Three new wings from Team Eleveight, including the WFS V5, the GT2+ V2, and the WFS PRO – the latter wing being so new in fact, that we didn’t have a product shot of it as we went to print! But here is everything you need to know…

So a sparkly new wing range, and there’s even a bit of Aluula in there too! First up, can you give us a little overview of the three new wings?

Our new WFS V5 freeride wing was the first release this season and is targeted at all levels and all conditions, available in a very wide range of sizes: 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6m. The WFS V5 now also features a full carbon wing bar for very intuitive hand positioning.

The GT2+ is our super lightweight wing made using XTC TEX material in the inflatable structure. Due to its light construction, it is a favorite for wave riders and is also a very good freeride crossover wing. The GT2+ features two carbon handles for very natural handling.

Our upcoming release will be our WFS PRO; the first Aluula wing in our range and the most innovative and lightest. Featuring the latest generation of Aluula composite, the DNA is similar to the WFS and also features a full carbon wing bar. The WFS PRO is very light and has stiff and direct handling. It’s more suited to freeriders seeking top-level performance in any condition and we expect it to also be very popular in our freestyle community.

So kicking off with the WFS V5 – by its very model number, it’s clear this wing is a favorite with riders. Why has it been such a hit do you think, and what’s new with V5 compared to previous versions?

Yes, we are already in the fifth version of the WFS and indeed it's established a good performance reputation. It was also our first wing, so it has a long history of development with many incremental changes. When we developed the WFS it was clear that we needed a wing with a boom or bar for a very intuitive hand positioning. At this time, most companies used soft handles, but we were never big fans of that solution. The handle option was certain for us, and building on our extensive knowledge of inflatable products, we had a great start with a very loyal and fast-growing customer base from day one.

The WFS was also developed as our freeride wing which is suitable for all conditions, riding styles and riding levels. Most riders want to use one wing for different conditions. The versatile character of the WFS tackles all conditions so you can have fun on your freeride flat water session, or a wave session at your preferred spot. Version 5 features our entirely new constructed carbon bar, which is much lighter, and we also redesigned the EVA grip for torque and control.

In addition to the new CS Bar, the redesigned shape of the struts gives better wing balance, optimized for arm length. The deeper profile has also increased the low-end capabilities allowing for easier pump action. Version 5 has more stable drift, less drag and increased high-end too, and the new dihedral shape has been optimized for stability and harness use.

The trailing edge battens on the WFS V5, are they optional or necessary?

The battens in our designs are necessary as the canopy tension plays a crucial role in a stable, fast and intuitive easy-to-handle wing. We found a trailing edge with battens increases the tension in these areas which will help against flattening and deformation and assist with the overall aerodynamic design. Furthermore, more tension also means an increase in overall durability and extends the lifespan of the wing.

How do you identify changes for something so established? Is it emerging knowledge or materials, or is it based on feedback from riders? Or a bit of both?

The developments always come from a bit of both and the wing market is still very young so we undergo a lot of innovation every year. It's a challenge for the design team, but also a very interesting task. As a performance-driven company, we love the fast-growing knowledge and our aim is to produce wings that reflect the latest performance trends in the market.

It's very helpful that our passionate R&D team have historical knowledge. Our designer Peter Stiewe has been in the industry for a long time and he has an exceptional knowledge about different materials. That became very helpful in the process of the wing developments because some of the so-called ‘new' materials had already been used in the kites but did not match our quality and performance criteria.

On the other hand, feedback from the team is a very essential parameter. Different riding styles require different products and the exchange and discussion about any detail is essential for our development process. The riders progress quickly, and so we need to listen to them to reflect this progress in our products.

Moving to the GT2+ V2, what’s new here?

We only released the GT1+ last year in the spring and had incredible feedback. The new XTC TEX material in the leading edge and the very light construction made the wing light and stiff with very direct handling. However, after the release, the design team already had new ideas and the first prototypes were produced in the summer of 2023. As I said before, the nature of the sport is very progressive right now and we as a company have to reflect this progression within our products. In other words, I could also use our key slogan: development never stops!

Enhanced canopy tension has been a noticeable change in wings across the market in the last year. How have you optimized this in the GT2+ V2?

The canopy tension was always a bit of a topic for us and the GT1+ already had a lot of canopy tension and a flatter profile. In general, our aim is to minimize deformation and elongation under force. For the GT2+ we are using a thinner leading edge for less drag and incredible upwind riding ability.

We also revised the dual infill panel for drift stability and advanced profile support. We changed the panel cuts to ensure a super clean profile and canopy tension for an efficient wing with direct control. We also strategically placed reinforcements in the center leading edge section of the wing to increase and emphasize the stiffness, allowing twist towards the tips.

So how do you design a wave and freeride oriented wing? How does it differentiate itself in terms of performance and structure?

For our WFS freeride wing, we focused on very intuitive handling and very balanced flight performance, so that we can satisfy the needs of a broad customer base. The carbon boom is perfect for versatile grip options and the WFS is a bit deeper in its profile compared to the GT2+, generating a bit more power. For the construction, we used our prime material such as X4 ripstop and XT to ensure the perfect balance between performance and durability.

The GT2+ is more of a crossover wing with a specific wave focus or for more demanding wingfoilers. We wanted a performance wing that drifts very well and is highly reactive. Featuring premium XTC TEX material construction, the GT2+ is lighter, with a stiffer frame that makes it highly efficient and a much more responsive wing choice. The innovative dual infill panel adds advanced profile support between the struts and the canopy to reduce turbulence and create natural drift. Its very clean profile has tight canopy tension for maximum maneuverability and drift, and our CS carbon handles reduce weight and offer natural handling.

And now finally to the WFS PRO. Aluula has been around for a few years now, but when did you first start experimenting with the material, and what did the R&D journey look like?

We tried Aluula first in our kite range some years ago and we found the material to be very promising but at that stage also not easy for the production process and also not suitable for all products. The first wings with Aluula were tested last year with a very promising outcome.

We already had a good experience with our stiffer XTC TEX material and could use this knowledge for further Aluula productions. With the upgraded Aluula material used in our samples, we were very confident to bring out our first Aluula wing to the market.

Was manufacturing from Aluula challenging initially or is it now at a stage where the factories know how to handle it? Have the sewing specifications changed in the last few years?

We have both factors here as in the beginning it was not easy for the manufactures to use this new material. We had issues with durability and also with closing the seams. That caused a bit of an issue and was one of the reasons why we took our time to test and improve the production process with our manufacturers. Quality and related durability is a very important factor for our products and we wanted to make sure that in this higher price segment, we can offer the best performance but also with the best durability.

The second challenge was on the material side of the supplier. However, the upgraded Aluula is much better in terms of production and durability, and with improvements in both factors, we are now very confident for our first production.

Is the WFS PRO solely for expert riders or does it have applications for the average Joe?

The WFS PRO is a high-performance freeride wing and is targeted more towards the ambitious rider, although it can be used for all riding levels as its lightweight and direct feel will be appreciated by everyone. For the progressive rider we found our WFS to be a bit more balanced and also a bit more forgiving to a certain extent, which makes it a great choice for this rider group. The WFS PRO will mostly accelerate the performance of riders with a higher skill level seeking top-level performance in any conditions.   

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