Mast Position For Beginners

I spent a few weeks trying to understand that mast position thing, thought I’d share what I learned for anyone who is newer.

First, I heard a lot of pros talking about having their mast fully forward. So I tried that and I struggled to pump. The foil felt unstable. What I learned is this:

Every foil / board combo prefers a different setup. For example, the tracks on my Armstrong board are way bigger and more forward than most other brands. This has to be considered because foils are designed to be paired with the board from their brand.

So while a pro rider who is on an Armstrong foil with an Armstrong board will say “I ride my mast all the way forward, its better for pumpng”, the reality is that my Lift foil doesn’t like being that far forward becuase that is a lot more forward than where the tracks in the Lift boards go.

I tested it behind my seadoo and found that my lift foils like to be right near center of the mast tracks on the board. Any more forawrd and its TOO forward and I can pump less far.

The best test I have done since posting this question is to go out on my seadoo and just see “if I put the mast fully back / full fowrard / full centre how far can I pump?”. And for me, the position I could pump the fartehest on was just forward of centre (by 1 cm).

I’ve been asking other guys that ride lift foils and armstrong boards and they say they found the same for the reasons above.

Moral of the story:

  1. Simplify the problem: I was overthinking the problem, wondering “what is it supposted to feel like?” and "maybe even though it feels harder in X position, that will be good for me. Eventually I simplified the problem: “which position allows me to pump the farthest on flat water (all other things being equal)?” With the mast fully back, fully forward and then centre it was clear. Centre won. I then made small adjustments from there. Landed on 1 cm (ish) forward of centre.

  2. Test for yourself. Gather info to understand what’s happening but doing your own test will yield the best results for you.

Hope this helps!