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Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

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daspi
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Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby daspi » Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:37 pm

Where will future products go with this? Is carbon really the future for most of us? I have my doubts. Here is why.

I've been contemplating to upgrade to a carbon mast. Currently I ride Cloud IX S24 setup with an old LF aluminum mast. First of all, the old orange 36" Liquid Force aluminum mast is lighter than the newer beefier versions. Many local rider keep saying moving to a carbon mast is a game changer, but then I keep seeing reports that some carbon masts are actually heavier and some are flexier. Then they are way more fragile and way more expensive.

Core just came out with the SLC foil setup and advertises: "Our extruded aluminum mast is as light as many carbon ones with the added durability of 6063 aircraft aluminum". But how much do they actually weigh? Anyone know?
As I just said, I don't know the actual weight yet, but it is exactly what I've been thinking. There is much room for aluminum masts to be improved by minimizing material thickness and structural tricks to improve stiffness at lighter weight than what we have seen so far on the market. Core just led the way with it as it seems. I think we have not seen the end of it yet. I remember aluminum masts performed extremely well for Windsurfing applications for a fraction of the cost of carbon masts.

I feel foiling and winging as well is fast becoming too expensive for the average consumer due to the addiction to all carbon setups. Carbon will always have it's place in highest performance application, but for us average riders? Weight is a valid factor. It's just so much nicer to carry around a light setup. So if the weight gap can be reduced between carbon and aluminum, I would gladly give up a sliver of performance (if any in real world) and only pay 1/3 the price.

Is it just me or are you asking yourself the same?

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby merl » Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:33 pm

From a European perspective I noticed that a gong full carbon setup costs around EUR1000 and a Core SLC foil with aluminium mast is EUR1400. The gong setup is not very light but it is certainly stiff.

https://www.gong-galaxy.com/en/product/ ... ll-carbon/
https://www.kiteworldshop.com/en/hydrof ... -foil.html

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:25 pm

Don't see too many aluminum windsurfing masts these days!

Bikes.... They are well past this debate.

I had a great time on my aluminum set up. learned all the basics. Smiled ear to ear. Would never go back to it!

Have been spoiled by the ease and weight of my carbon set up. If it should perish somehow, I'll go straight for another carbon set up. Well worth it to me as this is really my main pursuit.

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby PeaBody » Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:19 pm

I watched a video on the Carbon Shinn mast from Mr Shinn before I went carbon.

He said the weight saving is a by-product of using Carbon, the real benefit is the added stiffness. I recently upgraded and the feeling is far more than I expected, akin to walking in shoes then suddenly going barefoot (on sand, not stones :) ).

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby Jyoder » Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:31 pm

I used to ride an old orange LF mast on my stringfellow foil. I thought it was good but occasionally ventilated when hit laterally by chop resulting in a crash. I upgraded to a Zeeko aluminum Bullet foil and that was much better, less ventilations but still occasional.
Now I’m on a carbon race foil going Mach 10 and have zero ventilations. I can blast through the choppiest water with no fear, cuts like hot knife through butter.

Shape matters, dunno if material does though.

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby ieism » Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:24 pm

I have no experience with carbon foils, but have build a lot of stuff I carbon in general. For some applications it's very good, others it's just marketing bs.

Take something like a rear wing endplate or mount on a racecar, you want this to be very stiff and thin as possible. Other car parts like bodywork are pretty useless and not cost effective made out of carbon. There is no need for the material properties in that case.

I can see how a foil mast needs a lot of resistance to bending and torsional stiffness. Put of aluminum you simple need a certain material thickness and design to make that possible. This would be an ideal application for carbon.

That said, i fail to see why this must cost so much. Its a pretty simple part to make out of carbon.

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daspi
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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby daspi » Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:50 pm

Wow, some good stuff. Thanks guys. I will test my friends new Core SLC and try to test some full carbon sets as well. If the stiffness feel is that much better, I will rest my case. Maybe aluminum will still have it's use for cost conscience entry market. I bet the stiffness can be refined too on alu with the right structural designs.

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby FLandOBX » Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:00 pm

merl wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:33 pm
From a European perspective I noticed that a gong full carbon setup costs around EUR1000 and a Core SLC foil with aluminium mast is EUR1400. The gong setup is not very light but it is certainly stiff.

https://www.gong-galaxy.com/en/product/ ... ll-carbon/
https://www.kiteworldshop.com/en/hydrof ... -foil.html
Interesting, but I don't think we can draw any conclusions from this comparison. Gong has low prices largely due to its low cost distribution model, while Core prices all of its equipment on the high side. Now, if you'd compare Gong carbon to Gong aluminum, or Core carbon to Core aluminum, then you'd have some meaningful information.

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby airsail » Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:52 pm

Carbon masts really shine in the longer lengths and for high speed small wings. Once you get over the 1 mtr mark the constant flex of the alloy profile will give a lot of flex up near the board mount area. With Carbon they can really beef up the upper section without the having the lower section thick causing increased drag.

Slingshot have a 112cm wind foil mast, thick and chunky at the base where needed but thinned out down towards the wing, something simply not possible with an alloy mast.

Shorter masts are just fine in alloy, weight is similar between carbon and alloy, pick up an Axis carbon and you will see what I mean. Carbon is heavy when layer up, if the mast is light it probably has a foam core. I have two light carbon Lift masts but I won’t use them with big HA wings, too much flex and chance of breakage.

For the price, alloy is great, Naish alloys are lighter that their composite or carbon offerings. Yes corrosion will always be an issue but after 3 years with alloy, coating all joins with marine grease I’ve never had an issue and I rarely disassemble. Most carbon masts come with an alloy fuselage so there is always some maintenance.

Those with excess funds will go full carbon, but most brands have really upped their range of wings and you can get a really nice foil for half the price, just look at the new Naish range, and it comes with a composite mast, same price as the alloy.

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Re: Aluminium vs Carbon Mast - Cost vs Benefit

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:16 pm

For anyone riding in salt water, full carbon avoids galvanic corrosion issues. Alloy masts are also prone to getting water in them, where as the current crop of carbon masts are pretty reliably water tight.

I don't miss tef gel one little bit. More than one thread on here about seized bolts in foils and the royal pain it can be to remedy.

But to be honest, its all about weight. I jump strapless and my whole set up has to be light to angle toward the wind or to stall properly with a grab. Carbon was such a nice upgrade for me. Complete board and foil weigh as much as my previous high quality aluminum foil alone. Switching to a carbon set up literally cut the total weight in half. You get used to that, and there is no going back.

Again. There are really great alloy set ups out there, so it all depends on how much you foil, how you foil and to some extent even where you foil.

I'm sure the SLC is a very nice foil. It certainly looks nice, but just because they marketing speak up their decision to go aluminum mast does not make it a better option than carbon.

It is what it is, carbon cost more, but for plenty of enthusiasts its well worth it. I remember people saying as much back when I first started foiling..... I had fun regardless, but turns out, they were right!

Ketos, Tarroa, Mikes Lab, etc. The real pretty high end stuff is all carbon.

Project cedrus, universal masts..... super light, super stiff..... carbon.


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