Back foot vs front foot surf foils

As a lifelong surfer, I would describe my style as having back foot control (regular stance FWIW).

I am currently trying to decide which system to buy into after a season of second-hand gear from Axis. I want to wing in waves and prone surf, but still be able to get out and wing on flat days.

I’m sure one answer is to demo, but easier said than done where I am, and even harder to give a good test rather than just test for an hour or two.

I managed to test the AFS Silk 1050 for an hour and got on well with it. With the recent launch of the v2 HAs from Armstrong I have been told that they are more back foot control like a surfboard, with the Silk being more front foot like a snowboard.

It never occurred to me that foils may sway one way or another. So knowing I am a back foot surfer I wanted to ask what experience people had with this idea.

What brands and models would be considered (mainly) back foot control, and which front foot, and perhaps which favor neither?

Buying into a system is a difficult decision, there is the cost, but also the risk of not getting on well with it long-term.

So even if it helps narrow down the set-ups I should try and find demos for I’d love to get some feedback.

With Uni being so surf-based do they ride back foot?
Was there some good insight into Armstrong being back footed?
Can I progress on the Silk as a back footed surfer?
Where do F-One or other brands/ systems fit into this?
Which system combines the best features?

Many thanks
(82kg, Intermediate)

All foils will feel front foot dominant when you’re learning as compared to surfing. It’s literally trying to lift you out of the water.

If you like the silk get that. Haven’t heard a bad thing said about it yet.

Unifoils that I’ve ridden are heavily front foot heavy in my experience thanks to the designer specifically designing for front foot pressure.

It means something different in foiling than in surfing though. So I wouldn’t stress too much about it for your first year of foiling.


I find the silk to be more even footed than Uni which was more front footed. I believe Lift rides more backfooted, but its been a while since I’ve been on a Lift setup.

Stating the obvious, but play around with mast position too. You can always even out footing to some degree by bringing the mast back in the tracks.


Comparing lift, go foil, uni and cabrinha. Only the lift is significantly rear foot pressure designed. While they may claim that is intentional for surf feel, I think it’s intentional for cross over with E- foil drives. Having some steady front foot pressure makes it much more easy to get warmed up and easy to swap between gear, more rider friendly. If you have mad skills the rear foot pressure may become nice, but it’s not intuitive. I don’t think the concept of surf / snowboarding are applicable- totally different feeling.


I agree with this. Others at a higher level might disagree, but in my mind, most of the steering control on a foil is front foot (more rear foot at the end of the turn maybe). Lift control is mostly rear foot (until you are overfoiled). It isn’t an intuitive comparison with other board sports where you can control more with the back foot. I don’t think this is foil-specific, its more foiling specific.

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What Axis gear were you on?

I would consider a front foot foil one you can move around in the box to get dialed. A backfoot one I would consider to be a predominantly in the front parts of the box and require more rider input (pumping or positioning in the pocket).

I’m a SoCal prone foiler that loves the glide (cruisey) and have tried a few brands:

Uni is definitely front foot sensitive and all the wings have great glide, very easy to feel good on. I ride the Vyper and Progression.

F-One, I had an Eagle 990 and tried the Sk8. Both feel like they needed either power behind them or a lot of rider input to keep them going. Sk8 surfs very well and has glide. Eagle is fast but not very much low end.

Had Lift in the past, I would call them backfooted. The HA90 is still the closest foiling has felt to shortboarding for me.


Armstrong rider here. The new HAs feel pretty balanced. Shimming the tail can lower the front foot pressure, but moving the mast forward in conjunction is recommended. Great for prone, wind and DW with the larger sizes.

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Hi been foiling for 4 years now and life long surfer prior. Learned on Lift but have used, Armstrong, Takuma, UniFoil, and most recently demoed the AFS Silk 850. And totally agree that it is very front footed, more so than the Uni progressions. I find that Kujira II has been the most surfy feel but takes a bit of an advanced technique to pump since they are all in the mid aspect range. Totally agree that Lift and previous Armstrong HAs are very back footed and usually tougher to get used to the subtle feedback under your front foot however, I recently rode the new Armstrong HA 680 and I felt it was balanced and a huge improvement from the previous generation. So many great foils on the market now and it’s tough to go wrong.

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I ride Cloud IX Surf Foils because they had the best surf feel for me. I’ve heard others say that they have front foot pressure but I usually feel pretty neutral or rear foot when using the faster sizes. I move around on the board a decent amount to tune my feel into my legs.

I tried the Unifoils before getting the Cloud IXs and have to admit that the Unifoil tail tuning options make changing front to neutral to rear foot pressure really easy.