Stand up paddle boarding in Swansea & Gower
Tel : 01792 446511

My first Foil visits – SUP foiling the basics

To foil or Not to Foil…that is the question…

So I guess you’ll be wanting to know how easy foiling on a stand up paddle board  is ..!

Well After 5 attempts each spending around an hour maximum on the Takuma concept V100 foil , Im happy to say it works and the soaring ‘feeling’ is very addictive !

What board ?

I mounted the foil on a Starboard 8’0 Hypernut which seems to work great . ( x 2 10″ longboard boxes give the foil some adjustability forward and aft, currently I have the back of the mast at 46cm from the tail of the board. The board is very stable to paddle and relatively easy to manage once up and foiling, (I weigh 84kg). If you’re considering retro fitting to a board, remember to consider boards with more volume in the tail so the foil can keep the right angle of attack whilst you paddle to catch waves or bumps, then you don’t feel the drag of the foil.

What sort of Waves?

Waves which rear up and break and then crumble or back off will work best and allow you to search and soar on the shoulder to find your rhythm. Steeper waves will force you to lean heavily on your back foot to help bring the nose up on take- off and therefore by doing this will force the foils front wing into believing its a rocket heading for the moon ….so softer waves work best for starters ! Beach breaks are always going to be hard work …so Id suggest a reef break with a channel so you can hop onto the shoulder ( which is the foils domain)

Know you chosen spot 

Make sure you’ve surfed at your chosen spot before and know what the bottom does, is it shallow or are there rocks!

What sort of conditions ?

Pick cleaner conditions, although you’ll be able to foil in any conditions eventually, when your first learning to find the sweet spot of your front and back foot , having cleaner conditions without having to worry about controlling the boards instability will get you ‘wired’ sooner.

Should you wear safety gear ?

Yes , your first few attempts will be pretty scary believe me..! so having a buoyancy vest and helmet on will give you more confidence. A leash is also mandatory.

Getting in and out of the water ?

I would suggest pushing the board out to chest deep water and then flipping the board and climbing on. On the way back in the same process , you can hold onto the mast of the foil if the waves are

Paddling in the flat?
I have been asked whether there is any noticable drag whilst paddling with the foil attached….and I can say its not really noticable at all , you can easily paddle to find waves and turn onto waves.

Other people in the water 

Give others the widest berth possible and if you have the smallest bit of doubt …don’t go in or move down the beach so you’re on your own.

Foot placement?

When your chosen wave approaches you’ll want to look down and try and align your feet correctly before you lay down any paddle power to catch the wave .

Your front foot in the middle of the board over or in front of the handle and your rear foot directly over the foil.

If your front foot is in the wrong position and angled off to one side of the board when you rise up onto the foil the board will immediately tip over to that side and you’ll literally have to dive over the foil. If your rear foot is too far behind the foil as the board rises up, the front wing will skip out of the water and the board will then drop back down very quickly.

It’s a strange sensation and i’ve heard people liken it to snowboarding in deep powder ( of which it is similar)

Therefore to give yourself the best chance to figure the foiling part out …get your both feet in the correct place before you catch the wave.

Catching waves

Once you’ve caught a wave you start the weird and split sensory process of surfing on a aeroplane wing not on a board !

You want to lean back on your back foot for lift and then change your weight onto your front foot to keep speed,  too much front foot pressure will dive the nose of the board. The best way I can describe the motion is like a latin American dance …Rumba maybe – whereby your weight shifts from your hips from to one leg to the other.

Turning is a process of shoulder rotation, not really weight differentiation which takes time to re-wire your muscle memory from surfing.

It’s a fun process and Im loving it…although scarey at first as the foil is a heavy and big piece of kit, as long as you pick your kit wisely and in my opinion keep your session time down to an hour you’ll learn every time you head out …I would not recommend to anyone heading out for a long session – as soon as you become tired in your Kinesthetic mind  it’s time to head in – Kinesthetic: The things you feel from sensors in your muscles, joints, tendons.

Interestingly we have just had stock of the Naish Malolo foil and 10’4 board…Call us for more info





  1. Hello, thank you for this post. I have a question. Can you ride a smaller board due to the big foil fin that will ad to stability. Or do you need to stick to the ‘normal’ size that you used before using a foil?

    Best regards Adriaan

    • You can ride a smaller board eventually , but learning to ride the foil starts first with being on a stable board

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Mumbles Trailer - SA34EE
Langland - SA3 4SQ
Three Cliffs - SA3 2EH
Phone: 01792 446511
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About Sup Gower

Here at SUP Gower We offer Stand up paddle lessons & Foiling Lessons ( wing sup - wing foil - sup foil -surf-foil & Efoil ) Plus Hire & Clinics. Our showroom and Plant based Cafe is stocked with boards, paddles, coffee & cake and all the food and gear you need to get on the water. GROUND plant based & much more.
Call us on 01792 446511 to discuss your paddle or board requirements.

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