Unifoil Progression - share your tuning

Keen to hear how others are tuning their progressions

Progression 140
4’4 Appletree 32L
Medium fuse

Clean and glassy

  • Marlin 14" 0.5 shim
  • No board shim

Choppy onshore

  • Shiv 13" 1.0
  • 2mm board shim thick end at tail

I’ve tried these on two boards now (Appletree skipper and Gong lethal), both are pretty much flat deck and without the shim I really struggle to get onto the easy cadence of the progression. Is anyone else in this boat?

Also useful to share the conditions you typically ride in with a video if at all possible as saying “2ft glassy” means a lot of things and Hawaii vs Germany have different implications.

Here are mine, mixture of glassy and choppy

Clean and glassy

  • Marlin 14" 0.5 shim
  • No board shim

Choppy onshore

  • Shiv 13" 1.0
  • 2mm board shim thick end at tail

@Matt I’m curious to hear your logic around the tail shim and board shim. Do you find that the 1.0 shim on the shiv provides more lift and stability in the choppy onshore conditions and the marlin needs less shim due to it being a wider foil with most likely more area and lift? For the board shim, did you feel as if you were riding too nose high without it?

I’m riding the following setup but only have 2 sessions under my belt so I’m in the early stages of trying to find out what tune I like:

Prone (ankle to thigh high waves)

  • Progression 140
  • 72kg
  • 4’1" FFB Rubix 32L
  • Medium fuse
  • 13" Shiv (0 degree)
  • 14" Marlin (0.5 degree)
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Thanks for sharing. I’m not super methodical about it as the conditions vary here so much that it is difficult to get a perfect test back to back within a session due to huge 8 metre tide range, but this is what I’ve noticed

Yeah I think the 1.0+Shiv just gives a bit more leeway for digging out of holes. The conditions when they go choppy are super choppy due to backwash from cliffs and rocks, and so there is a mess of bumps in all directions, and the extra angle seems to help (not here, but this is the first clip I’ve seen that looks like what it feels like :joy:) .

I tried the 1.5+Shunt yesterday and found that the extra angle didn’t really meaningfully help the low end, it took longer to stall, but it did that mushy almost-stall pump where you could very carefully pick it out, but probably better off just stopping.

The marlin I guess was happier with less shim due to the finer foil section and narrow chord meaning it just preferred less angle. Maybe more lift too but I found it more sensitive and liked to go faster, which isn’t always that possible when you’re dealing with the bumpy inconsistency of the waves here.

I’ve just got a takuma 178 which I’m hoping will be an interesting addition

Na it is the pump feel that is the issue. Without it I have to be much more careful on the pump, if the conditions are crap then I struggle. I’m much more likely to do that pump-instant-stall dropout where you push too hard without the board shim. With it I can just pump away even in choppier messy conditions

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I’ve been almost exclusively riding the 13" Shiv at 0 shim on both the 140 and 170 (140 for prone, 170 for DW sup).

Recently tried the 13" shank winging the 140 and felt faster but struggling to keep it high and find the rhythm prone so I’ll be going to a lifter tail on the next session. Probably going to try the 14" Shiv or 13" shunt just to keep playing around.

Reading this back I should probably just go back to the 13" shiv since that’s been working so well. Need to get a 0.25 shim too as the .5 feels to draggy.

4’5 Portal Trans Medium 17
Prog 140
Short fuse
13 shunt 0 shim
When it is consistent swell I like this set up. Short fuse allows a quicker turning radius but also allows quick front foot back foot changes for steep sections. The shunt allows me to carve with more pressure without worrying about breach. 0 shim. I dont have to explain that

Prog 170
Medium fuse
14 shiv .5 shim.
I like this setup for when it’s slow waits in between swell. This whole setup allows me to stay on foil for longer but is on the slower side. Also like this set up when I am a little tired. I am learning to wing and DW and will learn with this as well.

Update on the board shimming. In essence - baseplate shim thick end at the tail makes pumping better and turning worse. However:

Appletree - 2mm baseplate shim is probably necessary, but possibly too much, will try 1mm next.

Gong - 2mm shim is far too much, better off flat.

I think the Appletree needs some shim as there is something like a bit of tail rocker due to the bottom shape, but the Gong which is flat definitely doesn’t need it. This makes sense and probably why I was maybe unique in feeling the need for a baseplate shim compared to most. This confirmed by @theliftjournal in the recent video comparing the Appletree with the Portal.

Takuma 178 is an excellent tail, probably my all purpose favourite so far. It doesn’t really work with Unifoil shims so i’ve just been riding it flat on the wing and prone, and it is a very comfortable general purpose tail. Nice and loose, smooth through turns, pumps well, doesn’t get too unsettled going fast with the wing ding. Glad to have got it!

Just had the first session on the Marlin 14" in a while and I think it is actually preferable to the Takuma 178 for waist high+ surf, it is just so fast and flowy. Once you get up to speed the pump is effortless. Managed my first no pump links today on it and just love how fast it makes the 140.

Could anyone talk about their experience with the Katana masts, specifically if they have ridden different lengths? I got a 170PP, med fuse (trying different tail/shim combos) and I’m having a lot of (what I think is) drag from the mast (but could be something else). It’s an 83cm, which is the longest I’ve ridden. I’ve ridden a Shiv 13 w/ 0.5 shim and 14 Shank w/ 0.5 shim. I have a (borrowed) Takuma 178 on the way.

My pumping is feeling off - its clear that the wing has a lot of glide (I’m already matching my pumping distance on a Lift 170HA) but (1) I think I’m having trouble staying high enough on the mast and (2) the longer lever on the same fulcrum means shorter(?) pump ‘stroke’ which requires more force than a shorter mast with a more drawn-out motion(?)

I mention the stoke of the pump because it feels like the higher I am on the mast, the more I need to ‘tap tap tap’ the pump instead of longer ‘swoosh swoosh swoosh’ pumping (sorry, best I can describe).

The Shank felt better than the Shiv for pumping, but not as good when riding the wave - I’m thinking that’s because the larger tail gave me more ‘push’ through the pump to drive it forward while the smaller tail gave better maneuverability?

Any tuning or technique tips to get the most out of the 170 on the long mast? Is the long mast inherently worse for pumping or do I just need to adjust my tuning?

I’ve had some time on the 830 Katana, 170P with medium fuse and 14’ tails. The mast definitely adds more drag than the standard mast if you pump/surf it too low. I started with the 1.0 shim, then dropped to 0.5 shim and mostly on Shiv and that still felt a bit draggy when pumping. Had best results recently on Shiv with negative 0.25 shim. Will try more negative angle next and then start chopping tails till I loose pumping. But overall it pumps great - my old, fat and unfit frame is the only real drag.


Someone who knows a lot more than I do shared two main pieces of advice with me:

  • My mast is not far enough forward. I’m riding a 4’4" FFB Rubix and the back of the mast is only about 9/10 inches from the tail when the mast is all the way forward. Thankfully I bought a used mast with holes already drilled for me to move if forward more, so I’ll give that a try. This makes sense - it almost felt like I was pumping uphill, and it was very taxing on the back leg.

  • I’m over pumping the foil. I have too high of a cadence which means that I’m not letting the foil drive forward on the pump, so I’m losing speed (and therefore lift) and ending up lower on the mast (creating even more drag). Slowing the cadence down should result in smoother, faster pumping while staying higher on the mast.

I typed the above out then went for a surf. I used the 13 Shiv (0 degree shim, med fuse) tonight and broke my record for time on foil by a minute and a half, and I haven’t even gotten the bolts to move the mast forward yet. I think that will help a lot on swing weight. The slow cadence helps a lot. On small foils you sprint from wave to wave, pumping the 170 is more of a rhythmic jog. Staying high on the mast can’t go understated either.


Interesting you say that, I feel like I have the same issue you describe on the 140 with the 83 katana mast. I really struggle to get more than 4 or 5 waves without completely blowing up. If I am very careful to stay perfectly high on the mast and get a very neat slow cadence sharp pulsing pump then I can pump for ages, but if I get a big wobble or get stuck on the inside in turbulence then I’ll just bail.

Could you not stand further back and achieve the same thing? With a flat board my feeling is that other than swing weight, moving back is equivalent. I’m reluctant to drill the mast! I know lots of people do.

This is likely my issue too. It is so hard when you’re stuck in chop and bumps or getting unsettled going over waves, but I feel like once you are too low on the mast, it is nearly not worth trying to pick it up again and maybe that “fear” causes overpumping.

I’m going to try and find a standard mast and see how it compares.

That is basically what I did, which helped me stay up for a lot longer. I basically had my back foot wedged against the kick pad, and my front foot at the midpoint of the board. It was doable, but it felt like I was flapping the front of the board up and down, and still using too much back foot. I think the rhythm will be smoother with the board weight more evenly distributed.

So (and I haven’t had a ton of time on this setup yet, so take it with a grain of salt) I’ve noticed that the ‘tap tap tap’ is my best recovery method when I make a mistake and get low on the mast. I can tap tap my way up and once I get higher I can return to the rhythm and let my heart rate drop a bit.

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Cool, yes agree on both, wondering if this can be resolved without spending $. Please share how you modify the mast. I wonder if this is worse on the 140 as the drag of the mast is higher as a % of the total system. I can tap tap my way out but then if straight into another confused section I spend a good deal of time struggling to get high again.

I do think there may be something to running less shim. Will spend a bit more time on 0 and -.25 to see how that feels.

I can post some photos later. It looks like they just took a drill and put a hole in it at about the right length. It’s drilled for M6, not sure if there are concerns going bigger than that. I’ve been told M8 should be fine. It’s not super pretty but I think it’ll work without issue, should net me another few inches of mast movement until I can buy a new board.

In terms of drag on 140 vs 170 I agree with you - it makes sense that having less lift and glide on the 140 would require you to be more precise on the pumps. Less shim seemed to help on that front too - less drag from the tail means more glide.

Just had a session in very clean 2ft 7s glassy conditions for the first time in ages. If I kick off a wave with high speed and maintain height on the mast then I can push the pump into that low cadence tap mode. I can’t get the foil from low speed up to that speed easily, and if I make a mistake I struggle to get back there.

This is pp140 with Marlin 14" 0 shim.

I have the Appletree as mentioned, and what I did on this session was takeoff and keep my feet super far back, this helped, so i think drilling your mast should help. I am going to try the standard mast back to back and see how that goes.