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Armstrong Foil 100cm mast with HS1050, HS625, CF800 Wings

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Created by djdojo 1 month ago, 1 Nov 2020
djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
1 Nov 2020 11:24PM
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Style: Freeride strapless kitefoiling
Conditions: 14 - 35 knots
Kites: BRM Clouds 6.2 - 2.2
Board: Homemade pocketboard
Level: Advanced
Disclosure: I bought it from Stonker - no affiliation

I've had this rig for several months now but between winter's inconsistency and Covid restrictions it's taken till now for me to feel I've got enough hours in to write an adequate report. I've performed various modifications in this time and will try to give enough information without it getting ridiculously long.

Summary: if you want a foil with lots of wing and tuning options and you're a carving, wave-riding freerider, buy an Armstrong.

The rig: 100cm mast, 60cm fuse, 232-212 stab, HS1050, HS625 and CF800 front wings.

I bought this rig hoping the 625 would give me the speed I've enjoyed for years on my Zeeko Carbon foil with 700cm Carver wing, but with more stability in rough water, and that the 1050 would give me the surfability of my Lift 150 but with more speed and glide. These goals have now been met and significantly surpassed. I added the 800 later when it came up second hand at a nice price.

Mast: 100cm, actually 103.5 from top of pedestal to bottom of mast. I ride in very choppy water and often in lots of wind so this length is perfect for me. For beginners or those who are predominantly in flattish water the 85 will probably be a better fit.
It's nice and stiff. Trailing edge was a bit rounded for my liking (a safety feature for a surf-oriented company) so I thinned it down a bit sharper, and gave it and all other components a wetsand with 800 and then 1200 grit wet and dry. Surface finish definitely makes a difference to speed and susceptibility to ventilation. This mast inspires confidence.

Fuselage: 60cm a good all round length. Hoping to try a 50cm soon too.

Tail: Started at 232 with +1 degree shim and felt way overstabilized for my liking. First experiment was a plastic spacer under the rear screw to add about an extra +2 degrees. Much less drag, and significantly more looseness, which I liked, but still too stiff on the yaw. Next step was to cut it down to 212 and finish the tips nice and fine. With a thinner spacer (about +1 in addition to the +1 shim) I now have the combination of yaw looseness, minimum drag, and pitch responsiveness that I like. Based on other people's foils of other brands that I've ridden, my Armstrong setup is looser than what most people ride. Beginners should start with 0 degree shim and 232, intermediates with +1 shim, and tweak it from there as you get more advanced.

HS1050: The biggest wing I've ever ridden and the biggest I can imagine needing at 80kg. This thing has massive lift and is still capable of going pretty fast (I'm not a gadget guy, I don't know exactly how fast). It smashes upwind, holding high angles even when underpowered. High upwind vmg means more time to ride swell back downwind. This wing has great ability to extract energy from swell. It rolls from rail to rail very smoothly and its popularity with prone and tow surfers is very understandable. It's not as loose as the smaller wings but can still be cajoled through 360s easily enough. I love this wing from 14-22 knots with kites from 6.2-3.5m. More wind than that and I'm ready for something smaller.

CF800: This is fatter than the 1050, a fraction less lift, but still plenty of low end, and a fraction faster at the top end. This wing is the loosest of the three and I suspect this is because the more swept planshape puts its surface area back closer to the mast. I also find myself standing about an inch and a half further back on this wing compared to the other two. With a given tail setup it is more pitch-sensitive than the other two. It rolls from rail to rail with less foot pressure than the 1050. These factors make it more playful for tricks like carving 360s and general hooning. I love it when there's 16-24 knots and some flat water behind the break wall to blast around in. It can ride waves no problem, and if the swell is cleanish, it's a blast, but when its getting wild and messy it becomes too loose unless I remove the shim spacer, but why do that when I can change to the 625.

HS625: I didn't like this wing at first, and yet, yesterday, I had the BEST session I've had in twelve years of kiting on this wing.
Out of the box this wing was both slower than I'd expected, and had some quirks when initiating tight turns and when heading upwind when well powered up. It felt like it was catching and pulling sideways and I couldn't trust it the way I wanted to in gnarly conditions. So, I cut the winglets off, thinned out the tips, and thinned the trailing edge down from the underside.
It is now a totally different animal. This thing can hold a tonne of speed in gnarly chop. Yesterday was a solid 25-30 knots with as big a swell as I've seen in Port Phillip bay. On my 2.8m kite this little wing motored upwind, had plenty of lift to ride the swell back down with very little pull from the kite, and would hold and hold and hold as I went for faster and harder turns and dropped down some pretty steep faces. The lift is totally controllable even at ridiculous speeds and it handled the G-forces I was getting yesterday with precision and poise. All of my trust-issues are now resolved. From 20 knots and up, with kites from 3.5-2.2m this is my weapon of choice and it can handle as much as I've been able to ask of it.
(I spent a lot of my teens and early twenties tuning windsurfing racing fins so I'm pretty comfortable taking the tools to a foil shape. Even if you don't feel comfortable reshaping the trailing edge, the chopping of the winglets is a pretty simple affair and for me there have only been upsides to this.)

Between these wings I now have all of my foiling wants covered. However, the N + 1 rule being what it is, I'm also looking forward to trying the HS850 when it appears. As others have covered, construction is top notch. This gear will last a long time. Hit me up with any questions.

dafish
NSW, 1504 posts
2 Nov 2020 8:15AM
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Excellent review. Always very articulate in your approach, something I have come to appreciate over the years. In the next few months I am stepping up to try a few more foil adventures and perhaps some tow in stuff, but I know that I need to "up" the quiver despite a full garage. I have been pretty happy with the Spitfire for a number of years now, and it might still be my go to, but this review has narrowed my choices considerably. Thanks for taking the time on this review.

KiteHume
NSW, 44 posts
2 Nov 2020 7:58PM
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Thanks great reviews.
I have the hs1050. And just recently got the hs625.
I am extremely happy with 1050. Use from it from 7 knots. Has very low stall speed.
Looking forward to exploring the what the 625 is capable of.


djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
3 Nov 2020 6:19PM
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Select to expand quote
dafish said..
Excellent review. Always very articulate in your approach, something I have come to appreciate over the years. In the next few months I am stepping up to try a few more foil adventures and perhaps some tow in stuff, but I know that I need to "up" the quiver despite a full garage. I have been pretty happy with the Spitfire for a number of years now, and it might still be my go to, but this review has narrowed my choices considerably. Thanks for taking the time on this review.


Hi Marco, my first foil nearly 4 years ago was alloy but as soon as I realised I was hooked (about three sessions in) I went full carbon and one of my criteria for all foils since has been no aluminium components. I don't want to have to disassemble or worry about bolts getting stuck or general corrosion issues. I also want to be able to modify and repair my stuff and this excludes aluminium too.

Another criterion is that any foam core material be closed-cell and therefore not allow water ingress in the event of cracking or impact damage. Believe it or not there are major brands who can't be bothered stumping up for decent foam core materials in their wings. Armstrong use closed cell pvc so no worries on that front.

A third criterion is that I need a metre-long mast. Some of the exclusively surf-sup oriented brands only do shorter masts that are hopeless as soon as waves get bigger or wind chop becomes significant. Armstrong are clearly committed to making gear that can handle the gnar!

Adfreetv
VIC, 114 posts
4 Nov 2020 10:20AM
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I see you got the the 850. Sorry you never got to try mine.
I have since added the HS1050 which I like with the original tail and 0 shim. I have not ridden the 850 since.

I was interested in your recommendation re shims. Should I try the +1 shim again to provide more stability for these flying jibes I am yet to master?

AquaPlow
QLD, 952 posts
5 Nov 2020 6:56AM
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oouh!! How canU inflict that xcellent review with out a picture
Like to see the chop outcome on 625 please..
And maybe a stack profile if u have time..
G8 to hear u are out and about... U had our sympathy re lockdown.
Love my Armstrong kitfor the weight change.. Not sure whether to go smaller or larger with next wing (1200).. So timely review...
Cheers
AP

AquaPlow
QLD, 952 posts
5 Nov 2020 7:19AM
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My stack..
The SS i76 is g8 for slow take off.. Complex shape in comparison.
Cheers
AP



djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
5 Nov 2020 10:23PM
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Select to expand quote
Adfreetv said..
I see you got the the 850. Sorry you never got to try mine.
I have since added the HS1050 which I like with the original tail and 0 shim. I have not ridden the 850 since.

I was interested in your recommendation re shims. Should I try the +1 shim again to provide more stability for these flying jibes I am yet to master?


Hi mate, It's the CF800 I got (and that you have), the 850 will be part of the HS line and is not yet in production.

Your 1050 with the zero shim will be the most stable combo for you. The +1 will reduce drag and reduce stability somewhat. Unless you have the 300 tail in which case you should definitely be on the +1 (nobody needs the stability/drag of the 300 tail on the zero shim).

Is it the foot-switch part of the gybe you're having trouble with, or the carving through 180 degrees? These two parts are separate unless you're using footstraps, a big kite, and trying to gybe like someone on race gear. My suggestions would be to ditch footstraps if you're using them, make sure you're on as small a kite as will get you going and (perhaps counterintuitively) keep the kite low throughout the footswitch. The rationale for this last step is that I see too many beginners still on a big kite flying the kite overhead and using the bar (sheeting in and out) to try to regulate their height, but this means they lose their ability to regulate their speed independently of their height. With a small kite low in the window you are forced to learn the subtleties of weight shifting to regulate your foiling height (which opens up many possibilities down the track), and your kite is then free to regulate your speed.

The relationship between speed of your foil and the amount of lift and balance point of the lift it generates is something you want to pay attention to and learn to balance pretty much unconsciously and by feel through your feet. Once you can do this, foot-switching will be easier, and even better, you won't need so much stabilization from the rear wing and will therefore be able to tune for efficiency and responsiveness rather than stability.

djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
5 Nov 2020 10:39PM
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Here are a couple of shots of the top of the 625 chop. I went a couple mm further out and a bit more square than the dotted line printed on the wing. And yes I went way harder with the wet and dry on this wing than the bigger ones. The smaller the wing, the more critical the details as you're working at higher speeds and higher pressure differentials between top and bottom surfaces (80kg of lift spread over 600cm2 is more pressure than if it's spread over 1050cm2).

I'll get some pics of the underside and the other wings up at some point this weekend. Been pretty busy this week.

One obvious thing when I chopped the 625 and the 232 is the quality of resin saturation of the fibres and the total absence of bubbles and pinholes. Way ahead of the carbon laminate quality of some other brands' wings I've looked at and worked on (with the exception of Zeeko, whose laminates have also been impeccable, in my experience).

Had another ripper of a session on this wing this morning - 25 knots, 2.8m kite and some nice bumps to play on - soooo much fun!




dafish
NSW, 1504 posts
6 Nov 2020 8:06AM
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I just picked up my first Armstrong setup. I decided to start with the HS1250 as I am a few kilos heavier than you. This should cover me through a number of principles, surf foiling, kiting, and winging (still waiting on v2 Wasp). Can't wait to have my first session on it.

djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
7 Nov 2020 3:44PM
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Underside of wings. You can see that the area of the 800 is further back relative to the collar that goes on the fuselage, contributing to its extra responsiveness/reduced stability, depending how you want to think about it, and to standing further back on this wing.

1050 on top, 625 in the middle, 800 on the bottom. Note the flatness of the 1050 (efficient generation of lift), thinness of 625 (speed), and fatness and deep anhedral of the 800 (smoothness through turbulent water).


Adfreetv
VIC, 114 posts
8 Nov 2020 12:04PM
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Select to expand quote
djdojo said..

Adfreetv said..
I see you got the the 850. Sorry you never got to try mine.
I have since added the HS1050 which I like with the original tail and 0 shim. I have not ridden the 850 since.

I was interested in your recommendation re shims. Should I try the +1 shim again to provide more stability for these flying jibes I am yet to master?



Hi mate, It's the CF800 I got (and that you have), the 850 will be part of the HS line and is not yet in production.

Your 1050 with the zero shim will be the most stable combo for you. The +1 will reduce drag and reduce stability somewhat. Unless you have the 300 tail in which case you should definitely be on the +1 (nobody needs the stability/drag of the 300 tail on the zero shim).

Is it the foot-switch part of the gybe you're having trouble with, or the carving through 180 degrees? These two parts are separate unless you're using footstraps, a big kite, and trying to gybe like someone on race gear. My suggestions would be to ditch footstraps if you're using them, make sure you're on as small a kite as will get you going and (perhaps counterintuitively) keep the kite low throughout the footswitch. The rationale for this last step is that I see too many beginners still on a big kite flying the kite overhead and using the bar (sheeting in and out) to try to regulate their height, but this means they lose their ability to regulate their speed independently of their height. With a small kite low in the window you are forced to learn the subtleties of weight shifting to regulate your foiling height (which opens up many possibilities down the track), and your kite is then free to regulate your speed.

The relationship between speed of your foil and the amount of lift and balance point of the lift it generates is something you want to pay attention to and learn to balance pretty much unconsciously and by feel through your feet. Once you can do this, foot-switching will be easier, and even better, you won't need so much stabilization from the rear wing and will therefore be able to tune for efficiency and responsiveness rather than stability.


Yes my bad - I did mean the cf800.
I do have the 300 tail. I did demo the HS1550 with the HS232 tail and the +1 shim and hated it. So you advice makes sense. I will stick with the large tail and 0 shim until I sort out the foot switch.Speaking of which, I have a front foot hook for starting then I move my foot back and are essentially strapless. I can carve on the foil to toe-side and back heal side all day ( which I do in winter because I am lazy and keeps me out of the water). I make probably less than a 3rd of flying foot changes.

I have not tried keeping the kite low and do often sink at the critical point so I will give that a red hot crack. THANKS.

djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
8 Nov 2020 3:09PM
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Yep, kite low, keep your speed up, and aim to have the board just kiss the top of a chop mid foot-switch. Practice on land so that you can get each foot to arrive where the other one was without looking. You want to be looking at the water in the direction you're going, not at the board.

dafish
NSW, 1504 posts
10 Nov 2020 7:50AM
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Had my first run on the HS1250 yesterday in 9 knots with a Peak4 5 meter. Wow, that baby pops up like a mushroom after a warm spring rain! Despite the size of the front wing the setup feels loose enough to carve and make pivot turns with ease. I did find myself burying the nose a fair bit on my gybe transitions going from natural to goofy, but not the other way around. I might have the mast a tad to far back. I will move it a few mm today and see how that does. Next mission is to get a smaller front wing for the windy days! The other aspect of this gear I did not consider much was that the wing floats, so starts are a piece of cake when going strapless. With my old setup I would have to hold on to the rail until the loop was engaged enough to give me traction on the board. Don't have that issue now.
Thanks Brendon for putting this review up, it motivated me to make the change almost over night.

Alysum
NSW, 631 posts
10 Nov 2020 11:04AM
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I would love to hear from someone who's compared the Armstrong wings vs Axis as I am thinking of upgrading one day (currently on 680 and 920 for light winds).

dafish
NSW, 1504 posts
11 Nov 2020 8:24AM
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I have ridden a few Axis combos and their gear works great. If you compare an Axis full carbon set with an Armstrong carbon set then I doubt anyone would be disappointed with either choice. It would then come down to personal preference.
Had my second go on the HS1250 yesterday in 14 knots with a 6 meter Reo. (Could have been on my 4) Still getting used to it but I must say foiling can be so counter intuitive sometimes. I kept burying the nose on my transition gybe footswitch going from natural (my normal stance) to goofy. I moved the mast forward thinking this would resolve the issue. It did not. I then moved it back instead and it helped a great deal. I then moved it to the end of the track on my CarbonCo Nang and it wasn't quite the spot, so I moved it about 15mm from the end and that seems to be the sweetspot for me and that board. Managed a few 360s with the big wing, and did loads of pumping downwind on swells while I let go of the kite. I practiced pumping to catch swells, and just before the kite would hit the water I would get line tension and bring it back to the top of the window to go again. The glide on this wing is pretty spectacular.
I really loved the Zeeko Spitfire, I rode if for a good three years plus and it was a great fit for me, but it was not a wing that is suitable for pumping. It needs the power of the kite, (which a s style of riding I really like), however, its time to move on an work on other disciplines.
Today I will try it out with the +1 shim. I was riding it set at zero.

Adfreetv
VIC, 114 posts
11 Nov 2020 12:27PM
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Select to expand quote
dafish said..

Today I will try it out with the +1 shim. I was riding it set at zero.


I will be interested to hear the thoughts on the +1 shim. Which tail do you use?

dafish
NSW, 1504 posts
11 Nov 2020 3:16PM
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Select to expand quote
Adfreetv said..

dafish said..

Today I will try it out with the +1 shim. I was riding it set at zero.



I will be interested to hear the thoughts on the +1 shim. Which tail do you use?


I tried it today with the shim and I liked it better. It tightened up the yaw and though it took a few runs to feel it out it was an improvement. I had to come in and move the mast forward another 15 mm and then found the sweet spot. Saying that though I was waaaay overpowered today, it was pushing into the 20 knot range and over and not really the right wind for the wing. I can't wait til the 850 is ready but I might get the next size down meanwhile. Rear wing is the standard 232.

djdojo
VIC, 1576 posts
21 Nov 2020 1:14PM
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HS1050 and CF800 update.

Yesterday I went out to experiment more scientifically than I had in the past with tail shim angles on the CF800. This yielded updated insight for me on the different performance and rider-conditions suitability of the 1050 and 800 wings.

Conditions started at 16 knots on my 4.8m kite and steadily built. At 20 knots I switched to my 3.5m and it continued to build to mid 20s.
I was ranging between what I estimate as 0.5 degree and 1.5 degree additions to the +1 shim (212 tail), and switching between the 800 and 1050 on the front.

The primary realisation for me was that I've evidently been learning more and more about how to handle and push the 1050 at the top end of its range. This means that I no longer want the forgiving nature of the 800 as the wind builds above 20 knots and brings more swell and chop with it. I'd rather the extra performance of the 1050 right up to the point where I'd switch out to the 625. For me the 800 is redundant and I'm going to sell mine.

However, the CF800 absolutely still has relevance for kiters who are less experienced, and/or heavier than me (80kg). I would recommend it in at least three scenarios:
1, as a one wing quiver for anyone between 60 and 90kg who is learning to foil, from complete beginner to riding toeside and learning foot switches and wave-riding.
2, I would also recommend it as the smaller wing in a two wing quiver for any kiter over 90kg for whom the 625 may not have as much lift as they want even when it's windy (paired with the 1200CF or 1250HS).
3. An allround wing for people who learned to foil on big wings in light wind and are now wanting to foil in conditions that they'd previously regarded as too gnarly for foiling.



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"Armstrong Foil 100cm mast with HS1050, HS625, CF800 Wings" started by djdojo