Mast placement on prone boards

Curious to hear everyone’s feeling about mast placement in the boxes on prone boards. The numbers I’m most interested in are the distance from the tail to the back of the mast plate and the size of the board you are riding. I’ve seen a wide range of differences in placement. Please elaborate as much as you would like! Feel free to add in preferred placement on DW boards and wing boards as well.

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On my 4’6 x 18 - 29L, with cab800 = 34 cm from tail to trailing edge of the mast so 30 cm from tail to back of mast plate.

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4’6 x 19.7 - 34L pin tail with kujira 1210 = 11.5 inch from tail to trailing edge of mast.

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Too much board variance for the “distance from tail” number to work. A pin tail is going to ride way more “mast forward” than a wide squash tail.


@TooMuchEpoxy Agreed 100%.

@mikepedigo My goal is to get the front foil centered in my stance so my Center of Lift (CoL) is vertically aligned with my Center of Gravity (CoG) when I’m in my normal stance. Depending on the brand of foil, the board and where I am popping up it varies a bit.

I like to adjust my stance to get the wing centered underneath me when I’m learning a new setup.


Hi @mikepedigo ,
Much respect. For me the default distance from tail to back of base plate is as such; prones 10"+ , wing 14"+ , DW 20"+ , pocket/kite boards 3".
Typically make between a 4’4-7" prone, Wing 4’10"-5’2" , DW 7’. It’s an interesting conversation for me because I’m inlaying some rice paper with position ticks in between the tracks in the last few where the 10" lines up to a 10 … but then I digress and go to CM…lol.
With a consistent foilsetup this distance changes little between types of tail for me with only tail rocker impacting the position in some cases. The Axis ADV fuses have changed things a bit but I’m often surprised on how close the Axis & Armie positions are. My board boxes are ibeam/cassette style so the KD balance really doesn’t seem to play out with a more evenly weighted board.
I’m 30+ foil boards in, plus ride everything someone will let me out of pure curiosity.


Exactly my thoughts!

4’2 NSP board and Axis 980 with the old carbon mast. Mast is right in the middle of the box.

No shimming I tried once and it really screwed me up.

Hi mike,
For me the mast placement is found by how the board rises when catching a wave. Obviously the board only has one place to balance on when paddling for a wave and from this position when I place my hands on the deck for the jump up I want the board to start to leave the water as I jump. Mast too far back and board stays on the water during jump up and drags. Too far forward and the board lifts too quickly during jump up and requires the rider to attempt to almost slide forward along the deck before lifting.

Although once up everybody thinks the primary goal of the stance is focused on controlling the lift, high level foilers are more focussed on positioning the back foot directly above mast to control roll for aggressive turns (whether they know it or not) Regardless of foil brand, rider stance and mast positioning on the board for the best performing riders ends up with the back foot directly over the mast with very little variation. Some riders get away with their back foot slightly behind the mast due to their foil and setup not producing enough lift but this results in a seesaw type setup where the rider too easily can overpower the foil in turns resulting in flicks type turns with poor pitch stability.

Your brain will want to put the back foot directly over the mast during performance turns but riders believing they need to almost completely tune the lift out of their setup for efficiency leads to requiring the boxes too far forward and the back foot behind the mast trying to keep the foil up. Not to mention riders chasing easier pump with mast forward instead of fixing our technique.

All this makes it hard for manufacturers to get the box placement standard with it almost needing to be tailored to tuning and rider stance until we evolve a little more to understanding how the setup actually works to aid control of the foil for a high level of performance carving.

Adam Benetts is a good example as he has rode so many foil brands of varying lift and so many boards of different lengths but still his back foot sits above the mast and varies very little accross the brands. This would indicate in my opinion the box positioning could be very standardised for all.

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Depends on a foil a lot. For example, here are two different lines from a same brand, having quite a different mast position. The fuselage on the left is more streamlined and the other one is stronger, supporting much bigger front wings as well.

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Looking at a board for small/medium wave prone foil:

4’5" x 18.5" x 2.6" (simple ovalish shape)

12.5" long boxes are positioned 6" from tail

Does that box positioning sound ok? Any thoughts about adjusting position of tracks?

Flying lift HA currently but want flexibility.

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I’d imagine you want the boxes further forward. I think closer to 9 inches from the tail is more standard, especially for lift. @gregclosier might be able to answer that better.

EDIT: oh greg posted his stats up there. He’s 11 inches from tail to the back of his mast.

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Interesting insight. I agree with you completely on the placement and how it feels when catching a wave. But I don’t completely agree with you on the foot placement relative to the mast. I tend to like the feeling of added control I get when I have my back foot behind the mast a bit. Makes it so I can snap through turns easier. Sort of using the mast as a pivot point. I will agree that it does add a degree of extra pitch sensitivity on this tuning though and if not managed correctly can lead to a twitchy looking turn.

Who is making your 12.5 inch boxes!? I would love to have that option

Lift definitely wants to ride further up.

Chinook makes a 16" version. Chinook Foil Box (Set of 2) – Chinook Sailing Products

For me 6" from the tail is not enough with foil ha or under 1200 cm2.

It’s the new standard for apple tree as they have custom tracks now … 32cm to be exact .

Yeah my gut says further forward too but wanted to see what others thought . Thanks !

The waves you and Eric ride in are the slowest and laziest waves we get to watch the masters foil in. Maybe this results in you tuning with the stab angle optimised for efficiency being very important in such a low power circumstance which in turn has your back foot comfortably further than anyone behind the mast but also robs the foil of some of its natural flowing turn. Yes this allows you to muscle and overpower the foil easier (along with offset) by being more pitch nervous which is ok in such low power and slow speed circumstances. As speed increases your back foot does seem to naturally move forward and you seem to keep adjusting it back in preparation for the turn.

But for me, as an appreciator of your fine art and certainly not a master technician like you guys, you are are at your best when overpowering the foil the least and the flow is therefore maintained. :smiling_face: yes the flicks and hacks are impressive from a skill point of view but just rob flow unless executed in or around the foam, where power is in excess , in my opinion.

If you agree on the jump up positioning of the mast then contrary to popular opinion this actually locks us all in to a very close range for the box placement. Slow low powered waves will have mast forward and to survive head high power drops then the mast will be comparatively back. Where you place your Foot when pumping and carving after the jump up is not really about box placement as long as you don’t run out of board behind the mast to slide your back foot to. I do believe though that in times of high speed and where intense control is require the back foot inside ankle bone will be almost always over the centre of the mast or up to 3 cm forward of the centreline.

Popular discussion about the brands and their lift profiles should no longer be the primary focal point as modern tail options from all the companies have resulted in a race to efficiency and radically less front foot and yes even on gofoil with small tails that have less left than kd’s

Because of your waves I think if you put your boxes so your personal mast is at the very front then that will suit all variations comfortably.

Just my observations during 5 years of foiling and intently watching the best. For what it’s worth.

Keep up the great work.

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