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Author Topic: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)  (Read 2795 times)

APPST_Paddle

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Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« on: February 14, 2021, 04:37:02 AM »
I'm sure this has probably been asked before, but I didn't see any direct threads. I'm pretty comfortable SUP foiling, started this summer and it's pretty much taken over my surfing. I'm mostly on a mushy inlet break, but occasionally work in a beach break. Anyways, I'm debating adding a prone setup. I haven't popped up on a surfboard since I was 16 or so (and wasn't that good then), but with the added volume and the fact that I'm actually in better shape now than I probably was then, figured I could try.

For people that made the switch, pros/cons? I'm figuring catching waves the advantage is on SUP, I also feel like I can hold on the shoulder and navigate steeper waves on a SUP. The advantage on the prone being less volume, so easier to initiate carves, and nothing in your hands which in my mind would help pumping out the back.

Anyone who's made the switch have any opinions? Keep in mind, I've been only SUP surfing for the last 8 years or so, Costa Rica, Fiji, whatever.
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juandesooka

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2021, 12:16:30 PM »
Me: still picture myself a shortboard surfer, but have had to face the fact in my early 50s and have been riding longboards, then sups, then kiting, then kitefoiling, then sup foiling -- haven't really shortboarded in 10-15 years. 

My buddy was keen on prone surf only and he dedicated himself to it.  On my supfoil, I would get 5x the waves and ride them 5x as long, but he just kept slogging away. And then I noticed something changing....he was getting just as many waves as me, and on choppy days and big days (where he could take off in white water) he was getting a lot more.  And, being brutally honest, he was riding them with a way more aggressive style and more flow -- with the external evidence being bystanders commenting on how he was ripping and then "oh yeah, I saw you out there too".  ;-)

So I followed my spiritual guide, paid the humbling price in climbing the learning curve, and now am 85% prone foiler.  It is better in almost every way: faster, more dynamic, more versatile.  And it allows for riding on choppy days that are otherwise unsup-able -- same with riding inside reforms on the big days. Plus I am in the best paddling shape since my 30s....I suspect I could actually reasonably surf a shortboard again, should I ever want to try. At least a higher volume one ;-)

Sup foil still has some advantages: really tiny surf that is barely breaking is very challenging to prone paddle, can just squeak in with extra paddle power.   Breaks that have an exceptionally long ride, 500m+, it is so much faster to sup paddle back, and can change it up, with knee paddle, prone paddle, etc.  I am too old and tired to do too many half mile paddle backs.  So the exception is if walk backs are possible, then I'd still prefer prone foil.

Sup foil also has advantage for diversifying into wing foil -- where a surf foil is possible, but it is easy to start on a sup foil.  So don't get rid of that sup foil rig!

So, my advice is DO IT.  The learning curve sucks, will take 5-10 sessions to get that pop up dialed.  Then once you're up and riding, I bet you'll have the same feeling as me "this exactly the same flying feeling as sup foil, just so much more light and free".

And then a final word on top: my surf foil mentor remains a few steps ahead of me. He is now pump monkeying solidly, getting 2 for 1s and 3 for 1s and pumping all the way back outside (saving roughly half the paddling in a session).  Once I can do this too, it will open up a lot of potential ... the dream being chipping in on a small one, pumping outside to the big set, and effectively getting a self tow-in.  Keep in mind my surf mentor is same age as me, so we're not talking impossible kid dreams here!


 

dylbert_

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 12:33:18 PM »
I think you hit the nail on the head...

I followed a similar progression: Almost no prone surfing experience, a few years of sup surfing, began sup foiling after learning to kite foil (and wing foil), then progressed to prone foiling without too much of a battle.

For me, the benefits of prone foiling are:
1) can turn much harder and fit more turns in on a wave
2) I have a much easier time pumping and linking waves  without a long, wide board.  I max out at at 2 for 1 on my sup foil, but can stay on foil linking waves for 2+ minutes on the prone.
3) I find it easier to navigate shore break with the prone because I can duck dive.
4) less stressful in crowded lineups.


I still have, and use my foil sup for when its is big/ steep (like you said, I have an easier time navigating steep drops on the sup, and the length helps when its big because you can keep the board on the water ), but the rest of the time you'll find me on the prone board!

Like juandesooka said, DO IT!

APPST_Paddle

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 05:27:52 PM »
I think you hit the nail on the head...

I followed a similar progression: Almost no prone surfing experience, a few years of sup surfing, began sup foiling after learning to kite foil (and wing foil), then progressed to prone foiling without too much of a battle.

For me, the benefits of prone foiling are:
1) can turn much harder and fit more turns in on a wave
2) I have a much easier time pumping and linking waves  without a long, wide board.  I max out at at 2 for 1 on my sup foil, but can stay on foil linking waves for 2+ minutes on the prone.
3) I find it easier to navigate shore break with the prone because I can duck dive.
4) less stressful in crowded lineups.


I still have, and use my foil sup for when its is big/ steep (like you said, I have an easier time navigating steep drops on the sup, and the length helps when its big because you can keep the board on the water ), but the rest of the time you'll find me on the prone board!

Like juandesooka said, DO IT!

Yeah, same process, surfed a bit when I was younger, moved to a small wave spot, figured I'd SUP surf, really liked it, then foiling came along, learned to kite foil last summer in a few sessions (pretty easy and now it's kinda boring), then SUP foil which I love right now. I think I'm going to ride it out until Spring and warmer water to jump on the prone.

Thanks for advice.
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Beasho

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 08:17:12 AM »
It is better in almost every way: faster, more dynamic, more versatile.  And it allows for riding on choppy days that are otherwise unsup-able -- same with riding inside reforms on the big days. Plus I am in the best paddling shape since my 30s....I suspect I could actually reasonably surf a shortboard again, should I ever want to try. At least a higher volume one ;-)

Sup foil still has some advantages: really tiny surf that is barely breaking is very challenging to prone paddle, can just squeak in with extra paddle power.   Breaks that have an exceptionally long ride, 500m+, it is so much faster to sup paddle back, and can change it up, with knee paddle, prone paddle, etc.  I am too old and tired to do too many half mile paddle backs.  So the exception is if walk backs are possible, then I'd still prefer prone foil.

I am starting to realize that SUP and Prone foiling will evolve into 2 distinctly different disciplines.  I am 100% SUP Foil but have found myself on the West Coast (Northern California), East Coast (Rhode Island) and Hawaii catching waves 100's of yards outside of the prone surfers and prone foilers.  When it is choppy, or big I can get in early on my SUP foil, further out than any longboarder and chose my own destiny. 

I am regularly paddling out in 10 to 15 foot faces and catching waves on a SUP foil.  I have never ever seen a prone foiler catch a 7 foot or bigger wave.  10 - 15 feet is big and scary but this means is that when it is 6 to 8 feet, or 8 to 10 feet I am comfortably in my zone, 100% alone on a SUP foil with footstraps.  On big waves when I takeoff I will breach less than 10% of the time aka nose stays down and you chose when to fly.     

I am using a 7' 4" SUP board.  This is enormous by current standards, essentially a beginner board.  However all that nose stabilizes the takeoff on a 15 foot face and let's you fly NOSE DOWN ON THE WATER.  Good luck holding it together on a 5 foot board. 

But I may be a mutant.  If you want to stay in shape and pump in 3 to 6 foot waves then go prone.  If you want to ride feathering outside waves, catch the otherwise un-rideable and fly for hundreds upon hundreds of yards FAST then go SUP foil.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 09:06:28 AM by Beasho »

Beasho

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2021, 08:45:07 AM »
Here is some graphical evidence.  Yesterday the swell was building.  Mark sent me the 1st set of tracks.  He rides 100% prone foil now.  He is in his 40's but extremely fit and is/was one of the best all around surfers in Northern California.  Short board, SUP, SUP racer, Mavericks charger and now prone foiler.  He is addicted to the pump.

In the afternoon I paddled out.  It was building to 9 ft @ 17 seconds, tide was dropping and the inside waves at Mavericks were starting to feather.  I missed the outside blip (2nd shot below) which would have been a 15+ foot face (very scary) and then ran out of time, paddled in and caught a mild 10 footer for 600 yards.  I highlighted his tracks in red vs. mine on the outside.  See the difference in MAX speed.  11.5 mph vs. 21 mph. 

Average speed prone = 9.7 mph.  My wave averaged 17.1 mph.  His ride lasted 30 seconds longer but was shorter.   

The speed is not so much a function of craft but of wave size.  Big waves = FAST.  Small waves = SLOW.   
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 09:10:50 AM by Beasho »

Beasho

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2021, 09:00:10 AM »
Here is the speed profile for the entire wave. 

Note: I was still going 17.6 mph 500 yards into the ride.  To carry this speed after a full minute of riding is only possible on BIG Open Ocean swell.

To catch these waves you need a SUP foil.  Eventually some young phenom will pull it off.  But this happens regularly for me during the winter. 

--> A big SUP Foil board, with footstraps, and a GoFoil NL130 wing on 29" mast. 
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 09:03:10 AM by Beasho »

gone_foiling

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2021, 09:05:28 AM »
Beasho, why 29Ē mast? Not enough depth? I would think for those wave sizes longer masts would be a ticket.
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Beasho

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2021, 09:14:32 AM »
Beasho, why 29Ē mast? Not enough depth? I would think for those wave sizes longer masts would be a ticket.

Exactly!  Valentines might not have been the time to step up and buy a 36", $900 mast. 

Haley Fiske just ordered one.  I am slow with the "Buy" trigger finger.  But a 36" mast will be better for winging and raise my confidence another 5 feet on wave size :) .  Although its already pretty terrifying. 

dylbert_

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2021, 01:58:07 PM »
It is better in almost every way: faster, more dynamic, more versatile.  And it allows for riding on choppy days that are otherwise unsup-able -- same with riding inside reforms on the big days. Plus I am in the best paddling shape since my 30s....I suspect I could actually reasonably surf a shortboard again, should I ever want to try. At least a higher volume one ;-)

Sup foil still has some advantages: really tiny surf that is barely breaking is very challenging to prone paddle, can just squeak in with extra paddle power.   Breaks that have an exceptionally long ride, 500m+, it is so much faster to sup paddle back, and can change it up, with knee paddle, prone paddle, etc.  I am too old and tired to do too many half mile paddle backs.  So the exception is if walk backs are possible, then I'd still prefer prone foil.

I am starting to realize that SUP and Prone foiling will evolve into 2 distinctly different disciplines.  I am 100% SUP Foil but have found myself on the West Coast (Northern California), East Coast (Rhode Island) and Hawaii catching waves 100's of yards outside of the prone surfers and prone foilers.  When it is choppy, or big I can get in early on my SUP foil, further out than any longboarder and chose my own destiny. 

I am regularly paddling out in 10 to 15 foot faces and catching waves on a SUP foil.  I have never ever seen a prone foiler catch a 7 foot or bigger wave.  10 - 15 feet is big and scary but this means is that when it is 6 to 8 feet, or 8 to 10 feet I am comfortably in my zone, 100% alone on a SUP foil with footstraps.  On big waves when I takeoff I will breach less than 10% of the time aka nose stays down and you chose when to fly.     

I am using a 7' 4" SUP board.  This is enormous by current standards, essentially a beginner board.  However all that nose stabilizes the takeoff on a 15 foot face and let's you fly NOSE DOWN ON THE WATER.  Good luck holding it together on a 5 foot board. 

But I may be a mutant.  If you want to stay in shape and pump in 3 to 6 foot waves then go prone.  If you want to ride feathering outside waves, catch the otherwise un-rideable and fly for hundreds upon hundreds of yards FAST then go SUP foil.

Unfortunately, we don't get 10-15' faces very often (ever?) where I live, so 90% of the time, prone is more rewarding (for me). I find that I can get foiling on a small wave, and then pump out past my buddies on their sup foils.  But when we do get the 6'+ days, or if I have to paddle a long way to get to the break, I'll take out my sup foil for sure.

Let me know next time your in RI, it would be awesome to foil with a zoner!

Hdip

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2021, 06:54:34 PM »
Weíve got to get you out of your bubble beasho. Plenty of prone guys paddling into huge waves in Hawaii. Or Derek Hama paddling the smallest sup youíve seen into huge waves.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHX_chcA-BO/?igshid=uojh6xiubf7x

https://www.instagram.com/p/CK2ybWtjOzw/?igshid=jst934ijj448

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFFT4x7Dzo3/?igshid=1naez97n15ldd

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y5vqxDAtP/?igshid=gc8a6uxpbjj

Itís all about the right tool for the job. If you have access to a JetSki itís gonna be way more fun to tow in than beating yourself up trying to paddle into big waves. And youíll get 1 million more waves. And if itís double overhead barrels Iím gonna take that over being a shoulder soldier on the side of the 10 foot mush ball any day.

Bigmtn already showed you the guy paddling into Waimea prone.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 07:25:30 PM by Hdip »

juandesooka

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2021, 07:39:48 PM »
I guess it's similar for me, if it's head high plus I can get in early on a sup foil, but the logistics don't work on surf foil. I can't paddle fast enough to get in early, and taking off where you'd normally drop in a surfboard is too steep and pitchy for me to make.  So on big days I prone the inside reform, taking off in the white water.  As the pump monkeying advances, I hope to one day pump back out to the double overhead cranker and get the mile long ride. 

Seems odd about the prone speeds you posted though.  I am going faster than that on 3' waves and I am far from the local ripper.  Something wrong with the tech maybe?  My fastest speed has also been on sup foil on a bigger day, within a few mph though.

Beasho

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2021, 07:03:05 AM »
Weíve got to get you out of your bubble beasho. Plenty of prone guys paddling into huge waves in Hawaii. Or Derek Hama paddling the smallest sup youíve seen into huge waves.

In my bubble at Mavericks, where I bicycle surf each day, I consider these examples small to medium waves.  Not big, and definitely not huge.  I don't doubt Derek Hama could paddle in to some monsters, but he would be on a SUP foil.  Starting in flat water would be a dream scenario.

Again - There are 2 disciplines. 

1) Pumping.  When people are pumping their equipment is optimized for traveling 10 - 12 mph.  Little boards with efficient wings.  Fit guys doing loops.
 
2) Big Waves: On big waves I am recording speeds of 21 to 26 mph.  I benefit from a big stable SUP Foil board with a tiny wing.  GoFoil NL130.  At 2X to 2.5X the speed lift is squared so 4X to 5X as much lift from a comparable wing. 

This photo from the video above is what we would consider a small day.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 07:28:58 AM by Beasho »

Beasho

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2021, 07:06:18 AM »
Here is what I would consider a Big wave on a foil.  Maybe even huge.

Haley is not a small guy and he is riding a 9' 6" foil board.  What is that 3X or 4X overhead?

But please share any comparable pictures or evidence if you have it. 
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 07:09:58 AM by Beasho »

surfcowboy

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Re: Switch to Prone (Pros/Cons)
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2021, 07:19:18 AM »
Iíll read this all later but Iím in the process of switching to prone for surfing now. Wing and prone are my foil sport goals. Once I figured out that your pop up can be crap I was all in.

If youíre avoiding it due to fitness then reevaluate your fitness goals. This might be the universeís way of saying, ďget fit and donít die so soon.Ē It is making me stretch more and do more cardio. I canít see how thatís a bad thing in any way, shape, or form.

I might switch back as I age but while I can, Iím doing it.

PS if Uncle Brian can do it, you can try. Thatís what got me.

 


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