Foiling FAQs, This Month’s Questions and Queries

The phone, the inbox, have all been pretty busy lately with Foil tips and questions.

So to help us all learn quicker, here are the most common questions and more importantly answers from the last month.

Keep them coming!

There are a few that come under the fairly broad title of:

I can get it up but I can’t keep it up!

I’ve ended up going a few people a call back on this to find out a bit more about their setup and what they are trying. Most of it has been setup issues rather than technical prowess.

  1. I’m planing but the board is pretty locked to the water:

Most likely this is the setup of the board and the foil don’t match too well. The Foil is ‘back footed’ whereas you have the board setup with your weight further forwards. Move the mast foot back and if possible the footstraps back. This will get weight more over the foil and help sustain lift. If you feel like your back leg is burning to keep it up, you almost definitely need to move things back.

2. I’m up and down like a YoYo:

This has been a really common call, email. Most people have successfully had their first flights but are now struggling to sustain flight and feel a little up and down. This has come down to a couple of things. Lets first look at setup.

Once you’re past your first flight, you are trying to encourage yourself to be more upright on the board. A higher boom will really help this. If you’re struggling to sustain flight move your boom up. The harness lines will highly likely need to go shorter to keep you more upright. Switch to adjustables but depending on board and rig size you may need to go as short as under 26″.

As a general rule narrower the board, shorter the lines. Larger the rig shorter the lines. As you come down sail size the lines go back to normal.

3. I’ve adjusted the kit but I still keep crashing to leeward

If the kits set right then we can focus a little more on the technique, focus on locking the back leg out and back heel down. Once you’ve got the side to side trim of the Foil sorted you can start looking at managing height more proactively. Maybe try a slightly tighter back strap.

4. Inboard or Outboard

This depends quite a bit on the board, the foil and also where you are at in terms of your foiling. It will also depend on the length of the (foil )mast and the size of the sail you’re on.

If you normally use inboard straps, then you’ll find inboard straps easier. There is always a element of not trying to change too many things at once when you’re learning. More low aspect Foils (Shovel Shaped) will work as well if not better with onboard straps. The foil travels slower, the lift is more central and you’ll less of a need to be fully sheeted in.

The downside of inboard is you’re not getting as far away from the rig and the foil so the side to side trim is harder to manage. so if you keep falling to leeward, your straps need to go outboard.

You’ll also need to move your straps out as you sheet in more. If you think about how the apparent wind works when you’re foiling it swings right round onto the nose of the board. The lighter the wind you foil in the greater this will swing towards the nose. So to sustain flight at speed you’ll need to be well sheeted in, sometimes over the centre line of the board. To do this well you’ll need to get further outboard. This might also lead you to make those lines shorter again, unless your board has plenty of tail width.


Higher Aspect Foil = More Outboard

Going Faster= More Outboard

Narrow Board= More Outboard

Bigger Rig = More Outboard

This is especially for the back foot. One option is you could keep your back strap a little more inboard but just set it smaller. This way you keep board under your heel, giving you leverage and keeping you more upright. But also you stay more outboard with the ease of an inboard strap.

5. What Size Sail should I be on?

Now this isn’t just a foiling question, and probably the question we discuss most as Windsurfers.

Very quickly there are many ‘general rules’ floating about.

Again it’s all relative to the board, foil, sailor and more importantly what type of windsurfing you’re doing.

If we take foiling out the equation and imagine a windsurfing day at the beach, we’d see some Freestyle sailors on 4.8s, at the same time as a Freeride sailor on 6.0 and the Slalom crew on a 7.8. Whilst this is going on there would be some RS:X sailors happily going Windward, Leeward on 8.5s and 9.5s. Foiling isn’t really any different.

So here we go:

If we look at pure free ride then I go by the general rule of roughly 2 SAIL SIZES down from what i’d normally use. So 7.5 weather in my quiver becomes 5.7 Weather, 5.7 weather becomes 4.5 weather and 4.5 weather becomes 3.3 weather. This should see me pretty comfy most of the time, reaching back and forward. I’d be using my 7.5 when the odd person was getting going on a 9.5.

If I increase the width of the board, move the mast foot forwards I can take more rig in more wind. If I then start changing my sailing line to windward leeward I could go on a bigger rig again just like in normal windsurfing. If you were Freeride sailing on the 7.5, we could probably have some great racing on 8.0s. Reaching back and forward would be a little lively though.


That’s the most common 5 questions I’ve had this month. Either comment more questions below or don’t hesitate to drop me an email or message. I hope these help, and good luck with your next flights.

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