Lightweight vs heavy carbon masts for pumping

Im curious about what the scientific difference between an ultalight weight carbon mast is compared to a heavy carbon mast. For example, the NL V2 is around half the weight of an Axis / Code HM mast.

To say that there is no difference between the half and full-weight masts, I wouldn’t believe that. There has to be trade-offs for masts that are so much different.

The NL guys say that their lighter mast is better for pumping. I suppose the Axis / Code guys would say heavier is better for stiffness.

Is the real answer somewhere in the middle, like get a superlight weight mast if you’re running a small front wing. And get the heavy mast when running a large front wing.

Its a big difference to pair the NL V2 mast with a 1300 Axis compared to a 899 ART. One would assume the 899 would benefit from a lighter mast, as its faster, whereas the 1300 since its slow, would benefit from additional stiffness.

I feel like the stock masts made by Axis is to ensure that the largest riders riding the largest wings will experience no noticeable flex, whereas the NL is really designed for smaller wings, and would probably have more flex on the 1300. Kind of like how you pair different stabs with different front wings.

Also a heavier rider vs lighter rider would make a difference to how heavy their carbon mast needs to be.

Am I the only one confused on how there could be such a difference in weight, yet there is no advertising of the pros and cons from either the stock or NL side?


Stiff masts can be made thin and light but require both more expensive materials and processes.

Thick masts can be made stiff with lots of cheap material and cheap processes. Heavy.

Thin stiff light masts are obviously the highest performing.

How come the axis ultra mod masts seem to be the same dims and weight as their normal hm. Instead of making something half the weight

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As above.
Ultra hm is just a generic term and shouldn’t be used to compare brands efforts to use expensive materials and processes. Heavy and thick is the result.

In the Hawaiian dw races the axis team seem to use custom masts not available to the public and I believe Adrian himself rides one of these masts.
Says a lot.


Well sure, it says “pro” on it, so the pro’s are going to use it! I bet it get’s released soon. Did anyone else see that photo of a foil that was almost as tall as Olivia? Gotta have a new mast to run a wingspan that wide.

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The point is the axis masts are too thick and heavy to compete with the other brands running standard masts. Adrian says they are not coming.

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The lighter mast is easier to carry from the car to the water!


Funny…there is a history in mountainbiking of Cannondale team racers not using the proprietary Lefty forks…because they just aren’t as good…

…but then again, I’m not a professional racer…

This question is common in the bike world and is difficult to answer and very personal. Cyclists spend thousands of dollars shaving grams off their 16lb bike instead of their 160lb body. That being said, weight always matters. Lighter is generally better in all applications (cars, airplanes, bikes, foils, boards, etc). Heavy things have more inertia and take more energy to accelerate. It’s accelerations that make sports fun. But cutting weight usually involves some type of trade off with other performance metrics (drag, cost, stiffness). You just have to ask yourself what’s more important to you. I’ve found designing Cedrus that weight is less critical for riders than drag and stiffness, and this was validated through a survey discussed here: and why the new Cedrus is heavier than the previous generation (still lighter than any solid carbon mast) but has a lot less drag.

The reason high modulus masts aren’t thinner is because high modulus fibers are only about 10-20% stiffer than intermediate modulus fibers but cutting thickness 10% (a small drag reduction) reduces stiffness by 30%. Can’t make up that difference with fiber modulus. More here:


Speaking as a light weight 130lbs rider, weight and mast thickness makes a huge difference. Tried Axis HM 75cm and 82 cm, Code 75cm and felt like those masts had the hand break on. The 82 in particular, felt really heavy. Now on NL V2 and it is night and day in terms of performance with those 3 other masts. Been putting on it, Axis 1201, Lift 150x and Cab 800 with Stringy adapters. All wings felt like a big all around improvement while riding. At my weight, NL V2 feels very stiff, super responsive and is helping my foiling a lot. Glad, we now have plenty of choices to fit our preferences!!

Out of curiosity, if the halfweight masts are significantly faster than the full weight masts, wouldn’t most of the competitors for m2o go with the half weight option?

Maybe it depends on the foil discipline the mast is used for, as well as abilities and weight of rider? Prone pumping long distances on flat water or flat water starting a Sup might be easier with lighter equipment? Idk. I think many people competing in events like M2O are brand ambassadors or team riders and likely will ride the brand’s equipment. And some of them are definitely riding protos to gain an edge.

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Slightly misleading and as your own blog post shows - higher end high modulus material can be significantly stiffner (~2x) and decent HM masts that utilise this can - and are - thinned down accordingly.

@McD that’s fiber modulus, not composite modulus. Depending on how the mast is made, resin infusion or prepreg you can have 30-50% resin content (epoxy, polyester, etc) which knock down mechanical properties significantly. Look at any basic composite TDS, you will see fiber modulus and material modulus. For example T800 fiber is 300GPa tensile modulus but only 168GPa composite modulus after it’s mixed with resin in useful form for a mast.

Those high modulus materials (UHM) with 2x higher stiffness are unavailable for purchase in foreign markets due to ITAR regulations and used exclusively for US defense and space applications. So you can ignore them.

Not trying to mislead anyone, and never have. Show me a “thin” mast that is stiffer than a “thick” mast, and has not added so much wetted area through chord length that it’s actually less draggy. I have yet to see or test one. Thickness will always be king for achieving stiffness, thanks again to the cubic relationship. Does one need the stiffness of “thick” masts? That is another question, but you can’t ignore the solid mechanics.


Adrian mentions this in one of the podcasts he’s on. It’s no secret. Just some military grade Carbon fibre that would be too costly for production.

Doesn’t matter, composite modulus will be similarly effected by switching out the fibre type for similar net gain in laminate stiffness.
Again not true that higher mod materials are not available and several high end kite and wing masts do use ‘unavailable’ UHM fibres to reduce chord, thickness or both without losing stiffness.
Cubic relationship might be powerful but give me a 20% reduction in section size and I’ll take it.