At A Glance
Bruno Sroka is one of the original kitesurfers, he's got a string of accolades to his name including kitesurfing from France to Ireland, winning three world titles and being the only person to cross Cape Horn on a kitesurf. These days he has turned his attentions to building stand up paddle boards and of course hydrofoils too.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this entry level/freeride set up is the board. A lot of thought and design has gone into it, Bruno firmly believes that whilst the board doesn't spend much time in the water, it is worth paying it some attention so when it is in the water it works well. What you have here is a pop out board that features a unique rocker and rail shape designed especially for hydrofoiling.
There is also plenty of volume too, so when you are learning to foil you can stand on the board and ride it around without it sinking. The idea is that this will make those first early steps on the board really easy. Another striking feature of this set up is the short mast, most masts are around the 1m mark, this offers plenty of length to get over chop, whilst retaining stiffness. However, when you crash as the foil rises up out of the water it does mean you are quite a way above the sea.
Take leverage and speed into account and this can make for some serious wipeouts. By shortening the mast to 75cm this keeps the board closer to the water, reduces the fore and aft pitch effect and helps to keep the foil and board much more stable.
The foil itself is constructed using glass and aluminium, which seems to be a popular material when it comes to offering a competitive price point. At the moment the Sroka boasts the lowest price of any foil set up on the market. This has made it a popular option for people wanting to try the sport out without having to invest a fortune.
Assembly is a little laboured, the fuselage splits in two to house the mast, front and rear wings, perhaps most frustrating is the use of a couple of different tools to assemble the foil and the board. Invest in a decent multi head screwdriver and ensure you have a torx driver and you'll be fine. Once built the small mast means the set up takes up less room than some of the other foils on the market so you may well find you don't need the tools all that often. The foil itself connects to the board using the Probox system, which is essentially similar to a deep Tuttle fin box.
On The Water
The board is the shining star with this package, especially for riders looking to learn, it's wide, floaty nature makes riding a breeze and this comes in handy later on when you are learning to gybe and tack. For beginners it makes it really easy for those first few runs when you are just cruising on the water getting to grips with the feeling of riding a board like this.
The foil set up itself is a reasonably free ride orientated package, the front wing is moderately high aspect and in stark contrast to the Liquid Force shape. It has however been designed with a deep profile that allows it to get up and foiling at relatively low speeds. This makes it a good foil to learn on and whilst not as easy as the Liquid Force a confident kiter should be able to master this reasonably quickly.
Once up on the foil the fore and aft pitch is very stable, although with the shorter fuselage the foil does feel a little twitchy on the side to side axis. This makes it easy to tack and gybe as the foil is a touch looser, but it can take a little getting used to when you are riding. There is a grub screw on the rear wing that you can adjust to trim this aspect of the foil, so if you find it really twitchy it is worth playing with this tuning option to get a ride you feel comfortable with.
Whilst the foil will get going at low speeds, it also has a very respectable top end and is reasonably quick upwind whilst pointing really high too. Off the wind again the speed is good and you'll appreciate the board when you touch down occasionally as it really helps when you make the odd mistake. The shorter mast can get swamped when it is really choppy, but beginners will appreciate being lower in the water and the slightly easier crashes, don't get us wrong, they still hurt, but there is markedly less leverage going on when it does go tits up.
Great all round set up with a really carefully thought out board that works well. Geared towards the entry level rider, but will keep you excited and entertained as you progress! For an aluminium and glass set up this is also reasonably lightweight.
Take care of the foils, they are reasonably tough, but they are thin and sharp, this can mean they are easily damaged, and they will also cut you if you kick them...
Considering this is the lowest priced offering out there at the moment it is exceedingly well put together. It's not the easiest of foils to ride initially, but you will enjoy the performance it offers as you get better. The board is the star of the package and will help you no end when it comes to mastering tacks and gybes!
This review was in Issue 52 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Sroka
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!