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Patrik Foil Comp 91 V2

Patrik Foil Comp 91 V2

First impressions – A compact board at 212cm long and 91cm wide. The boards rails are quite parallel meaning the board has a wide tail. The tail is wider than the tail on the comparable  JP hydrofoil Slalom. As I have said before I like the limited paint finish but that is partly because it is easy to do invisible repairs on such boards. This is a full carbon board. 

This board is not made in the cobra factory so it has some unique touches. The mast track seems to be more integrated in the board and it requires a flat mast base nut (supplied). While many brands have opted to have large oval foil bolt recesses and large bolt holes to aid bolt alignment, Patrik have decided to have tight fitting bolt holes. At first I thought it would take a bit of messing around to get the bolts to align with the deep tuttle head of the foil but in fact they were all perfectly aligned from the start. The board does require quite long foil bolts. I am using 80 and 70mm bolts on my AFS foil. While the board only offers outboard footstrap positions there is quite a lot of for/aft adjustment and also on the front straps you can alter the strap angle which is a nice touch. Judging by the strap positions on offer the board is designed as you would expect for race style foils with longer fuselages. With my 99cm fuselage I have been using the board with the 2nd from back footstrap positions. 

The rails are flat sided which allows Patrik to get the volume into a small package but also give some resistance making coming down with the board cranked over during a gybe that bit more survivable.

The board features massive double cutaways underneath the tail which reduce the wetted area under the tail significantly.

Also of note is the recessed mast track. While many other brands offer a shallow scooped out deck in order to lower the rig, Patrik have given a small but deep recess allowing for more volume in the board and adding to the boards stiffness. 

On the water – The foil comp offers plenty of support for even the heaviest riders allowing easy uphauling and tacking. It’s still not a long board and it is possible to submarine its nose if you are daydreaming while wallowing along. If you are not used to getting on such a wide board to uphaul it is a long way across the deck to grab the other side. I tend to either grab a far footstrap or the mast to haul myself onboard while ensuring I keep my harness spreader bar clear of the board. 

Getting flying – The board offers plenty of support allowing you to get into the front strap early. For its volume you still want to get onto a broad reach for take off, remember it is still only 212cm long. The board releases easily (maybe with the aid of the cutouts) it works equally well with moderate sized sails as well as larger sails. When it is windy you don’t need to pump you can just drive the board off a piece of chop. I have used the board with an AFS W105 with R810 and R660 wings. Is it the earliest flying board I have used? Probably.

In flight – The board is comfortable in flight. Once set up correctly there is little left to do but enjoy the flight. It is comfortable in the straps but also surprisingly comfortable with the back foot out of the strap even with large sails. With the wide tail your back foot can still be quite outboard yet still on the inside of the back strap.  The ride is comfortable and controlled at all angles to the wind. Again I should state I am not a racer but the board can point as high as I want and is comfortable on the downwind return journey. Any overfoiling mistakes and drops are easily recovered and the board will tend to bounce back up. Although be aware you may well be traveling faster on this board which makes dropping from over foiling a bit more dramatic.  

Gybeing – It is a wide board so more footwork is involved as you initially step inboard and then across the board. Having said that, I find it easier to gybe than similar sized boards. There is obviously lots of space to adjust your feet. Should something happen to cause the board to come down on its rail the flat voluminous rails can save the day. 

Overall – The Foil Comp is fast on all points of sail. I find many people wind foiling tend to stick to similar sailing angles, just going back and forth, back and forth. On the Foil Comp you really want to go places and cover a lot of water. 

The board suits race style high aspect foils and sails over 6.0m. This is a board that is worth matching with an efficient sail and foil. 

Who is this board for? – it obviously is suitable for anyone with racing aspirations at any level but it is also suitable for anyone wanting to push the boundaries of light wind flight.

The board cane be seen in action here

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Patrik Foil+ 8.0 & 9.0

Patrik Foil+ sails (8.0 & 9.0)

First impressions – These sails are at the extreme end of competitive wind foiling. 8 battens and 5 cams create a solid wing like structure. The sails set in a taught crease free maner. The sails are surprisingly flat in profile, these sails are all about efficiency. The leech is moderately tight with most movement about half way down the leech, the head does not fall away like a slalom race sail. These sails are tall, the 8.0 fits on a 490 mast and needs a 46cm extension while the 9.0 needs the same extension but a 520 mast. Booms are quite short especially considering there is not a big clew cutaway.

The sails come with lots of cam spacers already fitted so be prepared to take your time getting the sails to rig and rotate as you want. The bottom cam comes with a whopping 5 spacers and all the battens above have 3 spacers each. I am currently using (starting at the bottom) 6,1,1,0,1 spacers on the cams and this gives me good stability and easy rotation. 

The sails appear well built and with more scuff protection that other race style sails particularilily along the leech where you might catch it on the ground while carrying the rig. 

On the water – In the past most of my foiling has been with light 2 or 3 cammed sails up to 8.6 so I have to admit I was a bit nervous of trying a 8 batten sail with 5 camber inducers that weighs about 2kg more than I am used to.

Uphauling – fairly standard compared to other sails of the same size. Water starting is a bit easier due to a combination of the high aspect nature of the sail providing plenty of lift combines with easy rotation to help flick the sail if required. 

Getting going – these sails are very efficient, they cut through the air with ease feeling light in the hands. When a gust comes along the rig wants to accelerate and keep accelerating. In very light winds other sails with more draft/shape in the sail body will pump up onto the foil but if there is  insufficient power to level off the flight you can soon find yourself dropping back off the foil. With the foil+ the sail will be eager to accelerate meaning you can quickly level off the flight and start to accelerate. This feature of the sails means they work best with efficient high aspect race style foils. A low aspect high lift foil would not be able to keep up. 

Once in flight the sails will settle down and allow you to concentrate on cutting through the wind. In gusty overpowering conditions the sail’s slippery nature allows it to cut through the gusts without any drama. That same feature allows you to keep foiling into stronger winds  and it is only with hindsight do you think “actually, I could have been using a much smaller sail.” It tends to be time to change down sail when you run out of courage as opposed to control. The sails have a very wide wind range which is something you can not say about all  foil specific sails.   

Trim – Because these rigs are not the lightest moving the mast foot around can have more effect than with smaller/lighter sails. I tend to use the 8.0 about 3cm forward of where I have the mast foot for the 9.0. 

I am not a racing sailor so I can not comment much on the sails pointing ability but I am a sailmaker and from its profile I have little doubt that there will be few sails that can touch it upwind.

Gybing – The sails enter the carve with ease. You can vary the drive through the turn with opening or closing the sail. What I should point out at this stage is that these sails are damn fast in light winds. This can give you problems with apparent wind when you gybe. If you are going at 20 kts in a 10 kt breeze which is possible with these sails it can feel like the sail becomes a brick wall as it presses back at you. The solution is to push the sail away as you enter the carve creating room for the rig to rotate to the outside of the carve. In other words in light winds the sails can test your gybing but only because they are s Rotation – What can I say? These sails rotate better than many 2 batten sails! Yes they rotate that easily.

Overall – The Patrik Foil+ sails look purposeful as soon as you rig them. Take them on the water and the performance on offer matches the exceptional looks.

Who are they for? – Anyone racing or thinking of foil racing  but also and probably more importantly anyone who enjoys that super efficient feeling of foiling in around 10 kts of wind. The 8.0 would suit most foil specific boards of 85cm or wider and the 9.0 is best on 90+ cm wide boards. Both sails work best with high aspect foils. Are the Patrik Foil + sails suitable for you? If you aren’t falling in often and don’t have to launch through a shore break these sail will certainly add something to your foiling experience. 

And as regards my initial concerns about a 9.0m, 8 batten, 5 cam sail getting the better of me at the first sign of a white horse these sails are comfortable across a wide wind range even for a mature chap with no intentions of racing. 

Videos featuring these sails can be seen here –

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Patrik Foil-Ride 125

Patrik Foil Ride 125

First impressions – A compact sized board at just 202cm long and 75cm wide. The boards rails are quite parallel meaning the board has a wide tail. The tail is wider than the tail on a 78cm wide JP hydrofoil 120. This review will compare the Patrik against the JP quite a lot since I have moved from the JP to the Patrik. I like the limited paint finish but that is partly because it is easy to do invisible repairs on such boards. Weight wise the board is about 0.25kg heavier than the JP so it sits between a JP and a AHD board for weight.

What is noticeable when setting up the board is the wide option of strap positions. On the JP I had the straps in the second from front hole. The same position on the Patrik relates to the 2nd from the back option. So the straps can be placed quite far forward on the board making it suitable to take both full race foils with their long fuselages and forward wing position as well as high lift foils such as the starboard super cruiser foil. Such foils quickly provide a lot of lift and the possible forward strap positions will help to tame forceful foils. While boards such as the AHD range also have their straps further forward they do not have the length of adjustment provided by the Patrik. On most boards the amount of adjustment to the footstrap positions is 4cm, on the Patrik it is 10cm which gives you a lot more tuning scope.

The rails are flat sided like a racing foil board which allows Patrik to get the volume into a small package. 

The board is supplied with foil bolts but I replaced the rear bolt for one 5mm longer just to make sure I was getting full contact with the foil. This will depend on what foil you are putting in the board but be prepared to get a longer bolt if necessary. 

On the water – The foil glide feels true to its 125 litres and offers plenty of support for uphauling; you can even put your front foot in front of the mast foot when pulling the sail up. When chugging along waiting to fly the nose can submarine a bit as you would expect for a 2 meter board but it is easy to correct and only happens due to a lack of concentration. 

Getting flying – The board responds best if you bare off the wind when pumping to fly. This is fairly standard technique as boards get shorter. The board takes to the air without much effort. There is plenty of width and volume in the tail allowing you to move back quickly and start pressuring the foil. When it is windy you don’t need to pump you can just drive the board off a piece of chop. I have used the board with an AFS W95 with R810 and R660 wings. The board matches the high aspect race wings but I can’t see why it would not also be a great board with a moderate or low aspect foil. 

In flight – The board is comfortable in flight. With 6.5 and 7.0 sails I tend to sail it in both straps  but it is still comfortable flying with your back foot more central on the board and out of the back strap. That is how I tend to fly with smaller sails and especially if I have too much sail power. I have had one session where I found myself way overpowered with a 4.7 in 25 to 30 kts. The board was easy to control and I would fly it hard upwind and then ride the small waves with the sail half sheeted out back to my start point and repeat. However you want to fly it, the foil ride is accommodating and comfortable. 

Gybeing – Gybing as expected is straightforward, it is easy to adjust the flight height throughout the gybe.  Even with the rear foot straps set inboard there is a large open working deck area so the boards can easily accommodate clumsy feet and it gives the space required if your back foot has to quickly move back to ensure a touch free gybe exit.  Tacking is easy enough despite the relatively short length.

Overall – The Foil Ride is a very easy to use dedicated  foil board it suits a wide range of riding styles and can handle a wide range of sail sizes. The board is also at home in a wide range of wind speeds, capable of taking flight in less than 8 kts and not out of place in 30kt winds and that is with the same foil! Highly recommended.

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Severne Overdrive M3

Severne Overdrive M3 for foiling

First impressions – I have used the over drives on and off for many years on slalom boards and always found them to be a fast and pleasant to handle sail. When I first started foiling I was using overdrives but in my quest to conquer the flying gybe I changed to the Severne Turbo range of sails. Now that flying round gybes is no longer a consideration I thought it time to revisit my old friend the overdrive.

The overdrive is a 7 batten sail with 3 cams and a moderately wide mast sleeve.  The mast sleeve is not as wide as that on full on slalom style sails but it is considerably wider than that found on most brands 2 cam sails. As you would expect from Severne the sails are reasonably light. The sails have all the refinements of a race sail such as adjustable outhaul compatible clew fittings, neoprene boom opening cover and quad tack pulleys on the larger sails which make downhauuling a breeze. 

A notable point about the overdrives is that they can be used with either sdm or rdm masts by simply swapping the cams over. When I first did it I expected a lot of messing around with cam spacers but no, a straight swap of the cams and they worked great. I tend to use the sails from 7.0 downwards with rdm masts and the bigger sails I stick with sdm masts for best performance. 

On the water – When rigging the sails for foiling you can rig them with about 2cm less downhaul than you would if you were using them on a slalom board. They will still rotate well and they will have a tighter and more responsive to pumping leech. Talking of downhaul – on some of the sails the printed dimensions can be out a bit so even for a normal fin sailing set you might rig the sail with 2cm less than it says and for foiling it may be as much as 4cm less than the dimensions printed on the sail. The downhaul is quite critical to the wind range of the sail. Take the 7.8 for example  rigged in foiling mode the sail will get you flying early and have the range of a good 7.5m sail. If you rig it to its slalom setting then it has the wind range of a good 7.0m sail, it will take more wind to get you going but you can then hang onto it into some seriously windy conditions. 

Rigged for foiling
Rigged for high winds

Before you uphaul it is worth mentioning that water seldom gets into the large sleeve so it is rarely any problem to uphaul the sail. Getting flying is directly linked to what I said about the downhaul setting. Rigged for foiling the leech will have a useful spring to it letting you pump up onto the foil easily. 

In flight the Overdrive  pulls steadily and aids stable flight. How the sail reacts to gusts will depend on how much downhaul you have on. When set with minimum downhaul the sail will accelerate forward without issue or drama. As the wind increases the pressure builds and you have to either sink into your harness to keep the board down for top speeds or alternatively back off a touch for a relaxed ride. If you have the sail set near the printed dimensions it will shrug off most gusts as if they were not there. In severe overpowering gusts if you have a lot of downhaul on the sail so that it has a very soft leech the sail can get a bit noisy if you have to fly half sheeted out but in such circumstances you really should be on a much smaller sail. 

The semi wide mast sleeve will see you cruising through holes in the wind which would see narrower sleeved sails coming off the foil. It is a combination of the wider sleeve plus a finer entry into the draft of the sail which increases the sail’s efficiency. The less blunt leading edge also increase the angle you can sail into the wind.

Gybing is straight forward and if the sail is rigged on a rdm mast the maneuverability is enhanced. For a 3 cam sail the Overdrive has few competitors for ease of rotation.

Comparisons – Compared to the Severne Turbo the overdrive has a bit more “slippy through the air” feeling. The Overdrive has a higher top end but maybe not as good a low end as the Turbo. I would certainly recommend a turbo as your first foiling sail but I would not do the same with the Overdrive. The Overdrive suits sailors who have been foiling for a while and looking for the next step towards faster foiling. Compared to full race and foil race sails the Overdrive is lighter and more maneuverable but ultimately not quite as efficient but you would have to be very good on the foil to notice. Compared to foil specific sails like the Pryde V8 flight the Overdives are easier in gusty conditions, you would easily be able to hold onto a Overdrive in winds that would see you changing down many foil sails.

Overall – I would certainly recommend the Overdrive to anyone just wanting to go quick on a foil. By “quick” I mean relative to the windspeed. The sails ability to cruise through holes in the wind is impressive and while some people may be put off by the size of the mast sleeve and the mention of camber inducers the overdrive feels light and easy. 

 Severne overdrive
Severne Overdrive
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Severne Turbo for windfoiling

Severne Turbo Sails for foiling

Introduction – The Turbo GT is Severne’s 2 cam freerace range and is a popular sail for powering fast freeride boards. It lacks the down force to pin down a dedicated slalom board but more than makes up for this by it’s easy nature. The Turbos sit between the no cam ncx which despite not having any camber inducers actually feels more slalom like than the turbo and the NCX can provide the necessary mast foot pressure to make sure a slalom board behaves itself. On the other side of the Turbo is the Overdrive which is a dedicated blasting sail. It has a wider sleeve, more battens and more cams than the turbo but most importantly it has a much more open leech. To compare the sails the size up in the Overdrive has a similar wind range to that of the Turbo for example a 7.8 Overdrive you can use in the same wind as a 7.0 Turbo.

 

I can’t really start with “first impressions” like I normally do with other bits of kit since I have been using Turbos for a number of years now.  So I will simply describe the sails. The Turbos are a bit different compared with most other twin cam sails in that both cams are below the boom. Other sails such as the NP V8 and simmer all have a cam above and below the boom. The result is that the Turbos are probably one of the easiest rotating sails on the market, What is more is that the rotation remains constant across a wide range of downhaul settings this allows you to rig the sails with less downhaul allowing for a tighter leech but maintaining good rotation. This is one of the key factors that makes the Turbos such nice sails to foil with. Up until 2021 the sails from 6.5 downwards had only one cam and 5 battens but the new sails maintain the 6 batten 2 cam layout across all sizes. Other notable points about the sails is that the sails can be rigged on rdm or sdm masts. The 7.0 upwards are supplied with SDM cams and the small sails are supplied with rdm cams. Either type of cam can be purchased as an optional extra and they are easy to change. The cams sit on spacers so fine tuning is straight forward. The sails come with additional spacers although I have to say over the ten or so sails I have used I have not once felt the need to alter the settings of the cams despite using the sails on Maverx masts. Talking of masts the 7.0 is about the biggest sail you can rig on a 430 and likewise the 8.6 actually works better on a 460 than the 490 that is recommended. At this stage I should say that the luff dimensions are often stated. I often find myself rigging the sails with 2 to 4cm less extension than it says on the sails.  I tend to look at the mast sleeve as I downhaul the sail. I downhaul until the batten above the boom is just starting to flatten at the mast sleeve. The booms are also relatively compact. While it might be tempting to reduce the outhaul to gain more power I think it is best to keep some outhaul on the sail to maintain a slightly more efficient profile. 

On the water – Before you get the sails on the water you may well notice that these sails are light for their size. In use the sails respond well to pumping. There is no need to try to do big pumps, smaller higher frequency pumps tend to work better. The head of the sail should have some spring in it and you want to use that to build momentum in the sail. The result is that you should be able to get flying in a bit less wind than you would with a looser leeched sail. In flight the Turbo will provide a steady power source, feeling light in the hands.  When flying through holes in the wind the sail holds its shape and maintains drive. This is where camber inducers have an edge over rotational sails by maintaining drive as the wind pressure drops.  In over powered situations the sails can spill power quite easily by sheeting out just a few degrees. When gybing the sails rotate easily and normally do not require any additional pumps of the sail to get the battens to rotate and as such the turbos help maintain flight as you exit the gybe. 

Conclusion – It is as if the Turbos really were designed for real world foiling. They might not fly quite as early as some of the dedicated freeride foil sails but what you get in return is a sail that will cover a wider wind range. The sails are best suited to freeride/freerace style foils boards and will suit foils with low to high aspect wings.

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Witchcraft Karma vs Slayer sails

Witchcraft Karma vs Slayer sails

This is not really a review of the sails, having a hand in designing the sails that would be a bit self serving, but with two ranges of wave sails people can often wonder which one they should buy and in this blog I will attempt to explain the differences. 

Which range? Like with the Witchcraft boards you are best to look at the conditions each sail is aimed at. With a brand like Witchcraft this is easier to do this than with some of the big international brands who will design some of their products on Maui but the intended use is on a lake in Germany. 

The Slayer is designed for the North Shore of Fuerteventura especially in the winter. That will mean nothing to you unless you have sailed there but it is easy to sum up the average conditions – big waves, rocky launches and moderate winds. So with that in mind, how does the Slayer meet those specific demands. Firstly  The Slayer has optimized sizing which means in the small sizes the sails are designed for optimum control while the larger sizes get progressively more powerful. The 5.8 is getting quite specialised as its design brief is to get you onto the waves in the lightest winds. But once on the wave it still has to be able to go neutral at high speeds on big waves –  The Slayer has the drive to keep your board secure during the bottom turn and then the short boom to help open the sail up in the top turn. The sails have large tuning ranges so that you can tune the sail to the way you want to ride. But there is no point having all the performance in the world if the sail is only going to last a couple of months so the slayers are made to take high pressure loads associated with large waves landing on them. So in summary the Slayer is optimized towards front side wave riding.

The Karma is designed more for the summer winds of the Canaries which tend to be stronger and often cross on rather than cross off. The Karma was made with spots like Pozo and El Medano in mind. In other words the Karma is designed for sailing when your main power source is the wind whether that is 10 or 50 kts. With the Karma you have an extra batten  which adds a bit more structure to the sail with the aim being that the sail at one setting will cope with well powered up conditions when one minute you might be jumping and then a minute later you are riding clew first. 

While this blog is about comparing the two sail ranges against each other I should say that compared to most other sail brands the Witchcraft sails are capable of getting you planing earlier. On the witchcraft website on the sail specifications it states what size sails the witchcraft sails are equivalent to. So a 5.2 slayer may well get you going at the same time as a 5.5 for other brands. Due to that optimized sizing the differences are biggest on the larger sails. Many people say “I don’t want a powerful sail for wave riding” but they are looking at it the wrong way. You can generally use a smaller Witchcraft sail than other brand sails. 

Which sails to choose? Personal preference has a big influence in which range to go for, so maybe the best way to look at it is to consider the conditions you tend to sail in.

Ground swell home spot – If you are lucky enough to live on a Island stuck in the middle of the Atlantic be it Fuerteventura or Tiree and you have the opportunity to nearly always pick a cross shore break and your preference is riding over jumping then the Slayer is the logical choice but having said that the Karma is more than capable in all wave situations.

If like a lot of people you tend to sail in a wide variety of conditions from “cross off down the line” to “bump and jump”  and you are happy to take any air time on offer then the choice of which range to go for is not clear cut. This situation would apply  to my own sailing and I go for Karmas in the larger sizes and Slayers in the small sizes. So I have a 4.2 and 4.7 Slayer and then 5.3, 5.9 and 6.5 Karmas. I find this works well for me. I would be equally happy if my middle sail was a 5.2 Salyer. I also have a 3.7 and it is a Karma as I am looking for maximum control and range in that sail size.

If most of your sailing is blasting over chop, taking what air you can then the Karma will suit you the best as it tends to have a bit wider wind range without having to retune the sail. 

The Witchcraft sails have also proved popular for wind foiling and both the Karma and Slayer ranges are equally good and indeed offer an easier flying experience than some of the dedicated foil sails!

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JP Freefoil vs Hydrofoil boards

With JP having two ranges of dedicated wind foil boards some people may wonder which to range to go for. The 130 freefoil has a similar width and length to the 120 Hydrofoil and the 115 freefoil has the same length and width as the now discontinued hydrofoil 105. This comparison is drawn on the 105 hydrofoil vs the 115 freefoil.

First impressions- While the boards have similar widths and lengths the outlines are quite different with the hydrofoil boards having much wider tails and the volume placement further aft to match. Like for like the freefoil boards are a bit heavier due to the additional foil tracks. The deck shape on the freefoil is an average domed shape and lacks the concave around the mast foot as seen on the hydrofoil boards. The hydrofoil boards feature bevels on the underside to prevent sticking on touch down while the freefoil utilises rail shape to do the same job. The freefoil has more footstrap positions and includes the option of a single back strap. The mast track is further back on the freefoil boards. 

On the water – Straight away you notice the difference in the volume distribution between the two boards. The hydrofoil has all the volume at the back of the board and on the small 105 version it is a brave person who risks putting a foot in front of the mast foot. On the freefoil the volume is much more centered and the board is easier to uphaul and a conventional uphaul stance can be used. 

Getting flying – I am used to using dedicated foil boards so I naturally move back on the boards and get my front foot in the strap and then slide my back foot back as I pump. This technique works well on the hydrofoil but if I move back too early on the freefoil it tends to drag its tail a bit. This would be less of an issue for lighter riders (I am 95kg). This is where a lower aspect early lifting foil would also help. Don’t get me wrong the freefoil will fly early but not quite as early as the hydrofoil boards. Both boards are capable performers on the hydrofoil in a given wind you might use a 6.0 and a high aspect foil while in the same wind a 5.5 sail and lower aspect foil would probably be ideal. 

In flight – Both boards ranges provide comfortable flights. On the freefoil you are standing closer to the rig than on the hydrofoil. You can therefore distance yourself from the rig a bit easier on the hydrofoil and therefore take more rig power, so on the freefoil you may change down sails a bit earlier. The single back strap option of the freefoil board appealed to me but in the end I preferred the double back straps. 

Gybeing – While both ranges gybe well I actually preferred the hydrofoil boards for gybeing for two reasons, firstly the wider tail area gives you more working deck space to stumble about on mid gybe and secondly the additional foil tracks do add extra weight that at times I could feel pulling the board down  mid gybe

Overall – There is no better or worse board here, both boards do what they claim. If you want to go fast on a foil then the hydrofoil boards have a definite edge. But for versatility the freefoil boards can take a wider range of foils and also offer the option of using a wing rather than a sail although you would need an additional foil to be able to do both sports. 

Which is easier as a first foil board? If you are coming from a wave sailing background then you will feel more at home on the freefoil but if you are used to freerace or slalom boards then the hydrofoil would probably suit you best. 

JP Australia
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JP Hydrofoil Boards

JP Hydrofoil Boards

This is a comparative review of the  2019/20 105, 2021 120 and the  2020 135

105 Pro –  I love this board, I tend to sail it like a wave board with my back foot out of the straps and central. The board feel small and nimble and with its light weight it is a joy to gybe or ride small swells.  For me at 95kg I did need a slight breeze to keep the 105 going, in becalmed conditions it can become a balancing act due to the lack of volume in the nose but all it takes is a 5 mph breeze and a bit of forward movement and the board can chug around and you tend to forget it isn’t a big board. The board is uphaulable as long as there is at least 5 kts of wind (to balance with) and the sail is smaller than 6.0. Due to its lightweight (aprox 6.5 kg) it is quick to fly and once flying will keep going through lulls. I tend to use this board if the wind is 15+ kts. While I can uphaul it I prefer to waterstart it.  I have used the board in a good 30 kts and it keeps its manners well. On touchdowns it will normally bounce back up but in heavy chop and due to the 204cm length it can burry its nose. But there is something reasuring when you see the front of the board about 2’ underwater as you know the nose won’t be hit by the mast. I think once you get to boards around the 2m length that the mast hits the water before the nose so I have never damaged its nose (touch wood) despite crashing around in high winds.  Sail sizes – up to 6.5

120 LXT – A great size of board, big enough to take a 7.0 and be usable in light winds but small enough to be nimble and agile and like the 105 it gybes very well with height corrections mid gybe easy and responsive. You can sail it in a sporty outboard strap fashion or in a more upright relaxed manner. It is still quite short so not the easiest to tack. Sail sizes 4.5 – 7.0

135 Pro – A very nice early flying board that is happy to take big sails. It gybes well and responds to height corrections providing a high success rate for flying out of gybes. It will take a 8.5 (when in the outboard straps) but the board’s sweet spot tends to be a 7.5. Sail sizes 5.5 – 8.5. 

General – The Hydrofoil range has a number of common traits. These top end construction boards are light and well finished. JP tends to have the front straps a bit further back than other brands such as AHD, Severne etc this makes the boards feel more eager to fly. This can be a positive or negative thing depending on your preference. It also makes them a bit more sensitive to what foil you use. At first having used the AHD Thunderbolt I found the JP 135 felt quite lively and less longitudinally stable but over time I got used to it and appreciated the lively ride. 

With the boards getting lighter as they get smaller the take off conditions are not as straightforward as they may seem. For example I can get the 105 flying with a 5.8 in the same wind speed as I could with the 135 and a 7.0. I would use the 105 with a 5.8 in the same wind as the 135 with a 6.5. The wider the board the further away from the rig you stand which allows you to hold down more power. The 120 sits in between the other two boards as you would expect. 

So who are the boards for? The 105 would suit a competent foiler for stronger wind foiling but it is also an easy board to float around on so it could be someone under 80kg 1st foil board. The 120 would suit most people and for sails up to 7.0. The 135 could be a first foil board for just about anyone but also for someone wanting to go faster. All the boards can be sailed in an upright relaxed fashion or pushed a bit more from the outboard straps. All the boards are comfortable slogging about off the foil. 

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AHD Thunderbolt 85

AHD Thunderbolt 85

First impressions – The AHD thunderbolt range has been in production for a couple of years now and remains unchanged for 2021. AHD have a long history with foiling having been making foils and foil specific boards since as far back as 2009.

The boards have simple blue graphics and feature an unusual deep concave towards the rear of the deck. While it looks a bit strange you soon get used to it and the deck offers a large amount of “working space”. The front straps can be placed further forward than on some other brands of foil boards. 

The outline of the board has quite parallel rails and a squarish nose. The moderate length of 226cm gives easy glide to get flying or for when slogging about waiting to fly.  Underneath the board are some simple cutouts and a bevel to the front half of the board.

The construction is a full carbon sandwich which makes the price of £1369 very attractive however the boards are a little bit heavier than some other full carbon boards. 

On the water – The thunderbolt is very stable when stationary and easy and relaxing if you find yourself floating around waiting for a gust to get you flying. The deck is comfortable and the unusual deck contours around the foil box gives you good feedback as to where your back foot is without you having to look down. The board is 145 ltrs and it will support nearly all riders and allows easy tacking. 

Getting flying – The board offers a stable platform from which to pump the sail and get up to take off speed. I think the Thunderbolt will suit just about any deep tuttle wind foil be it a high aspect sporty foil or a high lift low aspect foil.

In flight –  This is the Thunderbolts “strong point”, with the straps a bit further apart compared with some other boards and the front straps again further forward the Thunderbolt provides an incredibly stable platform and flies level with ease taking gusts and wind variations in its stride. Inevitable touch downs are shrugged off without issue. 

Sail range? The board will take a 8.5 but you have to be in the outboard straps to be comfortable with a sail that big on long reaches. 8.0 or 7.5 are noticeably more comfortable. The board will keep its composure with sails as small as 5.0. In fact it’s top end like quite a few other foil boards is dictated by whether you can carry the board to the water’s edge. While it might sound easy, these are big boards and if you let a strong wind hit it at the wrong angle it will see you banging your foil off the ground before you know it. 

Gybeing – With plenty of deck space you have plenty of “balance room” while changing feet. Should the worst happen and you over foil mid gybe and everything comes crashing down there is enough deck space to make the experience survivable. It is a big board so the gybes tendy to be steady as opposed to nimble. 

Overall –  A very easy board to get on with and with performance to satisfy freerace fans while having the manners to encourage people new to foiling.

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Neil Pryde V8 Flight review

Neil Pryde V8 flight sails

First Impressions

These are stunning looking sails and they are also light in weight. They rig with a lot of downhaul tension and the sails have a lot of skin tension. I need to say at this point that I used the sails on Maverx Elemento SDM masts. I have rigged many Neil Pryde sails over the years on these masts and the sails have always rigged well and worked well. 

There are rigging indicators on one of the upper panels and it advises you to down haul the sail until the looseness on the leech lies somewhere in between the two stickers. This area of the sail is dark blue and it is not that easy to judge whether you have enough downhaul or not. The leech does go soft but there is not a lot of twist in the leech and the head batten remains firm. I used the sails with varying downhaul settings and I used both the inboard and outboard clew eyelets. I probably used the inboard setting the most. 

On the water

I think the 8.0m may have got me flying in the lowest wind speeds I have ever taken off in. I am 95 kg and used the sails on a JP Hydrofoil Slalom with a AFS W105 foil with R1000 wings. I think (it is obviously a bit subjective) that I could get flying in around 6 kts of wind on flat water and once flying I could keep flying down to about 5 kts or even fractionaly less with a bit of help with pumping the sail at times.  Once up and flying the sails feel efficient and slippy through the air. The sails are not super deep and they do not pull like a tractor they therefore suit efficient high aspect foils best.  As the wind increases to the point where you want to exhaust some power the sails will do it but not in a relaxed fashion. I am not sure if this is due to the higher aspect ratio or the leech twist profile but probably a combination of the two. 

Gybing – the sails rotate easily enough with the battens going round in an undramatic fashion. The cams did stick a bit giving a slight S shape to the mast sleeve and requiring a second pump of the sail to correct. I won’t be over critical of this as maybe the NP mast is a mm narrower and that would be all it would take to maybe fix the problem. Of note is the fact that many other sail brands use cam systems where you can fine tune the cam pressure by using a series of cam spacers but with NP this is not an option.

Comparative sail size? NP claim the sail can be used about a meter smaller than their other sails. But is this a general term or aimed towards foiling as you could say that for any sail used on a foil rather than a fin. While the 8m did get me flying very early so yes maybe they will fly you at the same time as another cammed sails 0.5m bigger. In other words the 8.0 = a 8.5 from another range but I would not say the 7.0 = a 7.5 from other brands/ranges. 

Conclusion

I would sum up the V8 Flights as being very efficient within their wind range. While you can hang onto the sails in a strong blow they do become increasingly uncomfortable once outside their wind range. They would be a great sail on Maui or the Caribbean where the wind can be super consistent but I feel they don’t best suit a squally Scottish winter.