Thinking more about this as I’m building a board and about to put money into a track placement… so here is my take on downwind track positioning.
Even on newly released boards, competent riders just end up with the foil right at the front nearly immediately. I rode a demo Appletree appleskipper downwind and a demo Axis hybrid downwind board and both I had the foil at the front of the box by the end of the first session
I have two thoughts and a theory :
To paddle you need to stand near the middle of the board for optimum speed/efficiency, this needs to also accomodate where you stand when catching a wave, not just flat (adjusted ~forward/back depending on volume distribution),
This is what restricts the track position
When on foil you want your feet to straddle the lift point of the front wing, approximately (proxy to this is the backfoot being on or slightly in front of the mast). you will move your feet to find the optimal place,
Unrestricted as you don’t have straps, can stand anywhere, ideally near the middle for balance
Key then is having the foil in a position that means transitioning between 1 and 2, you don’t end up adjusting your stance. A poorly positioned mast is indicated by either
a) too far back, needs steps back on take-off to get above foil
b) too far forward and getting launched before getting up enough speed
Based on above, you’d ideally then want the range of your boxes to centre around positioning the centre of foil (technically 1/3 from front) under your feet, with adjustments based on conditions.
Interested in feedback, do you agree with this theory? With this in mind I want to put the boxes similar to FFB below, or even further forward?
***Caveat would be that you’re designing around a specific brand and fuse length, and could end up not working on a different brand, but that is more a problem for production boards
Pic for interest