Indiana Downwind SUP Foil 7’6 Carbon: Board review with Manuel Stecher

From surfing to stand-up paddleboarding, wing, SUP and pump foiling, Bavaria-based waterman Manuel Stecher, has tested it all! Nowadays the options in terms of equipment seem limitless but Manuel sticks to one simple hack: “Choose gear that fits best to your local spot.”

TotalSUP caught up with the seasoned surfer-turned-frequent-flyer (proving that being land-locked does not stop the fun!) to take a look at the Indiana Paddle & Surf Co.  downwind SUP Foil 7’6 Carbon board.

Photo by Monika Jahnke-Fassnacht

Hi Manuel, welcome to TotalSUP! Could you tell us more about your watersport background and how did you get into SUP and foiling?

Back in the days I started with typical surfing in Bali 2017. From the first day on I was hooked, spent all my money to book flights every single holiday to go surfing in tropical places all around the world. In the end we ran our own surf camp for the short period of 6 month in Sri Lanka in 2014.

So practically my roots are really in surfing. Every sport I do I look for the same feeling I get from surfing or I do the sport to be ready if there is a change for a surf anytime. So river surfing is still a big part in my life as a land-locked surfer too.

Back home I started with SUP racing and mostly with the really technical river SUP as well as SUP expeditions with my twin brother around Europeans biggest lakes. Our biggest achievement was the first descent on a five-day trip in the second deepest canyon in the world. The Tara Canyon in Montenegro. A real river SUP expedition with an international Team of professional SUP athletes.

From SUP and flat water pumping to wing foiling, you are super comfortable with any foil format but if you were to choose, what’s your foil discipline of choice?

My favourite discipline I guess is light wind wing foiling. Everything from 6 to 14 knots is really fun to go out. Especially from 6kts on when everybody else is still checking their gear and I am the first one on the foil. That’s a lot of fun but really exhausting as well.

Photo by Monika Jahnke-Fassnacht

When pump foiling came onto the scene the first time, I thought great, from now on we don’t have to wait for wind anymore. We can get this great foil experience from now on daily also without the wind.

Where do you start with foiling and what’s your advice to those looking to start their foiling adventure?

We live in a region close to the Alps in the South of Bavaria, wind is mostly calm and very gusty, so I am more used to those challenging light wind sessions.

You should choose gear that fits best to your local spot. In the beginning it necessary to get as much time as possible on the foil to get used to it. If you’re making the step from beginner to advanced you will end up buying some more wings as well as some more foils for any condition.

I now have separate wings for wing foiling and for pump foiling. Everything between 900 up to 1700 as well as high aspect pump foils.

Photo by Monika Jahnke-Fassnacht

Could you tell us about your collaboration with Indiana?

Indiana is a great company with an incredible range of pump foil boards and foils. As a Swiss brand they’ve been really one of the first with that new kind of sport, in form of development and know how.

I’ve been a Starboard Team Rider since I started paddleboarding and I’m still riding their boards, foils and wings.

But Indiana really got me on board with foil pumping and SUP foiling in flat water. I feel really comfortable with their pump foil gear and they have a great knowledge which helped me a lot in terms of my progression. I contacted them and luckily I was able to do some test runs with some of their pump foil and downwind boards and foils.

We’d like to chat about your Indiana board set up – especially the Indiana Downwind SUP Foil 7’6 Carbon you’ve been testing?

I tested it a lot in many conditions from flat water to wave and downwind. If there was no wind you could still do some flat water pumping or SUP foil even in the smallest waves with it. Just a great board.

Could you share your thoughts on the following aspects:

Who is it aimed for: That’s a simple one, for everyone who’s into foil and wing surfing.

Your first impression: It’s a completely new experience if you haven’t tried a Downwind SUP foil board before.

What’s the range of use: I spent three weeks in Sicily, Italy with the downwind board and it was a real all-rounder. An everyday board. Downwind and light wind wing surfing is what this board was designed for I think.

Stability: It’s super stable on flat water but needs some more practice in the open ocean.

Take off: It’s a super fast board, so the take off starts really early. If the surface is flat you get immediately from gliding into foiling. When you have to paddle it, it depends on the front wing and your weight. With the 1396 front foil I can get it out of the water with only 4 strokes!

Level of responsiveness: Reacts quickly and you will get a fast feedback from the board.

Performance while pumping & cruising: A stable feeling of gliding, the Eva Pad gives you a good grip and a perfect feeling for the board. Turns are easy and it is fast to turn despite the length of the board. The upwind performance of that board is insane! You can almost surf against the wind 🙂

What are the key features that you look for in a foil board and does this model meet them? Any other recommendations from the Indiana quiver?

Board must be really light but also strong enough that it doesn’t lose power while pumping. All the pressure you put into the board must directly get in the foil without loosing it. The main thing for the downwind board is the speed.

So in my opinion the Indiana Downwinder board is a super light wind and flat water weapon. It is fast and creates a lot of speed from an early take of. It offers enough volume to paddle it comfortably or to get it out of the water starting with 6kts wind.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given when starting to foil?

Definitely start with the Indiana Dockstart set 1100P. This foil brought me into pump foiling! A lot of volume makes it easy to pump. A good board size for me is between 90 and 95cm with around 13 ltrs. If you fall in the water you can easily paddle back to the dock with its 13ltrs volume.

How do you think the sport will grow?

Foiling is already a fast growing sport! I think downwind SUP foil races as well as flat water disciplines like pump foiling will grow fast as well. The main discipline will always be wing foiling, race and freestyle.

In the near future we will see new inventions, especially with the foils that will have more and more efficient lifts and a good performance. I am really excited to see what we will surf in the next ten years 🙂

Indiana Downwind SUP Foil 7’6 Carbon tech specs:

Length: 7’6” – 228.6 cm
Width: 20″ – 50.8 cm
Thickness: 5 5/8″ – 14.3 cm
Volume: 112.5 L
Weight: 8,4 kg

To find out more about Indiana Paddle & Surf, visit Indiana Paddle & Surf

Explore the 2023 Look Book here and follow Indiana on Facebook and Instagram

Follow Manuel Stecher on Instagram and YouTube

*Images courtesy of Manuel Stecher

About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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