With recent improvements, SUP foiling is becoming even easier. Often you just need a small wave to get some speed and then you’ll be up and gliding.
- Length. Stand up foil boards are smaller than your regular SUP or shortboard. Ultimately you want to get on the smallest board possible, that you can still comfortably paddle onto a wave. Once you get up and flying, a smaller board is far easier to handle, as there is less swing weight and more room to allow for error.
- Volume. Foil boards are generally much thicker. This is to get the volume needed to float you, but still keep the board as small as possible. But you still need enough volume to comfortably paddle into the wave.
- Boxes. Dedicated foil boards do not have fin boxes like traditional SUPs or shortboards, however they have either a Tuttle box or twin US fin box. These are strategically placed so that the foil is positioned in the right place to make flying efficient.
Fly silently and smoothly above the ocean.
Ride anything from smooth glassy waves to small onshore bumps.
All About Foil Wings
The foil is made up of the mast, fuselage and front and rear wings. As with boards, there’s many different combinations of front and rear wings, masts and fuselage sizes, depending on the rider and what you want to do.
Foils have two wings.
- Front Wing – The ‘Lifter’. This gets you out of the water. It gives you the uplift to be elevated. They are bigger than rear wings.
- Rear Wing – The ‘Stabiliser’. It’s job is to stabilise your ride.
Any foil can fly and get you up. It’s what speed, what manoeuvrability and what stability you want that will decide your foil set up.
- Small wings are generally faster, more agile and more manoeuvrable. But they compromise stability and ease of use. More experienced surfers will generally use a smaller wing – especially in bigger waves.
- Larger wings are best for downwinding and learning where you need more initial lift. It’s important to remember in downwinding that you’re only riding a bump, not a broken wave, so you need that extra lift to stay up.
Choosing Your Foil Mast
The mast connects the board and foil. A short mast is easier to control and is the better choice in your early days.
As you develop your skills, you can switch to a longer mast. Longer masts are great when you’re more experienced because you get more lift, they can handle more chap and can carve harder.
- 45cm is easiest to learn on. You’ll probably use this for a few months before progressing to a longer mast.
- 60cm (or 24.5″ Go Foil) is an option for learning if you’re going to put a lot of time in at the start. You’ll then be able to stay on this one for a bit longer.
- 68cm-75cm are popular choices for surfing (or 28.5″ Go Foil).
- 75cm is a good all rounder choice if you want to do a range of things – surfing, downwind, foiling on a river. You don’t need to go higher than 75cm for surfing.
- 90cm is usually used for wing winging or kiting.
Go Foil is a dedicated surf/SUP Foil brand. As the traditional market leader, Go Foil produce some of the highest quality equipment and are still leading the way in development. Go Foil are one of very few brands to offer full carbon set-ups. Meaning no need to pull you gear apart and rinse with fresh water every week or so to avoid corrosion. Carbon is light and strong, but adds about $300 on top of most alloy models.
Axis has it’s roots in kiteboarding and has now become one of the most in demand foils due to its compatibility. Axis Foils parts are all interchangeable. You can start with a small mast and small wing and then as you progress you can swap pieces out.
They have a combination of alloy masts and fuselage paired with carbon front and rear wings. The use of alloy in the mast makes it really stiff, so it’s very responsive in use. Axis Foils also has the largest range of wings on the market.
The NSP Airwave foil is a relative new comer to the market but it’s not chasing the other brands. The Airwave provides incredible stability and a smooth ride. Little inclusions in the ‘standard’ kit include rear wing shims which allow small changes in angle of the rear wing all providing different rides. As with Axis, the NSP is a combination of alloy and carbon components.
Better by design, built strong and built to last. The benchmark in quality, reliability and function.
Surf Foilboards (non-SUP)
A surf foilboard is much thicker than a traditional surfboard. It needs the extra volume so you can float on the surface of the water and lift up easily.
- Longer boards get you into waves earlier and are easier for learning.
- Shorter boards are better for carving and fitting into the wave.
Regular (or ‘prone’) surf foiling is harder to learn than SUP surf foiling. This is because the foil is lifting as you’re getting to your feet. You’re also reliant on having a proper breaking wave.
Compared to the SUP foilboards, the prone surf foil boards:
- are shorter,
- narrower – so you can paddle with your arms,
- have less volume, and
- have a square nose to give some more stability and surface area without increasing the length.
With the reduced width, it’s more important on the surf foilboards to get your feet in the right position.
What Is It?
You’ve got an inflatable “kite/sail” that you hold with a boom or inflatable strut. It’s not attached to the board, so that the board still lifts easily.
Why Use It?
The foil wing is one of the easiest ways to learn to foil – particularly if you already know how to use the wind. It gives you an easy means to get, and retain, speed. And once you’re going fast enough, you’ll get lift. No boat or jet ski required!
The foil wing is also a good introduction to the ultimate joy ride – downwind foiling. It’s much easier to stay lifted than trying with just a SUP.
It’s also a great toy for those good-for-nothing onshore days. You can get on the river and still have loads of fun.
Now those house jobs will never get done……