With passion and a dream, engineering visionary Nick Leason cofounded Lift in 2009 to combine his love for surfing with the desire to fly. Foiling was relatively unknown at the time, but Nick had ambition and the willingness to work hard. He saw huge potential in these “flying surfboards” and immediately began designing foil boards despite his lack of experience.
A hydrofoil (or foil) board is a water board with a set of wings underneath it. Like an airplane, those wings lift the board off the water when a little speed is added. However, instead of flying on air the hydrofoil flies on water.
“We were hooked the first day we tried it and have been continuously designing and improving the sport with one goal in mind: foil board surfing for everybody,” said Nick, President and Head Engineer at Lift.
Nick always believed in the impossible. Every year on his birthday he blew out his candles wishing to fly like his favorite superhero, Superman. As time passed by his fascination with flight only intensified. However, it evolved into a different vision; flying on water.
He assembled a team composed of accomplished shapers, engineers and artists, and alongside his father built an operation equipped with state of the art manufacturing equipment.
“Designing and building foils has been incredibly challenging,” explained Nick. “At first glance you’d think it’s a simple toy. But the foil demands precision and balance to work properly. It has taken a lot of engineering skills, athletic ability and above all perseverance to design, build, test and repeat.”
Nick’s perseverance was tested on August 26, 2016, when Lift’s 4,000 square foot factory located in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico burned down. Luckily no one was hurt, but inventory was lost along with major machinery including one of the largest CNC board machines in the world.
Nick was in China developing his latest foil when he heard the devastating news, and was forced to make difficult decisions regarding the fate of his company overseas. Nick chose to shut down MHL Custom (a company focused exclusively on building custom stand up paddle boards) and concentrate all his efforts on rebuilding Lift.
Nick’s hard work paid off. As every other major water sports brand fixated on building surfboards, kite boards, and stand up paddle boards, Lift focused exclusively on hydrofoil technology and innovation. After almost a decade, Nick laboriously positioned Lift as a leader in hydrofoil technology.
“Lift is a hydrofoil brand. We believe in the growth of the sport and the possibilities of making user-friendly hydrofoils for everyone.” said Nick. “And this is just the beginning. Hydrofoiling is literally taking off and we are continuing our commitment to new designs and experiences through foiling. Just wait to see what we have in store for you as you learn this new sport and grow with us.”