Foil drive - Gen 1 vs Gen 2

Seeing a lot of people ripping on the new foil drives. However, it seems like the extra weight on the board could affect the feel. So I have a couple questions:

  1. How much do you feel a gen 2 FD system on a typical prone setup?

  2. Is there an advantage to using the gen 1, and using a waist mount for the battery like Paul Cooper used to do? Seems like you can avoid the added board weight and put it on your waist where it’d be less noticeable? Also - how exactly is that done where the cord isn’t ripped off when you wipe out?

  3. How removable is a FD from a setup? Are there any more reversible alternatives to taping the cord to the mast?

Ask here:

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Gen 2 has more power and way better battery chemistry is what I hear. Having the weight of the battery at the center of gravity makes it disappear more than attaching the weight to your body.

Putting a battery in a waist belt attached to you is not the smartest move. But it does seem to work for some. Have a quick release of some sort so you don’t burn up if it goes bad.

You have a cord that’s longer than your leash can stretch too.

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I have a Gen1 and a Gen2, running on a KT Drifter F 42 litre.
I’ve been very happy with the Gen1 but found that the Gen2 was really tail-heavy which unbalanced the board and I was unable to get the mast far enough forward to balance it out. The Gen1 battery next to my front foot balances the board nicely.
I’m waiting on an Amos 5’ mid-length which I’m hoping will sort the problem by virtue of having longer tracks, further forward.

The Gen1 backpack battery option sounds great, moving the battery to a controlled-weight position from a dead-weight position on the board, and allowing for paddling with both arms. You use a Dyneema leash or similar to ensure that the battery cable isn’t ripped out.

The motor pod is a bit of a faff to take on and off so I use a spare mast for the Gen1 and Gen2.
If the new Amos doesn’t resolve the balance issue then I’ll sell the Gen2 and convert the Gen1 to a backpack.


Wow first time I’ve heard some real world feedback that wasn’t hyped up. Honestly do you get bored with a foil drive? I look at them & would probably get one if I won lotto but I dunno, there’s something about them that reminds me of a jetski aimlessly wandering around the ocean or a motorcycle doing laps in a carpark… Almost like it’s too easy?

A bit of context will help…I live in Wellington, New Zealand, where the waves are few and generally blown out by 25-35-45 knot winds. I stopped windsurfing when I moved here, gave wingfoiling a go for 2 years and gave that up also for those same reasons ie mowing the lawn in 3-foot chop and 40 knots just gets old.

By comparison, I’ve been proning on 13 out of 18 days this month (the other days were stupidly windy ie over 35 knots). January was 21 days out of 30 and December was 18 out of 31. So my water time has increased massively even though I’m being a bit bloody-minded about it (doing 10-12 knots into a 20 knot headwind isn’t that great).

Riding swell outside the surfers at our main break (and giving them respect) has been great, too, and I bought the Gen2 for a bit more power to let me use a smaller foil on these bigger swells (which generally just close-out big time anyway).

An even greater surprise to me is that on the most unlikely days when there’s hardly a ripple, there’s still enough windchop for me to get on foil on a 4’6” and 1100 Spitfire (and Gen1) and hunt down 3 foot (front) breaking waves in the shorebreak. There isn’t a surfer for miles.

I’m 64 and pretty fit but there’s no way my recovery rate could keep up with my work rate without the FoilDrive, and I would still be almost a beginner after a year of proning without it. One battery lasts about 45 minutes in wind swell and those sessions consist of catching and riding wave after wave (short period windswell waves are just relentless) until you fall off or your legs give out, then repeat when your pulse gets back to normal. Two batteries and my legs are toast.

So, yeah. FoilDrive.



Interesting that the gen2 is tail heavy, it makes sense. The weight should be centred over the front wing, not over the mast. It just looks tidier with the gen2 packaged over the mast.

I’m interested in feedback on the waist mounted FD1.

A sleek solution could be to notch out a section in the centre of a prone board for the FD box.

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Here’s Rob Pirie talking about the weight thing

Regarding the belt mount, I’ve talked to several people including Sky Rama and all have been very enthusiastic about it.

Regarding a recessed battery, a lot of people have done this, mainly on SUPs with plenty of volume. I just don’t see it as a big deal on prone, except that I can’t use both arms to paddle, which would help with using smaller foils.
Search on the Facebook FoilDrive group if you want to know more. There’s been quite a lot of discussion over there.

I’m on the Gen 1 and will probably stay with that as I ride a tiny board for prone and find the battery box doesn’t get in the way at all. We have bay conditions so I use it almost daily for chasing wind swell, saves me over 2 hours of driving to get to a beach break.

There are other advantages of Gen 1 over the Gen 2.
It’s lighter than the max.
Zero drag from box when board is on the surface.
Zero connection issues with any board.
It’s much cheaper, especially with a lot of secondhand units on the market.
It’s more versatile, you can place the pod anywhere on the mast, prone or efoil.
If you want more runtime, a second or third battery is relatively cheap.
It’s easier to clean and maintain with almost zero corrosion issues.
Travel batteries are available.
A discharger is available if required.


FD Gen1 “Backpack” user here on a 29L JS board and Code Foil setup.

The whole gen2 release has left me amongst others feeling pretty confused. It’s incredibly hard to get honest feedback as they’ve thrown so many at influencers and dealers where much of the initial feedback “no drag, no weight, GAMECHANGER!!!” came from.

Since then a few more honest reviews from paying customers is filtering through (when they don’t get cut down by the mob) confirming it has it’s issues which is fine it was never going to be perfect but they’ve priced it at a huge premium which keeps the Gen1 (and other brands products) well and truly a contender.

My “backpack” setup comes with risks (mainly warranty) but is probably the most comparible to “real foiling” with nothing on or below the deck of the board and no added weight (other than the pod/motor) to the board/mast, perfect remote reception with a full carbon sinker board and both arms available to paddle.

As for is FD worth it? Personally I believe if it is used simply as an assist in initially getting you up on foil and then you let your legs/foil/wave do the rest (largely ignoring the fact you have a FD and using it as minimally as possible with the pod in the air and motor off) you can definitely up your rate of learning as you achieve huge foil time/wave count each session while practicing real world skills such as controlling pitch, turning, pumping etc (I recently got a 2nd battery to further push the progression)

I’ve always used my FD since getting it as a tool in my kit that I will eventually move on from when I believe my foiling is at the level where I don’t “need it” Some people will happily “efoil” around indefinitely and strongly identify as “foildrivers” where as I believe I’m a foiler that started learning in a time that’s much easier than those before due largely to gear.

I currently only use it for surf prone sessions and I wing/sup without it.


Thanks to everyone chiming in.

Re: the batteries, I believe they are both LiPos? Correct me if I’m wrong. It also seems that both Gen 1 and Gen 2 use the same motor pod (perhaps with different connections?)

This leads me to ask - could you get gen 2 performance out of a gen 1 with a battery upgrade? For that matter, is the thrust difference even noticeable?

Yes performance gains have been made with 3rd party batteries running at higher voltages (less sag at lower battery %) it’s just a matter of getting the correct cell configuration to fit the box. FD claim to still be supporting/selling the Gen1 but so far no official upgrades have come.

As for does it really matter? At 70kg I have no troubles paddling up a 720s foil on a 29L board and once I’m up on foil the FD isn’t getting used anyways. Buying a cheap 2nd battery during the great gen1 selloff has me easily seeing 20km on foil sessions in the surf. So not worth it.

If you are a big unit or don’t have the ability to paddle up your board/foil than the increase in thrust may be what gets you over the line (but I’d argue not being able to paddle with both arms consistently with gen2 reception issues counters this thrust)

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My understanding is that a battery increase wouldn’t be enough and you’d need to upgrade the EMS as well.
Like @drc (hi Dave!) I wouldn’t bother with trying to upgrade a Gen1 to Gen2 power. The backpack mod is much easier and you won’t need the extra power if you’ have your pop-up dialled. If not then that’s something to develop by finding friendlier, flatter waves.

As to whether the thrust difference is noticeable, yes it is but not as much as all the excitement led me to believe. Even the FoilDrive website posts thrust figures which are not that different between Gens. Having said that, I single-arm-paddle like a maniac to get up on flat water with my 42 litre 4’10” KT/spitfire 100/45 skinny/85kg combo on the Gen1. I get up without paddling with the Gen2 on the same combo.


Haha Gday Geoff! Have I missed anything interesting in the FB group or more of the same? :joy:

I’ve still only tested the gen2 in efoil mode (which was nice and all but I learnt nothing from it performance wise)

Hopefully will get a test run on one with my gear and compare closely to my gen1 back pack eventually but until then it’s great to have honest feedback from a paying customer who’s used both.

I’ve felt pretty good about using my gen1 heavily running it into the ground essentially but progressing well and putting the savings I made by not buying a gen2 on a nice set of new foils, a new board, a few wing dings setup (damnit I’m getting addicted to winging now who’d have thought)


I’d probably still be winging occasionally if I didn’t live here but the massive wind holes leading to 0-30-0 knot light switch gusts just wore me down. No going back, now!

I had a Gen 1. I decided to position my battery box inside my board so that it would be directly below my body. That worked very well. I then decided I wanted to ride just a foil board free of extra stuff. After selling my two FDs now I miss the FD days and I’m working on a personal tow rig.

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An update on my Gen1-Gen2 transition.
My Amos 5’x18” 55 litre board arrived and it’s awesome. 4kg and feels lighter. I had to move the mast to the back of the track to get enough board out front to balance it. It’s really light!
I had previously settled on my Gen1/ Ginxu 4’6” 39 litre board as the hot option and rode it a lot before the Amos arrived, using a Spitfire 1100/475 progressive combo.
I threw the same foil combo on the Amos, using the 475 as trainer wheels in both cases, expecting the 18” width of the Amos would make up for the length.
Oh yes.
I’m selling the Gen1, Ginxu and KT Drifter.
After 2-3 sessions on the Amos/Gen2 in my normal 15-20 knot onshore 3-4 foot slop, I tried the magical Ginxu/Gen1 in the same conditions.
Oh dear. The Ginxu didn’t add enough on the wave to make up for the effort of finding the right wind chop to get it off the water.
The Gen2 Max battery won’t fit the Ginxu because the cutout is too close to the mast track, otherwise it might be a different story.
There’s so much power with Gen2 that today in 4 foot front/7-second period waves (offshore and clean! Unheard of!) I ran Low power, zero boost, 1100 spitfire/375 progressive, caught a million waves in 2 hours and had to stop with 35% battery remaining because I ran out of legs.
The Amos made the difference.
I didn’t try the Gen1 on the Amos after the Gen2 blasted the spitfire 900 off the water in flat conditions. I couldn’t imagine the Gen1 ever managing that.


As someone that started on Gen 1 and switched to Gen 2 as an independant, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. Keep in mind this is my experience and feelings. Take with a grain of salt.

When I started to prone foil at my home break, I would only get a few days that worked for paddling in. It would be either too shallow and grinding shorebreak, or not break at all. Once I got 3 days in a row, at the end of which I felt I made a bunch of progress, only to not be able to try again for months. Saw FoilDrive and hoped it would get me on a foil much more. (without a kite) Bit the bullet and bought a gen 1. One of the few purchases made that exceeded ALL expectations. My days in the water went up to almost every day. Wind, kitefoil, no or light wind, foildrive. Out riding waves by myself, nobody can do what I am doing. Having a blast riding and learning, carving, pumping etc.

Gen 2 comes out. Bunch of hype, but got in early and got in on the first batch. Just looking for a cleaner set up. No Box on board, or long cable etc. (I thought about the battery on a belt, for me, saw potential disaster).
1st session on Gen 2, I thought, maybe I made a mistake switching from Gen 1. After a few more sessions, I really got used to the different weight distribution and adjusted the remote with the app.
Much better than Gen 1 for me. Making more adjustments, mast location, tail shims, mast shims. Just keeps getting better. Constantly moving my feet around. Very different when on motor vs riding a wave.

I recently added a third blade to prop. Again, just so much better. Riding waves and having a blast that would not be possible without foildrive. I don’t ride around using the motor. I see a set, self tow into a wave, ride, for usually a really long time, do my best to pump out. Now almost always get all the way out the back, if there is another bump, pump into it, no motor. If I stop on the inside, I’ll paddle out. Keep arms in shape, also punishment for not pumping out.

For me, adding foil drive has been one of the best moves in my journey of water sports. I often pinch myself that people have no idea how much fun this is. Gen 2, again, for me is much better than Gen 1. Either way, just add foil drive, whether Gen 1 or 2, and the fun and days in the water goes up exponentially.

Like anything, it may take a bit to really dial it in. I started my foildrive journey just under a year ago, and I am still changing things up, and making everything better. Foiling in general requires constantly adjusting things to get it to work for you. Setups do not translate to individuals across the board. Adding foildrive also adds to this. I feel I’ve tinkered my way into an incredible foiling experience every time out now.

I also want to address the questions asked by Tanner.O

  1. You are adding a bunch of weight with the battery and motor. So when carrying the board, it will be heavy. When riding with the motor, it is very different from transitioning to only the wave. Foot placement along with mast placement will be very different with the added weight. When I am fully riding the wave, I can carve turns and pump to stay on the wave with ease, and don’t feel the extra weight much. Again, you have to dial in your set up.

  2. I have never done the battery on my body. It just was not for me. Can’t really answer this.

  3. Very easy to remove hardware from the mast. Yes, constantly tapping can be a pain. When I had the Gen 1, I had the integrated Cedrus mast. So no taping, the mast was only for using with foildrive. This is also an option with Gen 2 with Cedrus or Axis. I opted for not doing this on Gen 2 so I can easily change masts. I picked up a NoLimitz v2 and just leave the pod on this mast.

FoilDrive may not be for everyone. i.e. I have no desire to wing, but I think it looks awesome. I can do everything I want on a foil with prone, foildrive and kite.

In general: Adding foildrive to the H20 toolbox will only increase your overall experience. It’s a personal decision as to whether or not the cost is worth it. For me it is a no brainer



Great, informative write up. Do you have a Max?

My first day on FD G2 Slim didn’t go well. I couldn’t get on foil even though I’ve been prone surfing and winging for 4+ years. I thought I made a huge mistake and didn’t sleep well for a few nights because I couldn’t stand thinking I blew so much money on this thing. However, after a few more days I was able to ride waves and realize some of the potential riding unbroken swell. I got the Slim Performance thinking the lighter weight versus the Max would be beneficial. While there is some benefit, I value more run time so I can have enough juice to make it out to distant breaks and do upwind and downwinders. And like you said, I’m still making adjustments to improve the ride (e.g. reduce pitchiness) and deal with the drag from the pod. Overall much happier now and I really value being able to go out pretty much whenever I want which is important with a family. I haven’t used a Gen 1 but just chiming in with Gen 2 thoughts because it wasn’t out of the box bliss for me.

Adding on some additional context:
I am 85kg. I used a Naish Hover 75 ltr wingboard at first and didn’t have boost mode configured on the app. Once I switched to a 45 ltr 5’2" x 20" wide prone board and paddled I could get up on flat water fairly easily with a Progression 170 foil.