The ice floes are now away from the Gooimeer and the lesson and testing material for Windfoilen Netherlands drips in. Time to get a first impression of 2 interesting wind foils. The Fanatic Flow Foil H9 and the Starboard Freeride Aluminium. I am used to the Starboard GT Carbon (is not an easy wind foil, but very fast), so that’s my benchmark for the first impression. I’ve sailed all the foils on one and the same board for a fair comparison. Testing various boards will come later.
Fanatic Flow Foil H9 wind foil
Price € 849,- | Mast length 90 cm | Fuselage length 75 cm | Frontwing 744 m2 | Back wing 255 m2 | Material alum mast and carbon compound wings and fuselage
What is striking is that the mast is at an angle of about 15 degrees forward. This means that the front wing is further forward on the board. You can clearly see that during wind foiling. More on that later. The wings have a relatively small area. Although the mast is of alumiumium, the wind foil is quite a lot lighter than the Starboard Carbon GT (there is the mast of Carbon). The wind foil feels less sturdy and stiff than the Starboard Freeride Alu.
On the water with the Fanatic Flow H9 Foil
The Fanatic wind foil lets me foil quickly. I just need a few knots more wind than the Starboard GT Carbon. This is despite the relatively small surface of the wings. This is most likely due to the fact that the mast is standing forward. The wind foil therefore gives quite a lot of lift and with a bit more wind I also have to put more pressure on my front foot compared to Starboard GT Carbon. That is positive because if the wind drops away for a while, then the wind foil will continue to give longer lift. With more wind you get the feeling of ‘out of control’.
During wind foiling, my windfoil set is more nervous than I’m used to. Emotionally, I need to stay more in class. Both the before/behind balance and the windward/lee balance. As a result, the Windfoil Fanatic feels less ‘solid’ than the Starboard GT Carbon. Feels like you have less ‘support base’. Maybe this is because of the relatively small wings (I recognize this feeling when I put a set of smaller wings on the Starboard GT carbon). You also feel that the wind foil is less rigid, which affects stability in a negative sense.
Jibes are easier than the Starboard Carbon. You stay in the air more easily during the jibe. Also certainly the result of the fact that the wings are further forward. The impression I had of the speed was fine. I didn’t have an immediate comparison, but the feeling was good.
I hope it’s exemplary, because the mast whistles hugely. Really not to hear. It is clearly in the mast, because when I came out of the water as high as possible, the whistling was gone. I’m going to investigate this even further. An update follows!
This wind foil is about 60% cheaper than my own wind foil. However, the first impression is good. He’s more than worth his money. What I regret is that the wind foil is a bit more nervous and therefore requires more concentration than the Starboard (which is not an easy wind foil). This makes it an extra challenge for novice wind foilers to learn to wind foil. And the cruising freerider won’t appeal to this either. A set of larger wings for the Fanantic wind foil would certainly make this wind foil more accessible. This wind foil is suitable for the more technically oriented windsurfer who would like to be challenged. I see this wind foil more as a good low budget race foil than a beginners and/or freeride wind foil.
Starboard Freeride Aluminium
Price € 1199,- | Mast length 75 cm | Fuselage length 75 cm | Frontwing 1100 m2 | Back wing 500 m2 | Material alum mast and fuselage, wings are carbon
Starboard has opted for a relatively short but wide mast. The rest of the parts are exactly the same as of the carbon versions. The whole feels solid. Also the weight. This wind foil is relatively heavy. The wings have a particularly large surface a lot larger than on the Carbon GT.
On the water with the Starboard Freeride Aluminium
The large surface ensures that you get too fast to air. Faster than the Carbon GT. With a little bit of momentum you can clearly feel the upward pressure. As a result, the ‘take-off’ almost goes by itself. Clearly easier than with the Fanatic and also easier than the Starboard Carbon GT. After take-off, this wind foil stabilizes very nicely. I was initially worried that the large surface would also cause the wind foil to continue to take off with more wind. That wasn’t so bad. Stronger. With the carbon gt, this wind foil remains very stable with very imaginable and quiet behaviour, both the front/back balance and the windward/lee balance. Clearly quieter and therefore much easier than the Carbon GT.
The construction also feels very stiff on the water. During this session I didn’t feel that the mast is less rigid than the Carbon mast. But good this mast is 10 cm shorter. The speed is very good. Again, the control seems better. The speed Carbon GT can feel rather uncontrolled for novice wind foilers. I didn’t have that with this.
Jibes also went easier with this wind foil than with the Carbon GT, but to stay in the air during the jibes is more difficult than with the WindFoil Fanatic. Clearly an advantage of the wings that are further forward at the Fanatic.
Water in the mast
During the rigging and disassembling of the wind foil I noticed that there was water in the mast. This water does run out, but of course it does provide extra weight and perhaps corrosion in the mast. Maybe this is exemplary, too. I’m going to investigate this even further. An update follows!
In terms of price, this wind foil is considerably more expensive than the Fanatic. Both wind foils are fast and let you fly fast. What makes this wind foil particularly good is its stability. This allows you to relax much more relaxed than with the wind foil of Fanatic or the Starboard GT Carbon. This makes this wind foil more suitable for learning wind foils and the freeride-oriented windsurfer will also appreciate this wind foil more than the Fanatic.