AK Durable Supply Co’s foil board range at the AWSI

Steve meets up with AK Durable Supply Co‘s Clinton Filen at the AWSI trade show to discuss the current AK board range…

Products featured:
AK Phazer
AK Compact

For the full interview transcript, see below.


Steve:

Hi, I'm Steve with Foiling Magazine and I'm here with Clinton (Filen) with AK Durable Supply Co. Clinton, I'd love to talk about your new boards, but I wanted to get a little background. You and I go back a little bit and I know that you've had a long experience in designing boards beyond just this AK brand here. So, could you tell us a little bit about the development of AK and then tell us a bit about the boards?

Clinton:

So, from our side, we are from Cape Town, South Africa and that's really a waterman paradise. So, we pretty much spend our days surfing, kiting, winging, windsurfing, surf foiling, doing whatever we can. And that really just ended up having the opportunity to do something that we could really share our love of all the board sports in all the water spots. So that AK began to take shape just from that shared passion with being able to connect with our friends.

Steve:

So you've been designing boards professionally for decades, for many years, right?

Clinton:

Yeah. I mean, I started as a kid building my own boards and then, luckily enough, got taught by some really smart people and then it has been a long journey.

Steve:

I know you've also done some innovative technologies as well. So, tell us a little about the AK line and what's coming out for 2023 here.

Clinton:

So, what we've done within AK, essentially there's a two board lineup. I guess I could start with the Phazer. So, the concept for us with the Phazer is, we took a single board line and we went all the way from a 4'0 up to a 6'2. It's really a range that crosses over depending on your typical usage. Whereas the smaller sizes, let's say, the 4'0 is a great board for kiting, it's a great board for pump foiling, it's a great board for a lighter rider to surf foil on. Then you go up to something, say like the 4'2 or the 4'6, to your medium sizes and even your slightly bigger sizes are more towards surf foiling, but with very much a wing skew. Then we work with athletes like Zane Schweitzer on the surf side and he wants one board that he surf foils and he wants to basically be able to wing on the other side with the single board. And so, that's very classic of the development that we've done and that really gave birth to the whole Phazer concept.

Steve:

Awesome, and so ultimately the volumes go from where to where?

Clinton:

So from 140 liters down to I think 28 liters.

Steve:

Okay, fantastic.

Clinton:

Yeah, really just making them multifunctional, for example, they come with a strap that's a soft strap, so it's ideal for surfing and it's also great for when you-

Steve:

It'll flatten out a bit or?

Clinton:

Yes, it flattens out completely so you can lie on the strap and that has a lot of use and it's also great, obviously, for winging if you're out in the water.

Steve:

And then, I see strap inserts and this is a pretty big board. Do you have strap inserts all the way up or just do they stop at a hundred liters or something?

Clinton:

Yeah, so all of the boards have got strap inserts. All of the boards have got the V strap option even to the smaller sizes and the straight strap option-

Steve:

Awesome.

Clinton:

… Which is kind of preferred by the surf guys.

Steve:

Right. Very cool.

Clinton:

So, like I said, really, the heritage of the Phazer is from our surf shape. So we kept that surf shape and for us, having the more rounded outline means that if you do come off foil, the characteristics of the board are still more similar to a surfboard. If you watch somebody like Zane surf foiling, he's not always on foil. He spends a lot of time doing things where he'll drop down onto the rail, he'll turn back into the foam. And so, really, having a board that feels intuitive when you're off foil and having very well-managed touchdown. So you can touchdown from a lot of angles, the nose can wash through very nicely and so all of those things just make it maneuverable and it's still got a lot of glide.

Steve:

Awesome.

Clinton:

You need paddle speed, you need glide and then for lighter winds, you also want to have some glide to get you up on foil as soon as possible if you're winging.

Steve:

I'm sure. Awesome. And then you've got this unique thing right here.

Clinton:

That is the Compact. So, the concept for us with the Compact is, we started with our freestyle rider Xavi Corr, and he really does a bit of racing, but he's mainly into freestyle flat water.

Steve:

Does he do the GWA stuff?

Clinton:

Yeah, so he does the GWA. He's 15 years old.

Steve:

Oh, wow.

Clinton:

He's one of the young guns coming through, but for him he's just pushing the sport.

Steve:

Rotations.

Clinton:

Rotations, but he still wants something versatile, so they're typically, they still need to use quite big boards in the lighter conditions. So we ended up developing the compact shape where that also translates very well into people who want a very short board. We chose not to make an inflatable, we chose to rather make the shortest, highest volume board we could make. Then for this year we dropped the widths. So, for the same volume, the board's got around an inch narrower so just optimizing as we learn.

Steve:

Oh, wow. Sort of early planning, I guess.

Clinton:

Yeah, and there's other features that we have, is what we call a higher apex rail, where even though the board's pretty wide, you looked at your wetted surfaces, it's pretty far in so you end up with the bottom deck area that's still pretty small. Yeah. So, it's still easy to throw around, trying to get the weight right that the board gets going quickly and make sure that we can get the durability as best possible.

Steve:

What are the height ranges and the volume ranges on this?

Clinton:

So, this starts at a one oh five and it goes all the way down to a 36 this year.

Steve:

Oh, wow.

Clinton:

And we're also getting a lot of younger riders coming in, they're really light. In the windier locations, they would even be riding 36 and 46 liters.

Steve:

And then how small is the 36?

Clinton:

That's a good question. I think it's around about a 4'2.

Steve:

Oh, wow. Yeah.

Clinton:

So, yeah. They get pretty short.

Steve:

Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well, thank you, Clinton.

Clinton:

Yeah, perfect. Well, thanks a lot and great to see you.

Steve:

Good to see you.

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