One of the biggest criticisms of SUP foil/wing foil boards is their inaccessibility. Whilst those who can would describe sleds with less than 120L volume and 30” width easy, those who can’t (or rather, who don’t have experience) would say that’s not the case.
France based, long time SUP brand Gong are getting people involved – and in the most cost-effective way possible. It’s no surprise there’s a surge of interest in Gong SUP/wingfoil products. Those looking towards SUP flight disciplines can do so via the Francais company’s wares with relative ease and minimal dents to bank balances. Gong’s Zuma range is one that pricks interest, and with the inclusion of even more affordable wood versions, reviewed here, their popularity looks set to continue.
After a fairly long lead time the Zuma 6’9 landed to much anticipation. The biggest of the Zuma range it’s a 140L x 31” platform that should be kind to newbs. Having unpacked the finish is top shelf, with all fixtures and fittings in place. The Zuma’s foil track box has a gauge to help with foil placement – a nice addition – and three spongey footstraps round it all out.
On the water Gong’s 6’9 has plenty of buoyancy and stability for heavier riders and/or nervous newbie foilers. It paddles admirably in a straight line, although this is a sub-7’ sled so a degree of yaw is to be expected. The Zuma forgives dodgy foot technique and remains compliant.
Take off in SUP foil mode is as low stress as you can get with the Zuma. It doesn’t buck and remains composed allowing paddlers to lift onto foil and deal with being elevated. In time riders may favour something more reactive, although we didn’t find the Zuma to be anything less than engaging.
In wing mode it’s super stable whilst you clamber into position. Even with heavy chop and flotsam in the mix riders will have time to get sorted. Once up it’ll plod along merrily until you engage the foil. As with many specific platforms it works from the tail, rather than gliding up to speed. So familiarity with foil pumping will need to be acquired. In the air it’s an almost invisible board. It stays rock steady allowing 100% focus on controlling the wing. Through transitions its manners are impeccable – all you have to do is work on your technique.
It goes without saying Gong’s Zuma 6’9 is one of the most affordable SUP/wing foil boards on the market. The wood version looks great and on the water allows all those foiling tricks of the trade to be learnt. Progressing flyers may want something more nimble soon enough, although there’s no real need as the Zuma delivers plenty of smiles for all levels. For a first SUPM review board from Gong it couldn’t have been a much better experience.