SF Bay downwind in small bumps

I learned a ton from my first downwinder a few days ago so thought I’d share some thoughts and videos to help others on what to do and especially, what not to do.


Rider profile: This was my first time doing a downwinder. I mostly wing on the SF bay and coast. I prone foil some but not regularly since conditions aren’t ideal due to lots of turbulence at Ocean Beach. Weight 85 kg.

Conditions: 1-2 foot wind swell, flood tide (not ideal, ebb is better for waves since you want the tide in the opposite direction from the wind so the waves stand up/get bigger), 25 mph winds at the starting point but dropped significantly along the run, length of run was about 3.5 miles (east side of Treasure Island to Berkeley pier). Wind fetch is fairly short.

Gear: Axis 1150 PNG foil with 1700 sq cm area (massive), 75cm mast, 4’8" prone board, probably 38 liters. Yamaha jet boat (plenty of power).

Getting up: Boat assisted with 15 foot rope and handle. Knee start then slip front leg through. Faster and less pull required than wakeboard style start.

Thoughts and observations about technique and gear:

Pumping - I tried to limit the amount of pumping and keep the mast high so I could ride the energy of the waves. I had some success here and there but mostly ended up pumping way too much. Since I’m not a proficient pumper, I quickly ran out of energy. It looks like I’m just bobbing up and down without much forward thrust or gains to show for it (glad I have video of this so I can see I have quite a bit of work to do on pumping technique). I wasn’t lifting my heel on the rear foot and wasn’t getting enough out of my pumps when I really needed it. Too much upper body movement, not enough movement and power from legs(?). Need more thrust on the back stroke (throw hands back harder and farther) and drive with my feet, ankles, and hips. Also, I need to switch up the cadence of pumping by using more short frequency pulses (lifting heel of back foot and keeping front foot flat) then some deeper pumps.

Lines and Connections - My lines could have been better and more continuous/connected. While I did make some turns, they didn’t flow from one section to the next and I had to pump to compensate. The waves were small but still think I could have reduced pumping by being more deliberate with my path. I also chased too many bumps ahead of me rather than looking to the side or behind. I need to look around more and think ahead about how to more efficiently use the matrix of energy. The waves were also a bit messy in the bay which created some negative energy and I dropped into a hole/ no mans land a few times which required a ton of energy to get out of. By better identifying and anticipating those spots I could probably get through them more efficiently (or avoid them entirely). Related, I need to look where to find the nearest next section of power rather than brute force pumping through the neg/low energy sections.

Mast height and length: Generally I kept the 75cm mast high, but I think I could have ridden a little lower at times which may have allowed me to turn without breaching or a tip coming out. Also, a longer mast like an 85cm seems like it would have been better to allow for more glide and opened up more opportunities to turn.

Foil size: The Axis 1150 is a massive wing with a span of 115cm and area of 1700 sq cm (also thick profile). This is the first time I’ve ridden this foil and I thought it would be way to slow and clunky (I typically use thinner and smaller foils) but for the slow, 1-2 foot wind swell this wing was great. It just steamrolled along, had decent speed, and turned decently well.

Style: Legs and body overall too stiff. Too much movement with arms to counterbalance. Stance felt reasonably narrow, efficient, and comfortable. More linking turns are needed to smooth out the line and that’ll probably help with overall style too.


Awesome self analysis and videos! The downwind SUP foiling is a tricky one to master and diving into it is the trick. I do a coaching call every Tuesday going through videos of my members similar to yours. It really is the best way to learn. Keep at it consistently and you’ll get it. If you are struggling or want to learn at a faster rate check out www.caseyaus.com to join my learning platform :call_me_hand:t4:


Coach Casey has been for me a very good instrument to learn so many things, and the format with private facebook page and weekly analisys is a winner. James is always reachable.
Thank you Coach!

My buddy and I have been sup dw and going from coyote pt harbor to 3rd Ave in the bay. I feel it’s a good beginner run. So far the conditions that work are upper half of the tide and over 20mph of wind, ebb or flood. We been looking for more people to join us and get a crew together to find all the runs in bay and the ocean runs such as Davenport south. We have lots of potential here in Bay Area and need to get a community of sup dw.

I’ve had my eye on TI to Berkeley for a while but hard to find the second person to coordinate ride situation.

Used a 2500 f4 foil to start out in both flat water paddle ups and the coyote run. Currently using the axis png1150 and my buddy using png1310. Both work really well for the run.

Like your experience I had similar ones towing in ocean and sup dw in bay but every run I feel I’m reading the bumps better and lots of progress.


Eric - great report, thanks for making the effort to write up. In case you haven’t already, you might want to join: Bay Area Downwind Foilers | Facebook

Is this a S Wind run?