At A Glance
You can't talk about an Armstrong foil without first talking about the company. After all, Armstrong is one of the most renowned foil makers in the industry, especially amongst the wing, surf, wake, and SUP foil communities. While not as visible in the kite market, they most certainly have the gear to contend with the rest.
Designer Armie Armstrong has an insatiable love for the water, and you can see his passion in his designs, which are made with the experience of the end user in mind. At Armstrong, the intention is not to create the most affordable foil; it's to create the absolute best, with no compromises in materials, manufacturing, and design. It may come at a higher cost than the market average (foil, tail wing, fuselage, and mast ringing in at about $1900 USD), but you know what they say: You get what you pay for!
Knowing this about the company, I was very excited for my test model of the Armstrong CF 950 V2 to arrive in the mail. I've winged and surf foiled on friends Armstrong foils before but never had the true owner experience with all the excitement of unboxing.
My first reaction upon opening up the box was surprise. I knew that Armstrong didn't compromise with their foils, but it's clear they don't compromise on the packaging, either. The travel bag it came in, the wing and mast covers, and even the box of tools that came with it, all set the bar very high, indeed.
This is the second iteration of the CF 950, and, while the first edition was already a success, the second had that bit more finetuning that made it stand out that much more. The foil is a piece of art, and I was hesitant to even let it touch the sand, let alone put it through the down and dirty it needed to give it a proper test drive!
For me, it seems as if the foil industry is going back and forth from medium to high aspect foils, and to be honest, I have been on the high aspect train for a while, so it was really refreshing to get on a well-balanced medium aspect foil.
This was the first time I have seen the A+ system, and I will say the foil to mast connection is solid. Another thing I appreciated is the open-ended base plate, so you don't have to line up your screw and track plate, making assembly to the board that much easier.
On The Water
I paired the CF 950 with the HS 252 V2 tail wing and 85 cm mast. Although the foil comes with shim options, I wanted to try it straight out of the bag and as stock as can be. I've had a good few sessions on the CF 950 V2, the first being a kite session with some marginal sideshore wind with little to no waves, what I would call ideal foiling conditions.
The first water start was so easy; no proposing or anything weird; it was just get up and go! The wing felt super stable under the feet. I did notice that the stall point happened at a bit of a higher speed than I'm used to, especially from riding high aspect more regularly, but every new foil takes some adjusting, and after a few sessions, it was no longer noticeable.
With a few gybes and jumps under my belt, I wanted to see how the manoeuvrability was. It's been a while since I was on a foil that felt like it wanted to go Mach 10 into turns and allow me to breach the tip with no consequences. I was pleasantly surprised at how surfy this foil felt.
The tail wing I rode, the HS 252 V2, paired really well, and the wing came alive, giving me glide and turnability with no funny locking or anything like that. I managed to sneak in a prone foil session with the CF950 in really small surf - not ideal conditions to give a proper review, but enough for me to realise that I have completely forgotten how to pump a medium aspect foil, which ended up being quite a laugh! After I could breathe again, of course.
I might stick to kitefoiling on this one for now until I improve my cardio! That said, the kite sessions have been super fun, and the foil felt agile and energetic underfoot. I haven't had a chance to wing with CF 950 V2 yet, but I can see how this foil would be a top performer across both disciplines and also understand why it's rated as a top performer in wake foiling, as well.
I had a blast on the new Armstrong CF 950 V2. This foil is predictable, playful, and super user-friendly - an ideal foil for those who want a surfy feeling but with ease, trust and stability. Even with the niggly bit of the stall point, I would definitely add one of these to my do-it-all quiver. Like I said before, this foil is really a piece of art. As Armstrong says, "Stability is confidence."
This review was in Issue 95 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Armstrong Foils