Foil Buyers Guide

Choosing the right foil for you

Wake foiling has taken the water sports world by storm. It is mostly like wakesurfing, but with an exhilarating twist. Riders can experience flight, gliding 2 feet above the water, whilst making effortless soul carves that defy gravity.The technology and materials used to make each of these foils create a price point that will exceed that of any wakesurf board. But that’s why we’re here; we want to make the buying process as simple and cost effective as possible. Use our guide below to make an informed leap into the world of wake foiling.

Understanding the Basics 

Wake foils bridge the gap between air chairs you may have seen back in the day and modern wakesurf boards. It’s comprised of a board, mast, fuselage, and front and rear wing. The wing system borrows technology from aviation, as they function similarly to airplane wings. Submerging these wings underwater is what creates lift at lower speeds, giving the rider a sense of flight. 

Unlike most other wake sports, wake foiling is not limited to a select group of boat owners. This sport can be done behind any powered water vessel. Fishing boats, pontoon boats, old ski boats, and even jet skis provide enough speed needed to generate lift. Additionally, wake foiling can be done on the windiest and choppiest of days. The mast cuts right through the chop, and the board and wings move undisturbed above and below surface level. 

Components of a Wake Foil

Wake Foil Board: Although not the most important aspect, the wake foil board plays a critical role in foiling. Wake foil boards can be made in all different shapes, sizes, and constructions. Each component will impact the performance of the board, it’s important you pick a board catered to your skill level. 

If you are brand new to the sport, we recommend opting for a larger compression molded board. These boards are heavier and more stable, allowing the rider to get over the front wing and counteract the upward force generated at low speeds. 

If you’re an intermediate wake foiler, we recommend getting a mid-size to small foil board (4’2-4’5) made of a more performance-oriented construction. These boards will feel more reactive and lightweight underfoot allowing the rider to maneuver the foil wing with a more precise feel on the water. 

If you’re an advanced wake foiler, you’ll want to opt for a foil board that is much smaller in size (3’6-4’2) made with fiberglass or carbon. This will allow for the most reactive ride and ability to get the most out of your foil wing set-up. 

Wake Foil Front Wing: This is where it’s at! The front wing is the most important part of your ride. The surface area, aspect ratio, and general shape will all play a significant role in your foil experience. 

Surface Area: Larger wings provide more stability which is great for beginners. You can make mistakes on these wings and still be able to recover. Smaller wings on the other hand, allow for a more responsive maneuverable ride and greater ability to pump. These wings are often less forgiving, making them ideal for intermediate-advanced riders. 

Aspect Ratio: Aspect ratio is calculated by taking the wingspan and dividing it by chord length. The higher the aspect ratio, the more advanced a wing is going to be. High Aspect (HA) foil wings are incredibly nimble and loose underfoot and are the best wings for pumping. Although aspect ratio is not always listed, beginners will want to avoid any front wings labeled “HA” or “High Aspect” 

Wake Foil Mast: Wake foil masts are the connection between the board and foil wings. Masts have come to a standard of 27” or 28”. New to market, there are some adjustable masts that allow you to start at 14”, and some longer masts as long as 32”. Shorter mast sizes are geared towards beginners. Short masts are more forgiving and built to perform at slower speeds. Longer masts are geared towards intermediate-advanced riders. The longer the mast, the better it will cut through chop and deliver a smooth ride. 

Wake Foil Fuselage: Often overlooked, but still worth understanding. The fuselage acts as a connection point for the mast and both the front and rear wing. It acts similarly to a wheelbase on a car. The shorter the fuselage, the tighter your turns will be. The longer the fuselage, the longer and more drawn out your turns will be. Typically, beginners shouldn’t worry about their fuselage. However, if you’re looking to advance your current wake foil set-up, we’d recommend checking out a shorter fuselage. 

Wake Foil Rear Wings: Like the fuselage, rear wings often get overlooked. Rear wings impact stability and can help increase tracking initiated by the front wing. 

How to Buy: By Ability Level 

Beginner: As mentioned above, beginners should look for larger boards and more beginner friendly wings. It is most cost effective to purchase a new wake foil set-up as a package. This package will include the board, wings, mast, fuselage, hardware, and a bag to carry everything. Do the research when you are buying your first set-up to see if add-on wings, masts, etc. will be compatible when it comes time to upgrade. 

Intermediate: Intermediate foilers should be after a small – mid-size board and slightly more aggressive front wing. It is common to upgrade either the foil set (wings, masts, fuselage) or the board as you progress to avoid transitioning into an entirely new set-up. 

Advanced: Advanced foilers should be on the hunt for high aspect wings and short and reactive boards. You’ll likely find these individuals tinkering with mast size, fuselage, rear wings and rear wing shims. There are many ways to customize foil set-ups to better suit specific ride styles. 

Additional Considerations 

Budget: Wake foil packages can range from $1,000 - $3,000+ with most beginner set-ups coming in around $1,600 - $2,000.  

Users: Who is going to ride the foil? Your 300lb cousin might not be suited to ride the same set-up as your 120lb daughter. Foil set-ups can accommodate a range of sizes and ability levels. You’ll want to find something that works for the majority, rather than one end of the spectrum or the other. 

Longevity: Foils are built to last, if taken care of properly. We recommend disassembling the foil between each outing and limiting sun exposure to the foil board. If you take your foil in salt water, be sure to rinse it with fresh water between each use to avoid corrosion.