The pace of evolution of foiling, especially within the last year, has been fascinating to witness. I certainly would have never expected the Wall Street Journal to cover our sport! It’s very hard for me to believe that in April of 2020, after my long-time mast partner was forced to abondon the project due to initial labor shortages of COVID-19 lockdowns, that an entire new sport would explode overnight. It’s like every kiter, surfer, or SUPer took on learning to wing as their lockdown project. Unlike kiting which has a natural progression from twin tip, to directional, to foil… wing-riders went straight to the foil. New boards and foil wings appeared overnight, with much higher volumes, widths, and spans. Masts on the other hand, did not get a quick re-tool and redesign to manage the increased loads from this form of foiling, and I quickly learned that I should focus less on marketing the weight of Project Cedrus and more on the stiffness to take advantage of this growing market. Feedback has been extremely positive, with wing foilers grateful for the improved control and stability thanks to a stiffer mast.
Going back even further, when I started prototyping Project Cedrus in 2016, riders were gunning for the smallest pocket boards and just trying to find stable and efficient wings primarily for light-wind foiling. Learning to foil was challenging with the equipment available, and I chose to really focus on weight as my primary optimization target to make the long walks up the beach less painful. When it launched, Project Cedrus was 40% lighter than any aluminum mast on the market, and 20% lighter than other carbon designs. It did launch with a carbon fuselage, compatible with Liquid Force wings, which would most likely snap in half under the loads of a modern pumping wing foiler or prone surfer. Despite being lightest mast available, the structural engineer in me had to ensure extreme strength and stiffness to inspire confidence in not only the ride, but the unique 2-piece architecture and my kickstarter business model.
This past summer, I launched the Clydesdale model at the request of many looking for a longer mast. Because my molds and soft edges only allowed for ~90cm masts, I had to extend the aluminum inserts a bit to get additional length. But I used this opportunity to rethink the joint architecture, being able to rely on a tightly controlled (machined) aluminum plug for a mating collar, instead of a variable clear-coated composite assembly. As I began to get inquiries about carrying this updated architecture down to shorter masts, I didn’t really understand why. Project Cedrus had proven itself, without a single failure since inception. Why make it stronger?
The board mount and interface of Project Cedrus has been somewhat polarizing from the beginning. With over 15 years of composite structural design and optimization, I pushed back on forum readers and beach-goers bagging me for a fully monocoque carbon mast, or a more traditional collar to match the aluminum designs out there. I have been open about benefits of the lightweight plate mount (less material, weight, cost) and relying on stainless hardware as the primary loadpath (predictable, ductile, replaceable), and even launched a new mount relying on the same joint design but using higher-strength A286 fasteners after a windsurf foiler struggled to keep the screws holding the lightweight plate tight. But sales of the Clydesdale have really taken off, even in lengths down to 70cm. I don’t want riders to buy a product that is over-designed for them, because that means excess weight and cost. So this last summer, I began testing a new mount for the Classic mast.
The new Strong Mount adds the traditional confidence-inspiring collar to the Classic mast. My initial reluctance was due to the slight variance in mast thickness due to the painting process, and also the out-of-plane bearing loads into the composite laminate. But thanks to the increased and stable production of masts, consistency of the mating surfaces is excellent. This collar fits the mast like a glove, for not only a stronger interface, but also stiffer. Since the aluminum insert bonded into the mast is fairly deep, the collar is not actually pressing into unsupported composite laminates. You may have already seen this mount on instagram, or at the beach, as it’s been tested by riders of higher volume boards or jumping wing foilers. Feedback has been extremely positive, as most riders these days are a bit less weight sensitive and eager for a greater insurance policy as they continue to push limits of the sport. This new mount weighs in at 430g, only slight increase above the 295g Lightweight plate. For reference, a length equivalent Clydesdale is about 300g heavier than a Classic.
Now I’m sure you’re asking, which mast or mount is right for me? I don’t have an exact answer yet, as just like wing selection, it is quite personal. But in general, for the most aggressive riders on longer masts, I recommend the Clydesdale. Simply put, it’s the strongest and stiffest mast on the market, both benefits you will notice in the longer lengths especially. For those wing foiling mid-length masts under higher volume boards on bigger wings, this new mount should make the Classic a perfect fit. For kite foiling, especially on smaller boards, and prone surfing on shorter masts, the Lightweight Plate is still there if you are looking for the lightest setup. Many of my globe-trotting customers are grateful for the thin design of the Lightweight Plate and Eccentric Mounts, which allow them to keep packing volume and weight to a minimum. But if you prefer the increased security of a traditional collar mount, I want you to have it.
With the launch of this new mount, and to simplify your decision making process, I am refining the pricing structure of Project Cedrus. Aluminum prices at near record highs, and both collar-style mounts use much more aluminum; the Strong and Clydesdale Mounts will be priced at $150. This is still less than any major brands’ mass made-in-China mount. Adapters and Classic Plate mounts will remain at $100/each. Mast prices will converge to a single value of $1,000, which is actually a slight drop for the Clydesdale to reflect manufacturing efficiencies realized over the past few months. While the Clydesdale is technically stiffer and stronger, it is a bit heavier. In many industries, lightweight typically comes at a premium, but by all accounts both masts are very light. Now you can decide which mast is right for you independent of price. Anyone with a mast on order, previous mast pricing will be honored.
Thank you for reading and I hope you like the new design! The first official (and limited edition color) production batch will be machined in early January, so thank you for your patience as you are well aware of the logistics challenges involved with acquiring stock material and anodizing. Existing customers, you should have received an email from me announcing the launch and with a special link to a discounted mount out of appreciation for your support and business. Since this was not available when you purchased the mast, I want to honor my original mount pricing if this turns out to be the right version for you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Kyle