Just seeing this now, I don't check kiteforum all the time... Glad to see lots of Alpinefoil riders here!
I have ridden old Carafino, MHL Lift (several versions), Spotz, Sword, and a couple of other foils here and there. Alpine won me over due to several factors:
1) very well thought-out design - no dead spots, no cavitation
2) beautiful construction, very well made
3) ability to easily disassemble the fuselage from the mast, great for travel
4) long fuselage and large wingspan make the ride very stable and smooth smooth, and yet the geometry also allows for great agility and roll for turns. Stefaans said "Cadillac", I call mine the Dreamliner
– a big modern composite bird that is also very agile when pushed by a good pilot.
5) integrated board program. Yes the box is different (F box), but they are just about all different. True there are more Tuttle's than anything else, but if you want a turnkey package, you get a foil and board from Alpine and it works out of the box.
6) very easy to ride -- not a "beginner foil" but a foil that will take you from beginner to advanced rider and to race as well, with the HELD race wing upgrade.
7) great support from Damien, who is clearly a very engaged designer/entrepreneur. I like working with guys like him.
and) oh yeah, big wing means lots of lift, which means foiling directly from water start, great low speed performance AND incredible upwind performance (better than some of the race foils).
Compared to other foils I've ridden:
- the Lift is still clunkier, slower, and not nearly as smooth
- Sword feels similar - very smooth, but smaller/somewhat more twitchy
- Spotz 1/1.5 felt stiffer, much smaller, required more speed to fly. I have not ridden the Spotz 2 (or is it 3?), which looks much more like the AF in general terms (curved gull wings, not straight)
I have not been racing so I have not clocked the AF vs other foils. All the racers here in SF use Spotz or Sword foils... But Alpine does win races in Europe – so get ready!
BTW, I just created a Facebook group for Alpinefoil riders -- please join if you are on Alpine!
Alpinefoil & Boardriding Maui Team Rider
Alpinefoil XLP + RX-V6 board
Cloud C2 5/7/9/12m kites