While 2017 has had its fair share of full power windsurfing days there have been plenty of lighter air periods that normally I wouldn’t even sniff at. Previously breeze strengths in the low teens would have seen me paddling SUP. Having been passed AHD’s AFS-1 hydro foil and dedicated AHD Shark wind foiling board at the tail end of 2016 the arrival of New Year signalled getting on the foil horse proper and learning this new skill.
At first, as with any new learning process, things were tricky and dare I say frustrating. Having reached a level with conventional windsurfing going back to the drawing board was a chore. But perseverance is key and before long I was recording decent flight times.
Following Windsurfing UK Magazine’s initial test of AHD’s Shark I swapped that particular board for the more versatile, and dare I say more user friendly, strapless AHD Sealion Wings 7’6″. Being a wind foil board, SUP foil sled, wave windSUP machine and surf SUP shredder gave access to four sports in one (stay tuned for a SUP foiling update coming soon). It’s been, however, the windsurf foiling element that kept my interest throughout the majority of summer 2017, mainly to do with conditions we’ve had.
Fast forward to now and the last few months have seen me using a variety of different foiling equipment from various brands. Sticking with the AHD theme though and the brand’s SL2 foil ready performance board and AFS-2 performance foil has seen my flight progression come on leaps and bounds. A world away from the AFS-1 and Shark/Sealion Wings combo the current set up from AHD, which I’m testing for Windsurfing UK Magazine, is an entirely different beast. Stay tuned for the test report on this, and a bunch of other foiling equipment, to be published in WSUK. In the meantime check out the pics and vids below which snapshot my windsurf foiling progression from the past 12 months.
To start with I was on a Witchcraft 5.3m Karma in around 10 knots. But with consistency between gusts not being there I switched up sail size to a 6m which proved to be a better call.
This one was from a slightly windier day where I was more powered up on a 6m, 12-15 knots.
This is AHD’s SL2 and AFS-2 foil combo: a much more performance orientated set up. In this vid it’s blowing around 15 knots and I’m pretty comfortable on a Flight Sails Zorro 5.2m.
The pics below are in order, starting with AHD’s Shark and AFS-1 combo, moving to the Sealion Wings and AFS-1 set up before finally hitting up the SL2 and AFS-2 foil. You can clearly see the progression I think…
The below is an example of over foiling where too much lift is generated. The AFS-1 foil is super early to fly and generates a lot of low end power. Controlling it is key, which I’m not doing here. As such you and kit drop violently as all power is gone when over foiling…
Gybing this set up is slightly easier that with the Sealion Wings and AFS-1 set up.
And we’re now into the realms of jumping!
But it just doesn’t stop there! Due to foiling being such a new skill there’s plenty to learn. Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime you may want to check out these articles on Windsurfing UK which are a light hearted look at windsurf foiling in general –
Thanks to Jon Popkiss at Kai Sports for supplying the AHD/AFS foiling equipment, Bouke and John at Witchcraft for the Karma sail and Bjorn at Flight Sails for the Zorro.