At A Glance
Alex Caizergues has been into the kite foil scene for a long time now, the F-One speed champion has won quite a few long distance races and it seems like his infectious love for the sport has now spread to the rest of the F-One crew. Interestingly they are going full bore into the racing side of it too, with the Diablo foil kite and 2016 board currently leading the standings at the Kite Foil Gold Cup under the skilful use of Maxime Nocher!
For 2016 F-One are offering three foil boards in different sizes, a 47cm wide version for the experts, the 49cm wide version we have here and also a 51cm wide version for beginners. There is also a carbon version of the board for the racers out there. The foil remains unchanged from the release early this year and together they make for a pretty impressive combination.
Aimed at the more advanced freeriders out there, the foil can be used by beginners but it will take some time to master if you have had no previous experience. The mast is 88cm long, which sits in between the short Sroka one and the full length Liquid Force offering we have tested this issue. There is a bunch of tech going on with this set up, and that is reflected in the price, which isn't cheap... The entire foil is made from Pre Preg carbon fibre and it is designed to be stiff and very light.
When you put this foil next to the other two it looks like a complete weapon. It's sharp, high aspect and beautifully crafted. F-One are using the Ketos box system to mount the board to the foil, something they are hoping will become an industry standard. It's worth noting at the moment that nearly everyone has a different system for connecting the board and the foil together. In time this will hopefully become unified making it much easier for the consumer to mix and match their options.
Another clever piece of tech is the Fast Connection System, this means that the three pieces, mast, front wing and integrated rear wing and fuselage simply slot together and then a long bolt threads through them all to tighten it all up. It's incredibly simple and easy to put together, you just need a 10mm spanner and you only have to tighten three bolts, one on the foil and two on the board.
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The board itself is shaped and designed with foiling in mind; a Y configuration for the straps makes things comfortable and the rails and rocker have been designed to make those inevitable touch downs as gentle as possible. The foil set up is unchanged from 2015.
On The Water
I actually thought I had foiling pretty dialled however, when I jumped on this set up I got a very humbling smack in the face. Compared to the other two foils on test the F-One is an absolute beast, it's fast, and at first is pretty tricky to ride and feels unstable. It was like being a beginner all over again as I struggled to keep it under control!
After a couple of sessions though I was getting it dialled and now I am absolutely in love with it. Where the entry level foils lack top end speed in favour of a low foiling speed and stability, this thing is an absolute machine when it comes to ripping around the water. You can cover some serious distance and it's happy tanking along at over 20 knots. At first this is a little terrifying, but as you get used to the speed you start to really appreciate what this amazing bit of kit is capable of.
It points really high into the wind and when you set the edge it will keep pushing and accelerate to it's top speed quickly. Off the wind you need to be on your game as the speed is impressive and with the high aspect front wing it is easy for a small mistake to turn into a big wipeout. You'll be doing endless laps up and downwind at your local spot in no time, clocking up the miles and the more you get it dialled the more you will fall in love.
The wings themselves are actually pretty durable, considering how thin and sharp they are, yet you will want to treat this like a very frail old lady when it is on the beach - I can only imagine that first chip in a wing is going to reduce you to tears. Foiling is ridiculously addictive, and as you improve you'll find yourself wanting for more. The F-One set up will deliver that extra speed and adrenaline that you crave.
Tacking and gybing isn't as easy as the other boards in the test, the high aspect wing only needs a slight upset to take it off the foil, but once you persevere you will be rewarded. The longer fuselage on this set up keeps it tracking in a straight line easily, but you do sacrifice a bit of manoeuvrability. It's worth noting that the 49cm wide board is quite small, so if this is your first foil set up definitely go for the bigger board, it will make those first non-foiling turns much easier.
Keep your feet and legs clear of the wings, we've nicked a wetsuit so far but have managed to remain relatively blood free. This is definitely a more intermediate set up and needs to be treated with respect.
Incredibly simple to put together, light, fast and exhilarating to ride with a good top speed and great angles both on and off the wind.
This will be a tricky set up for complete beginners to ride, but exceedingly rewarding once you master it.
We're a little bit in love with this high end yet very simple set up, at its core beats a pre preg carbon heart with a passion for speed and acceleration. Fantastic craftsmanship throughout and just three bolts to put the entire foil and board together!
This review was in Issue 52 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit F-ONE Kiteboarding
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By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!