What is the optimal length of the wind foil mast? We get that question a lot. And unfortunately there is not one answer to it. That depends on a number of variables. Starboard in particular does not make choosing any easier, they have no less than 4 different lengths in the range. We can help you through our experiences and a number of guidelines.
The most common mast length of wind foils is between 85 and 95 cm. You also have masts of 115 cm and also very short ones of 40 or 50 cm. In general, you can argue that the longer the mast, the more space there is between the bottom of your shelf and the water. So then the chances of you hitting the water or getting too high and so your wings come out of the water the smallest.
A long mast also causes you to walk deeper into the water and also have sufficient depth everywhere. In addition, the longer the mast can bend the mast (which is to the detriment of stability during wind foiling). This in turn ensures that the mast is heavier or made of stiffer material (=often carbon), which makes the wind foil considerably more expensive again. And finally the longer the mast, the higher you come and the harder any nose drop arrives :).
Okay, but how do I determine what’s the right length for me? There are 3 main points you can look at;
1) The kind of water, read the wave, where you want to foil
2) How much wind you want to go wind foiling
3) What kind of wind foiler you are
If you sail at sea or on lake IJsel and want to wind with a lot of wind, you will have to deal with waves. It’s very annoying when you hit the top of the wave every time or that in the ‘valley’ of the wave your sheets come out of the water. In these circumstances, we recommend choosing a mast > 90 cm long. It just makes the wind foiling a lot more relaxed.
Amount of wind
If you want to be able to wind foil well with more wind (> 16 knots), then the speed magnifies every movement extra. In other words, it becomes more difficult to keep your board at the same height. Even then it is useful to have a longer mast (>90 cm). If you want to foil with little wind and sail on a puddle with few waves, you can handle a mast of at least 75 cm.
Kind of foiler
The type of wind foiler also affects the length of the mast. If you just want to cruise half wind back and forth, you can get started with a shorter mast (75 to 85 cm). But if you want to be able to tilt upwind and your board (without the blades coming out of the water) and maximum downwind, you will not escape a long mast of at least 85 cm. Ideal is then a mast of +/- 95 cm.
Don’t let fellow foilers or the people in the shop go crazy. Think for yourself what type of wind foiler you are and under what circumstances you want to wind up. That’s leading for the length of the mast that suits you best.