At The Foil Board Shop we want to help you to get the most out of your equipment that’s why we carry a wide range of tail wings. With so many options on the market, it can be tough to know where to start. But don’t worry – we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll give you an overview of the different tail wings characteristics, so you can make an informed decision when purchasing your next set.
What Is a Tail Wing?
A tail wing also referred to as a stabiliser (stab) is a wing that is attached to the tail end of a hydrofoil in order to make it a smoother ride. A tail wing, similar to a hydrofoil come in a variety of shapes and sizes which can influence the lift and glide and therefore having a direct impact on wave size sensitivity and control.
Until a few years back, tail wings sought to be used to help with balance but recent years focus on tail wing design proven that stabs are more than just stability and indeed a stab can improve the overall performance of a hydrofoil.
Tail wings usually range in length from 10” to 18”. The larger the tail wing will give more lift and stability and smaller wings are better suited for more responsive turning with tighter radius. Some riders find more control with a longer stab and some riding different waves energy prefer a shorter one.
What Makes Tail Wings Unique?
There is a huge range of tail wings available for all types of riding styles, conditions, and wave sizes. The main characteristics that differentiate between tail wings are their shape, size, thickness, and profile. Some tail wings have different amounts of concave or camber.
Tail wings come in different shapes such as round tail or flat tail designs. Generally speaking, round tail designs provide better lift while flat tails offer superior control when carving turns.
Tail wings are typically measured in inches and can range from 10” to 18”. The surface area of a tail wing will determine how much lift and speed it produces; The larger the tail wing will give you more lift but will also be slower to react. Smaller wings are more manoeuvrable and react quickly but may lack lift force.
Tail wings can range from thick to thin. Thick tail wings are more stable and provide more lift but are also slower due to the added drag. Thinner tail wings are faster due to reduce drag and offer a more responsive feel.
This is the distance between the leading edge and trailing edge of the foil; longer chords create more lift, while shorter chords provide lower lift with more speed and manoeuvrability.
Some tail wings have different amounts of concave and camber. Concave or camber is a feature that alters the curvature of a tail wing. A more concave shape will create increased lift and stability, while a more cambered shape can provide increased speed and a surfier feel.
A flexible tail wing will provide excellent control in choppy conditions but can sacrifice some speed; stiffer wings are best when speed is of more importance.
What 10 Reason Why You Should Invest in Different Tail Wings?
- To get more speed – Different tail wings will give you greater thrust and allow you to move faster on the water.
- To have better control over your front wing and board – By changing the shape, size, or angle of the tail wing, you can gain more control and responsiveness when riding your foil board.
- To adjust for different conditions – Some tail wings are designed to perform better in certain wind or wave conditions so it’s important to switch them out if needed.
- To fine-tune your performance – With the right setup and balance of tail wings, you can tailor the setup to increase speed, reduce turbulence and make turns smoother and easier
- To ride more radical- Each tail wing has its design characteristics which can help you learn different manoeuvres such as carves, riding closer to the pocket, learning aerials, rotations, etc
- To save energy – The right type of tail wing may help reduce strain on your muscles while reducing fatigue when riding long distances
- To become a better foil surfer- Learning how to switch between different types of tail wings is an important skill that will help advance your skillset
- To make better use of existing gear- If one type of tail wing may work better with your smaller front wing while the other tail wing will suit your bigger wings.
- For fun! – Experimenting with different shapes, sizes and materials is part of the reason why this sport is so enjoyable for many people
- For backup – It’s important to have more than one tail wing, especially when travelling. You don’t want to be that guy who is stuck with a broken stab and can’t find a replacement one. Having multiple options is always beneficial.
Why Experimenting with Tail Wings is a No Brainer?
By challenging yourself with a smaller tail wing is the best way to improve your balance, muscle strength and gain more experience. The cost of a tail wing is only a fraction of the price compared to buying a front wing.
- Trying different tail wings can enhance the way you ride.
- Experimenting with smaller stabs will help you to do tighter turns. A smaller stab will glide faster due to the reduced drag which will also increase pump efficiency allowing you to pump faster and glide further.
- Experimenting with bigger stabs can provide extra stability when foiling at a higher speed as well as increase the low end of your front wing. Especially when foiling in smaller waves and wind winging in lighter wind.
- Tail wings with different profile can increase lift, which will help you with pumping. But it can also create less lift allowing you to get the most out of your bigger front wings, for example when riding slightly bigger waves.
It may take some trial and error to find what works best for you but it is still cheaper to experiment with different tail wing than changing your entire set up.
Experimenting with tail wings can be frustrating at the start until you get used to them.
- Time taken is required to test and compare different stabs together to find your favourite set-up. Best if you try at least two different stabs during the same session to give you the best comparison.
- Going for a small tail wing may give you the impression that you are getting less lift. Less lift will require more back foot pressure which will require more muscle power. This is normal at the beginning and as your legs become stronger you begin to progress, and your foiling will improve.
- Using a stab that is too big can be overpowering and will limit the way you foil. A tail wing that is too big will also create extra drag, making you foil slower. In one word using a long and thick stab will slow down your progression.
For anyone serious about prone/surf foiling, we recommend going for smaller tail wings compared to someone who is wind-winging on a more regular basis. 12–14-inch stabs are the most common amongst prone foilers and 13–16-inch stabs are widely used for wind Winging and SUP foiling.
Why trust us?
At The Foil Board Shop, we are foil addicts and confident we can help you choose the best foil gear. We have a good selection of stabs on our website which will work with a variety of brands. If you are unsure and/or just want to chat foil, feel free and get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org