Thursday, July 13, 2017

Foiling Post


Sorry for the long break.  Here is the foiling post I have been meaning to get to for the past few weeks.

This branch of our sport seems to be taking off properly now and can almost certainly be taken seriously by all of us.
Naish, JP, Starboard, RRD, AHD, Tillo and Fanatic all have dedicated foil boards now and companies like Goya, RRD and AHD have reinforced fin boxes on certain slalom models so we can acknowledge that the stage has been set for anyone wishing to venture down the foiling path.

I’m sure that most of you know this, but in case – here are some definitions so that we are on the same page:

The long fin-like part of the foil is called the mast

The part which connects to the bottom of this mast is the fuselage

The horizontal wings which attach to the fuselage are called front and back wings.
Please take my suggestions for what they are – just opinions based on the little I know about this new genre.
Goya's Reinforced Box
Fanatic's Converted Gecko
RRD's Box Treatment

A few members of this site have informed me that they have committed to buying foiling equipment. 
Cdnguy is posting videos of his foiling progress on: 
Please have a look if you get a chance.
He bought the actual foil from Slingshot, a company who offers school foils – heavy and strong with short mast options for learning.  They also make carbon competition foils.  I have a few comments to make about Slingshot’s foils further down the page.

There are a few options to consider if one is keen to start foiling:
  • The best thing, if you can afford it, would be to buy a new foil with dedicated foiling board.  The Pryde/JP stuff seems to be as cutting edge as you can get right now.
  • Second, you could use an old formula board or big slalom which may be gathering dust in your rafters as the board, and simply buy a foil.
  • Thirdly, if you are looking to upgrade your big slalom board, ensure that you buy a really fast, modern slalom model with a strengthened box.  This will ensure that you can smoke with a normal slalom set-up but are also able to foil if the urge takes you.
  •  Goya seem to have the widest tail width in the 233/84/136l board size (Proton pure slalom).    

Here are some of the issues as I see them:

  • If you buy a learning set-up, will you be happy with the learning equipment once you are proficient?  I think not.  As soon as you are fast and comfortable, you will want the fastest, lightest kit available.  Because of this, if I was in the market for all new, complete kit, I would lean towards the Pryde system which gives you two wing sets, one for light wind and one for speed.  Both wing sets fit onto the same mast and fuselage.  Learn on the long, stable wings and progress to the faster set-up.

  • Slingshot offers a set of masts ranging from short (to learn on) – to standard length (for advanced riding).  All of these are in heavy aluminium – good for learning. 

  • I heard Antoine Albeau say that he learned to foil on quite a narrow board and never considered trying anything else.  He says that the moment he tried a wide board he felt such an improvement in control that he changed immediately to a wide shape and will not go back.  This convinces me that wide (foiling will be a light-wind option I imagine) is the way to go.  You also need to be able to uphaul with no problem I would think.

  • Levering the board, rig and sailor out of the water must involve a titanic front-to-back bending moment concentrated by the mast on the fin box.  This is why an ordinary windsurfing box needs to be strengthened of course.  What Slingshot does is to equip their masts with a flange which butts up firmly against the underside of the board when you tighten the fin bolts.  In use, this dissipates the force from the bending moment, spreading it along the underside of the board.  Genius!

Here is a picture showing the flange on their school masts:

On their carbon masts they have an even more substantial load spreader:

What I would like to know is why other foil makers do not incorporate this feature as well. The guys at Slingshot claim that their design makes it possible to use a normal, un-reinforced, deep Tuttle box with their masts and I believe them.

If you go onto Slingshot’s site you will notice that they run an academy to train foilers. I’m not sure whether this is simply an online thing or if you can go to a spot, be provided with equipment and learn on their stuff. 

If they do offer this service, and you live close to a Slingshot venue then this would definitely be the way to start. Get lessons, get good, and only then, buy equipment. Please have a look at their site if you are interested.
I’m sure that training facilities from other companies will spring up as we go forward.

In conclusion:

  • If you can afford it and have the transport/loading space – buy the Pryde/JP set-up.
  • If you are budget conscious, use an existing old formula/ large slalom board and buy foil and spare parts from Slingshot.
  • Go wide on the board
  • Get lessons if you are able
  • If you plan on replacing a big slalom board, buy one with a reinforced fin box.
Good winds

PS here is a link to the site of  Romain Jourdan.

Romain has dedicated this site to windsurf foiling with the aim of consolidating into one place, current information and developments in this branch of our sport.

I will certainly be keeping an eye on Romain's site going forward.  


  1. Phil,

    Just fyi. JP's 135 Hydrofoil board is advertised as a dual purpose board. But the guys there says that if you want to ride it in slalom mode, you may need a 48 - 50 cm fin.

    Love the fact that it is just over 2m long...meaning even more portable than a typical board these days.

  2. The only problem with adapting my BIC Techno 148 to the Slingshot system was that the M6 bolt holes had to be drilled out to accommodate the M10 bolts Slingshot uses. I hope my board will still be ok when I decide to use it for regular windsurfing again.

  3. I have the JP 155. I bought the NP Aluminum Foil because I heard it was more stable and easier to learn on than the F4 version. According to the designer it is only a bit slower and speed is more related to skill so unless you skill is at a very high level, you might not see a difference.

    So far it has been a lot of fun. Improving every day and after the first day where I did not have a good plan on what to do I have only crashed a couple times in about 11 times out.

    I still have not mastered it. I come down and hit the chop too much, but my rides are getting longer and more controlled on each session.

    1. Hi Bryn

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I am envious of all the new foilers. What is so attractive to me is that we are able to access this new activity using our existing windsurfing skills (once we learn to adapt them).

      Please send us some pictures or vids when you are up and running properly.


  4. As far as I know from other foiling friends and pro's, the F4/NP isn't the best foil on the market. The alu foil breaks and bends at the mast/fuselage construction, it is also hollow and will take in water... The F4 foil is better, but quite heavy and not the fastest. I ride a lokefoil myself, and most people I know ride either loke or Starboard, with the pro's leaning more to the starboard's speed side, but the loke offering more early takeoff and speed in lighter winds. The starboard offers more trimming options, but is a tad heavier. The loke offers a new front wing for slalom, but I haven't tried it yet, and it has been released fairly recently, so I don't know the performance of that one. As for the lightest foil on the market, would definately be the horue, but I don't see many of those flying around in the netherlands..

  5. Thanks for this Unk.

    I have not been able to find a foil test online which compares a range of foils in an impartial way.

    Your comments are helpful therefore. I'm sure that we will get reviews going forward but until then, we rely on brother windsurfers to share knowledge and impressions.

    I am interested by your comment about the Pryde aluminium foil. I would only buy carbon anyway. Antoine Albeau does quite well on the Pryde Carbon foil.

    Anyway, please keep us informed if you can. We seek the easiest/fastest foil (of course!)

    Good winds