Now, on to how they work.

How Does Hydrofoil Work?

While the hull of your boat can cut through the water, it does not completely eliminate resistance. Outboard hydrofoils are one of the best solutions to effortless boating.

Hydrofoils work by pushing your boat’s hull out of the water using buoyancy and lift forces. Their triangular shape helps cut through the water with minimal drag. And their curved leading edge contributes to the lift. This results in minimizing drag while allowing the boat to glide faster and more effectively through the water.

Benefits of a Hydrofoil

Outboard hydrofoils do more than lift your boat’s hull. Here are some of the key advantages of installing one:

Fuel Economy

Since they require less power to move across the water, outboard hydrofoils can be more fuel efficient than traditional boat hulls.

When your vessel is going at high speeds, there’s a significant amount of energy required to overcome the drag from the hull. A hydrofoil can reduce drag significantly. It allows your boat to go faster and consume less fuel. Your boat can go faster while still using the same amount of fuel.

That said, you must keep in mind that the level of fuel efficiency depends on the size and design of the hydrofoil, boat speed, how many passengers there are, and engine model.

Improved Motor Performance,

In theory, attaching a hydrofoil to an outboard motor should improve performance. It does so by minimizing drag on the hull and allowing the vessel to travel faster with less strain on the engine.

The faster you go, the more powerful the lift. But this also means that they may not give much of a performance advantage at a lower speed.

They’re not the best for boats that move at extremely low speeds or sail in shallow water because the hydrofoils may not have adequate clearance.

Improved Responsiveness

When you handle your boat, drag is one of your major foes. Since hydrofoils reduce drag, it makes sense that they will improve responsiveness, too. Less drag helps the boat to move faster and turn more smoothly by raising the hull out of the water.

However, it’s worth noting that some hydrofoils may be more successful than others at enhancing responsiveness. And the advantages may be more obvious at specific speeds or in certain water conditions.

Also, the perks of hydrofoils may be less apparent on larger, heavier boats or in rough water. This is because such situations can make it difficult for the foil to lift the hull.

Extended Motor Lifespan

As you may already know, foils reduce drag caused by the haul. So it lessens the amount of work that it has to do. This allows the engine to function more effectively and for longer periods of time without overheating or mechanical failure.

Maintenance Tip: Hydrofoils necessitate regular care to keep them in excellent condition. Make sure to clean and lubricate the foil and do a thorough inspection for any damage.

To clean your whale tail hydrofoil, use a marine degreaser. You can also do a good rub down using a soft microfiber to remove any grease, filth, or dirt that has accumulated.

The Best Hydrofoils for Outboard Motors

Best Overall: SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil

SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil

Thousands of boaters commend the SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil‘s impressive performance. This model could be a wonderful choice if you have an outboard motor of 35 to 300 hp. It’s a clamp-on hydrofoil that comes with a mounting kit so installation is straightforward.

This hydrofoil is made of Polypropylene, has a narrow streamlined profile, and it’s compact. One of its standout features is SE Sport’s patented Turbo Tracs. It’s a set of crescent-shaped grooves on the rear bottom that reduce drag.

Some of the reports we’ve read, however, claim that it reduces boat speed. But, in terms of handling, the SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil is a pleasure. Even in choppy conditions, it is incredibly stable and easy to operate.

It’s a bit pricier than other options and it’s not adaptable to larger boats, but this one already comes with all the hardware you need so we think it’s overall a nice option.


– Provides good stability, is easy to handle, and reduces drag

– Narrow streamlined profile and compact

– Great for small boats

– Comes with a mounting kit; easy to install


– Tends to slow down the boat

Best for Larger Engines: SE Sport 400 Hydrofoil

SE Sport 400 Hydrofoil

The SE Sport 400 Hydrofoil is among the most popular and well-reviewed models on the market right now, but it’s not the cheapest. If you’re looking for something to give your boat a boost, this one works with most outboards over 40 hp and provides the maximum lift while being stable.

It’s also relatively easy to install with the no-drill option and it comes with mounting hardware. Some users have reported that it improves their boat’s performance, especially in rough waters. Others have noted that it can help reduce fuel use. 

However, we don’t really recommend it for small boats since the increased weight of the hydrofoil and the increased drag it creates might have an adverse impact on their performance.

So, is it a good buy?

If you want to install it on a smaller boat, consider the weight and size of your vessel. However, we’ve seen people install it on their 16-foot Bayliner and it worked just fine. We’d opt for a more affordable SE Sport 300 first, but if you have a larger outboard motor, the 400 will perform well.

Plus, the universal design perhaps compels you to get this hydrofoil. It’s pretty sleek and has a solid build.


– Versatile and provides powerful lift and stability

– Power-efficient

– Well built

– Comes with a mounting kit; easy installation

– Sleek design


– Expensive

– May not work well for smaller boats

Durable Option: Stingray Classic Hydrofoil

Stingray Classic Hydrofoil

Given its sturdy aluminum build and smooth performance, the Stingray Classic Hydrofoil is a favorite option among water sports enthusiasts. This Stingray hydrofoil features an adjustable mast, which allows you to adapt the foil to your riding style and preferences.

In terms of performance, this Stingray outboard hydrofoil creates a smooth and stable ride—thanks to its well-designed profile. It can lift the board out of the water, allowing you to glide across the surface with the least resistance.

What we love about this model is that it suits both intermediate to advanced users, which is a plus if you’re just getting into using hydrofoils. However, while beginners may definitely practice on this foil, mastering it may take a bit more effort and skill.

One user noted that it works as advertised, but the bow stays flat at all speeds. This can be awkward and perhaps unsafe. It can make steering much more difficult and allow a lot of water into the bow. So for inexperienced users, you may want to consider using this in calm water like lakes and rivers.

We must applaud it for being fairly easy to install, though. But keep in mind that it doesn’t come with hardware. This means another expense and this model already costs more than $70.

Overall, the Stingray Classic Hydrofoil is a dependable and high-performing choice for anyone wishing to advance their hydro foiling skills.


– High-performing foil

– High-quality hydrofoil

– Beginner-friendly

– Easy to install


– Doesn’t come with mounting kit

– Bow remains flat at all speeds, making steering difficult

Best for Trolling: Davis Instruments Whale Tail XL Hydrofoil

Davis Instruments Whale Tail XL Hydrofoil

Aside from its streamlined design, the Davis Instruments Whale Tail XL Hydrofoil is also built for a wide range of engines. Many boaters commend this hydrofoil stabilizer for its capacity to improve boat stability, especially in choppy or rough water conditions.

This Davis hydrofoil uses the prop wash from the engine to improve the lift by going beyond the propeller and catching the rushing water. It’s power efficient, and you can even easily adjust the tilt of the hydrofoil and fine-tune it for better performance.

When it comes to durability, this hydrofoil does not disappoint. It’s made of marine-grade aluminum and has a durable anodized finish. It takes around 15 minutes to install and comes with stainless steel hardware. But, it requires a lot of skill to mount so it’s probably not the easiest to install.

Another con is that a few boaters find the fins too small and aren’t a fan of the flatter design. It’s also pricier than comparable models. That said, it works great for trolling as per users.


– Fits a wide range of boat motors

– Works wonders for trolling

– Power efficient

– Superb durability

– Comes with mounting hardware


– Not the easiest to install

– Pricier than comparable models

Best Value: Davis Instruments Doel-Fin Hydrofoil

Davis Instruments Doel-Fin Hydrofoil

If you’re looking for the best bang for the buck, you may want to check out the Davis Instruments Doel-Fin Hydrofoil. According to the manufacturer, this is the original hydrofoil designed by an aeronautical engineer to increase overall performance on all boats equipped with outboard engines or outdrive units.

It’s made from durable plastic and is engineered to bend individually to absorb impact. You can use it in a range of outboard motors. And it gets a lot of recognition because it saves fuel and money.

One of the user’s reports we’ve read claims that their boat gets on plane and maintains significantly lower throttle settings. It also improves trim adjustments and seems to have made steering more responsive.

On the flip side, though, if you’re a beginner, it can be difficult to control the trim tabs. You might feel as if you’ve sacrificed some top speed since the faster you traverse, the less trim you’ll have. It might be due to the lift from the foil. However, if you go slower, you might end up wasting more fuel.

But if there’s anything more to love about it. This hydrofoil offers easy installation and comes with a mounting kit.


– Works on a wide range of outboard motors

– Fuel economy

– Increases performance

– Comes with a mounting kit; easy to install

– Affordable


– Not beginner-friendly

– Plastic build isn’t the most durable

Good To Consider: Attwood 9401–7 Hydrofoil

Attwood 9401–7 Hydrofoil

Another great option, if you’re looking to save money, would be the Attwood 9401–7 Hydrofoil. It has that classic wing design that’s durable and can be a powerful partner for under 50 hp outboard motors, improving planning and stability. This hydro stabilizer is made of designed molded resins so it’s fairly durable.

It outperforms conventional flat hydrofoils by lowering drag while the hull is on plane, minimizing cavitation, and improving steering. In fact, one user fitted the hydrofoil on a 50hp 15-foot boat and it takes off with four passengers instead of three. And it does so without any loss of peak speed.

The Altwood hydrofoil also seems to reduce fuel consumption and it’s very easy to install with the mounting kit inclusion.

On the downside, however, it might not work for some outboard models. But it’s also not a one-size-fits-all situation!


– Improves overall performance

– Maintains speed

– Fuel economy

– Easy to install and comes with a mounting kit

– Affordable


– Doesn’t work on certain outboards

Things To Consider Before Buying an Outboard Hydrofoil

Hydrofoils can be an investment. You must carefully consider a few factors including:

Material and Durability

The best hydrofoil for an outboard motor should be capable of withstanding wave impact. It should be durable enough to survive constant immersion in water. So, make sure to get one made from durable and corrosion-resistant materials.

As you shop, you’ll most likely come across hydrofoils made of plastic. This material allows it to resist the impact of sea waves while remaining fairly flexible.

There are also hydrofoils made from solid marine-grade aluminum steel. Such hydrofoils are great for providing balance and boat stability.

Boat Size

The size of your boat is important when installing a hydrofoil. Certain hydrofoil stabilizers are good for use on bigger boats and have a significant impact. They provide various advantages.

However, most of them generally work best on small and mid-sized vessels under 20 feet in length like fishing boats and recreational boats.


Check the compatibility of the hydrofoil with your engine and boat. Some models are designed for specific outboards or boat types. Others are more adaptable.

Mounting Option

The mount type is an important consideration. You can choose from two options: drill-mount hydrofoils and drill-free hydrofoils.

Also known as clamp-on hydrofoils, drill-free mount options let you fasten the board onto the lower unit of your motor without drilling holes. You can do this using a set of bolts or a clamping mechanism. Such a mount type is a popular option since it’s fairly easy to install and you can remove it when not in use.

The downside of drill-free hydrofoils is that they are prone to causing damage to your outboard motor or slipping off the cavitation plates when in operation.

If you’re not looking forward to such a mishap, consider drilling your hydrofoil into your cavitation plate.

Ease of Installation

Most hydrofoils, whether drilled or clamp-on, are rather easy to install. But keep in mind that some models don’t come with a mounting kit, which comes with an additional cost. If you can, make sure that your hydrofoil purchase includes the hardware.

Price and Warranty

Hydrofoils can be costly. This is especially true if the model you choose doesn’t come with the additional hardware required to install it on your engine. Some models may cost as little as $30, while higher-end ones may cost around $70 to $100. Consider if the advantages of a hydrofoil outweigh the costs.

Another factor to think about is the warranty. It protects your investment in case something goes wrong with the hydrofoil. This typically covers defects in materials or craftsmanship. Some warranties may also cover damages that occur as a result of normal use, such as wear and tear or accidental damage.

It varies so make sure to carefully read the terms of the warranty before buying a hydrofoil.


Should I put a hydrofoil on my outboard?

Yes, but it depends on your current circumstances and boating requirements.

Adding a hydrofoil to an outboard enhances boat performance in certain situations. When your boat is moving at high speed, for example, the hydrofoil reduces drag and improves stability. So the more lift the hydrofoil provides, the quicker you traverse. This also means less strain on the engine.

What size hydrofoil do I need?

It’s recommended that a hydrofoil should be at least 30 to 40 liters more volume than your body weight in kilograms. So, if you weigh 80 kilograms, you should get a 120-liter capacity board.

Do hydrofoils work in rough water?

While hydrofoils can help reduce drag, in general, they perform better in calm waters. conditions and can be fitted with features including variable geometry or active control systems. These features can help maintain lift and stability in rough waters.

Keep in mind that how hydrofoils perform in rough water will depend on their specific design and features. The size and kind of vessel on which it’s mounted also matter.

At what speed do hydrofoils work?

The speed at which a hydrofoil can perform depends on several factors. This includes the hydrofoil’s design and size, your boat’s weight and shape, the water conditions, and the power of the propulsion system.

On average, hydrofoils should be able to reach high speeds of between 50 to 60 knots. A hydrofoil should achieve this speed without suffering too much from the effects of cavitation. However, depending on the vessel’s design and function, the ideal speed for a hydrofoil may differ.

Some hydrofoils are built for maximum speed. Others are intended for stability and maneuverability in rough waters.

Are hydrofoils hard to learn?

It can be challenging, especially for those who are new to boating or have little expertise with boats. They require distinct skills and experience, and you need to be well-versed in the hydrofoil’s special controls and operating features.

But you can always start somewhere. Start with a foil board that’s the same size as a standard surfboard or smaller. Try to practice on smaller waves while wearing a helmet. Take your time here and be careful since it’s definitely going to be a learning curve.

If you want to get serious about it, you can do proper training and instruction from a qualified instructor. The lessons may involve learning about the various parts of the hydrofoil and how they function. You’ll also learn how to correctly manage the craft and navigate in various water conditions.

So, What’s the Best Outboard Hydrofoil?

Our selected products have earned and continue to gain appreciation from boaters and water sports enthusiasts. And we’re optimistic that you, too, will be a proud owner of one of these hydrofoils.

If you want to, you may try to get the SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil. It’s our top pick because it delivers the greatest stability and is compatible with a wide range of outboard motors. Plus, it’s easy to install and reasonably priced in comparison to its rivals.

However, if you want something more adaptable, you may want to get the SE Sport 400 Hydrofoil instead. It’s slightly more expensive than the SE 300 but it will give you more versatility.

Whichever option you choose, these outboard foils will come in handy. Make sure that they are compatible with your boat’s engine and let us know how they worked out for you. Good luck!

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