Bentley for Everyone!!!
(Review on the new Carbon AlpineFoil Access 5.0)
AlpineFoil and its RT branch is famous for its stunning carbon designs and most of the foils are priced accordingly. So, I am extremely excited to see that their carbon technology trickled down into the models, which are more affordable and aimed primarily for entry level riders (however, it is not only for them!!!). The following review is on the all new carbon/aluminum hydrofoil: the Carbon Access 5.0, which probably is the most important addition of the 2017 line up for AlpineFoil. It is the new and significantly improved version of the aluminium Access hydrofoils.
The backbone of this design is the new carbon mast. Last year’s gear testing seems to prove the concept of combining a rigid carbon mast with an unbreakable and light aluminum fuselage. The extreme rigidity of the mast provides controlled ride with no feeling of wiggling, buckling underneath. It is also lighter and more durable. The aluminum fuselage (if made by aircraft grade aluminium) has almost no material fatigue and an impressive recoiling coefficient. Just think about the airplanes that are in service for several decades. Multiple companies went this route and the concept works: no breakage at the fuselage mast junction even after massive impacts, like 10m+ jumps. AlpineFoil learned from its Ultimate design, which uses this feature and produced an entry level foil, which is not only for beginners, but also for bump and jump, wave and freestyle enthusiasts.
What are the main features?
1. Mast (matt and gloss versions)
Shorter, straighter, lighter, hydrodynamically more efficient with progressive shape and increased rigidity.
Shorter (91cm): more control over the wings, yet enough height to cruise through high ocean swell
Straight outline: freeride/freestyle oriented design, which allows quick turns, directional changes.
Light (1-1.2kg): improved maneuverability, less weight to carry during jumps
Hydrodynamically improved shape: earlier planning, faster ride
Rigidity: improved responsiveness and control
AlpineFoil uses high modulus carbon fiber for the mast. New and radical innovation is the MONOBLOCK MAST CAP. It was created by the continuous carbon material of the mast itself. The MONOBLOCK CAP design will significantly reduce the bending or movement between the mast and the cap resulting in a more direct feel and drive. Secure connections to board via 2 stainless steel bolts AND STAINLESS STEEL INSERTS. This practically eliminates corrosion problems. It is still advised to apply anti corrosion substances to these surfaces and wash the threads with fresh water after use.
2. Soft nosed fuselage made of aircraft grade aluminium.
AlpineFoil uses the same proven design from the Access aluminium line up. This is HUGE, because riders with existing aluminum designs can upgrade to the carbon version by purchasing the new mast. AlpineFoil is rolling out “EVO PACKS”, which will help existing customers to upgrade their gear and performance by using the new carbon mast, and with great variety of RT wings (Wave, GT, Race, etc.)
One thing that I need to add is the extreme long fuselage, which gives amazing pitch stability to the ride. It is probably the only one out there and this technology is used on the racing world too: e.g. Levitaz Bionic design.
The foils can be custom ordered depending on the needs of customers. One favorite piece leading sales is the new WAVE wing. It has a lower aspect ratio allowing early planning similar to the XPL2, however, coming with a looser side to side feel and overall maneuverability. The speed of the wing is really impressive too. I was able to push it over 50km/h in open ocean conditions.
4. Connection-adapter plate
AlpinFoil came out with a new adapter plate. This helps to try the foil with different boards and allows mix and matches. It is a welcome addition. I used the T60 carbon board from Moses and it worked great!
I tried the gloss, high modulus carbon version with the wave wing. I used first on the T60 Moses board with the adapter, later with the appropriate RXV-5 board.
The take-off is 747 feel. Other foils are more nervous during take off, the Carbon Access glides effortlessly on top of the water. The mast takes the load with no unexpected motions. The fuselage and stabilizer lock in immediately and produces a smooth ride. The Access was not designed to be the fastest foil, however, due to its impressive stability could be pushed to over 50 km/h with ease, even in open ocean conditions. There was no tendency to cavitate or to ventilate. Jibes, tacks feel controlled and easy to perform. Due to the increased maneuverability of the WAVE wing swell and wave ride is a lot of fun!
The New Carbon AlpineFoil Access 5.0 is a head turning piece of art and greatly improved hydrofoil. It is priced conservatively, so the “Bentley feel” of the original 4.5 Carbon model has become affordable! AlpineFoil’s EVO packs will treat existing customers fairly and will be a very significant upgrade for all aluminium Access riders. The robust carbon, aircraft aluminium and stainless steel construction assures long life and the availability of various wings allows each rider to fine tune their flight, wherever their evolution takes them. It can potentially do the impossible: serving as an entry level foil that cannot be outgrown ever.
P.S.: I will update this review with more riding experience on my website (www.kitehydrofoilmiami.com) and FB page (Kite-Hydrofoil Miami).