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Unifoil has hit it out of the park with an amazing collaboration between legendary foil designer, Clifford Coetzer, and the Progression Project podcast’s host and foil lord, Erik Antonson. This foil is the fruit of relentless testing, delivering an unparalleled experience with focus on glide, maneuverability, and pitch stability. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned rider, this foil has got you covered.
As I unboxed this kit, the first thing I noticed were the aesthetically pleasing, protective wing covers that boast “Progression 140” and “Progression 170” on embroidered labels. As I unsheathed the wings, I couldn't help but admire their smooth dihedral curves and slightly inflected wingtips, aimed to prevent ventilation while breaching through turns. Even though a portion of the fuselage is molded into the front wing to maximize stiffness and the connection to the mast, these wings felt nice and light for their size. While both these foils land in the conversational “high aspect” range of foils, the Progression 140 beholds a surface area of 903cm2 (140in2), a 89.8cm (35.4in) wingspan, and a 8.9 aspect ratio. The slightly larger Progression 170 yields a surface area of 1097 cm2 (170in2), a 95.3cm (37.5in) wingspan, and a slightly lower aspect ratio of 8.3. Keep in mind these two front wings aren’t just different proportional scales of each other, each have been individually tailored to maximize performance for their size. Both wings were tested with the 830mm Katana Super Stiff Mast, Medium fuselage, and the three pack of G10 13” tails.
During my testing, I kept the variables to a minimum by using my usual prone and SUP boards and combining both Progression foils with only the medium fuse, 0 degree shim (for the least amount of drag), and with the neutral footed Shiv tail to start. Remarkably, the foil performed admirably without the need for extensive adjustments or shimming. For slightly larger conditions and a more back footed feel, I went with Shiv. Uni also suggests the Shunt if you want a more front footed feel. I found that with both wings, having the mast placed underneath where my back foot usually lands on the board was the ideal spot.
Now, let's talk about how it rides. The Unifoil Progression foil delivered a performance that surpassed expectations. Its early lift is exceptional but not overpowering, helping riders to effortlessly catch waves they would previously overlook as too small to paddle into. When it comes to reaching higher speeds, this foil doesn't disappoint and lets riders take drops on relatively steep sections without pitch instability. The pump on these foils is by far one of my favorite characteristics. Every pump feels like you’re pushing off something solid that’s pushing back against you, letting the rider easily gain height on the mast and also giving that satisfying feeling of acceleration with each pump. The lower stall speed also lends to this by allowing you to “pump it out of a hole” and generate speed if you’ve slowed down to speeds that would usually cause a foil to stall. Both the 140 and 170’s remarkable glide reduces the need for constant pumping and lets riders savor those extended flights. Pitch stability and smooth rolling from rail to rail is another area where the Unifoil Progression foil truly excels. It maintains a predictable balance, offering confidence-inspiring control through every turn. The ability of a high aspect wing to turn has always been a hurdle in the past, as pumping and turning have usually been mutually exclusive compromises. Through their advanced and test proven foil section, dihedral outlines, and varying cord throughout the span of the wing, the Progression offers an impressive blend of both maneuverability and glide, that wasn’t thought possible before.
Finally, let's address the differentiation between the 140 and 170 sizes. The 140 size is ideal for most riders looking for enhanced maneuverability, responsiveness, or are out in stronger winds or waist to head high surf. It's a perfect choice for those who enjoy quick turns and a more lively ride. On the other hand, the 170 size offers more pump, stability and lift, making it suitable for larger riders or even lighter riders who prefer a more planted feel and additional glide in smaller or less powerful conditions. At 72kg (158lbs) I love the 170 on the SUP for downwinding most 10-25 knot days and paddling into 0.5 – 2 foot waves. Again, the low stall speeds and broad speed range make both these foil ideal downwind weapons as well.
The Unifoil Progression foil provides incredible versatility and performance. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced rider, this foil is guaranteed to elevate your foiling experience. There’s something just special about the way it feels under your feet, it's no wonder that the Unifoil Progression has been lighting up a lot of conversations in the foiling community.
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