Hydrofoil FAQ

So you’ve been doing a little research and now you’re utterly confused as to what might be a suitable foil for your entry into this new incarnation of ‘I must now fly on water’

Getting the right foil might be a simple decision such as ‘how much you can afford’ but making sure the foil you do decide on reflects what you want to do with it.

If you are a heavier rider  90kg+ wanting small wave performance you’ll want to look at hydrofoils with bigger front wings , have a look at the pictures below.

These detail a Particular brands biggest wing of the previous year to its biggest production model of 2018 (quite a difference )

In fact if downwind swell catching/riding are your thing …the bigger the better so you can literally soar like the Albatross.



hydrofoil which mimics the classic aeroplane wing will generate the most speed and lift, however lots of foils have downturned wingtips in the front wing.

Downturned wingtips mean the foil loses a little lift and speed but aids the wings turning radius without risk of breaching the surface or ‘ventilating’ (nerdy technical term) like a flat wing can do. Therefore most of the guys you will see surfing on foils will tend to favour downturned wingtips but this is not always the case.

You may note how thick some foils are , this aids in smooth lift at low speeds (ie you paddling into a wave)

This is why you will see lots of brands using similar designs in the front wing (wide depth and curved down wingtips). Some wings will have more depth (low aspect ratio) and this will characteristically mean very good lift at lower speeds, however the turning will effect pitch and roll. A mid aspect ratio wing delivers stability in both pitch and roll, which is vital for confident wave riding but a little harder to get going at lower speeds if the wing is not thick.

Tail stabilizer wing

Most people think that the front wing is the most important and you may disregard the rear stabilizer as not being particularly important however it is what most brands are working on the most.
Its a 50% – 50% mix with the right balance
Depending on the stabilizer profile, shape, angle, size, your foil can react completely differently with : speed, pumping, accessibility, manoeuvrability and stability.
The surface area and volume of the front wing changes massively from brand to brand. These variables mean The tail stabilizer has to work perfectly with the front wing and clean up any turbulent flow from the mast and fuselage to minimize disruption of stability.
Anhedral wings  i.e wingtips which are downturned like the red tail wing above resist yaw better than flat wings, making them more stable.

We hope you found this post informative and don’t hesitate to get in contact if you’re thinking seriously about joining the SUP /surf  foiling crew in your area and maybe blazing your own path !

We have foils and boards available and install boxes if you choose to retro fit to an existing board which your local shaper can help you with .

Foiling wing sizes explained

I thought I would take the opportunity to start to build a library of front wing sizes for quick reference. As foiling advances forward riders are wanting different performance characteristics and therefore most brands now offer a selection of wing sizes.

The first foil you buy is important as it has to be suitable for your use...like deciding on the right size surfboard.  

Quick guide – remember this is based on a starting wing size for the appropriate weight in kg being pulled by a boat at 7 knots minimum – 10 knots maximum or surfing waves in the 2-3ft size range. As you progress and want to venture into bigger or even smaller conditions the wing size can change dramatically.The bigger the wing size, the more lift is generally achieved but a bigger wing has more drag than a smaller wing so bigger is not always better . There will be times when you could feel ‘over winged’ and the foil generates too much speed and lift and vice versa – foiling therefore requires careful riding and trimming to avoid wing breaches and wipeouts !

Bigger waves/ speed = smaller foils

Smaller waves/ speed = larger foils

This is a general size guide for those looking to get into surf or SUP foiling

Rider size 50kg -  1000cm2 + average wing size

Rider size 70-80 kg -  1200cm2 + average wing size

Rider size 90-100 kg -  1400cm2 - 1800cm2 average wing size

Rider size 100-110kg +  1600cm2 - 2000cm2 +average wing size


Naish Thrust M : 1032cm2 Naish Thrust L : 1235cm2 Naish Thrust XL : 1572cm2

KENALU 580 : 1084cm2 KENALU 775 : 1496cm2 KENALU 970 : 1994cm2

GOFOIL : 1200cm2 Kai GOFOIL : 1600cm2 Maliko GOFOIL : 1800cm2 IWA GOFOIL : 2000cm2 Maliko GOFOIL : 2800cm2 Maliko

Takuma V50 : 1004 cm2 Takuma V100 : 1245cm2 Takuma V400 : 1389cm2 Takuma V900 : 1968 cm2

AXIS 102 - 2051cm2 actual area / projected 2013cm2

AXIS 92 - 1852cm2 actual area / projected 1816cm2

AXIS 82 - 1528 cm2 actual area / projected 1443cm2

Cloud 9 P27 : 1406cm2

Cloud 9 S24: 1126cm2

Fanatic S1 1024cm2

Fanatic Aero 1500cm2

For Downwinding in ocean swell and depending on your experience the bigger the better for beginners, whereas as yo progress you can get up and foiling with a smaller wing.

Happy foilers taking a coffee break on one of our foiling clinics


For beginners a shorter mast is advisable and a wider board also more stable especially if learning behind a boat in choppy conditions , for slower speeds learning on bigger wing of 2000cm2 + will generally get a 95kg rider up in 5-7knots …perfect for learning the basics.


Thanks – Matt

If you are interested in Foiling I would highly recommend getting in contact with us as specialist Foil suppliers. Give us a call on 01792 446511