Mast length in low tide beach breaks

Just curious if there are others that struggle with Mast height when paddling into low tide beach breaks. I currently am on the Katana 750 by Uni and was wondering if any one has tried the 650 aluminum just to get a little more clearance. I have some deeper spots in my area but in the summer they put the swimming lines out so really shortens the area to go. Is the 10mm really going to make the difference? Is a aluminum mast a step down in performance? Because I am sure there are others out there with this issue has anyone came up with any ways of getting around it? I have been successful at times literally standing and jumping into the breaking part of the wave and getting up. It must look ridiculous but it has worked. Any information is amazing on this subject but if you have any feedback on Uni-Foil specific mast that is even better.

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If its that low tide I don’t go out, don’t want to risk gear damage esp on P140 with thin wing tips and G10 tails. Sometimes I do what you said, stand up and just wait until a wave comes and jump on right as it comes through and the water level is higher.


Irritating to have to do it but I definitely found the jump from 75cm to 82cm on Axis was super noticeable on a shallow sandback setup I have that is similar, lots of jumping into waves and popping up very deliberately to get over shallow sections, and I think dropping 10cm would make a big difference.

I think the performance drop to alu would be offset by the shorter length.

What is frustrating is the breaching when suddenly you have the shorter mast, feels like a big change going from 82cm back to 75cm so can imagine 75 to 65 would be worse

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Yes it makes a huge difference. When I was on lift I tried a 24" mast. I didn’t like it personally. I prefer to stand and jump onto my 28" mast when the wave gets to me.

But there are plenty of guys that use a short mast at a lower tide. One guy out here regularly rides a 14" mast.

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although it sounds like it might give me a few more inches of clearance I should just wait for a higher tide haha. From what it sounds like the adjustment to a lower mast is a bit frustrating and I don’t need any more hiccups in my foiling haha.

In low tide 6 inch to a foot Florida summertime surf and a Progression foil I use a 68cm mast (either an AXIS 68 19mm or a carbon Cedrus 65 that turns out to be longer than 65 fully equipped). Katana 75 in “normal” surf.

In extra small surf I also use a board with a bit more volume to give enough board speed on the takeoff to get a solid first pump and not “bottom out” at the very first pump.

As someone said above, the loss in stiffness in a smaller aluminum mast will be offset a decent amount by the shorter mast length, at least with the AXIS 19mm and the Unifoil adapter Doodad.

Also there’s a peace of mind to charge the inside sandbars where it’s super shallow and to pump out of holes with a 65/68.

We are talking micro swell and very shallow bars. But it does make a difference and increase my sessions and stress less about bottoming out.

Of course I would prefer to be surfing a 75 or longer. But I live in Florida and it’s summertime. It can be the difference between getting on the water or not. So 65/68 it is in micro waves for me.

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Ah you are The Lift Journal guy! Love your clips. At your weight and your Jersey surf, I doubt you would notice much change in stiffness at all with your Progression 140 and an AXIS 19mm. You aren’t hitting maximum possible speeds in Jersey in the summer, so top end max speeds are not critical. The 19mm AXIS aluminum would feel pretty darn rigid for you.

I only mention the AXIS because I don’t have experience with the Unifoil aluminum mast.

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Someone foiling in the Great Lakes uses a 55 cm cedrus in shallow water. About a 21” mast. Might be a good stiffer option. His handle is foilthegreats. Check recent posts. Maybe he has some intel.

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I have a 63cm mast for that.
Our beach break has series of sandbanks and we get lot’s of days with 60 to 80 cm of wave height (measured outside)
After you get stuck on the sandbar paddling out you know a 75 or 85 would be treacherous rinding in.

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That is me haha. I appreciate the love. I am going to have to maybe pull the trigger. Plus I am learning to wing soon and our bay can get really shallow at low tides too.

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Slamming the sandbar while winging is not recommended! Feels like 60 mph to zero in an instant. But it’s only like 15 to zero!

Man I have absolutely destroyed the sandbar on that AXIS 19mm…. winging in the bay and thinking I had more tide to work with. More than once.

It is amazing how so many modern foil systems can handle that accidental but absolutely violent abuse.

Again, not favoring the AXIS aluminum mast over the Unifoil aluminum mast I only have experience with the AXIS mast as an aluminum mast with the Progression foil.

I ride a 70cm and a 60cm Cedrus mast, the smaller one is a lifesaver on low tide days.

While 10cm may seem a small difference on land it’s a big difference in the water, catching waves in waist deep water vs shoulder deep for me.

Benefits: shallow water takeoffs, up on foil quick, easier to carry on the shore.

Cons: Breaching wingtips, breaching while pumping, digging rails

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appreciate the insight. I like those benefits but the cons are issues I already struggle with pretty consistently.

For me it comes down to how desperate I am to get reps in during the East Coast summer. Judging by your lovable YouTube clips, you are at least as desperate as me to get better! Ha!

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I am pretty desperate. But also 40 so I could go without getting projected off my board haha.

The main problem with short masts is the wide wing span of foils, so whenever you lean over the slightest bit the wingtips come out. Narrower wingspan foils help alleviate that problem.

The 75 is a good size for my axis. I surf 75% waves where I am hitting the bottom multiple times per hour. It’s part of the strategy, is to determine the required wave size to takeoff barely clearing the reef and knowing when to jump off. It’s like learning how to position yourself in a lineup. yes it will likely cost you one front wing after hitting the reef 1000 times, but one wing is a small price to pay, it’s like breaking one surfboard surfing shallow ledges.

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Paul Cooper is the man to talk to. He was riding the 650 Alu Mast in Bali at times. One to avoid the shallow issues you mention here but also because he likes shorter masts to punt. Maybe dm him on Insta.


Thank you Paul, I appreciate the lead

I recently switched over to Unifoil for prone. I still kite with Slingshot gear, of which I have a bunch of. When desperate to get in shallow water with a foil, (and not enough wind), I’ll go in with slingshot surf foil with a 61cm mast. I’ve also gone in with a 43cm mast just to get out. At that point it’s just paddle in and riding, no ability to pump, but i’m out there on a day I would not be in the water. Keeps my Unifoil gear from getting beat up while getting takeoff and pop up practice.