I’m mostly just venting frustrations here during a shitty conditions day - but maybe there’s a question somewhere, I’m not sure.
Background is 8 months into my foiling journey, started with prone (I’ll try winging later this year). I started on a big Axis BSC, and moved to UniFoil when the Progressions came out. I’m at the level where I’m working on my cutbacks, and can pop up with fair regularity in most conditions. Now for me the holy grail is linking waves, and pumping through the break. Despite being able to pump while on the wave to get through dead-spots since the first couple of months - I have never been able to work out how to keep speed & lift for more than a couple of pumps once I’m off the wave.
Cue the deep dive into ways to get that sacred link-up (what I dream about every night is being able to catch a crumbly wave close to the shore, and use that to pump out all the way to the back. Damn you Pedigo, Bennetts, EA, Oskar, et al!).
I watched all the vids, listened to all the podcasts, and now I’m in deep with tuning topics. I distinctly remember being on my first simple Axis setup and just being chuffed about catching waves - now I’m referencing a Google doc of past tail & wing configurations trying to figure out a magic combination, Rain Man algorithms pouring in front of my vision.
I don’t regret moving to the Progressions… despite being a VERY different wing to the BSC. Although it’s hard to judge foil characteristics at my level with so many other variables to consider - new skills, conditions, bad burrito etc. I purposely moved to the Progressions because Erik & Mike’s style of foiling is beautiful - and I know that it’s the artist not the tools - but to a certain degree I just felt like if they’re surfing those wings that way, hell maybe I’ll eventually foil like them too?
I guess if there’s a question anywhere it’s this… How important is it to be worrying about tuning combinations, shim angles, etc etc, especially at that beginner / easy intermediate level? I’m a big believer that people given enough continuity will just adjust (and eventually subconsciously adjust) to any gear setup - but foiling seems so sensitive it might be a different beast.
If someone is just worried about working on turning, connecting waves, & developing initial technique, is there a case for just getting on ANY brand wing (appropriate sizing for weight and wave height) as long as it’s a recent (1-2 year old) surf design), with ANY shim angle, etc etc, then just gritting your teeth and getting on with it? If you have no prior preferences for foiling (which you really shouldn’t being in the sport <1 year?), I feel like the simplicity and consistency might outweigh any performance benefits of shimming a tail an extra 0.5 degree based on your judgement of conditions? Removing as many variables in those early stages can only be a good thing right?
Again, this is from the perspective of a new foiler - obviously more experienced riders will have the history and preference to know how they like their foils tuned
As an aside - this got me thinking… How much do you think that the style you develop as a foiler stems from the first brand of wing you rode? Does that set your preference for feeling from then-on? If you rode Axis / GoFoil, will you develop a very heavy front-foot through turns, and then never get along with a brand that doesn’t have as much pressure - further concreting your style as a front-foot rider?