I find manufacturers are making their product ranges incredibly convoluted, contradicting themselves in different marketing materials (“Rear wing X is tailor-made for downwinding” vs. “Using Rear wing X with Front Wing Y makes for a great surf package”).
Which brand presents a clear product family tree that beginners can navigate with some confidence?
It gets very confusing. Especially in the beginning. My recommendation is find local riders in your area and see if you can try different setups. I have now been on Gofoil, Axis, Armstrong, Takuma, Cabrinha thanks to the local foil crew. You’ll save so much money if you try it first. Some wings everyone will love and it may just not work for you.
As a new foiler its super confusing, but now all these foils and sizes totally make sense to me, you’ll reach that point also as you try new shapes. The thing that annoys me the most is how companies market their board shapes. They all say the same thing - “bottom hull with triple concave makes for clean release and easy take off, bounces right back up” and “flat bottom with no concave makes for clean release and easy take off, bounces right back up”. Which is it? Flat or concave bottom? lol
It seems like as brands get bigger they bring in marketing people who may not be the best people to describe these wings and dynamics.
Compare @KDW tails to FFBs board lineup. KDW can tell you exactly what/how/when a tail will do under any condition because he’s super knowledgeable about his products and lineup. No one knows his tails better than him, and he makes the marketing materials. He gives you the differences and the pros and cons of each, so you get optimal performance for what you do.
Conversely, FFBs marketing seems to hit a lot of the same points for each board across their lineup (‘its amazing for everything, best thing since sliced bread’), which I would suspect is a result of them bringing in a dedicated marketing team (the goal is to make every board appealing rather than help the consumer differentiate).
The product lines are overwhelming, especially with the all the numbers and acronyms. Unless you are an obsessively techie gear-head, you pretty much need to choose a brand, get to know their product line, and stick with it. I was on GoFoil for quite a while, appreciated their simplicity of 1 model, 3 sizes, use what works. Now on Lift, because of efoil, and I like the simple approach. Though both were savaged in popular opinion by their “lack of progression” in making new products … and now Gofoil is releasing new slight variations every couple months, there must be 7 or 8 sizes now in the RS wing range. Customizing has some advantages, but it also risks watering down the brand. Especially when the hot new wing is seen as obsolete just 2-3 months after release. (or in early days winging, Gong would be tweaking the wing design even before they were even available for sale, so the wing you bought on pre order would already be obsolete before it’s shipped)
Remember back to the early surfing days, where you just bought one surfboard and then rode it? I am getting older and grumpier and stepping off the carousel to just enjoy the ride.
[Beepip: the board marketing is a load of hoo-hah…if you follow the online forums, there is 100% disagreement on user review of what works or doesn’t, which makes it obvious that they actually all more or less work. These boards spent most of their riding time a foot above the water, bottom profile is largely irrelevant, design features are to sell sexiness above improving performance. What matters most is how well it floats you for paddling. So avoid the hype, buy last year’s board cheap, it will work just as good as this year’s hot new thing. the exception: new generation of downwinder boards designed to maximize early lift…that really is a new design where performance matters]