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As Harty has already noted in the mag, getting your foil set up correctly is key. Not knowing whether the challenges you’re facing are down to user error or kit setup can make progressing quickly a challenge. Here’s a quick look at making sure you’ve matched your foil well to your board and how to get the most out of your ‘first flights’, and beyond.

Words Sam Ross // Photo John Carter

The quick rule is for more lift, move everything back, for less, move everything forward. However it’s key to understand that where the lift is coming from underneath your board changes depending on the foil. The most important thing to look at is how far forward the front wing is of the foil’s mast. The bigger the gap, the further forward the lift will be underneath the board. The smaller the gap, the further back the lift. This has a massive impact on how different foils perform in different boards but also how you might set your board up to start with. The Starboard modular platform is a good example of the various configurations available. They have a few different setups, but let’s look at three you might use in similar conditions – the Freeride, the GT (sports model) and the Race.

The Freeride has a very small gap between the mast and the front wing. The lift will feel a little more back-footed, which means you’re less likely to go out the front door when you crash, but also you can control even the biggest wing in high winds as you can easily move your weight forward. The GT has a much bigger gap between the mast and the front wing and so feels like the lift is coming up between your feet on the board. Whilst the Race has the largest gap, well over 15cm, meaning the lift comes from under the front foot.

Let’s examine the different foils further and see how the stance changes with each different foil, but also the board’s setup. On the Freeride the footstraps and mastfoot have been moved back on the board to keep the weight over the lift in the foil. On the GT both straps and UJ are central, but on the race everything has been shifted forward to help control the lift. As a general rule start with your UJ at 110cm from the front bolt of the finbox. For wings that have a gap of less than 10cm, move the UJ back. For those with a bigger gap, move it forward. Then move the footstraps forward or back as with the mastfoot.

If you’re looking to buy a foil and put it into an older board, this may well have an impact. It’s worth checking where your mast track is relative to your finbox, but also where the straps are compared to it. For example, old Formula boards are great for foiling, but if the finbox is a long way back from the mast track they may suit a foil like the Race much better than the Freeride.

Once the deck is setup to match the foil, make sure the foil is screwed in tightly, especially the back fin bolt as this is the one that’s stopping the foil ‘scorpioning’ forward in the box. When carrying the foil on land, always carry the foil forward and keep hold of it, to protect you and the foil itself.  Once you’re in good depth, uphaul to start and you should be well setup for success. Always remembering rule number 1: keep hold of the boom!


“ The quick rule is for more lift, move everything back, for less, move everything forward.”

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