10 wings in test / Review
Translated from Wing Magazine (FR) – July 2020
Since the beginning of wingfoil last summer, everyone has been able to see here and there (mainly on social networks), tests or reviews on different models of wings. However, without wanting to blame these reviews, they are not always objective because the wings have never been tested and compared to other models at the same time by several testers, neither in similar conditions, nor with the same board and the same foil and for a certain period of time.
Frequently, these reviews are published by opinion leaders who are simply doing their job, promoting the brand that equips them. You can’t blame them, but last May, we had a unique opportunity to launch a series of tests to try as many wings as possible, mainly those available on the French market. This first comparative test would be published in the first issue of “Wing Mag”, a special issue of Wind Magazine of which Steve, the president of our AWR association, is the main editor.
“Wing Mag” is the first 100% wingsurf magazine published in France 3 weeks ago. It is the first time since the launch of Wingfoil that 10 wings are tested and compared at the same time, and that these tests are published. Unfortunately, the magazine is only available in French. Our association has therefore worked on a translation so that all wingsurfers and future wingsurfers can have the right to consult it.
Here is the full translation of this series of tests. Serious, objective and especially comparative tests. The detailed sheets and notes that follow are not editorials or simple product presentations.
“Because of the lockdown due to COVID 19, we almost couldn’t include this test section! But luck was with us and mid-May, thanks to the reopening of some beaches in France and ideal conditions to run several series of tests on the water, we were able to try and compare a few wings available on the french market, sometimes even pushing them to their limits!“
CABRINHA CROSSWING 4.0
DUOTONE ECHO 4.0
F-ONE SWING 4.0
GA AIR WING 4.2
HB FLAIR 4.0
NAISH WING SURFER S25 4.6
OZONE WASP 4.0
SLINGSHOT SLINGWING V1 4.2
TAKOON WING 4.0
ZEEKO YPSILON 4.0
CONDITIONS (Brutal Beach / South of France)
> West (onshore): min 12 knots to max 30 knots, rough water with swell from 50 to 100 cm
> East (offshore): min 10 knots to max 30 knots, ultra-flat water
4 testers, from 68 to 82 kg, from beginner in foil to advanced.
Please consider that this test is also a COMPARATIVE test where we compared the wings to each other, and not simple presentation notes of the wings (which would be closer to advertising editorial). We have no link with the magazine’s advertisers and are not influenced or sponsored. Consider also that we have tested and compared wings in a 4.0 size and that the performance and behaviour of each model may be different in other surfaces.
Note: Some models/brands do not appear in this test for several reasons. Either the brand’s model was not yet available (Slingshot Slingwing V2, Surf Pistols, Eleveight…), or the brand preferred to wait for the release of their new version available in July (Takuma, Korvenn), or we didn’t get any feedback following our request (RRD, Sroka, Airush), or it’s not in their commercial policy (Gong).
For this first issue, we have chosen to do a wing test only because after all, it is this new “toy” that arrived on the market last summer and thus launched the practice of wingfoil! We then asked several surfshops, but also curious people who wanted to get into wingsurfing. It seems that today many future users are wondering: “which wing to choose to practice and in which size?” The choice of the wing seems to be a priority, before the choice of a board or a foil.
In a first time, we decided to focus on a test of wings in 4.0, the most sold surface but also the most “intermediate”. We wanted a test that was simple, objective, with criteria that were easy to evaluate and check in relation to the information given by the different brands on their models. We did not want to go into too technical details with the aim of sticking to the spirit of wingsurfing: accessible, easy, playful and fun! Different riders of different levels and weights took part in these tests in a wide variety of conditions, in order to ensure unique and different feedback.
We hope that these pages will help you if you are starting your wing adventure, or simply if you want to change your first wing for another one.
We have selected these criteria to fill out our forms as we go through the tests:
Weight/handling: This is a feature that we considered important to note, because from one model to another, from the moment you get your hands on the wing on land then on the water, it changes radically. On the water, a light wing is appreciated, especially in light & irregular wind, but especially in “surf” mode when held in one hand. The weight of each wing was measured precisely by us AFTER the tests.
Power: The power of a wing is an important parameter to be able to plane early. From one model to another, this can change completely! Some are more nervous and deliver direct power as soon as they catch some wind, while others require more pumping.
Speed/balance/control: We also felt it was necessary to note these aspects. It was interesting to check and compare the speed and overall balance of the wings once launched at full speed, as well as their handling and control in gusts and stronger wind.
Manoeuvrability: Manoeuvrability remains one of the most important criteria for tacking, jibing and other basic manoeuvres. The wing must be easy to handle and regain control.
Neutrality: Neutrality is the ability of the wing to be stable and neutral when held in one hand by the leading edge handle, mainly when going down in a downwind swell or when surfing in foil mode.
Span/chord ratio information
It was super interesting to note the differences in wing span and chord between the wings. Some are very sleek, others super compact. This necessarily affects the balance and handling. In order not to influence the testers’ feelings, these measurements – as well as the weight of the wings – were taken once the tests were completely finished.
Brand : NAISH
Model : Wing Surfer S25
Size : 4.6
Weight announced/recorded: 2.5 kg / 2.43 kg
Handles : yes – 8 along the central strut + 3 on the leading edge
Boom : no
Battens : no
Window : yes – on each side of the central bladder
Leash : yes – 155 cm surf type with simple velcro
Pump : yes
Bag : 120x35cm
Price : 799 €
This new Wing Surfer V2 in 4.6 replaces last year’s 4.0. You have to know it! Easy to inflate thanks to the “One Pump” mode, the wing seems quite light as soon as you have it in hands on the beach. The draft is pronounced. There is significant Kevlar reinforcement in the most sensitive areas, which is a good point compared to the rest of the wings tested. On the water, it is not the most reactive to pumping, with a profile that feels much softer than the other wings tested. To get off the water quickly, you need a good gust and some pumping energy, but once up and running, the Wing Surfer performs well and is at its best at high speed in strong winds, with good control. But compared to other competing brands, it takes a little more time to find the right balance in freeride mode, as well as in handling, where the wing rotates slower than others in transitions. Due to the large amount of handles (8), you often have to look for the right one to be well balanced. In neutral mode, the Naish has good behaviour despite its weight and remains fairly well balanced in “free fly”. We really liked the windows that were not available on the V1. They’re large and offer excellent downwind visibility. Last detail, we would have appreciated an “elastic” leash because the one provided sometimes wraps around the arm or neck when you get back on your board after a fall, or hooks the straps (when the board is equipped with them).
Conclusion: After a full season on the market of the Wing Surfer V1, the Naish team had time to develop this V2 which comes with new development details such as the windows. However, we were less convinced by the general behaviour of the wing, with performance a bit inferior to other models, especially in low wind. But overall, the Wing Surfer S25 remains convincing with a good construction, large windows and a wide choice of sizes.
+ Reinforced construction, large windows
– Nervousness/power in light wind, too many handles
Brand : GA
Model: Air Wing (pre-series)
Weight announced/recorded : 2.18 kg / 2.16 kg
Handles: yes – 4 along the central strut + 1 on the leading edge
Leash: yes – elastic type with simple velcro
Price : 699 €
The model we received is a pre-series of the lightest model in the upcoming V2 range. GA will indeed propose from July 2 models that keep the same design (see details in the buyers’ guide). This “Air Wing” has a rather compact profile, not much reinforcements and no windows. Therefore, after an easy and fast inflation in “One Pump” mode, the GA appears rather light in hand, but do not hesitate to properly inflate this 4.2. We note its well pronounced draft. On the water, when pumping, you can feel a rigid and reactive profile that allows you to plane quite early. Once you are up and running, the wing remains light in hands, its compact profile prevent the tips to touch the water, the balance is good. With a minimum of handles on the central bladder, it is very easy to find your position quickly, they are well placed but on the other hand, they are not super comfortable when riding. In high wind , the « Air Wing » is feeling really fast, the wing remains quite nervous and rather well balanced with a good control in gusts. While the manoeuvrability is good in maneuvers, the GA is less light than other models for quick transitions. But with few handles on the central bladder, it is easy to reposition your hands to to sheet in at the end of a move. Finally, the neutrality of this “Air Wing” is more than correct by remaining very stable and light.
Conclusion: A wing that is pleasant to fly, with good qualities in all areas… With additional windows and reinforcements, the other version may have a different behaviour and less reactive as a result, but with 2 different models, GA will thus give the buyer the choice by adapting to all desires and all levels, and at a reasonable price. In any case, this version proved to be efficient.
+ Power/speed/control ratio, overall balance, minimum number of handles
– Light reinforcements on this version, uncomfortable handles
Brand : TAKOON
Weight announced/recorded : 1.8 kg / 1.99 kg
Handles: yes – 4 on the central bladder + 1 on the leading edge
Price : 498 €
The “One Pump” inflation is very easy to do. As soon as inflated, this Takoon shows a very compact design with an important draft. No windows, no consequent reinforcements either and with just 4 handles on the central bladder, the brand bet on lightness. If it appears really light in hand on the beach, it is confirmed once on the water: the handling is first facilitated by this minimalist number of very comfortable and well placed handles, but also well fixed on the central bladder (the handles don’t move at all). Then when you need to pump to start planing, the wing remains extremely light in your arms. Also surprising is the stiffness of the whole structure which gives a very direct feeling at the slightest breeze. In 3 pumping strokes, the Takoon delivers immediately the required amount of power. As soon as the wind picks up, it accelerates fast, very fast! So once you are up and running, you can appreciate the good stability of the profile, the wing continues to accelerate and this compact design remains really well balanced, you are very well balanced and the tips never touch the water. Sometimes you almost want a bit of softness of the profile in very strong wind, but you can’t have it all. The lightness and good balance of this wing adds to its manoeuvrability: it turns easily, quickly and well! This Takoon is also very neutral: once again, the lightness and balance of this wing makes it perfectly forgetable in downwind mode. No doubt that it is just as efficient to play in surf mode!
Conclusion: First wing model proposed by the brand specialized in kitesurfing wings, the “Wing” by Takoon offers everything you would expect from a wing dedicated to wingfoiling. In any case, in this size, it is very efficient on all aspects! These advantages remain to be confirmed in the bigger sizes, in order to check if the stiffness of the profile is as efficient to perform in very light wind. As far as this V1 in 4.0 is concerned, it’s a flawless one. Some kevlar reinforcements could be welcomed in the sensitive areas.
+ Lightness, efficiency in all areas, price
– No reinforcements
Brand : SLINGSHOT
Model: Slingwing V1
Weight announced/recorded : NC / 3.36 kg
Handles: yes – 3 on the central bladder + 2 Y-shaped on the front + 3 on the leading edge
Window: yes – on each side of the central bladder
Leash: yes – coiled leash with a simple velcro
Price : 795 €
Due to an inflatable trailing edge, a detail unique to the brand, it takes a (little) bit more time to inflate this “Slingwing” in “One Pump” mode. The wing is well reinforced overall and its profile is much more sleeker in design than other brands. On the beach, the wing immediately appeared a little heavier in hand than other brands, certainly due to the thick straps used for the handles, including the “Y” shaped ones on the front, and to its generous reinforcements. The handle system may be interesting for windsurfers with this Y-shape at the front, but it is not easy to find the right position when getting on the water. It takes some time to adapt. While it requires more energy for pumping at the start, the “Slingwing” offers very good speed potential once you start, as it works best in well established winds. Due to its relatively sleek design, the tips tend to touch the water when positioned more vertically. This aspect of the design and its weight certainly also influences its control and handling during manoeuvres, and this wing is much less balanced compared to other models. It is not always easy to reposition your hands after a transition. On the other hand, the “Slingwing” offers good handling in terms of neutrality and is rather easy to control, even though it remains even heavier in hand compared to other models. In terms of comfort, we would have liked to see real handles that are less wide, more flexible and more padded.
Conclusion: If the V1 of this Slingshot is one of the first inflatable wings to have been developed very early without any other reference in wing models, we can’t be too critical of its bad sides. Especially since we are convinced that the “Slingwing V2” (not available at the time of testing), more compact and announced to be twice as light, will erase all these details by offering much better evolutions which will certainly allow it to gain in efficiency on all aspects.
+ High wind speed, neutrality, substantial reinforcements, windows
– Weight, handling, maneuverability, uncomfortable handles
Brand : HB
Once easily inflated in “One Pump” mode, the “Flair” appears a little larger in surface area than the other models, due to a design that seems rather slender. The draft is well pronounced. There are not much reinforcements. On the beach, the wing appears really light in hand. On the water, the lightness of this “Flair” is confirmed and you can feel a rather stiff profile. Thanks to its important draft and rigid profile, the wing allows you to plane early with a few pumping strokes, even if it remains a little behind other more reactive models in this category. It just needs a little more wind. But once you start flying, the HB is easy to handle, with well-placed handles that allow you to find your position quickly, the balance is quite good and you are relatively well set up for long runs. However, the handles are not the most comfortable. Although we did not often use the front Y-handles, we would have liked them to be less flexible for a more “direct” contact with the wing. Once in flight mode and want to get faster, the Flair accelerates quite well, although it remains a bit limited in speed and acceleration at high wind compared to other models. That said, it’s easy to control with a good handling when overpowered, still with that lightness in your hands. Our feeling is that this model has been designed mainly for surfing, as this HB is still a very pleasant wing to handle in “downwind” mode, despite its pronounced wingspan, the wing does not tilt too much from side to side, the profile remains perfectly neutral and stable.
Conclusion: This 4.0 HB wing is an excellent compromise for those who want a wing that is easy, light and neutral enough to have fun in moderate to strong winds, swell and waves. Compared to other models, its profile might benefit from being more compact to make it even more playful.
+ Lightweight, manoeuvrability/neutrality ratio
– Few reinforcements, less power/speed than other wings
Brand : CABRINHA
Weight announced/recorded : NC / 1.97 kg
Handles: yes – 4 on the central bladder + 1 on the leading edge
Leash: yes – coiled leash with simple velcro
Price : 799 €
Available in a single 4.0 size, Cabrinha makes it simple on this V1 that inflates quickly in “One Pump” mode. Its design appears rather compact and we notice that the draft is not as pronounced as on other wings. With just 4 wide handles on the center bladder, no windows, but reinforcements placed just where it’s needed, the “Crosswing” stands out among the lightest wings in the test from the moment you take it in your hand. This is confirmed on the water. The Cabrinha is indeed very light, but with this slight draft, in similar conditions, it needs more wind than other wings to plane quickly. The “Crosswing” really works at high speed, when the wind is strong. And that’s when you appreciate it. The control is good and the wing accelerates quite well. The ergonomic handles are comfortable and easy to find, but we noticed that they are placed a little too much on the back. As a result, it’s not always easy to get a good grip in lighter or irregular winds. Thanks to its good overall balance and light weight, the handling is good and neutrality is also noticeable in “downwind” mode where this “Crosswing” offers a profile that remains stable and does not swing.
Conclusion: For a first wing version, this Cabrinha “Crosswing” offers a relatively healthy behaviour overall. It can be suitable for all programs and all levels, but this unique 4.0 surface will certainly be of more interest to riders looking for a wing to play and surf in already established wind.
+ Weight, handling, manoeuvrability, comfortable handles
– Less power in light wind
Brand : ZEEKO
Weight announced/recorded : NC/2.6 kg
Handles: yes – 2 on the central bladder + 2 in “Y” on the front + 1 on the leading edge
Window: yes – on each side of the central bladder
Leash: yes – elastic type with simple velcro
Price : 799 €
Though the Zeeko has a unique design with a “Y” shaped centerline with the “One Pump” inflation system, the Zeeko still inflates quite fast. It deflates just as quickly thanks to a second valve on the same central bladder. Nice extra detail. This model requires a much lower inflation pressure than the other wings, 5 Psi for this 4m compared to 7 to 9 Psi for the other brands. Once inflated, the draft is not very apparent, but the central bladder is very thick and the wing has 2 small windows. The front handles are fixed on the Y-axis. Again, this is a detail unique to the brand. Not especially light when you make it fly on the beach, the profile of this “Ypsilon” appears however rigid. Once on the water, compared to other wings, the handling of this Zeeko is a little more tricky, especially for complete beginners who preferred more simple handle systems. On the other hand, more experienced riders liked the position of the front handles. However, they should be less flexible and less wide to give a more “direct” feel to the wing. The Ypsilon is a little heavier in hand than the other models we tested, but still delivers good power in light wind. Its very stiff profile allows you to fly with just a few pumping strokes. The wing accelerates really well afterwards and the balance is very correct, you feel well set up in freeride mode. And this is where it performs. The wing is a little less comfortable in transitions because of its heavier weight and a somewhat special handle placement. If you want to play a bit in the swell in “downwind” mode, this Zeeko is not the most efficient in terms of neutrality compared to other models. Last detail about the windows: even if it’s reassuring for the visibility, we would have liked them to be a bit larger or positioned differently.
Conclusion: As soon as you get on the water, you can feel that this “Ypsilon” has been developed for a more “freeride” mode than for surfing! It offers immediate power in light wind for good acceleration, while being well set up. With this specific design, this Zeeko 4.0 is rather efficient in this area and will be more suited for advanced riders who are looking for a wing more focused on performance than handling or neutrality.
+ Power/speed ratio, balance
– Weight, less comfortable in downwind mode
Brand : F-ONE
Weight announced/recorded : NC / 1.79 kg
Handles: yes – 3 on the central bladder + 1 on the leading edge
Leash: yes – elastic type with wrap loop
Price : 849 €
The F-One “Swing” is one of the reference wings in wingsurfing as it was one of the first models available on the market last summer. If it doesn’t offer any significant changes this year, it’s certainly because the original model was already very efficient. The lightest of all the wings in this test offers a very easy handling with only 3 soft handles, and still without windows. We notice a more pronounced draft than on the other wings for a design that, at first glance, appears compact. It is on the water that this draft reveals its full efficiency: coupled with a featherweight and a profile that remains very rigid, this “Swing” delivers immediate power and requires little pumping engagement. It’s even surprising at the start, as this wing looks so small in hand compared to all the others. The handles are very well placed, but we would have liked them to be a little thicker, a little more padded and above all well fixed on the central bladder. If it’s not the fastest of the group, its cruising speed remains excellent, as does the balance and control in high wind. Incredibly easy to handle and regain control in transitions, it’s also in “downwind” mode that the F-One shows another part of its potential. This wing can be completely neutralized when held by the single handle on the leading edge, it doesn’t tilt at all. So you can imagine the freedom it can offer to all those interested in surfing in the waves!
Conclusion: Available now in 5 sizes from 2.8 to 6m, the “Swing” remains a sure value with a design that has convinced and proven itself after almost a season on the wingsurf market. This small, super-light, playful wing will satisfy all levels and all riders because it is effective on all aspects of the sport. You can only blame its price.
+ Overall performance, minimum of handles
Brand : DUOTONE
Weight announced/recorded : NC / 2.49 kg (with boom)
Handles: 1 on the leading edge
Boom: yes – vario 141-201cm
Battens: yes – 1 long in the main axis + 2 small on the trailing edge
Window: yes – on each side of the central bladder
Bag: yes – 100x30cm
Price : 798 € (with boom-) / 679 € (without boom)
Still featuring this boom system, Duotone’s new “Echo” model features a stabilized profile with a small, easy-to-set up rope, called the “draft control”. The design does not appear so compact, the leading edge is thick and the reinforcements are quite light. The boom installation is not complicated. The advantage of this system is that you can adjust the draft of the wing according to the wind conditions. As soon as we had it in hand, we noticed that this model is not as light as the others, the boom itself weighs 900 grams. This season, it has been ovalized to offer more comfort when sailing. On the water, you feel a very stiff profile and in a few pumping strokes, this “Echo” delivers a good power in light wind to quickly get out of the water. Windsurfers will appreciate the boom and will immediately find their marks! But this is also the case for beginners for whom this system is very intuitive. This has also been appreciated when sailing in strong winds since you can move your hand back on the boom to accelerate without having to let go of the wing to retrieve another handle. Once at full speed, the wing shows a great freeride potential: you have a good setup, it is well balanced and you can adjust the power without any “on/off”. The profile is made super stable thanks to this little rope. As a result, it doesn’t flex as much as on other wings. In terms of handling, we noticed that the balance remains correct during the transitions and that the weight of the wing allows it to “balance” well, especially since it is easy to put your hands back on the boom. However the “Echo” is not very comfortable in surf or downwind mode, the wing is more unstable in this mode compared to other wings. Surfing aficionados will have to look at the other Duotone model, the “Unit”, a 100% inflatable that will be released in August.
Conclusion: Available in 6 surfaces from 2.6 to 7m2, this new Duotone can be as attractive as it may not be interesting, with on one side the “pro boom” and on the other side the “pro handle”. We think that this boom system is very interesting for beginners because of its very intuitive side, but also for those who want a good, powerful and reactive wing for freeride, with a wide range of use. Although the details are very technical, we can only regret the price.
+ Freeride performance, very intuitive boom, range of use
– Price, neutrality
Brand : OZONE
Model : Wasp
Size : 4.0
Weight announced/recorded: NC / 1.87 kg
Handles : yes – 5 on the central bladder + 2 in “Y” on the front + 2 on the leading edge
Boom : no
Battens : no
Windows : no
Leash : yes – elastic type with velcro
Pump : no
Bag : 60x35cm
Price : 829 €
The Ozone wing has a very compact profile, no windows, a thick leading edge, a very thick central bladder also, with 5 large but soft handles plus 2 “Y” handles on the front. There are kevlar reinforcements on the tips. Unlike most wings, there is no draft. As on the Cabrinha, the canopy is sewn directly on the bladder. The “one pump” inflation is easy. The wing is then quite stiff for a model that looks really super light as soon as you get used to it. Once on the water, you can feel how light the wing is and when pumping, even though there is no draft, the rigid profile of the Wasp immediately delivers enough power to plane quickly. Once up and running, even if the handles appeared a little too far forward on the central bladder, you can quickly find your balance. In the gusts, the “Wasp” offers strong accelerations and its profile remains very stable, even in hight wind. The handles are wide, soft and comfortable to hold. Sometimes the handles are a little too soft: you can sometimes be surprised at the end of a transition to catch a handle that would have flattened and not regained its shape. Another detail, we noticed that the leash was a bit too long. Otherwise, the compact and balanced design makes this wing very easy to handle in transitions and manoeuvers, and it is in “surf” mode that the “Wasp” performs best thanks to its lightness and excellent neutrality.
Conclusion: With this V1 “Wasp”, Ozone offers a very good first wing model which, for this 4.0, shows good performance in all fields. Despite a slightly high price, with a choice of 4 sizes, it should still be a great choice for many people at all levels and for all kinds of use. It is one of the lightest wings in this test with the F-One, and a few extra points for its well-placed reinforcements.
+ Overall performance, weight
> Tests directed and written by ©Steve Palier / Open Ocean Media / June 2020 for Wing Magazine, a special issue of Wind Magazine / FR. Pics ©Nico Dodane. Any reproduction / publishing of texts and images is forbidden without the authorization of the author. Thank you!
> Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
> Special thanks to Rudy Castorina for the review.