XL Sized Prone/DW Foilers -- What Are You On?

I’m interested to hear from you bigger prone and DWSUPers are riding and finding success on.

I am 205 lbs (~93kgs) and I feel like a lot of the foilers I know and or look up to are a lot smaller than me. It is hard to go to them and get advice I feel like I can trust (Jeremy Wilmotte being the major exception).

What suggestions to you big guys have when it comes to setups both in surf and/or DW? Let’s hear what has worked for you and what hasn’t worked.

For records I am 30yrs old, 6’-2" and beginner level. I’m coming over to the sport from a life of upper level surfing and distance downwind paddling. Currently I’m prone only, riding a 40L KT Drifter w/ 28" Lift V2/170ha/25glide… the goal is to get into DWSUP once proficient enough on foil. This setup is working okay for me for now, but I’d like to know what else is working and what moves can be made for us big dudes trying to advance through various disciplines of this beautiful sport.


You need one of the brands with a very stiff mast and a truly large front foil.

Axis Power Carbon High Modulus Mast. ART 1201 Pro will be your eventual foil most likely.

The fact that you can paddle already is a big plus. But still get a long skinny board to make life easier.

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As an XXL rider (if you are XL), I have a lot of thoughts! Keep in mind, if you ask 10 foilers their opinions, you will get 10 different answers!

First up, Hdip is right, mast stiffness matters…

Many previous generation masts – yes including carbon – were way too wobbly for you and me (particularly with wide wingspan wings like you will use for downwind). I think the current generation masts marketed as “stiff” or “heavy duty” or whatever are almost there. (I’m 6’4" and in the 230s.)

I believe that the reason Lift didn’t put out any foils with a wingspan wider than 39 inches is because Lift knows that the previous generation mast (which yours probably is?) is too wobbly to handle wider wingspans and bigger riders. (I have no proof of that!) It’s not a complaint about Lift. Armstrong’s previous generation wobbled for me, as did other carbon masts. I was frustrated. It seemed like AXIS’s cheap aluminum 19mm was beating what was supposed to be “good”.

I found that Cedrus masts were the ticket for me to use any gear I wanted (including Lift!). Some say Cedrus masts are too thick (at 19mm) and therefore the top end speed suffers. But at my XXL size, the rigid direct feel outweighs any potential top-end-speed disadvantage. Essentially, all of my pumping effort is delivered directly to the foil. I can pump out to sea with confidence. No worries.

A huge plus with Cedrus is, you can use any brand of foil and you don’t have to spend another grand or more on their carbon mast. Just buy an adapter for $120. Not a sales pitch for Cedrus. Just getting to the point:

Rigid is good, particularly for masts for big dudes.

Your Lift 170HA and the 28" mast is probably a good size for you (though I don’t know your conditions). Nice work on doing your homework, or kudos to the person who suggested that size.

Another thought though to make your life easier… I don’t know Lift foils particularly well, but you mentioned the 25 stabilizer… That sounds small to me, particularly for a newer prone foiler that’s a big guy. For stabilizers I tend to almost always run a size or two bigger than my bros… particularly in prone. I don’t mind a slightly bigger stabilizer when winging as well.

The simplest rule of thumb for stabilizers is… are you stable? Then try a smaller stabilizer (for more speed and maneuverability). Are you unstable? Then try a bigger stabilizer.

So… Are you stable? Or are you unstable?

A slightly bigger stabilizer allows me to pump back out with more authority… It might theoretically be slower. But if I’m less stable, then I’m less able to pump as efficiently.

Can you try a bigger stabilizer? The difference will surprise you.

On downwind SUP foiling, I don’t have too much to add. I know you are an experienced downwind SUP man. I’ve done Maliko runs and the Molokai race (as a team) on SUP. My limited downwind foil experience says to go for more volume than you think… like 20+ or 25+ over weight in kg. The most basic starting goal is to get the board unstuck from the water. To learn, starting with a board that is already “mostly unstuck” (meaning, with more volume) seems to make sense… particularly from my limited experience of really struggling to get it unstuck. That advice could be wrong! But I couldn’t get the board unstuck that I tried below that recommended size. Frustrating! I look forward to trying again, on a higher volume board.

Maybe reach out to Robert Stehlik of Blue Planet Surf for downwind board size advice. He is a super nice guy, probably your height and weight, and experienced at downwinding SUP foiling.

Man I have too much advice for XL (and XXL!) foil bruddahs.

Hopefully that’s a start!

The biggest thing is, be aware that what works for 150-pound teamriders isn’t always what works for 200-pounders.


Loads to unpack here, but I appreciate your input so much! I have been trying to get my hands on a bigger rear wing to try that, but all of my buddies with lift wings are up in Hood river! Hopefully soon… What size wing pairings have you used for prone foiling in smaller, gutless conditions? I’m in Santa Barbara County, doing what I can with a weird summer but the waves have been pretty below average…

Very quick reply, not really answering your question…

If you are really learning… and want to save some money… and get a bigger stabilizer

Ride this for a couple weeks…

When that gets too easy to ride and you want to go faster… then Chop Shop it somewhere between its current size and your 25.

Obviously epoxy the exposed foam and sand it smooth!

I’m 6’3” 198-205lbs. I exclusively prone. I’m a pretty good pumper, but not amazing. Almost always link at least 3 waves. My best runs are 5 and 6. My IG is l0ngshankz, if you want to see where I’m at compared to you.

I have been on a bunch of axis wings. They all are user friendly, good cost & pump pretty good. Don’t surf as well as others.

Takuma has high performance prone wings for big people. The takuma 1210 is my daily driver. I ride the 1440 when it’s thigh high or less to keep things easy & fun. Also enjoy the 1095 when it’s juicier.

I ride everyone’s else’s foils too (Armstrong, Lift, Gofoil, etc…). I couldn’t/can’t find anything to get me off Takuma until recently. The Uni progression IMO is a better overall wing than all others that I have ridden. Also, most likely the best for FL waves. I’m still on my takuma, but will upgrade at some point. At the end of the day, it’s not the arrow, it’s the archer.


Agree with all the comments from dillionaire. Riding Uni Progression myself.

Your toys will get you there. Don’t stress. Don’t spend and chase the latest thing (except a bigger tail to get you more time on foil in the short run).

6’5, 227 lbs here. Been feeling pretty good in 40L boards for prone surfing. My daily driver is the Vyper 170, with a Vortex 150 on big days and a Takuma 1440 for small days. I’ve had a lot of luck with the kujira range, but I’ve been focusing on surfing my foil and carving turns so the smaller wing span is nice and the only way you are going to get that at XL size is by moving away form high aspect.

Are you on the Prog 170 or 140? I would assume 170, but just confirming what size is working for you guys like you and @dillionaire

Prog 170 if it’s at least 1 foot. (Not joking, it’s Florida.)

Not recommended for learning to pump at my size in Florida. Better to learn on something bigger and get some pump skills, then transfer them to this foil.

The 170 is a great pumper for its size. Kujira 178 tail.

I do not own the progression, but have tried both the 170 & 140. For my skill level and my interest in maximizing ride time, the 170 is best for me.

I did a flat water pumping test. My Takuma 1210 is an excellent pumping foil, and I can consistently pump it for about ~35 seconds. The progression is smaller than the 1210, and I pumped the pp170 for 44 seconds very easily (I wasn’t even taking it that seriously, first attempt). The pp170 is easier to keep high in the water than the 1210.

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I’m with you on this one. If you prioritise carving and surfing near the pocket over pumping and cruising down the line, then i suggest a 170 / 1100 cm2 MA wing any day. MA wings also easier to learn on as they seam to auto-correct mistakes. Unlike a HA wing than has a mind (and direction) of its own.

It really depends on the conditions and how you want to ride.

95kg and have spent winter months almost exclusively on 130 Vyper. That’s 840 cm2 wing. I laughed when i first saw it, th8nking it would never lift my weight. Its become my favourite for 4ft + and relatively fast point and reef waves with steep takeoff and for nasty beach breaks
Avg 3 - 5 with a bit of a shoulder to carve on - Vyper 170. Can also pump this wing between waves in a set as it’s Super forgiving of mistakes (compared to HA wings).
Under 3ft or mushy, i prefer Progression 170 over 190 and 230 Hyper1s now. Pump and glide is great. It’s fun to connect waves between sets, but carving I still prefer Vyper 170.
140 Progression i’m really trying to like more. I need to have more time on it, pumps OK and turns fine, but somehow when it’s big and nasty i tend to go for Vyper 130 with fewer pointy bits and familier easy forgiving feel. Also doesnt help that the 150 Hyper1 i picked up for a steal is such an exhilarating fast wing with good pump and less deadly tips.
I dont DW so will shut up now.

I’m not big but I’ve been riding the k2 1400 a lot and it’s helping me progress a lot. Cedrus makes a k2 adapter, so 1400+cedrus would be very nice I’d say.

Just to add mast wise: the Takuma T-bar was too flexy most of the time, but passable with the 980. I’ve been doing okay with the standard sized unifoil mast. I think its because the span is smaller on the vypers.

interesting feedback, I am 98kgs, you never mentioned Vyper 150, have you tried that? I use the Vyper 190 for sup, P170 for winging and small surf, and the Vyper 130 for kite and tow foil. I feel the Vyper 190 is too big paddling around prone. I picked up a cheap Vyper 150 but am yet to have a go, I think it might be worthwhile checking out a Vyper 170, sounds like its the go to for our weight.

I’d love to try a V150. Always thought it could be a one-wing quiver for average weights in average conditions or heavier performance surfers (which I am not). I doubt i’d be able to get a decent pump out of it though - can barely make 3-for-1s on the V170. I find 170s and especially 190s can quickly become too big for prone in decent waves, even at our weight. You might have the perfect quiver there.
Any reason you not using P170 for SUP?

My sup board is 8kg (need a lighter one), not sure how the P170 would go tbh, have to give it a go, it’s a bit wider so maybe not as agile, but it’ll probably out run the waves and it’s more pocket riding at my local

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I am also 205 pounds and when I started last year I was heavier. This reply is for you downwind adventure.

The ticket is to get a board with enough volume so you aren’t fighting that to get off the water. I have a 110L Barracuda that I use in the ocean and it’s great. See it in action @thecodemanlife.

If you are just learning how to paddle up that 170 isn’t going to get you there. I would use a Lift 200 HA, just to get on foil and get the feel for it, and then work down to a 170 once you get the hang of it. And get the 32 glide or 33 carve tail because the 25 glide doesn’t have enough lift. That’s a speed tail. Remember if you aren’t on foil then it’s not foiling, it’s just paddling and that sucks. There’s no penalty for making it easy so don’t fuck around try to make something small work. Get something that you can get on foil with, get riding, and start progressing.

The new stiff Lift masts, the X2s, are critical and a must have for heavier riders like us.

When it comes to boards you have to get something that is stiff AF, so it has to be carbon. The reason it has to be stiff is because heavy people squish soft boards over and around the mast and it makes you feel like you are riding a noodle. A lot of energy is wasted in flexing the board instead of having that energy go directly into the mast and foil. So go stiff.

Honestly I would get a production barracuda for my first board. Dave has that shape so dialed for popping up. It’s ok if its long and there’s no reason to go wider than 21". Armstrong also has a good board that is really stiff (I use the 7’2 armstrong here in the Gorge right now) and the KT Dragonfly is also stiff and ultra light.


I’m currently around 92kg and 62yo next Month, however I am still reasonably fit for my age
Long watersports background, was an experienced SUP paddler in both surf and tech/Marathon dw racing before getting into foiling on Kite, Sup surf and wing.
Dabbled with dw sup foil for a couple of years but started making decent progress once I got an Axis 1300 foil and HM Carbon mast.
Was on an 6’5 E3 Kalama but again started making better progress when I got a 7’ x 23” Sunova Elite in January.
This is a great set up for people >90kg however I hope to move to the 1201 ART Pro as my go too but haven’t had good conditions since I have had it.
I want to get going on smaller foils still so have a custom 8’ x 20” 120ltr Smik on the way.


I’m more on the XXL side here as well, somewhere in the 240 lbs range. I got a custom Amos DW board: 8’ x 23" x 6" and 145 liters. They already had the design ready and the cost was about the same as getting a production board from any shop here in the US. At your weight I would see if they could narrow it down to 21"-22" width, maybe aim for the 130-135L range and you will be golden (or just get a production board in that range).

23" width took me about 4 sessions to feel stable on but now I’m wishing it was a bit skinnier and if you already have a lot of SUP experience then you can definitely go skinnier.

I absolutely agree about mast stiffness too, and going more volume for your first DW board. You really don’t lose much for responsiveness with the longer board since the tracks are so far up. My 8’ feels shorter than my 6’4" SUP foil.

I’ve been riding Axis from the start and the 1300 is really easy to learn DW, I’ve heard the 1201 is even better but haven’t tried it. I think Lift has some slightly larger wings coming (bigger than the 170) which might be great for you.

The James Casey Coaching is worth it too, even if you have DW experience on other craft.