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Element XL: Smart Tabs, Hydrofoil, or both?-gctid811451

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    Element XL: Smart Tabs, Hydrofoil, or both?-gctid811451

    Hey Element owners,

    I have heard some great things about smart tabs and hydrofoils on the XL. Has anyone used both on their XL?

    From the feedback I've read, the smart tabs are great for hole shots and help in rough waters. The hydrofoil, on the other hand, stops cavitations and bleed out on turns for increased performance. I am wondering if putting the two together would work well.

    What is your experience with either or both of these?

    I am not an engineer, don't have a Hydrofoil, but do have the Smart Tabs on my 185. I have read in many places that hydrofoils are not preferred for the simple reason that they put too much stress on the lower unit...when you look at one in action, to me at least it is easy to see that is very realistic and probably not what the lower unit was designed for.

    Smart Tabs in combination with a 4-blade prop have changed my boat's performance 100%. I don't know how the hydrofoil works on "bleed out" in turns, but my 185 is on RAILS now in turns with absolutely no chine walk and minimal loss of speed. I have lost all "bow wander" at idle speed.

    Personally, I think the hydrofoil is a little gimmicky as I have NEVER seen a boat manufacturer offer it. The Smart Tabs, however are offered all the time, either as an active or passive system...I personally may not have the most technologically or mechanically inclined mind, but I can see the mechanical thought and engineered design of not just Smart Tabs, but trim tabs in general. The hydrofoil not so $125 I can spend on my boat in my opinion......Smart Tabs
    Lake Hartwell, GA
    2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
    1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
    1987 SeaRay 300 - Twin 454’s
    1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
    1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
    1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
    1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO
    1996 SeaDoo GTX
    1999 SeaDoo GTX


      Don't know the answer - I have neither on my XL. I tend to agree with the above about the hydrofoil, I am an engineer but honestly know little to nothing about marine design. Were I to do either, I'd lean toward the tabs.

      That said, there is so much different between the 185 and the E18 hull design that they aren't even comparable. What works for one won't necessarily work for the other.

      Cavitation in turns is a real issue with the E1/8/XL, maybe all Elements. I think it's honestly designed in, or at least allowed as the hull was intended to corner flatter than a V and scrub off speed for newbie operators.

      I've learned to live with it. the only time it's an issue for me is pulling a tube etc and even then I can manage through it. Having trim right helps a lot too.


        Can not use both. I had a hydrofoil on mine, and when i put the tabs on the hydrofoil was working against them. I took the hydrofoil off, what a difference. I love the tabs.

        No bow wander on slower speeds. Gets on plane quicker, (omc 3.0 130hp) and turning and handling at higher speeds improved a lot.