There is a lot of buzz abut DW sup foiling. Sure, we have all seen the videos from Maui or Australia, but how achievable is it in Europe? It is positioned as the next big thing. But, should you care?
By no means I am a pro level rider, but after 4 1-2 hours sessions I felt the need to write a short article about it. I do have a sup background. I competed on the Dutch race tour and did a few European events. I’m 182cm and weigh approximately 82kg.
In the past I have tried downwind sup foiling. However, I don’t think the gear was fully ready for the conditions I have at home. Now, with the release of more dedicated boards, is down wind sup foiling more approachable again? Well, I was on a mission to find out.
With only a few short sessions under my belt, I can say it is great gliding on the waves. Yes, you can do this with the wing, but with only the paddle the experience is so much different. I have been using the Armstrong 6’8 DW board. With 96 liters and 19,5 inch width I was a bit anxious if I could stand on it. Now, after trying, my experience is that it is big enough for me. I can’t see myself going smaller for now, but going bigger also does not seem necessary. I’m sure many of you wonder, but I was able to paddle up on the 3rd run.
The spot I have been using to practice is quite convenient. I am able to paddle out, shielded from the wind. I only need to paddle for about 20 meters in the wind, before I am in the waves. When I am talking waves, they are only 0,5m low period wind swell. No high period and/or high energy waves where I live, haha. Still, these are the conditions I want to go down winding in and probably it is much closer to the real world conditions most of you have at home. Wind was about 20 knots. The runs I can do are about 500 meters, before I can walk back and try again. Since I am still learning I took the biggest foil I have, the MA1750.
The things I have learned so far:
- A shorter mast is easier. Currently I am using a 72cm mast.
- A larger paddle blade makes paddling up a lot easier. Reducing the Candance and paddling with more power helped me to get up.
- Its much more of a workout than I thought.
- You feel like a king when you are up on foil gliding and connecting waves.
As a preliminary conclusion: I absolutely love it! It just feels more free than downwinding with a wing. The performance of the boards is so much better than I thought. Yes, they are long, but when foiling you really do not notice it as the mast is also quite far forward (I positioned the mast on 8-9). It is achievable, but will require some hard work. You will have some humbling experiences. But if you manage to come out foiling after all the struggles, you will feel like a king.
I will try to update this article as my skills progress. If any of you have any questions or comments or just want to share the stoke, just reach out.