What is downwind foiling? | Poole Harbour Watersports

What is a downwind foil board?

Downwinding is the latest trend in foiling, gaining popularity among foiling enthusiasts. Downwind foil boards enable riders to get out on the water in light winds and smaller waves, perfect for sup foiling, wing foiling, or pump/downwind foiling.

Starboard Ace Downwind foil board - Poole Harbour Watersports


Why has it become so popular?

Every rider strives to have the best session they can when out on the water, whether that is to be up for as long as they can wing foiling, going out in winds they wouldn’t normally stay out for, or to catch every wave they can. With a downwind board, the narrow, longer shape allows you to pump onto the foil efficiently and get up in lighter winds or even smaller waves.

Duotone Downwind Foil Board - Poole Harbour Watersports


How is the shape different and how does this help?

Downwind boards inherit their shape from downwind race sups, like the Starboard Ace; with a longer length, narrow width and elongated pointed nose and tail for improved speed and glide across the water and subsequently in the air too.

Looking at the Starboard Ace Foil in comparison as a downwinder, the board has a concave and recessed deck for added stability as the widths are roughly only 20” wide, the slightly sunken deck also allows for a better connection to foil as you are closer to the box. There is a raised area strip along the centre of the board as it allows for easy foot placement when riding a board that requires more balance, so you aren’t moving around too much. Instability is heightened as the boards are narrow, but the foil increases your stability when out on the water so it is not as bad as you would first think. Using the wing or paddle to maintain stability when trying to get up on the foil is vital as well.

The nose is pointed but raised like a dome on top so that when pumping, water that comes up onto the board falls off the side and does not run into the deck. The pin tail helps tracking and improves speed of the board.

Downwind foil board shape - Poole Harbour Watersports

Underside of the board features a V shape with double concave on the under-nose area, flattening more towards the foil box and tail. This concave allows the water to glide through the board when on the water, and the large V on the nose allows for smooth landing and more bounce back to take-off. When touching down the efficient shapes bounce back up onto foil very easily.


Why would I use it sup/ surf foiling?

When sup foiling it is easier and more comfortable to ride waves, and the added ability to pump back out to the next wave in the set allows for many more waves to be caught. In waves and downwind SUP, the board will release and take off earlier and with less effort. Waves can be caught much earlier for longer rides whether with wing or paddle; it also requires little change in foot pressure to get onto the foil as the lift is earlier and smoother. Narrower widths make the boards feel very responsive when manoeuvring on the foil. More aggressive turns can be made because a narrow board can be banked over further without rails clipping the water. The narrow nose and tail combined with forward-placed foil box means less swing-weight so the boards don’t feel big or clumsy, in fact they feel more like boards 2ft shorter.

Sup Downwind Ace - Poole Harbour Watersports



Why would I use it wing foiling?

Foiling allows you to get up in light winds, but pairing your foil with this board is next level light wind foiling! The shape of a downwind board is a lot thinner and tipped at the nose into a V-shape, rather than your standard wing foil board being a thick, stubby round nose. The streamlining from the nose continues through the narrow shape of the board to the pin tail.

For wing foiling, the efficiency of the shapes allow the rider to be up-and-foiling under less power than a regular (shorter, wider) board, and we have witnessed riders getting up onto the foil in around 5 knots. Glide is instantaneous and the rider is up onto the foil easily, these boards are known as a ‘Light wind weapon’. Smooth touchdowns when wing foiling improve rider experience, the efficient nose shape bounces the board back onto the foil with the rocker and rounded underside as soon as it touches the water. Great upwind ability as it cuts through the wind, with the ability to sheet out your wing and pump with your feet if the wind drops even more!

Starboard Ace Downwind Wing board - Poole Harbour Watersports


The Sup Boarder review on the Starboard Ace highlights this information well. Take a watch below.

 Starboard Ace Downwind Board 2024 - Poole Harbour Watersports

Take a look at the downwind boards we have available here.

We have downwind boards on demo rotation so let us know if you want to try it before you buy it!

As a newer sport, brands are going in some different directions as developments are made, but if you have any questions drop us a call on 01202 700503!



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