Author Topic: 400 Hours On Foil: A summer on narrow boards and the search for a perfect surf e  (Read 17163 times)

B-Walnut

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*this is a long post.

Before I dive into this post I want to qualify a few things:

1. I am not claiming to be an expert. Ive put in a lot of hours, and Im sharing my experience. Im really excited about the progression of our sport and Im giving back to the community with the data Ive 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 youll 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 Ill 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 swell. Im not here to jump, mow the lawn, downwind, or do fancy wing tricks and maneuvers. Nothing against anyone who does those things, Ive tried them too, Im 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. Thats cool too, this isnt dogma.

The gear I learned on:
510 x 29 123l Kalama e3 15.5lbs
Kujira 1500 foil.

Progressed to:
48 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 and 3.5m
Boards:
Kalama Barracuda 8x21 111.68l 13.5lbs
Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 53x22 83l 11.5lbs
Cloud IX Custom 63x20 83l (on order) 9lbs

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 youll notice that nobody is out there trying to make their gear wide and short. It doesnt matter if they are on a downwind SUP, SUPfoil, surfski, outrigger canoe, etc. As such, lets 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 doesnt 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 arent 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 48 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 53x22 83l has gotten me up in winds as light as 12 knots with my Cloud IX fs1150 and 3.5m 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 510x29 e3 was an absolute dump truck to ride while my 48x26 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 dont yaw side to side to initiate turns and move like a car. They roll the board rail to rail to crank turns. Thats 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 doesnt. As such, my original, beginner 510x29 e3 was terrible to swing, but my 8x21 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 dont 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 its worth, after my first time riding my 8x21 Barracuda with my surf foils, I sold my 48x26 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 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.

Arent 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 its hard to be in the wrong position. Theres 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 wouldnt 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 havent 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?

Im exploring this right now and am trying to do it as scientifically as possible. My shortboard comparisons:
Kalama e3 wing/sup 48x26 83l 13lbs
Kalama e3 DW/SUP/Prone 53x22 83l 11.5lbs
Cloud IX Custom 63x20 83l 9lbs (projected weight)
Youll notice that I am keeping the liters the exact same across each board. I didnt have a choice in the Kalamas but in the spirit of getting the best possible data and comparisons I decided to have my Cloud IX made in the same liters, but with a longer, narrower shape. (I really dislike the question of how many liters is your board? lets talk shape before we grind on liters). Takeoff between the 48 and 53 e3 is incomparable. The fact that Ive ridden my fs700 with a 3.5m wing on my 53 e3 is inconceivable to think of when I was struggling with my 1210 and the 48 last year. However, how does the 53x22 e3 compare to the 8x21 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. Its 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 cant perform as well. First, I have more time/experience on the Barracuda. I rode that board for three months and I have about one month of experience on the e3 so its an unfair comparison at the moment. I may get there but heres what Ive 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 53x22 e3 and the board has flat out gotten away from me! This never happened on my Barracuda and I dont remember it happening on my 48x26 e3 either. So, whats 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 dont 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. (Im 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 53x22 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 custom 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, I made the Cloud IX Custom 20 wide, and it will be 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 Im 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 doesnt destroy my body. I dont 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 Im 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 Im pushing the limits. its nice to know that the narrow boards paddle back to shore really well. It could be light winds or broken gear in heavy winds, its 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 15 knots is the goal. I also want to feel like I am in control and able to push my gear, not chase it (Im close to this now, recent stabilizer testing has been great). Im dreaming of getting my wing quiver down to 3.5m for 10-19 knots and 2.5m for 20 knots and above. Im 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, dont 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 custom for two reasons. 1. Because its 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 (hes better at foiling than me) who said that he feels a 20 board is more fun to turn than an 18 board. He didnt 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, Im 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 cant really afford to buy/own a huge quiver of wing boards.

In Closing:

I hope this write up encourages you to start to look at your board, foil, and wing as a complete system instead of individual parts. That's the biggest takeaway for me. Narrow boards, short dw boards, whatever you want to call them, have a lot of benefits and I'm very excited to be exploring them.

Thanks for taking the time to read and contribute!

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

Dont 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, theres more surface area for the wind to grab on my 48x26 83l board than on my 53x22 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! Youve reached an extreme niche and thats 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. Youve got to stop comparing an 8 cuda to a sinker. However, a 53x22 narrow board has an insane number of benefits both on the water and on foil that cant be refuted.

Dusk Patrol

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Very cool that you captured this and are sharing. Im considering a light wind set up and your perspective is super helpful.
RS 14x26; JL Destroyers 9'8 & 8'10; BluePlanet 9'4; JL Super Frank 8'6

Dwight (DW)

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Im all in on the narrow bandwagon. My two boards are 76 and 55.

For me, its all about making life easier.

Our paths differ in the quest for tiny wings. Im OK with just not having to error on the side of rigging too big when the wind is unreliable.

At age 69, I enjoy and need, more balance assist from the wing than a younger me. 

GL

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B-Walnut thanks I found it very interesting and helpful.  Dwight I would be interested in hearing the dimensions and volume of your two boards. I am a similar age and size and I'm trying to decide what my new board should look like and I do not have the high winds of the gorge where I live.

Dwight (DW)

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Dwight I would be interested in hearing the dimensions and volume of your two boards. I am a similar age and size and I'm trying to decide what my new board should look like and I do not have the high winds of the gorge where I live.

Im 185 lbs. My big board is 76 x 22.5 x 120 liters. So incredibly stable, it doubles as my SUP surfing board. My wing board is 55 x 22.5

My wife is 125 lbs. Her board is 55 x 21.5 x 70 liters. Her big board will be 68 x 21.5 x 92 liters when I finish making it.

I believe part of the incredible stability of my boards, even the wing boards, is a shift in chine philosophy. Most chines range from 30 to 60 degrees on pretty much every brand. The FFB chines are about 80 degrees vertically. That board is unusually stable, considering the narrowness. That lead me to try similar steep chines. It was game changing. There is a hidden key to making them work. The volume must be right. More so that other versions. The steep chines are very unstable if the volume is too much. When my wife paddled my 76 it was the most unstable board Ive ever seen her ride. Normally she can paddle any of my old boards and make it look easy. So this style rail much be sunk deep in the water to do its magic. Deck flush, to slightly above water for volume.

My tails are not the FFB style. Im doing my own thing. So you could too.

GL

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Thanks Dwight that was very helpful.

B-Walnut

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Im all in on the narrow bandwagon. My two boards are 76 and 55.

For me, its all about making life easier.

Our paths differ in the quest for tiny wings. Im OK with just not having to error on the side of rigging too big when the wind is unreliable.

At age 69, I enjoy and need, more balance assist from the wing than a younger me.

I've been trying to figure out the point of dimishing returns on the small wing. At the moment, I don't feel like my 3.5m is cumbersome, but it generates too much power when I am using it as a turn assist, (imagine how we use paddles in sup to assist the turn and apply that concept to the wing). 2.5m is really nice for that application, but it's not pumping me up onto foil very often.

SurfIC

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B-Walnut, loved reading this.. I'm exactly the same as you. All about waves, no freestyle and I try to spend the least on hand wings and use money for foils.  I have a 1 board quiver 4'10 22" 60L for my 78kgs for the ocean . I only wing in 12 knots or over. I own a 5m and a 4m, 900 and 1100cm3,  8.4ar foils. Applying your logic I could probably have a 5'3 80L 21" board and use a 3m and a 4m wing and a 700 and 900 foil. Which does sound very tempting....

*A side note - width definitely makes a bigger difference when on foil than I first though. I prone surf using foil drive and a 4'6 35L board. I tried a 19" wide 4'2 and I completely over foiled. On turns I put way too much pressure and it felt twitchy. I'm sure I could be comfortable after a few sessions but for now I'm happy with a slightly wider board.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2023, 12:26:57 PM by SurfIC »
78kgs
Board- Naish 4'10 60L
Foils - Gong Curve H, L and M
Wing 4m and 5m Airush
*Prone surf - Flying Fish 4'6 35L

Foilgeoff

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Inspirational!
Thanks B-Walnut, youve given me lots of food for thought.

B-Walnut

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B-Walnut, loved reading this.. I'm exactly the same as you. All about waves, no freestyle and I try to spend the least on hand wings and use money for foils.  I have a 1 board quiver 4'10 22" 60L for my 78kgs for the ocean . I only wing in 12 knots or over. I own a 5m and a 4m, 900 and 1100cm3,  8.4ar foils. Applying your logic I could probably have a 5'3 80L 21" board and use a 3m and a 4m wing and a 700 and 900 foil. Which does sound very tempting....

*A side note - width definitely makes a bigger difference when on foil than I first though. I prone surf using foil drive and a 4'6 35L board. I tried a 19" wide 4'2 and I completely over foiled. On turns I put way too much pressure and it felt twitchy. I'm sure I could be comfortable after a few sessions but for now I'm happy with a slightly wider board.

Thanks for chiming in! My new board is coming (this week!?) and I continue to test the limits of small wings, boards, foils. Right now conditions have been over nuked and will continue to be that way through most of the winter here. I've been riding a 2m strike (almost zero low end) with my 5'3"x22" 83l kalama and my fs1000 foil in winds averaging 35 knots. I'm hoping my new board (6'3"x22" 83l) will allow me to use the same wing but drop down to my 850-700 with 2m most days.

Also, big thanks for throwing in your 2 cents about the 19" wide. I went with 20" wide on this custom since I overheard James Casey mention in his podcast that 20" wide boards are more fun to turn and surf than 18-19" wide boards. I assume this taps into the twitchiness you mentioned as well as my commentary about boards that you can push, vs boards you have to chase when on foil. There's undoubtedly going to be a sweet spot that we all settle into and depending on what type of foiling we all prefer I can imagine that going too short and narrow might feel like too much, especially if we are unlocking tiny foils in the 550-700 range. I also am reminding myself that the narrower we go, the thicker the board gets, which alters balance points etc, etc. Can't wait to see how my new ride works out and will report on it when it comes in!

WindWest

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B-Walnut (or anyone else who has an opinion) can you comment on the upper end of things where in your experience having the cuda doesn't work so well for winging? For example what about:
- wind 20-30 (or even 30-35)
- big, long period open ocean swells
- lots of very messy short period wind chop

I'm intrigued and trying to understand under what conditions the cuda lags for winging. For example in 25 wind I can imagine the walk to/from the beach is a nightmare. You make a very good case for 10-25 wind and rolling swell.

You have an interesting take, thank you for sharing.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2023, 08:06:25 PM by WindWest »

B-Walnut

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B-Walnut (or anyone else who has an opinion) can you comment on the upper end of things where in your experience having the cuda doesn't work so well for winging? For example what about:
- wind 20-30 (or even 30-35)
- big, long period open ocean swells
- lots of very messy short period wind chop

I'm intrigued and trying to understand under what conditions the cuda lags for winging. For example in 25 wind I can imagine the walk to/from the beach is a nightmare. You make a very good case for 10-25 wind and rolling swell.

You have an interesting take, thank you for sharing.

IMO the true negatives are very few.

Walking to the water in extreme winds is undoubtedly treacherous. That's a significant negative if you have exposed beaches and long walks in the wind. Almost all of the launches in the gorge are not an issue with this.

It's really easy to ding it because you're swinging such a big board around that doesn't fit in your car as easily.

I would pick it over a short wide board every day. A short narrow board will beat it though.

I did not have problems in small chop, or big swell. I did not have problems on a 66cm mast, or an 86cm mast.

Many people tried to tell me that the cuda won't work in heavy winds because "it has too much rail." This was nonsense in my experience. I ripped upwind in 40 knots on that board and never once thought to myself "woah, the wind is grabbing the board!"

I think people are looking for reasons to shoot it down even though they haven't ridden it. With that, the average person cannot correctly demo these boards. If you get a cuda, you need a new foil and new wings to go with it. My smallest foil was a 1210 and I rode 3.5-4.5m wings every day before getting it. When I had it, I preferred to ride a 700 foil with a 2.5-3.5m wing. That opens the board up to its full potential. If you just slap a big foil on it and use the same wing as always, you don't really have a concept of what is possible on it.

WindWest

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Thank you, that's extremely helpful. One question:


If you get a cuda, you need a new foil and new wings to go with it. ... If you just slap a big foil on it and use the same wing as always, you don't really have a concept of what is possible on it.

To be sure I understand, this is because the narrow board accelerates very quickly, so you can take off with a smaller foil and wing than with a wider board. And you'd be leaving a lot of speed/maneuverability/freedom/etc on the table if you didn't downsize your gear on the narrow board?

B-Walnut

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Thank you, that's extremely helpful. One question:


If you get a cuda, you need a new foil and new wings to go with it. ... If you just slap a big foil on it and use the same wing as always, you don't really have a concept of what is possible on it.

To be sure I understand, this is because the narrow board accelerates very quickly, so you can take off with a smaller foil and wing than with a wider board. And you'd be leaving a lot of speed/maneuverability/freedom/etc on the table if you didn't downsize your gear on the narrow board?

Yes, this is a correct understanding of the situation. Essentially, you need to completely re-quiver your setup to fully embrace narrow boards and everything they have to offer. Which is a tough pill to swallow for most. For most people, they could just use their smallest wing and then pick up a smaller foil as the first step in the right direction.

Badger

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Thank you, that's extremely helpful. One question:


If you get a cuda, you need a new foil and new wings to go with it. ... If you just slap a big foil on it and use the same wing as always, you don't really have a concept of what is possible on it.

To be sure I understand, this is because the narrow board accelerates very quickly, so you can take off with a smaller foil and wing than with a wider board. And you'd be leaving a lot of speed/maneuverability/freedom/etc on the table if you didn't downsize your gear on the narrow board?

Yes, this is a correct understanding of the situation. Essentially, you need to completely re-quiver your setup to fully embrace narrow boards and everything they have to offer. Which is a tough pill to swallow for most. For most people, they could just use their smallest wing and then pick up a smaller foil as the first step in the right direction.

Having to re-quiver might apply to the Gorge or Maui where the wind is always nuking but this isn't necessarily true for those who typically foil in winds below 20 mph. My smallest wing is a 4m but I rarely get to use it. My smallest foil is the Axis HPS 980 which covers a wide range of conditions. It would be nice to have a smaller foil for high-wind days but I don't feel like it's a requirement since they don't happen very often.

Kalama E3 6'1 x 23" 105L
Axis HPS 980 / PNG 1300
Sunova Flow  8'10 X 31"  119L
Me - 6'0" - 165lbs - 66yo

 


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