The downwind scene is fast becoming the big area of growth in foiling, complemented now by the release of two new downwind board lines from the team over at AXIS. We dropped the guys a line to find out about the boards, and what they’re attributing all the recent downwind buzz to…

The popularity of SUP downwinding has skyrocketed in recent months. What do you attribute to its quick rise in popularity?

SUP downwinding is taking the foiling world by storm! But it didn’t happen suddenly. We have been working for years towards this goal. The difference is that now, with the latest advancements in the AXIS foiling technology, it's no longer just for the elite athletes and superhumans. With wider style foils, stiffer than ever materials and longer, narrow Hawaiian-style boards, even the average person can tackle the challenge of paddling up. Of course, it's not exactly a walk in the park, but with our latest downwinding foiling equipment, it's a much more enjoyable experience. Our Power Carbon High Modulus Masts provide maximum control, and the sleek Red and Black Advance Fuselage design enhances yaw control. Combine these with the ART, PNG and HPS front wings and our higher aspect rear wings, and you have a setup that fits everyone’s local conditions, and skill level. It's a thrilling new era for SUP downwinding!

Let's talk about your two SUP Downwind board product lines. Who should choose each model…

We are releasing two different DW board lines to the market for 2023.

The AXIS Hybrid carbon foilboards offer the ultimate versatility for those who want it all – it's a SUP surf foil board that lets you catch bigger waves on the open ocean with ease, but still maneuverable enough for surfing closer to the break. To downwind the Hybrid boards you need a bit more skill and technique (due to their overall shape and length/width ratio). But when you are up and going, they are so fun to ride. They are also great winging boards for all skill levels and conditions. And because of their design, they can also work perfectly in those light wind days, allowing you to take flight even in the gentlest of breezes. The AXIS Hybrid carbon foilboards do it all. Downwind, SUP foil and winging.

The AXIS Downwind carbon foilboards are specifically designed for dedicated downwind enthusiasts. With their easier paddling experience, they are perfect for overcoming the biggest challenge of downwinding: getting up on the foil. The long skinny design provides a distinct advantage – if you ever touch down, getting back up is a breeze thanks to the reduced drag resistance of the narrow outline. And the take-off is unparalleled due to the shape and rocket design. The AXIS Downwind carbon Foilboards are the ultimate dedicated DW boards for AXIS in 2023.

Hybrid Boards

Hybrid Boards

With the pure downwind model, how challenging is it to balance width and practicality?

It's still early days in the world of downwinding with an exciting challenge of balancing width and practicality. But fear not! With our 2023 AXIS Downwind carbon foilboards, the learning curve is more manageable than ever. Our extensive testing and demos have proven that with the right foil setup, it's easier than you think. The long, narrow design of the AXIS Downwind carbon foilboards allow you to paddle up with ease and efficiency, track straight and offer minimal drag resistance, making it a game-changer compared to wider, shorter conventional boards.

Downwind Boards

Downwind Boards

What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to someone just starting their downwind journey?

Embarking on your downwind journey? Here are the four key ingredients to success:

• Gear up with the right tools for the job. A big span, highly efficient wing, a super stiff mast for support, and the right board for your needs.

• Cultivate patience – downwinding takes time and practice to master. Be ready to feel like a beginner all over again.

• When things reach a plateau, seek professional coaching advice.

• Stay determined – with persistence and determination, you'll reach new heights on your downwind journey.

How can riders determine the appropriate size for their weight?

Ready to choose the perfect size for your downwind setup? Here's what you need to know:

Start with a classic rule of thumb – aim for 20L over your body weight in kilograms, when you're just starting out. As you progress and gain experience, the volume will naturally decrease, becoming closer to your body weight. The AXIS Downwind carbon foilboard in sizes 8’6/120L and 8’0/110L work really well from the beginning on. And if you are looking for a Hybrid carbon foilboard that gives you more foiling discipline versatility, then the 6’6/120L and the 6’4/110L could be great options.

The ultimate determining factor will be a combination of your own experience, including your background in SUP and foiling, and local conditions. So, don't hesitate to lean on your expertise and knowledge of your local waters to make the best choice for your downwind setup.

What materials and construction methods have you used in the board? Is minimizing weight a key factor in downwind boards?

When it comes to designing the ultimate downwind board, materials and layup are key. We put a strong focus on minimizing weight for maximum performance. Every gram counts when it comes to getting up on foil and gliding through the water.

A lightweight board is crucial, as heavier boards are harder to paddle up. The AXIS Downwind and Hybrid carbon foilboards feature a bottom construction of EPS and a single layer of carbon, while the top part of the boards and deck is a carbon sandwich. Under the EVA deck pad, there is a PVC sandwich (3mm H100 with carbon fibre on either side). This provides deck strength and stiffness, while also being optimized for lightness. However, it's important to note that these boards are designed for performance, and light weight – not durability. For example, standing on your board to take off the foil is not recommended…

Which of the many AXIS foils are best suited for downwind?

Your local conditions will determine your perfect foil match. For some, the big and bold ART wings are the way to go. For others, the user-friendly PNG range is a fantastic choice for learning and growth. And don't forget about the HPS1050, a leading performance option that has earned a reputation for delivering thrilling downwind experiences! When it comes to it, Short regular, Short and Ultrashort Advance fuselages are all great choices for the downwind setups. And it doesn’t get better than the Power Carbon and Power Carbon High Modulus carbon masts to drive your downwind AXIS foil setup.

You seem to have a massive pool of riders dotted around globally – who’s been keenly involved in your downwind product development?

We work with the top DW riders from all over the world. From Tahiti and Hawaii, to Australia, mainland US, and Europe so many talented individuals influence and guide daily our direction and development. It would be impossible to list them all here, but rest assured that every contribution, big or small, has played a pivotal role in making our product a huge success!

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