8 of the Best Foils Go Head-to-Head

LIGHT WIND MASTERY THAT’S EASIER THAN EVER

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Kitesurfing Magazine had its first major foil test. Looking back it’s even harder to contemplate the sport of kiteboarding without foiling. Things have come a long way as improvements to both foil and kite designs have driven performance to amazing levels. Kiting with a foil is just one of many disciplines that span from prone and stand-up paddle surfing, to windsurfing, wake surfing and the newest rage, wing surfing. The multi-sport dimension of the foil has helped drive foil technology and performance faster than if it was just a single discipline. Brands like Naish, Slingshot, Airush, F-One and North have extensive ranges of foil wings and many different shapes and sizes of boards that cover the multiple sports. Although the overall performance advances in the latest foils have slowed slightly from the breakout years, the improvements still continue. This group of foils have more stable lift and drive with improved control and handling over a wider range of speed. With better materials, refinements and improvements to the connection points between components today’s foil wings continue to drive performance to new levels. High end materials drive performance and there are more full carbon set ups available for 2022. Most brands are also fully or partially modular so you can swap out carbon masts and fuselage with the same wings used on the aluminum versions. For proficient kiteboarders that haven’t learned to foil yet, they can avoid a lot of the struggles of the earlier years with the right foil and kite set up. For those that might feel that their foiling skills have plateaued, it’s definitely a great time to consider upgrading to a set up tested here. 

In general kiters are using front foil wings that range in size between 850 to 1500 cm². The wings below 1000 cm² tend to be more comfortable pulling at faster speeds but will require more power from the kite to get up and on foil. The smaller wings come off a foil earlier and don’t carry as much glide and lift through the turns without engagement from the kite. If you like cruising fast and jumping, smaller foils, below 1000 cm² are the way to go, as they are easier to drive out of the water and they can land with more speed and less precision for water re-entry. Generally 1000 to 1500 cm² sized front wings are the best choice for learning the basics to cruise and transition on foil and also cruising in ultra-light winds where surface riding becomes impossible or mundane. There are lots of options to customize the amount of lift you want for your size, skill level and type of conditions. For anyone that really loves to kite and wants be on the water as much as possible, having a foil in your quiver should be a top priority. Today’s high efficiency and stable cruising foils open up a whole new wind range for kiteboarding and turns mediocre wind and wave days into epic ones. 

Read the Individual: 2022 Foil Reviews