Prone board design concept comparison

I am interested to know the differences of feel and what the plus and minuses are between a simple flat prone board vs a more radically shaped version. The best/easiest example I can find is in the freedom board range.
1- FTW PRO - Almost like a normal surfboard. Soft rails. No edges. flat bottom
2- Fusion - Double concave front, big chines down the side. Looks like lots of hard edges.

Does anyone have experience of these 2 boards to comment on what makes each one good and bad and what each style is more suited to.

We need Brian @FTW to chime in lol.

I started on the original FFB techno (flat bottom smooth rails) but I’m now on a Rubix (contoured bottom). Basically identical volume. The Rubix is definitely lighter(newer), but paddles way better and gets off the water better. The flat bottom is more stable in foam hits, but I’d definitely say the Rubix recovers better when it touches the water.

My 2¢

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FTW Pro actually has sharp rails. Flat bottom to sharp rails helps shear off water and help pivot off foam. Good amount of nose kick rocker. Super balanced volume distribution.

Fusion, I’m riding right now (testing new construction) needs a little more foam in the tail for more balanced paddling imo. Both ride great. Channel bottoms definitely more grabby in the foam.


I’m riding a ride engine escape pod, has similar big chines and sharp bottom rails. Plows through the water a bit, but once moving it can release very easily with less of a feel difference between planning and flying. Probably not as efficient for gutless waves, but more beginner friendly? I feel that helps me with getting to my feet on a wave without worrying if I’m lifting on the foil yet or not. Hitting the rails while turning is a non-issue but I really only do that while winging, mostly just trying to not fall while prone foiling.

Thanks for your response, but I wasn’t so much asking about a head to head of those 2 boards, more asking what the positive and negatives of each sort of design. My current board has lots of concave and chines, but I feel like it brakes a lot if I touch down. So I wondered how a flatter more “normal” style board would behave. The 2 examples were just 2 that I picked out as differing designs.
From what @ftw says it seems like the big advantage of the flat bottom sharp rails design is in the whitewater. I wonder now what are the supposed advantages of the concave and chines?


Just to go back to this.

If the advantages of the FTW style board is that it shears off water and is good off foam… What are the disadvantages of this type of design.

And what are the advantages and disadvantages of the deeper concaves and more pronounced chines on the rail.

As I said this is not so much a comparison of the boards, but of the styles of board, which I see clearly in 2 camps… those with super complex bottom shapes and rail designs and those that are flatter, simpler and not so far away from a normal surfboard.

For fun, I’ll play devil’s advocate. There is a saying that fishing lures are designed to attract fishermen more than fish. Super sexy and sophisticated bottom profiles have a lot of wow factor. But do they really contribute much for a vehicle that spends 95% of its riding time out of the water? Arguably they add expense in shaping and glassing, and also more edges attracts more dings. Some advanced features actually detract from performance, with one benefit coming with costs – I made a board with a v nose like one of the Appletrees, it digs in like a deep V on takeoff, won’t do that again. Chalk up my vote for the KISS principle. :slight_smile:


The Dave Kalama PPP episode is really interesting and touches on a lot of the general board shape principles. Highly recommend giving it a listen, but as a counter point I could see a V hull shape being better in super choppy, crumbly conditions where it could plow through the bumps in the face with less drag and less wave energy to help, like a Barracuda in DW conditions.

I ride a FFB Rubix here in Jax, and it paddles incredibly well, especially when the water is textured. Maybe its all smoke and mirrors but at least the placebo effect adds paddle power lol


DW: I think this may be the most clearly defined change in foiling since Kai Lenny was chopping feet off his 12’ sup each session. The downwinding thing seems to be an actual paradigm shift, the gear is specialized and performance is critical.

" the placebo effect adds paddle power lol"…I think that’s a really important point. Confidence in your gear is crucial to get that flow and be able to push through. Being stoked is crucial too, and if that whizz bang newfangled design board gets the juices flowing, then carpe that diem!! In the end, we’re all just looking for that rush, so whatever gets us there is all good.

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Hey K57skye
If you’re young, fit and can foil pretty well, then the tech’d out shapes will probably be less challenging to ride. If you’re older, and not getting to your feet as well as you maybe used to, then the simpler designs are probably going to be more user friendly.
From my own POV, I sometimes find that the high angled rails in the nose area can get a bit catchy, particularly if you’re pop up onto your feet is a bit slow or you’re off balance… The more basic rounded rails grab less at the water flow entry point, in my humble opinion.

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@Erik @mikepedigo Where’s a guy go to look at your new foil boards? Weren’t you going to have a batch of boards coming in? Did they all sell out already? Planning for my next board and trying to find all my options.

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We do. Should get a box of a 4 finished this week, but all are sold. Another week or two for the next box. What are you looking for? We’ve got 3 prone models in different sizes. I ride the MJ-12 and Transmedium 17 and 19. Last clips are on the TM19. It’s 4.5 x 19 at 35L. Which is 10L bigger than I have been riding. But we’re getting so much interest in that size I wanted to dial a board that I like at 35. The 17 is 30. The MJ-12 is a 4.5 x 18.5 at 25L. Super thin. Feels insanely connected to the foil. Mike’s planning on coming up tomorrow to get a surf and we’ll shoot some clips on the boards. Be stoked for you to feel one!

@mikepedigo can chime in on his S4 model. It’s sick! He keeps it wider near the tail than I do as he’s more offset and closer to his kicker. What I’ve been telling folks looking at the shapes is that if you ride more like Mike in style, you’ll probably prefer his boards. If you foil more similar to the way I ride, probably like mine….

Thanks @Erik I just noticed yesterday my prone board is delamming pretty badly. So I’m lining up what board to get next. I notice you have a “portal designs” instagram, but it’s old and out of date. Is the only way to see the boards on instagram and DM to order? The 17 at 30 liters sounds interesting to me.

I don’t like most of the options I’m finding online, so if I’m going to order from somewhere you guys seem like a good choice.

I’d like to be able to see pictures of the boards though. @mikepedigo


We’re working on getting pics. Here’s one I took on the beach today. This is the Transmedium.

regarding board design, i am really interested by the new proto that Adam Bennetts is riding, it seems that they have cut the board just behind the box, no swing weight at the back, and super short in the nose. Must be insane to ride but very hard to paddle!

I tested that a while back. Took a model we did, the Element 115, and did three different tail chips to test swing weight and feel. For me, the difference wasn’t as profound as I would have thought. For swing weight, when you chop you lose the counterbalance of the tail weight. I’ve been trying to design to keep the weight and length but have it out of the way when you ride. I also like to get my foot way behind the mast in some turns and didn’t like losing that option.

That said. Kane and Adam are both ripping on those shapes.

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it is so interesting to be at the begining of the sport and try all those things!
i am working on a new board with the cabrinha logic oultine adapted to prone. It could be a good mix between almost no swing weight and a bit of length behind the box.
3’10 19.25 2.5 27 litres.
time is missing but it will come one day!

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Happy to see some more board designs going back to not having the super long skinny tail hanging out there in the back!
(even though I think mullets can still be a good look depending on the person haha)
I am also a fan of being able to put your foot behind the mast when it is needed but there is no need to have any more than a little bit of board behind where your stomp pad is for you foot. That leaves a wider tail naturally. (for prone boards)
I think, just like with normal surfboards rockers are going to become more refined relative to how you foil. Front foot angles are based off of rocker and foil type/ brand are going to get more in tune. (can semi do this with base plate shims)
My opinion is to keeping some rocker in the nose of the board so you can handle touch downs without pearling. Having some rocker in the nose, I think also allows you to be able to easier handle doing tighter carves in the steeper parts of the wave like normal surfing. This is also all relative to the length of the board and the size of stance someone has. LIke anything in foiling this can be a trade off for being able to catch waves and hit wash.

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There’s a couple pics of my S4 model on my IG page. We’ve been trying to get a day to shoot all the models, just hasn’t worked out yet. You can DM me on IG and I can show you a little more of my design if you’d like to see it.