Forums > Wing Foiling General

400 Hours On Foil: A summer on narrow boards and the search for a perfect surf experience.

Reply
Created by BWalnut 3 months ago, 17 Nov 2023
BWalnut
WA, 160 posts
17 Nov 2023 2:34PM
Thumbs Up

Hi Everyone! I originally posted this in a facebook group a few months ago but I've been asked to repost it in forums, which I prefer as well. It's so much easier to have conversations and keep track of things here. Please enjoy and let me know if you have questions!

*this is a long post.

Before I dive in I want to qualify a few things:

1. I am not claiming to be an expert. I've put in a lot of hours, and I'm sharing my experience. I'm really excited about the progression of our sport and I'm giving back to the community with the data I've acquired. Hopefully you can use this info to have more fun, progress faster, and save money.

2. One of the biggest flaws I see in people looking for new gear is they ask "who makes the best.. fill in the blank (foil, wing, board)?" While I also desire to have the best, this is a flawed question. Look at any post asking that and you'll discover that whatever brand they ride, rep, sell is "second to none!" Instead, I want to encourage people to ask themselves "What is the most important trait in any given piece of gear to me?" or, "What is my preferred style of foiling, and what traits enhance that?" Then, research what makes those traits work so you can qualify peoples answers and hunt for the right gear.

3. Narrow boards should not be restricted to down winding or light wind riding.
In the spirit of #2 I'll tell you what the absolute most important traits to me are:
Board: Fast on the water, surfs well.
Foil: Roll, glide, stall speed.
Wing: Flagging stability, small.
These traits are important to me because all I want to do is surf. I'm not here to jump, mow the lawn, downwind, or do fancy wing tricks and maneuvers. Nothing against anyone who does those things, I've tried them too, I'm just here to surf. So, all of my research is aimed at perfecting my experience wing surfing the Columbia River. As such, you may see things from a different perspective than I do. That's cool too, this isn't dogma.
The gear I learned on:
5'10" x 29" 123l Kalama e3 15.5lbs
Kujira 1500 foil.
Progressed to:
4'8" x 26" 83l Kalama e3 13lbs
Kujira 1210 foil.
Rider and gear details for 2023:
85kg rider - I don't have any legendary skills but I think I can do some pretty fun zig zags on the waves.
3rd season winging. First season dedicated to winging.
Foils: Cloud IX Surf Foils 550 square cm-1780 square cm
Wings: Cloud IX 2.8m, 3.5m, 4.2m Strike v3 2m and 3m
Boards:
Kalama Barracuda 8'x21" 111.68l 13.5lbs
Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 5'3"x22" 83l 11.5lbs
Sunova Carver 5'10"x20" 85l (on order)

Board Takeoff:
The very first thing you will notice with a narrow board is the speed and glide that you can generate while on the water and off of foil. This is undeniable and all you have to do to verify this is to look at downwind paddlers of various disciplines and you'll notice that nobody is out there trying to make their gear wide and short. It doesn't matter if they are on a downwind SUP, SUPfoil, surfski, outrigger canoe, etc. As such, let's just agree that every other sport has gotten that right. So, how does that actually apply to winging? Speed is what you need to get on foil. It doesn't matter if you have a low aspect, high aspect, thin, or thick foil. You need a certain amount of forward speed to get them all activated. A narrow hull is going to cut through the water and generate speed with less effort than is needed with a wider hull. This allows you to consistently use smaller wings to generate the same amount of speed to activate the lift you need with your foil. The next thing to consider is glide. You may or may not notice that when you are trying to get on foil, if you stop pumping your wing and flag out while on the water your board comes to a stop really quickly. With a narrow hull that is not the case. Once you have generated speed, you lose it far less quickly than a wide hull. So, when you are pumping your foil and you are cycling through the period of generating speed, to recovering the wing, you aren't losing the same amount of hull speed during that recovery period. As such, fewer pumps for a shorter duration are necessary to get you up on foil. I have plenty of footage of me slogging with my 4'8" x 26" 83l Kalama e3 and struggling to get up on foil with my kujira 1500 and 4.5m wing in light winds. Yet, my Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 5'3"x22" 83l has gotten me up in winds as light as 8 knots with my Cloud IX fs1150 and 4.2m wing. Same liters. Different shapes. Smaller wing and foil.

Swing Weight:
Ah yes, the question/statement that most jump to "yeah but the swing weight is terrible." We are all used to the idea that longer, wider boards, are not as fun to ride as shorter, wider boards. This is true. My 5'10"x29" e3 was an absolute dump truck to ride while my 4'8"x26" e3 was way more fun in the air. However, in my opinion, the wider boards are relying on the yaw axis far too much to turn. If you look at the way a surfer turns, they don't yaw side to side to initiate turns and move like a car. They roll the board rail to rail to crank turns. That's why you see surfers on narrow boards with their feet in fixed positions, while SUP surfers have to move their feet rail to rail to be able to roll the board through turns. This can be applied to narrow boards vs wide boards in winging. Narrow boards are more capable of initiating a roll as well as moving through it faster. (the foil setup below also matters, to be discussed later). In my experience, a board that rolls well produces a superior surfing experience to a board that doesn't. As such, my original, beginner 5'10"x29" e3 was terrible to swing, but my 8'x21" Barracuda is a blast to ride. It rolls into the turn fast and then relies on the fuse length to crank the turn. Look at the footage of all the badass downwind supfoilers we have in the gorge. They are cranking turns and throwing the tips out on their foils. You don't see anyone doing that with boards of equal volume that are short and wide. Last, is a 96" Barracuda actually 96" of swing weight!? The answer is a simple no. Due to the fact that your foil track boxes sit farther forward I have found that while my 96" Barracuda is 32" longer than my 63" e3, my mast is so far forward on the Barracuda that the nose of the board is actually only sticking out 17" further, not 33". ROUGHLY I'm expecting that the narrow boards that are slightly longer only gain 6" of swing length for every 12" of board length that are added to them.

For what it's worth, after my first time riding my 8'x21" Barracuda with my surf foils, I sold my 4'8"x26" e3 and have never wished I had it back.

"Yeah, but even if you can swing it you'll be clipping the nose on waves and would never be able to tack it unless you had a mast over 90cm."
Well, I had never even tried a tack before someone said this to me and am never one to shy away from a challenge I grabbed the 8' barracuda and my 66cm mast and went out to the river to learn tacks. I got my first toeside tacks after about 10 attempts. So yes, you can tack these boards. What about clipping the nose though? Sure, if you are in the bottom of a small period swell trough you can catch the nose. However, I typically ride a 66-76cm mast and it didn't take much for me to adapt to this. On larger swell it's a non-issue. When I use my 86cm mast, I don't have an issue either.

Aren't these boards too tippy?
This is what the shop told me when I wanted to buy one. I disagree. Your foil is a massive stabilizer for side to side issues and the length of the board increases stability as well. Plus, when you are on this board it's hard to be in the wrong position. There's 7-9" less of side to side space to incorrectly position yourself on. The instant your wing is in the air these boards rocket forward and stabilize 100%. If you can learn to foil, you can learn to balance on these boards. That being said, some boards have rounded hulls which I personally found to be less stable than boards like the barracuda that have sharper angles on the hull.

Gear Selection:
In my experience the takeoff is far better, and the swing weight is mitigated by the enhanced roll. This leads us to performance gains in other departments. A higher level of speed is generated and maintained by glide when using smaller wings. Most of us would agree, smaller wings are a joy to use. Most people know the feeling of needing a bigger wing to get on foil, but wishing you had a smaller wing once you were in flight. Many resort to using a harness or grunting through the wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain caused by being overpowered. In years past I dealt with all the elbow issues and self PT to try and keep my body fine. I wouldn't even play tug of war with my dog during the summer since my elbows would be too fragile. This year, with more winging than ever before I have had ZERO need for any PT and I still get to play with my dog. Being able to get on foil with the same size wing you need once up is a delight.
The added speed also allows you to activate much smaller foils. As a novice rider who was pushed to "lower your liters!" and "get a shorter board!" I was severely hamstrung with big wings and big foils. Honestly, two years in, I felt like winging sucked. This year in fact I intended to only kite and supfoil but I broke my ribs at the start of the season and had to give up kiting (harness pain). Fortunately I had bought the Barracuda to supfoil on and had no clue how big of an impact it was going to have on me. I had never ridden a foil smaller than the Kujira 1210 when I got it, but within two weeks I was capable of riding the Cloud IX fs700. I think most would argue that is a shocking change in equipment over such a short period of time. Things get even more interesting at this point. If we compare the swing weight experience of a small, high performance board we still see it beat the performance of a Barracuda if both use large foils. However, as soon as the wind reaches 25 knots the Barracudas hull speed allowed me to use foils down to the size of the fs550 with a 2.8m wing this summer. I do not believe we see many foilers in the gorge riding gear that small. I could be wrong, but I just haven't met many using gear of that size. The shocking reduction in foil size also dramatically increases the performance of a board like the Barracuda, further eliminating the "swing weight" argument because the performance of a small foil dramatically speeds up the 8' board.

What happens when you go short and narrow? How does that affect performance?
I'm exploring this right now and am trying to do it as scientifically as possible. My shortboard comparisons:
Kalama e3 wing/sup 4'8"x26" 83l 13lbs
Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 5'3"x22" 83l 11.5lbs
Sunova Carver 5'10"x20" 85l (on order)

You'll notice that I am keeping the liters the exact same across each board. In the spirit of getting the best possible data and comparisons I decided to order a Carver in the same liters (as close as possible), but with a longer, narrower shape. (I really dislike the question of "how many liters is your board?" let's talk shape before we grind on liters). Takeoff between the 4'8" and 5'3" e3 is incomparable. The fact that I've ridden my fs700 with a 3.5m wing on my 5'3" e3 is inconceivable to think of when I was struggling with my 1210 and the 4'8" last year. However, how does the 5'3"x22" e3 compare to the 8'x21" Barracuda? This is a bit of an interesting conundrum. When I ride my Barracuda I am able to rip full 180 degree cutbacks with the foil tips breached and the nose going from straight downwind to straight upwind. It's a blast and the thing that stands out to me is that I, personally, have the skill level to PUSH the Barracuda extremely hard. However, what happens when I try to do the same with the e3? Well, interestingly, I have to perform differently. First, I have more time/experience on the Barracuda, probably 75 sessions. I rode that board for months and I have about 30 sessions of experience on the e3 so it's an unfair comparison at the moment. I may get there but here's what I've found. Just like short and wide is more responsive than long and wide, short and narrow is more responsive than long and narrow. More than a few times I have gone to crank turns on the 5'3"x22" e3 and the board has flat out gotten away from me! This never happened on my Barracuda and I don't remember it happening on my 4'8"x26" e3 either. So, what's happening here and why is it remarkable? In my opinion, the faster roll of the narrow board has allowed me to enhance performance with smaller foils. The faster roll of the narrow board is amplifying the effect of the foil below. As such, I have begun to look at the entire foil to board system in a completely different light. Since I bought a complete line of foils, stabilizers, and masts, I am able to mix, match, tune, test, and play with every little detail in my kit and I now look at every single piece of gear and ask myself how it will dampen, or amplify, the performance of the rest of my kit. I don't think of them individually any longer.
Mast length: Shorter masts amplify performance. Longer masts dampen performance.
Stabilizers: Smaller stabilizers amplify performance. Larger stabilizers dampen performance. (I'm wildly interested in stabilizers now that I am trying to figure out how to dampen performance).
Foil: Smaller foils amplify performance. Larger foils dampen performance.
Board: Short and narrow amplifies performance. Long and narrow dampens performance.
These amplification vs dampening characteristics are getting into the realm of extreme details for the average rider so the best way I can simplify it is like this: I mentioned above that I can PUSH the Barracuda as hard as my skill level will allow and it always performed. However, I am trying to KEEP UP with the same kit on the 5'3"x22" e3. Since I cannot PUSH the e3 my performance suffers. I am now becoming highly selective about which mast and stabilizer to match with each foil in order to actually dampen the e3. For this reason, I went LONGER with my Carver board. I want to have faster/easier takeoffs with smaller wings in lighter winds (not that the e3 is bad) and I want the slightly longer board to dampen the foils below. However, the carver will be 20" wide, made in vapor construction with no footstrap inserts, and could end up significantly lighter than the Kalama boards, so, perhaps, the dampening effect will not be as apparent? Time will tell on that one.

Progression!
I went from being bored with winging to being head over heels in love with it. Why? Because I'm never afraid to fall with a narrow board, the relaunch is so easy that it inspires me to try those turns and tip breaches I never thought were possible. My body never hurts. I can put in 4-6 hours a day without needing therapy since my wing doesn't destroy my body. I don't ever have to fly a wing bigger than 3.5m unless I specifically am testing ultralight capabilities of unique setups. As soon as the wind reaches 20 knots, I can use a 2.8m or smaller wing. Having a smaller wing allows me to use the wing to slash bigger, more powerful turns without getting thrown off balance. Most days I'm trying to see how many tips out frontside/backside turns I can link in a row before I lose it.

Safety: Progression is often unlocked in relation to how safe I feel and when I'm pushing the limits. it's nice to know that the narrow boards paddle back to shore really well. It could be light winds or broken gear in heavy winds, it's much easier to paddle a narrow shape back and it inspires me to go for it.

With my necessity to actually slow the new e3 down, I have room for more progression on an absolute speedster of a board if my body can develop the movement to keep up.

The perfect kit:
For me, the perfect kit is going to be an evolving target. Right now, figuring out the exact board size that unlocks riding a 3.5m wing and my fs850 (personal favorite) in winds down to 12 knots is the goal. I also want to feel like I am in control and able to push my gear, not chase it (I'm close to this now, recent stabilizer testing has been great). I'm dreaming of getting my wing quiver down to 3.5m for 10-19 knots and 2.5m wing with 700 or 550 foils for 20 knots and above. I'm hopeful that the new cutting edge fabrics matched with the narrow hulls will allow this to happen. I also greatly appreciate saving my wing money and putting it into my foils. Wings are more expensive than foils, don't last as long, and I, personally, would much rather ride slightly different sized foils that I can amplify performance on with mast/stabilizer combinations than use a larger wing.

Additional testing needed:
While I am currently testing all of these boards at close to neutral buoyancy I need to collect additional data on how positive, and negative buoyancy impacts takeoff and wing size. Once I have my custom and the feedback from it I will be more capable of evaluating if I should pursue positive, vs negative buoyancy first. My current data is pointing to +5 to +10 L/kg will be nice for shorter/narrow boards in the lightest wind. I think neutral buoyancy will be easy for boards that are closer to 6'. Negative 10 l/kg buoyancy should be easy for moderate winds (20 knots and above) and short/narrow boards.
I also need additional data on how narrow becomes too narrow. I went with 20" on my Carver for two reasons. 1. Because it's different than my other two boards (22" e3 and 21" Cuda). 2. Because in scouring the internet for data on something that is very new I came across commentary from James Casey (he's better at foiling than me) who said that he feels a 20" board is more fun to turn than an 18" board. He didn't expand on why, but I am making the assumption that the 18" board over amplifies the roll, and the 20" board dampens it to an enjoyable state. I will admit that I can feel the width difference from 21"-22" and I expect the 20" board will be noticeable as well.
Last, I'm interested in understanding what happens when the board becomes lighter vs heavier. Unfortunately, I think this will be the hardest data to come by since I can't really afford to buy/own a huge quiver of wing boards.

Where to get boards!?
The industry is shifting as we speak to accommodate for this update in board design. Amos Shapes makes a Sultan Wing board that is 4 months out right now. Great reviews on that one. Kalama has terminated his e3 line and I've been told they don't expect to bring it back. Omen makes narrowish boards but doesn't have the best size range for all riders. Armstrong has released a narrowish line but they, like Omen, didn't quite get as narrow as I had hoped. Right now my top choice is Sunova (no affiliation) who is partnered with James Casey and has released a "Carver" wing board to his pro line. I love the way these boards look and the dims are top notch IMO. Plus, with Sunova, you can customize EVERYTHING on your board since they don't do production runs on these. Yes, you have to wait 2 months to get your board. But you can tweak the dims, remove the footstrap inserts (save a pound) change colors, they told me basically anything is possible (added price). I highly recommend ordering a Sunova board through a shop you like/want to support. It will be shipped from overseas straight to your home so there's nothing holding you back from picking any shop around the world to order from. I ordered mine from the folks at Poseidon Paddle and Surf in Santa Monica. Top notch customer service, Christian helped me out with ensuring my slight alterations would be included.

In Closing:
I know this was a huge write up but hopefully it gets us all thinking about the future of boards, foils, wings. If you have any questions about narrow boards and surf experiences please let me know. If there is any way I can help you out with your pursuit of more epic days at the river with your friends, reach out and we can have a chat, or even better, go for a ride!

Thanks for taking the time!

FAQ:
Since initially sharing this a few additional questions have been asked.

Don't long boards get caught in the wind really badly?
Yes, walking to the water with an 8' board in 40 knots sucks and is dangerous. On the water, I have had zero issues and have heard zero reports of others complaining about this. If you actually do the rough math, there's more surface area for the wind to grab on my 4'8"x26" 83l board than on my 5'3"x22" 83l board.

I think these boards are all hype from the DW industry to sell more product. How can it outperform my 45l sinker?
If you are a hyper advanced rider who can actually fully rip on a tiny board then no, it wont compare. Congrats! You've reached an extreme niche and that's something to be proud of. For everyone else, from beginners, to intermediates, to advanced surfers, to lightwind riders, these boards are awesome and have a lot to offer. You've got to stop comparing an 8' cuda to a sinker. However, a 5'3"x22" narrow board has an insane number of benefits both on the water and on foil that can't be refuted.

gregc
VIC, 1298 posts
17 Nov 2023 6:50PM
Thumbs Up

I just went from a 5'8 x 29 to a Casey Aviator Pro 6'6 x 25 as my wing board. I compared the foil placement and frankly I have no more board out in front of me and instead of the board being a big square it's a narrower outline. I am also learning the same things with the size of front wing where I would use a big assed Axis 1300 for light winds, I could now get away with a 1010 and I think for moderate winds (from about 15 to 25 knots) I will be on a 970. Wings are also the same where I would use my 6 I will now use a 5 and I may even buy a 4m in the future. The efficiency of these things is just stupid. I have also learnt that I need to be much better when turning as my normal fat footed approach is not put up with, and that is ok

saltwaterwine
NSW, 66 posts
17 Nov 2023 7:14PM
Thumbs Up

Plus one for Barracuda. 7'10" 102lt.

crashflow
69 posts
17 Nov 2023 4:31PM
Thumbs Up

This was incredibly helpful and thought provoking. Thanks for taking the time to write it up!

Of course the net is that now I want to buy more gear...

hilly
TAS, 7169 posts
17 Nov 2023 9:19PM
Thumbs Up

Awesome post. Agree with it all. Narrow is the future

Shlogger
387 posts
18 Nov 2023 1:35AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
BWalnut said..
Hi Everyone! I originally posted this in a facebook group a few months ago but I've been asked to repost it in forums, which I prefer as well. It's so much easier to have conversations and keep track of things here. Please enjoy and let me know if you have questions!

*this is a long post.

Before I dive in I want to qualify a few things:

1. I am not claiming to be an expert. I've put in a lot of hours, and I'm sharing my experience. I'm really excited about the progression of our sport and I'm giving back to the community with the data I've acquired. Hopefully you can use this info to have more fun, progress faster, and save money.

2. One of the biggest flaws I see in people looking for new gear is they ask "who makes the best.. fill in the blank (foil, wing, board)?" While I also desire to have the best, this is a flawed question. Look at any post asking that and you'll discover that whatever brand they ride, rep, sell is "second to none!" Instead, I want to encourage people to ask themselves "What is the most important trait in any given piece of gear to me?" or, "What is my preferred style of foiling, and what traits enhance that?" Then, research what makes those traits work so you can qualify peoples answers and hunt for the right gear.

3. Narrow boards should not be restricted to down winding or light wind riding.
In the spirit of #2 I'll tell you what the absolute most important traits to me are:
Board: Fast on the water, surfs well.
Foil: Roll, glide, stall speed.
Wing: Flagging stability, small.
These traits are important to me because all I want to do is surf. I'm not here to jump, mow the lawn, downwind, or do fancy wing tricks and maneuvers. Nothing against anyone who does those things, I've tried them too, I'm just here to surf. So, all of my research is aimed at perfecting my experience wing surfing the Columbia River. As such, you may see things from a different perspective than I do. That's cool too, this isn't dogma.
The gear I learned on:
5'10" x 29" 123l Kalama e3 15.5lbs
Kujira 1500 foil.
Progressed to:
4'8" x 26" 83l Kalama e3 13lbs
Kujira 1210 foil.
Rider and gear details for 2023:
85kg rider - I don't have any legendary skills but I think I can do some pretty fun zig zags on the waves.
3rd season winging. First season dedicated to winging.
Foils: Cloud IX Surf Foils 550 square cm-1780 square cm
Wings: Cloud IX 2.8m, 3.5m, 4.2m Strike v3 2m and 3m
Boards:
Kalama Barracuda 8'x21" 111.68l 13.5lbs
Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 5'3"x22" 83l 11.5lbs
Sunova Carver 5'10"x20" 85l (on order)

Board Takeoff:
The very first thing you will notice with a narrow board is the speed and glide that you can generate while on the water and off of foil. This is undeniable and all you have to do to verify this is to look at downwind paddlers of various disciplines and you'll notice that nobody is out there trying to make their gear wide and short. It doesn't matter if they are on a downwind SUP, SUPfoil, surfski, outrigger canoe, etc. As such, let's just agree that every other sport has gotten that right. So, how does that actually apply to winging? Speed is what you need to get on foil. It doesn't matter if you have a low aspect, high aspect, thin, or thick foil. You need a certain amount of forward speed to get them all activated. A narrow hull is going to cut through the water and generate speed with less effort than is needed with a wider hull. This allows you to consistently use smaller wings to generate the same amount of speed to activate the lift you need with your foil. The next thing to consider is glide. You may or may not notice that when you are trying to get on foil, if you stop pumping your wing and flag out while on the water your board comes to a stop really quickly. With a narrow hull that is not the case. Once you have generated speed, you lose it far less quickly than a wide hull. So, when you are pumping your foil and you are cycling through the period of generating speed, to recovering the wing, you aren't losing the same amount of hull speed during that recovery period. As such, fewer pumps for a shorter duration are necessary to get you up on foil. I have plenty of footage of me slogging with my 4'8" x 26" 83l Kalama e3 and struggling to get up on foil with my kujira 1500 and 4.5m wing in light winds. Yet, my Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 5'3"x22" 83l has gotten me up in winds as light as 8 knots with my Cloud IX fs1150 and 4.2m wing. Same liters. Different shapes. Smaller wing and foil.

Swing Weight:
Ah yes, the question/statement that most jump to "yeah but the swing weight is terrible." We are all used to the idea that longer, wider boards, are not as fun to ride as shorter, wider boards. This is true. My 5'10"x29" e3 was an absolute dump truck to ride while my 4'8"x26" e3 was way more fun in the air. However, in my opinion, the wider boards are relying on the yaw axis far too much to turn. If you look at the way a surfer turns, they don't yaw side to side to initiate turns and move like a car. They roll the board rail to rail to crank turns. That's why you see surfers on narrow boards with their feet in fixed positions, while SUP surfers have to move their feet rail to rail to be able to roll the board through turns. This can be applied to narrow boards vs wide boards in winging. Narrow boards are more capable of initiating a roll as well as moving through it faster. (the foil setup below also matters, to be discussed later). In my experience, a board that rolls well produces a superior surfing experience to a board that doesn't. As such, my original, beginner 5'10"x29" e3 was terrible to swing, but my 8'x21" Barracuda is a blast to ride. It rolls into the turn fast and then relies on the fuse length to crank the turn. Look at the footage of all the badass downwind supfoilers we have in the gorge. They are cranking turns and throwing the tips out on their foils. You don't see anyone doing that with boards of equal volume that are short and wide. Last, is a 96" Barracuda actually 96" of swing weight!? The answer is a simple no. Due to the fact that your foil track boxes sit farther forward I have found that while my 96" Barracuda is 32" longer than my 63" e3, my mast is so far forward on the Barracuda that the nose of the board is actually only sticking out 17" further, not 33". ROUGHLY I'm expecting that the narrow boards that are slightly longer only gain 6" of swing length for every 12" of board length that are added to them.

For what it's worth, after my first time riding my 8'x21" Barracuda with my surf foils, I sold my 4'8"x26" e3 and have never wished I had it back.

"Yeah, but even if you can swing it you'll be clipping the nose on waves and would never be able to tack it unless you had a mast over 90cm."
Well, I had never even tried a tack before someone said this to me and am never one to shy away from a challenge I grabbed the 8' barracuda and my 66cm mast and went out to the river to learn tacks. I got my first toeside tacks after about 10 attempts. So yes, you can tack these boards. What about clipping the nose though? Sure, if you are in the bottom of a small period swell trough you can catch the nose. However, I typically ride a 66-76cm mast and it didn't take much for me to adapt to this. On larger swell it's a non-issue. When I use my 86cm mast, I don't have an issue either.

Aren't these boards too tippy?
This is what the shop told me when I wanted to buy one. I disagree. Your foil is a massive stabilizer for side to side issues and the length of the board increases stability as well. Plus, when you are on this board it's hard to be in the wrong position. There's 7-9" less of side to side space to incorrectly position yourself on. The instant your wing is in the air these boards rocket forward and stabilize 100%. If you can learn to foil, you can learn to balance on these boards. That being said, some boards have rounded hulls which I personally found to be less stable than boards like the barracuda that have sharper angles on the hull.

Gear Selection:
In my experience the takeoff is far better, and the swing weight is mitigated by the enhanced roll. This leads us to performance gains in other departments. A higher level of speed is generated and maintained by glide when using smaller wings. Most of us would agree, smaller wings are a joy to use. Most people know the feeling of needing a bigger wing to get on foil, but wishing you had a smaller wing once you were in flight. Many resort to using a harness or grunting through the wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain caused by being overpowered. In years past I dealt with all the elbow issues and self PT to try and keep my body fine. I wouldn't even play tug of war with my dog during the summer since my elbows would be too fragile. This year, with more winging than ever before I have had ZERO need for any PT and I still get to play with my dog. Being able to get on foil with the same size wing you need once up is a delight.
The added speed also allows you to activate much smaller foils. As a novice rider who was pushed to "lower your liters!" and "get a shorter board!" I was severely hamstrung with big wings and big foils. Honestly, two years in, I felt like winging sucked. This year in fact I intended to only kite and supfoil but I broke my ribs at the start of the season and had to give up kiting (harness pain). Fortunately I had bought the Barracuda to supfoil on and had no clue how big of an impact it was going to have on me. I had never ridden a foil smaller than the Kujira 1210 when I got it, but within two weeks I was capable of riding the Cloud IX fs700. I think most would argue that is a shocking change in equipment over such a short period of time. Things get even more interesting at this point. If we compare the swing weight experience of a small, high performance board we still see it beat the performance of a Barracuda if both use large foils. However, as soon as the wind reaches 25 knots the Barracudas hull speed allowed me to use foils down to the size of the fs550 with a 2.8m wing this summer. I do not believe we see many foilers in the gorge riding gear that small. I could be wrong, but I just haven't met many using gear of that size. The shocking reduction in foil size also dramatically increases the performance of a board like the Barracuda, further eliminating the "swing weight" argument because the performance of a small foil dramatically speeds up the 8' board.

What happens when you go short and narrow? How does that affect performance?
I'm exploring this right now and am trying to do it as scientifically as possible. My shortboard comparisons:
Kalama e3 wing/sup 4'8"x26" 83l 13lbs
Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 5'3"x22" 83l 11.5lbs
Sunova Carver 5'10"x20" 85l (on order)

You'll notice that I am keeping the liters the exact same across each board. In the spirit of getting the best possible data and comparisons I decided to order a Carver in the same liters (as close as possible), but with a longer, narrower shape. (I really dislike the question of "how many liters is your board?" let's talk shape before we grind on liters). Takeoff between the 4'8" and 5'3" e3 is incomparable. The fact that I've ridden my fs700 with a 3.5m wing on my 5'3" e3 is inconceivable to think of when I was struggling with my 1210 and the 4'8" last year. However, how does the 5'3"x22" e3 compare to the 8'x21" Barracuda? This is a bit of an interesting conundrum. When I ride my Barracuda I am able to rip full 180 degree cutbacks with the foil tips breached and the nose going from straight downwind to straight upwind. It's a blast and the thing that stands out to me is that I, personally, have the skill level to PUSH the Barracuda extremely hard. However, what happens when I try to do the same with the e3? Well, interestingly, I have to perform differently. First, I have more time/experience on the Barracuda, probably 75 sessions. I rode that board for months and I have about 30 sessions of experience on the e3 so it's an unfair comparison at the moment. I may get there but here's what I've found. Just like short and wide is more responsive than long and wide, short and narrow is more responsive than long and narrow. More than a few times I have gone to crank turns on the 5'3"x22" e3 and the board has flat out gotten away from me! This never happened on my Barracuda and I don't remember it happening on my 4'8"x26" e3 either. So, what's happening here and why is it remarkable? In my opinion, the faster roll of the narrow board has allowed me to enhance performance with smaller foils. The faster roll of the narrow board is amplifying the effect of the foil below. As such, I have begun to look at the entire foil to board system in a completely different light. Since I bought a complete line of foils, stabilizers, and masts, I am able to mix, match, tune, test, and play with every little detail in my kit and I now look at every single piece of gear and ask myself how it will dampen, or amplify, the performance of the rest of my kit. I don't think of them individually any longer.
Mast length: Shorter masts amplify performance. Longer masts dampen performance.
Stabilizers: Smaller stabilizers amplify performance. Larger stabilizers dampen performance. (I'm wildly interested in stabilizers now that I am trying to figure out how to dampen performance).
Foil: Smaller foils amplify performance. Larger foils dampen performance.
Board: Short and narrow amplifies performance. Long and narrow dampens performance.
These amplification vs dampening characteristics are getting into the realm of extreme details for the average rider so the best way I can simplify it is like this: I mentioned above that I can PUSH the Barracuda as hard as my skill level will allow and it always performed. However, I am trying to KEEP UP with the same kit on the 5'3"x22" e3. Since I cannot PUSH the e3 my performance suffers. I am now becoming highly selective about which mast and stabilizer to match with each foil in order to actually dampen the e3. For this reason, I went LONGER with my Carver board. I want to have faster/easier takeoffs with smaller wings in lighter winds (not that the e3 is bad) and I want the slightly longer board to dampen the foils below. However, the carver will be 20" wide, made in vapor construction with no footstrap inserts, and could end up significantly lighter than the Kalama boards, so, perhaps, the dampening effect will not be as apparent? Time will tell on that one.

Progression!
I went from being bored with winging to being head over heels in love with it. Why? Because I'm never afraid to fall with a narrow board, the relaunch is so easy that it inspires me to try those turns and tip breaches I never thought were possible. My body never hurts. I can put in 4-6 hours a day without needing therapy since my wing doesn't destroy my body. I don't ever have to fly a wing bigger than 3.5m unless I specifically am testing ultralight capabilities of unique setups. As soon as the wind reaches 20 knots, I can use a 2.8m or smaller wing. Having a smaller wing allows me to use the wing to slash bigger, more powerful turns without getting thrown off balance. Most days I'm trying to see how many tips out frontside/backside turns I can link in a row before I lose it.

Safety: Progression is often unlocked in relation to how safe I feel and when I'm pushing the limits. it's nice to know that the narrow boards paddle back to shore really well. It could be light winds or broken gear in heavy winds, it's much easier to paddle a narrow shape back and it inspires me to go for it.

With my necessity to actually slow the new e3 down, I have room for more progression on an absolute speedster of a board if my body can develop the movement to keep up.

The perfect kit:
For me, the perfect kit is going to be an evolving target. Right now, figuring out the exact board size that unlocks riding a 3.5m wing and my fs850 (personal favorite) in winds down to 12 knots is the goal. I also want to feel like I am in control and able to push my gear, not chase it (I'm close to this now, recent stabilizer testing has been great). I'm dreaming of getting my wing quiver down to 3.5m for 10-19 knots and 2.5m wing with 700 or 550 foils for 20 knots and above. I'm hopeful that the new cutting edge fabrics matched with the narrow hulls will allow this to happen. I also greatly appreciate saving my wing money and putting it into my foils. Wings are more expensive than foils, don't last as long, and I, personally, would much rather ride slightly different sized foils that I can amplify performance on with mast/stabilizer combinations than use a larger wing.

Additional testing needed:
While I am currently testing all of these boards at close to neutral buoyancy I need to collect additional data on how positive, and negative buoyancy impacts takeoff and wing size. Once I have my custom and the feedback from it I will be more capable of evaluating if I should pursue positive, vs negative buoyancy first. My current data is pointing to +5 to +10 L/kg will be nice for shorter/narrow boards in the lightest wind. I think neutral buoyancy will be easy for boards that are closer to 6'. Negative 10 l/kg buoyancy should be easy for moderate winds (20 knots and above) and short/narrow boards.
I also need additional data on how narrow becomes too narrow. I went with 20" on my Carver for two reasons. 1. Because it's different than my other two boards (22" e3 and 21" Cuda). 2. Because in scouring the internet for data on something that is very new I came across commentary from James Casey (he's better at foiling than me) who said that he feels a 20" board is more fun to turn than an 18" board. He didn't expand on why, but I am making the assumption that the 18" board over amplifies the roll, and the 20" board dampens it to an enjoyable state. I will admit that I can feel the width difference from 21"-22" and I expect the 20" board will be noticeable as well.
Last, I'm interested in understanding what happens when the board becomes lighter vs heavier. Unfortunately, I think this will be the hardest data to come by since I can't really afford to buy/own a huge quiver of wing boards.

Where to get boards!?
The industry is shifting as we speak to accommodate for this update in board design. Amos Shapes makes a Sultan Wing board that is 4 months out right now. Great reviews on that one. Kalama has terminated his e3 line and I've been told they don't expect to bring it back. Omen makes narrowish boards but doesn't have the best size range for all riders. Armstrong has released a narrowish line but they, like Omen, didn't quite get as narrow as I had hoped. Right now my top choice is Sunova (no affiliation) who is partnered with James Casey and has released a "Carver" wing board to his pro line. I love the way these boards look and the dims are top notch IMO. Plus, with Sunova, you can customize EVERYTHING on your board since they don't do production runs on these. Yes, you have to wait 2 months to get your board. But you can tweak the dims, remove the footstrap inserts (save a pound) change colors, they told me basically anything is possible (added price). I highly recommend ordering a Sunova board through a shop you like/want to support. It will be shipped from overseas straight to your home so there's nothing holding you back from picking any shop around the world to order from. I ordered mine from the folks at Poseidon Paddle and Surf in Santa Monica. Top notch customer service, Christian helped me out with ensuring my slight alterations would be included.

In Closing:
I know this was a huge write up but hopefully it gets us all thinking about the future of boards, foils, wings. If you have any questions about narrow boards and surf experiences please let me know. If there is any way I can help you out with your pursuit of more epic days at the river with your friends, reach out and we can have a chat, or even better, go for a ride!

Thanks for taking the time!

FAQ:
Since initially sharing this a few additional questions have been asked.

Don't long boards get caught in the wind really badly?
Yes, walking to the water with an 8' board in 40 knots sucks and is dangerous. On the water, I have had zero issues and have heard zero reports of others complaining about this. If you actually do the rough math, there's more surface area for the wind to grab on my 4'8"x26" 83l board than on my 5'3"x22" 83l board.

I think these boards are all hype from the DW industry to sell more product. How can it outperform my 45l sinker?
If you are a hyper advanced rider who can actually fully rip on a tiny board then no, it wont compare. Congrats! You've reached an extreme niche and that's something to be proud of. For everyone else, from beginners, to intermediates, to advanced surfers, to lightwind riders, these boards are awesome and have a lot to offer. You've got to stop comparing an 8' cuda to a sinker. However, a 5'3"x22" narrow board has an insane number of benefits both on the water and on foil that can't be refuted.


Awesome write up and very intuitive. Keep us posted.

leepasty
311 posts
18 Nov 2023 3:31AM
Thumbs Up

Let us know how you go on the 20" Carver. 5'3 x 22 rounded nose e3 isn't that narrow, more interested to hear about pointier 19-20 " boards

bolocom
NSW, 154 posts
18 Nov 2023 8:03AM
Thumbs Up

Pretty interesting write up. My experience is different, but we also wing in completely different conditions.
I had a narrow and longish dw board, but sold it. Yes it went up on foil easy and I could use a small wing and foil. But getting worked in the surf was not fun, and I found it to always had a bit of a life of its own. It wasn't super easy to ride at all. Great downwind with a small wing and linking runners. In real surf, horrible.
I am 90kg and had a 90l Amos, a 75l and 60l custom by Jason Pyke. I find the 60l 4'11 x 22' the easiest to use, just seats underwater super stable, easier to grab the wing and pops on foil with the same wind as the others. Once on foil doesn't even compare. Feels way more nimble in the surf, and I do enjoy jumping. So I like a compact board, with volume on the nose for landings and a bit of width.different toys for different uses.

RAF142134
317 posts
18 Nov 2023 7:31AM
Thumbs Up

Very interesting read, thanks for sharing your passion for water sports and your experience and goals. I foil in open ocean water and a gamechanger for me was moving from a 67cms mast to an 83cms mast. The other thing that I found was if you stick with a particular piece of gear (front foil in my case) you learn to ride it to its maximum potential because you know what it is going to do almost all of the time and then its up to you to get that corner speed to gybe or be at the optimum lean angle to make a smooth carve - I really enjoy this challenge.

DWF
552 posts
18 Nov 2023 8:30AM
Thumbs Up

Enjoyed that. I have a lot of the same feelings.

Taeyeony
83 posts
18 Nov 2023 9:55AM
Thumbs Up

I have Casey Aviator DW 7'2" x 18" 103L for light wind (I live where it's always light or no wind and rarely above 15kt) and I weigh 74kg dry.I must say it work nicely as intended. So fast on the water so I can use smaller foil and wing in the light condition that makes me really struggle and frustrated on a 27" board. I think we all have the sessions in marginal conditions where you pump so hard and almost make it but not.The only downside for me is this board is a bit harder to balance on the choppy and messy sea (when the squall hit you, it went from 8kt to >25kt for a few minutes). I found this 18" board is more unstable than I expected in the roll axis due to its width. But you will get used to it in no time.

NikOnFoil
47 posts
2 Dec 2023 2:34AM
Thumbs Up

Thanks for the time to post this. Very interesting read and I agree with many of your conclusions.

Please let us know how your new Carver performs. I'm just about to place an order for the same board with same customization (no footstrap inserts).

Taavi
192 posts
2 Dec 2023 5:06AM
Thumbs Up

For somebody who wants to use as small a wing as possible in light wind conditions as well, the conventional narrow downwind boards are super fun. They just get going so effortlessly, even with a very small foil.



NikOnFoil
47 posts
2 Dec 2023 4:41PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Taavi said..
For somebody who wants to use as small a wing as possible in light wind conditions as well, the conventional narrow downwind boards are super fun. They just get going so effortlessly, even with a very small foil.



You're right, especially if the focus is ultra light winds. I've already tested a Gong Cruzader and an Axis Hybrid 6.2 100L. I really liked the Axis.

As an efficient all-round board I think a little smaller would be better, with slight compromises on the low end.

SpokeyDoke
92 posts
2 Dec 2023 9:53PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote

NikOnFoil said..


You're right, especially if the focus is ultra light winds. I've already tested a Gong Cruzader and an Axis Hybrid 6.2 100L. I really liked the Axis.

As an efficient all-round board I think a little smaller would be better, with slight compromises on the low end.


This is where I'm stuck...deciding on size for all around winging with an emphasis on easy up in light conditions... I just downsized from my beginner board to a +7 Appleslice V2 (70L), and wondering where the sweet spot might be to complement that. If doing the Amos Sultan Wing, thinking the 5'10 x 18" x 85L might be the ticket, without get too big for my 63kg

leepasty
311 posts
2 Dec 2023 10:27PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
SpokeyDoke said..



NikOnFoil said..



You're right, especially if the focus is ultra light winds. I've already tested a Gong Cruzader and an Axis Hybrid 6.2 100L. I really liked the Axis.

As an efficient all-round board I think a little smaller would be better, with slight compromises on the low end.



This is where I'm stuck...deciding on size for all around winging with an emphasis on easy up in light conditions... I just downsized from my beginner board to a +7 Appleslice V2 (70L), and wondering where the sweet spot might be to complement that. If doing the Amos Sultan Wing, thinking the 5'10 x 18" x 85L might be the ticket, without get too big for my 63kg


If you are going for a Sultan I don't think you need more than 75L. on 75 you are already floating easily so won't gain anything going for the 85. I would say you could go 65L no props if only winging

SpokeyDoke
92 posts
2 Dec 2023 10:39PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
leepasty said..



SpokeyDoke said..









NikOnFoil said..






You're right, especially if the focus is ultra light winds. I've already tested a Gong Cruzader and an Axis Hybrid 6.2 100L. I really liked the Axis.

As an efficient all-round board I think a little smaller would be better, with slight compromises on the low end.






This is where I'm stuck...deciding on size for all around winging with an emphasis on easy up in light conditions... I just downsized from my beginner board to a +7 Appleslice V2 (70L), and wondering where the sweet spot might be to complement that. If doing the Amos Sultan Wing, thinking the 5'10 x 18" x 85L might be the ticket, without get too big for my 63kg





If you are going for a Sultan I don't think you need more than 75L. on 75 you are already floating easily so won't gain anything going for the 85. I would say you could go 65L no props if only winging




I wonder about that, since hull speed is partly supposed to be a matter of length of water line (hence the 8' SUP boards and this whole trend), and the 85L has an extra 5" of overall length...so how much that extra length helps is what I'm wondering and is it worth it

Grantmac
1940 posts
3 Dec 2023 10:43AM
Thumbs Up

Being able to downsize foil is a big appeal for me. I find small foils a pain in chop and we only get flat water in light wind.

boardsurfr
WA, 2171 posts
3 Dec 2023 11:09AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Grantmac said..
Being able to downsize foil is a big appeal for me. I find small foils a pain in chop and we only get flat water in light wind.

Did you mean large? Smaller is better in chop.

Grantmac
1940 posts
4 Dec 2023 12:28AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
boardsurfr said..

Grantmac said..
Being able to downsize foil is a big appeal for me. I find small foils a pain in chop and we only get flat water in light wind.


Did you mean large? Smaller is better in chop.


No I mean small HA foils are a pain to get going on short period wind swell like we get here.

ArthurAlston
NSW, 177 posts
4 Dec 2023 7:23AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
SpokeyDoke said..





NikOnFoil said..




You're right, especially if the focus is ultra light winds. I've already tested a Gong Cruzader and an Axis Hybrid 6.2 100L. I really liked the Axis.

As an efficient all-round board I think a little smaller would be better, with slight compromises on the low end.




This is where I'm stuck...deciding on size for all around winging with an emphasis on easy up in light conditions... I just downsized from my beginner board to a +7 Appleslice V2 (70L), and wondering where the sweet spot might be to complement that. If doing the Amos Sultan Wing, thinking the 5'10 x 18" x 85L might be the ticket, without get too big for my 63kg



I'm 84 kg and started using a Sultan Wing 85 L six weeks ago. My previous board was a 5' 60 L Amos Nitro (24" wide). The Sultan took a couple of sessions to dial in. I have now used it in all local conditions, 10 - 30 knots from flat water to waves and wing DW. It has become my go-to board.

However, it is not a light wind board at that size for my weight. It is a terrific "lighter wind" board that extends the range of all my existing equipment. I.e. it gets going *a lot* better and faster than my 24" sinker using the same rig PLUS it extends my wind range for the same size wing and foil as it allows me to downsize both wing and foil for the same wind strength. But it does not give me that range below 10 knots that a true DW board would. So my advice would be to be cognisant of that trade-off and adjust your expectations accordingly.

For me, it is a fantastic all-rounder at this size, i.e. neutral literage vs my weight. In the early sessions I was quite disappointed as I thought it would be a true light wind board, but now I am more comfortable with the range and am delighted with it. If we had many marginal days (i.e. 10 knots) and I wanted to stick with my largest wing (a 5.3 m2), then it would not suffice.

So I agree with @NikOnFoil's assessment that it is an efficient all-round board - at that size - with a slight compromise at the low end.

And for @SpokeyDoke about 20 L up on your weight, the 85L Sultan Wing would be a true light wind board a great complement to your 70L Appleslice.

wsurfdoc4
14 posts
4 Dec 2023 9:05AM
Thumbs Up

Just read the original post, very fun for me as I have undergone a very similar winging metamorphosis. I've been winging two years now, retired 7 months ago, 73 y/o and have managed to wing about 70% of the days since retiring, in Florida winters, summers in the gorge. I've made boards as a hobby for many years, and first made a DW board in May, for winging. Prior to the DW board, I used a 7 meter wing for average conditions in Florida, 5 meter wing at the gorge. Now my most used wing in Florida is 4.5, 3.5 in the gorge. My front foil size is now 1000 cm2, high aspect, previously used 1850 and 1250.

my shoulders are shot from years of windsurfing, but hard to believe how much less arm pull with smaller foils, smaller hand held wings. For the time being, here in Florida, I use my 7', 112 liter, 23 " wide 10.5 lb. Board in all conditions, though I don't go out much in the ocean . I'm very happy to just mow the lawn and do S turns off the chop. But, it was the DW board that led to smaller foils and wings, amazing difference from my point of view.

BWalnut
WA, 160 posts
4 Dec 2023 11:09AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
SpokeyDoke said..

leepasty said..




SpokeyDoke said..











NikOnFoil said..







You're right, especially if the focus is ultra light winds. I've already tested a Gong Cruzader and an Axis Hybrid 6.2 100L. I really liked the Axis.

As an efficient all-round board I think a little smaller would be better, with slight compromises on the low end.







This is where I'm stuck...deciding on size for all around winging with an emphasis on easy up in light conditions... I just downsized from my beginner board to a +7 Appleslice V2 (70L), and wondering where the sweet spot might be to complement that. If doing the Amos Sultan Wing, thinking the 5'10 x 18" x 85L might be the ticket, without get too big for my 63kg






If you are going for a Sultan I don't think you need more than 75L. on 75 you are already floating easily so won't gain anything going for the 85. I would say you could go 65L no props if only winging





I wonder about that, since hull speed is partly supposed to be a matter of length of water line (hence the 8' SUP boards and this whole trend), and the 85L has an extra 5" of overall length...so how much that extra length helps is what I'm wondering and is it worth it


I'm now 126 sessions into the year and for what it's worth, at 85kg myself I've grown incredibly tired of my 5'3"x22" 83l kalama. The float is completely fine, but I took a 6'3"x20" 83l out for a demo and it was night and day. It was nearly impossible to taxi the 6'3", it just jumped out of the water with no effort on tiny foils. I used a 2m with an 850 foil on the demo and I was out of control on my first few takeoffs. Took me a bit to sort it out!

I expect I'm maybe a month out on my Sunova Carver. 5'10"x20" 85l. I'm hoping it's a champion for me and have zero hesitation about the extra length. After having spent the last few months on the 5'3" I think that will be my last "shortish" board. I prefer the feel of a super fast foil and a board with a little more swing length to it. My 5'3" board got up in 8 knots with an 1150 and 4.2m wing but it struggled to activate smaller foils until I reached closer to 20 knots.

I think the amos lead time is pretty long right now. However, at your weight you could ask Sunova for a custom carver. 5'9"x20" at 65l would be a dreamy board. I'm not a believer in the ultra narrow sultan design. I would rather have a little more width and a dramatically thinner board than just forcing things to a super narrow place.

BWalnut
WA, 160 posts
4 Dec 2023 11:12AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
wsurfdoc4 said..
Just read the original post, very fun for me as I have undergone a very similar winging metamorphosis. I've been winging two years now, retired 7 months ago, 73 y/o and have managed to wing about 70% of the days since retiring, in Florida winters, summers in the gorge. I've made boards as a hobby for many years, and first made a DW board in May, for winging. Prior to the DW board, I used a 7 meter wing for average conditions in Florida, 5 meter wing at the gorge. Now my most used wing in Florida is 4.5, 3.5 in the gorge. My front foil size is now 1000 cm2, high aspect, previously used 1850 and 1250.

my shoulders are shot from years of windsurfing, but hard to believe how much less arm pull with smaller foils, smaller hand held wings. For the time being, here in Florida, I use my 7', 112 liter, 23 " wide 10.5 lb. Board in all conditions, though I don't go out much in the ocean . I'm very happy to just mow the lawn and do S turns off the chop. But, it was the DW board that led to smaller foils and wings, amazing difference from my point of view.



I'm struggling in the extreme conditions right now. While I had a phenomenal time this summer on small wings and foils my peak winds are now 55 knots with cold temps and water. I've been struggling to get my foil/wing choice sorted out in these conditions and I'm fairly certain my little 5'3" is the issue. Really looking forward to the 5'10" in a month or so to make things smoother for me and to save my hands, wrists, shoulders since the cold temps have forced me into gloves and it's absolutely killing me.

warwickl
NSW, 2160 posts
4 Dec 2023 4:56PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
wsurfdoc4 said..
Just read the original post, very fun for me as I have undergone a very similar winging metamorphosis. I've been winging two years now, retired 7 months ago, 73 y/o and have managed to wing about 70% of the days since retiring, in Florida winters, summers in the gorge. I've made boards as a hobby for many years, and first made a DW board in May, for winging. Prior to the DW board, I used a 7 meter wing for average conditions in Florida, 5 meter wing at the gorge. Now my most used wing in Florida is 4.5, 3.5 in the gorge. My front foil size is now 1000 cm2, high aspect, previously used 1850 and 1250.

my shoulders are shot from years of windsurfing, but hard to believe how much less arm pull with smaller foils, smaller hand held wings. For the time being, here in Florida, I use my 7', 112 liter, 23 " wide 10.5 lb. Board in all conditions, though I don't go out much in the ocean . I'm very happy to just mow the lawn and do S turns off the chop. But, it was the DW board that led to smaller foils and wings, amazing difference from my point of view.



I am like you and your style, me 77 yo and 74kg.
I now have the Naish 105l DW board at 7ft 1in , 22.5 in wide with Axis ART pro 951 and 1051 with skinny 360 stab.
80% on the 951 from 10kn wind up.
This combination has helped me significantly reduce my quiver and decision making.
My brain wont let me go over 20kn speed or wind over 30kn.

wsurfdoc4
14 posts
5 Dec 2023 3:26AM
Thumbs Up

Great to hear of another winger in the 1950 and earlier club, not many here in my part of the world. Hope I can keep going , as you have. After almost 60 years of water sport obsessions, surfing to windsurfing to SUP to windfoiling, really great to evolve to winging, maybe the most fun of all!

dwilson
SA, 5 posts
5 Dec 2023 8:32AM
Thumbs Up

With the Sultan 85l how are you getting going ,I'm two sessions in and finding it so tippy in chop to get from my knees to standing.Is learning a stink bug start the way to go .Im 80 kg

Velocicraptor
502 posts
5 Dec 2023 6:22AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
dwilson said..
With the Sultan 85l how are you getting going ,I'm two sessions in and finding it so tippy in chop to get from my knees to standing.Is learning a stink bug start the way to go .Im 80 kg


Im 80kg and have an 85L Appletree mini DW board (57") and it definitely needs a stinkbug start.

After a lot of time on this board (and my 60L daily board), my take is that if its either choppy or cross grained (board is not pointing into or away from swell direction), I dont really gain any benefit from the added volume in length, and its easier to use my smaller board. I find the benefit of this board in cleaner conditions where I don't need secondary stability on the water surface. In those conditions I can get up easier, or use a smaller wing and this mini DW board is super fun to use.

I think the calculus is a bit different with a longer (7') board which gives more stability.

ArthurAlston
NSW, 177 posts
5 Dec 2023 9:34AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
dwilson said..
With the Sultan 85l how are you getting going ,I'm two sessions in and finding it so tippy in chop to get from my knees to standing.Is learning a stink bug start the way to go .Im 80 kg


Yes, use the rodeo variant of the stinkbug start. If done correctly, this gives you some board speed even before you get to your knees (simply not possible on wider sinkers) so you really benefit from the shape of the board. I use this even in heavy chop. It's easy in calm seas and certainly more challenging in heavy chop. I can now do this in 25-30 knots chop. It took some weeks of effort though.

Holoholo
182 posts
5 Dec 2023 1:29PM
Thumbs Up

I'm playing with the idea of a mid length / skinny board to use prone in marginal bigger conditions and as an all around wing board, I mostly wing to surf, ride bumps/dw. Local has consistent wind/choppy conditions. I'm kind of indecisive about dims/length/volume. I'm I demoed an omen 5'9"x21.5" x 85L in 15 kgs choppy conditions for about 30 minutes. Had lots of fun although it felt on the heavy side and I didn't have enough time to dial it in.

I'm 95KG and wonder where the sweet spot is on size. Wonder if too much volume will become corky/unstable, want short enough to surf, but not so short to diminish positive characteristics of these boards.

ArthurAlston
NSW, 177 posts
5 Dec 2023 6:18PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Holoholo said..
I'm playing with the idea of a mid length / skinny board to use prone in marginal bigger conditions and as an all around wing board, I mostly wing to surf, ride bumps/dw. Local has consistent wind/choppy conditions. I'm kind of indecisive about dims/length/volume. I'm I demoed an omen 5'9"x21.5" x 85L in 15 kgs choppy conditions for about 30 minutes. Had lots of fun although it felt on the heavy side and I didn't have enough time to dial it in.

I'm 95KG and wonder where the sweet spot is on size. Wonder if too much volume will become corky/unstable, want short enough to surf, but not so short to diminish positive characteristics of these boards.


I would optimise for a specific usage (e.g. either prone or wing) and then take things from there. You may be expecting too much from a single board.



Subscribe
Reply

Forums > Wing Foiling General


"400 Hours On Foil: A summer on narrow boards and the search for a perfect surf experience." started by BWalnut