Learning prone on a high aspect foil?

I’ve been winging for the last couple of years and am pretty proficient (tacks, gibes, pumping/riding on swell with wing flagged). I’m also in the process of learning flat water paddle ups on my homemade dw board (can now just get the board out of the water and paddle pump for a few strokes). I’m going on holiday to a great small surf spot in 3 weeks time and wanted to start the prone learning process. I’ve got a 45l 4’8” board which hopefully should be suitable to start on but haven’t had much surfing experience beyond a bit of long boarding years ago (Although I’ve had 10years of kiting strapless boards in surf which may or may to help).

My issue is that all my foils are either large or super high aspect. I’ve got Axis ART’s 1201, 1099, 899 and a PNG 1310. Question I have is am I going to be able to learn using either the 1201 or 1099 or do I need to invest in something more surf oriented to make my life easier? I’m hesitant to invest if I can make the existing kit work as I’m generally land locked and surf specific foils won’t get a huge amount if use (my normal riding spots are large inland lakes where I can wing, Dw and Dock start)

Depending on

  • how long you are there for
  • your feeing towards buying and selling
  • most critically, can you surf already

because you can’t surf that well, other than the 1201 the others all not worth your time and I’d say unless you get a small PNG or BSC or easier then you will stand low chance of glides. I say this heaving learned on the 1150 and I could already dockstart it and already surf well and found it very frustrating and reflect that I should have used a smaller foil like the 910 as critical is adjusting direction and the big span axis foils don’t turn well. 1201 with a very short fuse would be your best bet from what you have.

Pickup the cheapest small BSC you can find and save yourself a ton of frustration

On second thought - critical is catching a wave with the right amount of speed. The big foil’s takeoff speed is well below the typical wave speed and you end up struggling to go slow enough and actually can’t catch waves small enough. Very small easy foils mean you can catch slightly bigger waves and get the board going fast enough to easily stand up, and then gently pop the foil up. Big axis foils are not the answer here

no for on me on ART, as an ex owner of 899 and 1099, definitely the worst foils for prone I’ve used

Finally if it’s only a few sessions then you’ll make non-zero progress on what you have and will be worthwhile but you literally double or triple what is possible with an easy foil (from maybe get up on foil to maybe pumping off the back of a wave :sweat_smile:)


Agree, ARTs not for for prone. Would try to find a used BSC 890/810, PNG 910/850, or HPS 880/830. The foils you have wont be good for prone regardless of skill level (wing span too wide, stall speed too high), so you’ll need a surf wing anyways. It should be decently easy to find that since Spitfires just released and many Axis owners will be trying to dump and upgrade.


Thanks both for the responses! You are both confirming what I was starting to assume. I actually had 2 days out on the prone board last year with the 1099 and could only just really struggle to paddle well enough to get it to take off. I’ll start the search for a 900ish spanned bsc/png/HPS as you both suggest.

Sure buy a cheap 910b if you want the easiest stable foil to learn. There’s no reason you can’t learn on your 1201 ART Pro though. What’s more important is the wave shape. If it’s just a crumble of a wave and only 1 foot tall. Then you’re fine. The extra glide will expand the pocket for you.

If you know how to luff a wing and ride swell, then the 1201 will be familiar and fine. It’s the popping up to your feet that will give you fits. :slight_smile:

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Interesting counter thanks! I Already know the pop up is absolutely the hardest bit for me from my attempts last year. I think I paddled for 50+ waves over my 2 sessions, got the board going on about 10 and only managed to stand up on 2 (both on my second session). That was all on a 1099. I know the 1201 has a bit more low end but didn’t know if it was going to be significantly easier or whether for that matter a 910b or similar would be? I’ve done enough water sports over the last 25+ years to know time on the water is the most important aspect!

Dunno where you are or where you’re traveling, but I have a BSC 810 for sale $150. Happy to ship it as well.


The reason I said 910b is because it’s so slow. It’s very hard to outrun the pocket. So you can just stand there and go straight easily. Since you already know how to ride a wave on wing, you should be able to handle the speed of the 1201pro when you get to your feet. I’m just a big proponent of not spending anymore money than necessary for this expensive sport.

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I personally cracked the code proneing with the 1099, it was the first foil I could hold down on a takeoff and still get doubles and triples with, also came at proneing after being a solid winger, not much surf experience. Still have those shocker session where I only ride out of a couple of pop ups though. Most important part is finding the right wave and have the right length mast. The game changer for me was a shorted mast (65 cm), allowed me to prone my 1300 png on tiny days and pump around forever.

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I have been trying to prone the 1201 and have been having a hard time getting to my feet. What I think is happening is unless it’s really clean, any turbulence in the water makes the wing start to turn while paddling for a wave and it’s very difficult to counter this. Once up, it turns fine and is easily controllable. It’s been a struggle. :joy:


So I thought I’d give some feedback now I’ve returned from my holiday! @Matt @beepityboppityboop @Hdip many thanks for the advice it really helped! I ended up buying a used 890 BSC and it made a huge difference. The number of waves that I paddled for and caught increased immensely, as predicted popping up was the major issue but I managed a few glides on my 4’8 board.

I also took a lesson with a good local coach focusing on pop up (normal longboard). This helped immensely.

Finally I also had my home made Downwind board with me for light wind winging and sup’ing in the small surf. I took this out for a day prone and found firstly that my pop ups went from about 10% success (normal prone board) to 80% (it’s a 7’10 x 20 circa 115L) and I got loads of long glides (close out sets stopping any easy pumping for multiples). The length I’m guessing gives more stability. For reference my normal prone board is a Ride Engine escape pod 4’8.

My thoughts now are given I can make boards quite easily would I be better of making something circa 5’6 x 19 45ish L to give me an easier time on pop ups or should I just stick with the Ride Engine short prone board and try and get over the instability?

@Matt also see your another UK based foiler - hope you got out last week in the great conditions we got!


Honestly, I went to a really HA foil - Lift 150x - 6 months into my prone journey and it killed my progression. I needed so much more speed to keep it on foil otherwise it stalled out (higher stall speed). And it felt twitchier (“spicy”) aka unforgiving when turning. The one or two session I had on it in ideal conditions were fun but not good for learning prone.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that you want something mid-to-high aspect for learning to Prone. Sure you want high aspect for the efficient pump and speed. But you also need something with really good low end so you can pump your way out of low-speed situations (characteristics of mid aspect foils). And you need forgiveness in the turns.

I’ve noticed that all of the foils that guys rave about for beginner / intermediate-prone progression typically have an aspect ratio of 7-8.5. The progression series for example are 8.3 (for the 140 and 170). The Lift 150x for contrast was 10.1.

The forgiving in the turns also seems to come from having some curve in the leading edge of the foil. All of the foils Ive tried that have been straight and flat don’t seem to turn that well. The ones with swooped back wing tips do.

I wish it didn’t take me 6 months of struggle and thousands of dollars to learn this, but hey, now I know.

This is why I am currently in the process of selling all of my Lift gear and transitioning to Uni. Lift is going all HA with their new X wings for winging and downwinding. Most of the brands are doing the same.

The progression series is designed to be forgiving for learning prone. Find a wing like that. :slight_smile:

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How is it winging on those monsters!?!?

I only ever have winged my standard prone wings @ 93 cm span. When i’m on the small HAs i find it wants to get too much speed and gets tempermental and i have to kind of hold it back. On the mid sized mid aspects i could just push and push and push and the speed never got out of hand. Felt nice just to hold whatever kind of power in the hand wing and be able to peel off into a turn without any kind of prep or forethought.

As for learning to prone 900-950 span is the sweet spot and i’d want to hit an area of atleast 1100.

was all time on some days! Though the peak hurricane swell was less useful, see this.