DW foil and board

Looking to start to learn to down wind in the UK (South Devon) and wondered if someone could recommend a good foil and board set up.

I am 78kg and already have some experience in wave SUP and wing/wind/pump/kite foiling.

I am considering:

Gong Cruzader FSP Pro 2023 7’0 x 19 1/2" at 122L
Axis ART 1099 with Axis carbon mast
No idea about tail fin or fuselage?

Suitable or other ideas??

If you’re already on Axis black gear you might consider the HPS1050 as your starter foil


I like the look of the Cruzader, but have only seen footage of the Gong team using it in the surf, no DW or flatwater. That said, I like all the Gong kit I have bought and don’t imagine this would be any different.

In terms of the shape, the thing that sticks out for me is how thick they are. The 7’0 is 7 1/4 inches. I guess higher volume in a narrow package (19 5/16).

Another option as you are UK based would be to get Swift Foils guys to make you one. I’m sure more expensive than the Gong but they appear to have got the downwind bug and I like the look of their boards.

Friend is getting an Axis hybrid in Bude, he also DIY’d a similar shape and we are going through the motions here. Probably viable for you to drop by and check it all out. We are waiting for the swell to die a bit so we can venture out into the bumps.

If you haven’t ridden the 1099 then I would suggest something else as it is very unforgiving on the low end. 1300 is suggested for axis but it’s quite a thing to turn. We have both those among the crew and they are worlds apart, but 1099 probably where you would progress to not start with. Tail seemingly bigger better, 400+ progressive seems to be advised.

Swift crew are probably a great bet in that they have experience and boards to set you up with something based more closely on what would work best for you.

Agree that Gong looks cool but I really dislike the idea of 7” thick. Would be keen to try it though as I have a gong prone board and it’s great value.

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Hi @Andy !

I would only add that I consider 122 lts being in the almost too many liters range for you if you are already experienced in SUP. How small you can handle a SUP surf or SUP foil ?
Going too big for me presents a challenge on being to able to control the board in choppy moving waters (imagine going too big in a SUP Race board, it presents it’s own challenges in controling the board IMHO).

I’m 70kgs and went right away to only 88-90 lts, If you’re an experienced paddler, I would go for around 105-110 on your weight.

Listen to this ‎The Generic Foiling Podcast: EP17 - James Casey - How to Downwind on Apple Podcasts to see why the 1099 is a bad idea. They specifically talk about downwinding in the UK and what to learn on.

Then if you feel like hearing more. There is also an episode with swift foiling. ‎The Generic Foiling Podcast: Ep11 - Swift Foiling on Apple Podcasts



I am mulling on DW foiling also, based in Ireland, and watching everything with interest.

The podcasts above and also all the older James Casey podcasts are a worthy time investment - can’t put a price on some of the good advice in there.

There is a thread on production boards: Production Downwind Boards

Some of those are available in Europe. https://52foilboards.com/ in France do DW boards and I spotted a quick glimpse of a model from Takoon in the works.

I reckon by the end of the year a lot more of the Barracuda inspired/copied models will be available.

I wing but don’t sup and have a lot of surf experience. I am watching the evolution of prone paddling up with interest as I think this could be a good way to get me started.

Have fun

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Looks like there is loads of potential on the West Coast of Scotland.

In this AFS video the run from Easdale to Oban looks pretty fun and I reckon that is just scratching the surface. Can’t wait to go.


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Thanks for this @radair. Currently on the Unifoil Viper 90 and Hyper 150 for winging. But thinking of selling all our Unifoil and Signature gear and starting fresh when we return to UK.

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Thanks @Edward for the recommendation of Swift foils. Also for the heads up on the thickness of the Gong - perhaps this will be difficult in choppy UK conditions?

Hi @Matt , Bude is not too far away - would be great to link up. However, we are currently in Tahiti but coming back in April. Thanks for advice on 1099 and 1300. Very excited to give it all a go.

Thanks @Hdip - I am going to watch them now :slight_smile:

Hi @OmarFoilCol I ride a 105L sup but have never sup foil surfed - 95L was too small for me in UK chop. Going for 105-110 seams like good advice especiallly as the foil stablises everything. I guess it is a balance between taking longer to learn and the want to have a small board under your feet.

Nice, definitely a good time to drop by as the water warms up and I hope by then we’ll have a few more boards and be a bunch of Dw experts :joy:

Perhaps more corky? I haven’t tried a board over 6 inches thick for any kind of foiling so I can’t say from experience.

I mentioned it because it is thicker than any other DW boards I’ve seen but I’m not in a position to say whether it is good or bad. Patrice from Gong has been making SUPs for decades and they make the Cruzader look fun in the surf. I t would be interesting to get some feedback from outside the Gong team who has tried it.

You should have a lot of fun in South Devon. I’ve surfed at Bantham but not foiled there yet and it looks like an epic setup. The Generic Foiling podcast with the guy from Kite Barn where they talk about Bantham is worth a listen.

I think a 7 foot by 23” is a good place for people to start. With enough volume for body weight in kg plus 20-30litres. The Sunova elite range in the 7foot plus are really stable and work great. Possibly hard to get in the UK. Swift foiling look like they make a great product, and hopefully they are putting in some R&D time to their downwind boards.

If you go too skinny you might have to break out the hand paddles or work on balance and technique for longer before getting your supping sea legs.

In the axis foil range I think the 1300 and then maybe 1050 would be a good place to start the journey.

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Definitely agree with what most have said and would not start with the 1099.
Takes more to get it going and a different technique. Doesn’t like to be pumped up like large foils. Likes more of a wiggle or it drops out.
Gear coming out now will make it remarkably easier to learn to DW. Longer narrower boards and XL foils. Don’t opt for gear that is going to make you struggle like many of us have over the years because we didn’t have these gear choices.
Make it as easy on yourself as you can because regardless there will still be a struggle. Stick with it and good luck!!


@Edward Yes Bantham is my local break. Hoping to find other local foil surfers to down wind with when I get back to the UK. The Generic Foiling Podcast is great - I wasn’t aware of this one so is a great link - thanks. I have already listened to almost all the Progression Podcasts!

@baldy123 Hi Pete, Just emailed the Sunova UK distributor to see if they have the 7’ x 23" in stock - thanks for the recommendation. The 1300 your refer to is the Axis PNG 1300? Thanks for your help.

@foilthegreatlakes Thanks for your input. Sounds like a common theme that the 1099 might be frustrating to start with. Looking at bigger foils now…