A case for just getting used to what you have?

Hi there,

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? :grin:

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? :thinking:

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Do you like Android (unifoil) or Apple (lift)? They all work. One let’s you play with more variables whereas the other doesn’t.

If you’re on a progression. Listen to the latest episode of the podcast and what Erik says to start with for tuning. Do that. Don’t change anything until you can link 2-1’s at will.

Pull off with speed. Pull off right away. You have 30 seconds of cardio. Don’t waste it on the first wave you started with.

I learned on Naish. I’ve never ridden Naish since. I learned to link waves on lift 200 classic. Lift still pumps the most comfortably for me. I can pump other brands just fine though.

Edit: send video of you riding. We’ll break it down.


Yeah, don’t stress! Don’t forget to have fun! You are on good toys. They work right out of the box. Tuning is just optimizing for you.

There’s not too much to tune…

If your pumping is going up and down, with no forward drive, and your technique isn’t terrible then you likely have too much tail shim. If your nose is going down too much when you pump (assuming your board tail rocker is fine), you could go up in shim.

If you are getting super jacked on your takeoffs, move your mast back in the box. If you are not getting lift on takeoff, move your mast forward in the box. Tune that balance for plenty of lift but not too much. I like the Hydrofoil Wingscrews to move the mast around on the water.

Tuning done. Have fun!

Don’t stress!


Linking up waves is easy if you can pump. Pumping back out is probably one of the easiest parts of prone foiling. I think all you need to do is become really good at pumping. So either dock start or get towed, let go, and pump. U should be able to do 30 sec in the flat water. Once that’s unlocked wave linking will be easy. I know it looks cool, but really it’s the part that can be most easily practiced in flat water. Making it super easy. It took me years to get to the point of catching my first prone foil wave, but it only took me 3 waves or so to link my first wave and get a three for one same session. I was pumping every day on my foil drive for 6 months before I started proning


How are conditions? I initially foiled in the afternoon when everything was choppy and couldn’t pump back at all. My schedule changed so I started going in the morning when it was glassy and it made a huge difference. I learned a lot fast.

Gear was also big for me but not as important as conditions.

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The progression is an amazing wing to progress, I would not worry too much about tuning. I spent hundreds of hour on stock gong before worrying about anything else.
My advice would be, try to spend hours on foil, winging would be the cheapest way, towing can also work, pumping around on a big foil,… It’s about feeling home on the foil.

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Pumping is just practice. You need to practice to get the fidelity necessary. Generally big foil less fidelity required and small high aspect require the most time because they required the most fidelity.

Just make sure your particular foil is know as a foil that pumps well enough. You can’t buy the practice. That simple.

I have been foiling for nearly 6 years now and pumping is always improving for me. It is something where you think I am killing this now but a year later you look back and go now I am killing it and then a year later again you look back and go, no, now I am killing it. Enjoy the ride.

Flick off with speed in clean water every chance you get and you will get better without all the anxiety of watching clips.

I’m always getting mocked by my crew for trying new setups/tails/shims etc. And I did listen and kept to 1210/14r for a while and made some rare progress. But consistency has to be balanced with what I’ll call evolution through scientific mutation. Mutate one thing every once in a while, so you can isolate its effect. In biology an individual with a mutation is called a “hopeful monster”, because it is a mutant that’s hopeful it will have an advantage. Anyway, you’ll miss out on some advantages if you don’t experiment a little. For example I went and ordered the new kujiras and I found improved takeoff, glide, and pump.


One thing not mentioned already is to not focus on a specific wave when pumping back out to get your first 2 for 1. Try to see the opportunities when you exit and take the easiest one, it’s very easy to get focused on a “set out the back” that your ego thinks you can make it to.

2 for 1 is “climbing the mountain,” conquer the easiest one first then move on to tougher challenges.


@Zarb without knowing your height/weight and the types of waves you’re mostly foiling, I’d still say that what you have in the Prog140 is a exactly the right foil to help accelerate your learning curve towards multiples. The 140’s low stall speed and glide will make it much more forgiving to mistakes while pumping. Again, without knowing whether you prefer front or back foot feels, I’d suggest sticking with one tail set up - the Shiv (neutral footed) seems to be the most common choice for prone. A .5 degree shim might add just a bit more of a lifted feel to help on pump, or just go with 0 shim and get used to it as that’s probably what you’ll want to ride eventually to maximize efficiency.

After that it’s all about technique, which is mostly about time on foil. I agree that a lot of people overestimate the importance of equipment vs. technique in their progression. Instead of throwing money at new foils or brands or tails, consider coaching, video analysis, and time behind a boat where you let go of the rope and then pump into flat water. (Or winging if you want to learn another thing simultaneously).

Few other thoughts:

  • People who come to prone foiling from a surf background tend to have an easier time learning to pop up and ride waves on foil, but find the pumping and multiples very challenging. Exact opposite for prone foilers who started out as wing foilers without much surf experience.
  • Common mistakes when learning to pump (especially for ex-surfers) include not kicking out early enough, only kicking out once you’ve already started to lose speed, pumping up and down instead of projecting forward, staying too low while pumping, and most importantly staying too low on the mast.
  • Plus all the other great but difficult to implement advice out there.
  • None of this is easy, but if you stick with it and keep refining your technique you’ll get it eventually…

You started 8 months ago but how many actual sessions have you had in good conditions? Glassy knee to waist high is optimal. A part of the reason Pedigo/Erik/Bennetts are so good is because they are all regularly foiling in perfect conditions.

Just watch some pumping videos and then surf as much as possible with the progression zero shim shiv tail and you will figure it out for sure, stay stoked!

@Hdip I definitely like the idea of eventually being able to play with variables! I’ll give the latest episode a listen thank you. I’ll say that the Progression (for me at least) is very difficult to get up to a speed where I can ride it high on the mast on days where people would expect it to be good foiling size (knee to waist) - let alone get off the shoulder with any amount of speed. I’ve had some better luck with the Prog140 on bigger more powerful days, and I definitely feel better on the 140 than the 170 despite being almost 200 lbs. I certainly have never been pumping long or far enough for cardio to be a limiting factor. Sorry I don’t have a video of myself riding, nor do I have any good means of doing so :frowning: I might invest in a 360 camera if it would help analyzing technique!

@XLFL I would get jacked on takeoffs on the BSC890, so I had some room to play with the mast position. Normally I was at half tracks. Now that I’m on the Progressions, I’m all the way up in the tracks and still feel like I should be moving it more forward. The pumping on Progressions (while I’m on a wave) I would describe as a “see-saw” without springs or resistance - whereas I’d describe the pumping on the BSC as “springy” and “bouncy”. I’ve tried everything from neutral to a +2 shim on the 14" Shiv and Shunt, as well as the KD Marlin (large and medium sizes). I can feel a difference when it’s positively shimmed for sure - but I can subsequently feel the drag too.

@rycpt & @Rad_Duke, I’d say that conditions are mostly confused and choppy, with an almost guaranteed onshore wind. I’ve been out most days since I’ve started, and I can count the days on two hands that I would describe as “clean”. Sadly that seems to be the reality in the PNW. That and 5mm booties :frowning: But I’m moving back to Australia soon so hopefully I’ll get better conditions with the move!

Sadly haven’t had any experience behind a ski or Efoil to practice, it’s been all prone for now… but at the end of the year when I’m back in Aus I plan on getting some wing gear for extra time on foil!

I suppose I’ve just been feeling like I’m missing something in the gear setup and/or learning process - especially when I feel like I was foiling better on my first setup at Month#2 than I am now, at Month#8. I’ve had probably 20 hours on the new setup… maybe I just need some good conditions to really dial it in. Is the higher aspect Unifoil having trouble in messy conditions compared with the mid-aspect Axis?

If you have your box all the way forward with the 140 and you still aren’t worried about getting jacked a bit on takeoff, then I think you need to move up to the 170.

To learn twofers easily, you need a foil setup that wants to be in the air… That wants to be high on the mast. That wants you to hold it down, not struggle to lift it up.

So if twofers is the goal, then deal with a bit of jacking on the takeoff so you know you have enough power in your foil to make it easy to learn twofers.

Basically consider using the 170 more often. Do less surfing for a few weeks, and more kicking out early and working on the twofer connection with a bigger foil.

You got this!

Edit: onshore winds and chop are definitely tougher than sheet glass!

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Move your stance back if possible. The BSC’s have TONS of lift. Moving your body if possible is easier than playing with shims. The foil should have plenty of lift for you. Just gotta get in a steep section of a wave to gain speed. Then maintain that speed. Ride high on the face of the wave, not out in the flats.



I can totally relate to where you are at. I too have watched all the videos, listened to the podcasts, and long to pump effectively to connect waves.

My foiling journey started about 15 years ago with a kite, and what I believe was the first kite foilboard with straps. A Carafino kite foilboard. It took me awhile, but through a bit of stick to it’ness . I was able to eventually ride and have a bunch of fun riding the foil. I put it on a shelf for awhile. Then a bunch of other manufactures started making all kinds of foils. And my situation allowed me to get back into foiling. The kite foils were amazing. Then I started to see prone foiling and what could be done and dove in. Started with slingshot, easy to add to what I already had. Now on the Unifoil progression 140 and 170. The problem I have now is the beach where I am at, has changed to a grinding shallow sand bar. Not good at all for paddle in foiling. I would get maybe a couple of days a year that worked. In order to make my spot, or anything in the area work, I picked up the Foil Drive Assist. Definitely a home run. I can get out on any day the wind is light. Although The board (bigger), with all the extra weight is not ideal for pumping. I keep at it and just keep working on technique. Little by little, I am getting further on the pumping. I keep picturing how it should feel and just keep trying to practice. For the first time, I felt myself projecting forward. I feel like my gains are in small increments, but I keep trying to learn and improve. I have messed with changing the tails and shims a little at a time, and feel close to what works best for me.

My point is, Just get out there and keep riding and pumping and do self evaluation. I also feel like video learning is almost essential for improving. My wife caught a clip of me on one ride and pump the other day. I watched it over and over, and the next time out improved immensely. I think I need to figure out how to get more video as well.

Also, I just turned 60, but am not letting that hold me back. I do sprints on my bicycle for cardio, and feel like a kid trying to dial in the pumping aspect of foiling. Riding a foil is easy, the pumping is the challenge. As long as I feel I did a bit better on my most recent session vs the prior one, I’m good. I hope to be surprised when my small gains add up to connecting waves.

Keep at it. Keep making small gains. It will all fall into place.

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Seconding the foil drive if you cNt get behind a boat and are unable to dock start. It is worth every penny as in the early days you will progress 5-10x faster. What you learn on the foil drive can directly be applied to normal prone foiling sessions. The downside beside the cost and the fragility of the components that need to get replaced constantly is that if u use it to take off prone on waves it’s significantly more dangerous than proning without it. You better know what ur doing if you want to popup on a wave with foildrive, if ur already standing then it’s perfect. I have 4 large batteries and 2 medium ones. That with a 1000-1100cm ha foil is the sweet spot as the motor cannot handle smaller foils. My gameplan is always try to prone when conditions are.optimal, no wind, no current, possibility of boat assistance, etc… and when conditions are suboptimal and I’m tired after paddling for 4 hours, do another 4 hours of foiling on the foil drive.

Hi there, im just wondering what the problem is with popping up on a wave with FoilDrive? The only problem that I’ve found is, as you’ve found, when it’s not a mushy, friendly takeoff.
Steep takeoffs get pretty scary, pretty fast!
Otherwise it’s no big deal, in my experience.
I’m 63, 90kg, 42 litre 4’10”, Axis PNG1010 and Spitfire 900 foils.

It’s not too bad in 1-2ft waves , but when it’s chest to head high, that’s when it gets scary. It’s alot easier to take off prone without the foil drive. You have a better control of the speed of the takeoff and everything is just easier. When I use foil drive I keep the trigger on until I’m basically standing. You have to release the trigger st the perfect moment and that’s what’s hard , as a little bit too much or less and you’re not making it. Also you have to takeoff basically in mid air compared to a slow takeoff where your board planes before ur flying with normal prone. Wiping out on a takeoff where you someone end up jumping forward (rare but it happens when ur learning) is terrifying as the engine keeps going 0.5s even tho the trigger is off as you’ve dug your nose and lost connection. Foil drive is great , like a cheat code and has helped me progress immensely. But I understand the risks is way higher than without foil drive. When waves are small then it’s fine and I’m not worried. When waves are bigger, and there’s choppy conditions and steep drop and I’m using a high aspect wing. You better know what your doing.