As most have you have probably seen Freedom Foil boards just dropped the Dagger. Seems like the first production board influenced by the barracuda, and by the looks of it every brand will soon follow suit. This is very exciting as I feel we are starting to see brands hone in on proper dimensions, taking out some of the guess work for us consumers. Has me fully stoked to get into it and experience some of the magic.
I live in Charleston, SC and have not seen anyone properly downwind foiling. So had a few questions that will help me and others who are looking to blaze the way at their local. Apologies if any of these questions are redundant.
Wind direction: Does the direction need to be straight side shore? Can it have some onshore in it?
Wind Strength- I have seen many videos of people riding in average wind conditions around 20kts but has anyone found a true low end for bumps that are not going against the current (like the magic Hood river)
Foils- What’s a good downwind foil for Avg conditions? Large high aspect or large wing with a good low end so getting up is easy?
Paddle- What’s the right size paddle blade?
Safety Gear- Erik and Josh touched on this a bit and I think its worth having in writing, maybe even a links to some vest or what not. Hi-Viz, Lil floatation, and some pockets for water, snacks, and a phone seem like a must.
Solo- How realistic is it to wing up wind, deflate and pack, and then DW back to the beach you started? I love the whole concept of DWing except that you need to always set a car in order to send one.
I can’t listen to anymore talk about how epic DWing is, I gotta try it myself! Hoping this helps others make the jump as well!
I think in general the long-er narrow boards seem to be making DWing more of a user friendly activity. It’s just cool to see DW specific boards coming to market. Im sure every brand will have their own slight variations.
As a quick aside. Coach Casey Club | Coach Casey. has all the answers to these questions. But yes it’s a paid membership. He review coaches your footage though.
Wind Direction A bit of onshore is fine, but only a bit. You need a sideshore aspect to it. Or at least a bend in the coast that allows for some length of run. The other option is to paddle out to sea, then turn around and do a short run back into shore.
Wind Strength There’s a calculator online somewhere that will show you what you need. I don’t know where it is right now though. But you put in strength of wind and length of fetch and it’ll give you the size of bumps that will make. Strong wind, short fetch seems to give the largest and steepest bumps. EDIT: I FOUND IT! Wave Calculator - SWELLBEAT
Foils Larger than you think. Paddling up in the bumps is a timing and technique issue. Paddle technique is very foreign to those of us who only prone. Ocean runs require a slightly faster foil, which will in turn be harder to paddle up. Bay or lake runs have slower moving bumps and you can use the massive foils to get up easily and go slow with the bumps. @Erik and @mikepedigo seem to do well with the Takuma 1440. AXIS large foil lineup goes kind of like this in order of slowest most lift, to faster with less lift. 1310, 1150, 1300, 1050, 1099.
Paddle Ready to spend $900 on a paddle. Quickblade Ono Ava. Want to spend less, search this forum for @KDW recommendation on other paddles.
Safety Gear Get a paddling vest, For kayaking or SUP. The floatation will be lower and allow for more room to paddle. I see the brand name “vaikobi” thrown around a lot. They’ll also have a pocket for a camelback water bladder and a pocket to keep other stuff, like a phone in a waterproof bag. High visibility long sleeve shirts are often worn too. Some way to communicate with shore. Cellphone in a $6 waterproof bag works well enough. But some places (like SF Bay) it’s better to have a marine radio on you to call for help. WEAR A BOARD LEASH
Solo You’ll need to be dropped off, or shuttle cars if you’re doing SUP DW. Start with short runs though and you might not mind walking a bit. Otherwise you can wing and just go upwind, then turn around and come downwind, trying to use the wing as little as possible. Paddling up with a wet wing on your back is supposed to be difficult. You can try a @CoachCasey deflate downwing World First Deflate, Downwind and Re Inflate (all whilst up on foil) - YouTube
Thank you for the epic reply! I figured the Casey Club was next level (#2 fav podcast), trying to save every bit of cash to get into this, as we all know foiling ain’t cheap. If I could get footage more often I think that would be a really great resource!
That Wave calculator is super cool, do you get the information about fetch length from your local bouy? I can see Wind Wave height and period on my bouy and wonder if that would be enough? Or if I should still run the data through the calculator.
YES! Downwind Supfoiling is a full on Stoke fest. They are a lot of cool new boards on the horizon we are stoked to see what all the brands are coming up with!
The Freedom Boards are awesome waiting on a 6’9 to land here for myself :).
Here are some answers to your questions:
Wind Direction: It can have some on shore in it but you don’t want too much on shore as you’ll spend your whole ride working your way out.
Wind Strength: I have had some really fun runs here in the Gorge in 5-15 Kts, but yes it is a pretty magical spot when it comes to Downwinding… I’d say the low end is probably pretty subjective to the “Spot” but 20kts sounds like a good safe bet.
Foils: Here are a couple favorite’s: Lift 170HA amazing low end for its size, but can still handle bigger conditions and has a nice balance between glide/pump and turnability… maybe not the easiest foil to learn on but for sure a quiver killer! Its my go to. The next being the foil that we have seen get the most people over the hump in the learning process of DW sup foiling and that is the Takuma 1440… this thing is a BEAST talk about low end.
paddle: Thats a hard one because I think its a personal preference thing but I prefer a large Blade 95cm+ … Currently using the Black Project Sprint XL I really like that paddle (It makes up for my poor technique) other people I know are stoked on the QB Ono Ava 105 or 115.
Safety Gear Never ever a bad idea! Especially with more open ocean when you don’t have a river bank less than a 1/2 mile to your left or right :). Mustang Survival Waist Belt The traditional PFD annoys the heck out of me when I’m paddling - this though isn’t noticeable.
Solo Interesting you mention this… TJ has been playing around with the Slick SLS trying to swap the boom out for his paddle on the way up.
Stoked you looking at getting into if you can make it out to Hood River it is one awesome place to learn to downwind!!