Armstrong unveil their new gear at AWSI

Foiling Magazine's Contributing Editor Steve Sjuggerud talks to Kjell van Sice at the AWSI in Hood River and discuss the WKT Armstrong Foils, ARMSTRONG CF2050 V2 FOIL KIT A+ and the ARMSTRONG CF2050 V2 WING.

For the full interview transcript, see below.


Steve Sjuggerud:

Hi, I'm Steve from Foiling Magazine and we are at AWSI 2022. I'm here with Kjell (van der Sice) from Armstrong Foils and just wanted to talk about what's new and what's upcoming for Armstrong in the rest of '22 and on into the 2023 year. So Kjell, what's new and exciting for us?

Kjell:

Yeah, so, happy to be here and thanks for coming by. So we've got two new products. We've got a performance mast range and we've got a new board, the WKT and the WKT will be coming out later this month and the mast range will be coming out a little bit later in the year.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Fantastic. I got to wing foil on this mast yesterday and it's pretty remarkable. I mean, one of the things that I found was that in addition to being incredibly stiff, it was incredibly smooth through the water. No turbulence, just no ventilation. It was just really exceptional, so I was excited. You want to comment on any of the special sauce inside this guy?

Kjell:

Yeah, definitely. So going a little bit further back, I'm sure you know this but for those who might not know, Armie Armstrong, our founder, his background is in sailing. His whole family's been in sailing and then he has quite a number of years of materials expertise, and so when you combine sailing and materials expertise, there's a lot of cross application on hydrofoils. Now being down in New Zealand, Armie is good friends with the America's Cup New Zealand team and they are long and away the most technologically advanced and sophisticated designers and engineers of foils on the planet. They're building foils for incredible racing boats, so when the performance mast idea came up to make something that's faster, stiffer, lighter, more efficient, those were the natural guys to pair up with. So Armie's been working for about a year with a couple of designers from the America's Cup resources that they have down there, and these masts have been product tested by Jimmy Spithill, Peter Burling…

Steve Sjuggerud:

America's Cup guys, right?

Kjell:

Exactly. Blair Tuke, and so this thing comes from a really high-tech technology materials and engineering background, combined with Armie's expertise in hydrofoils, so that's a little bit of the background groundwork for you. The big engineering topic with regard to this mast was tackling ventilation, and so the whole idea with ventilation is, as the mast is running through the water and through the surface of the water, certain masts, they will draw air down. It'll draw air from the surface down the mast, and that'll disrupt the flow that's going around the rest of the foil so that creates drag. It also can change your ride, especially if you're trying to do radical things, so that was a big mission to tackle with these masts, was addressing ventilation.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Well, I think you achieved it. It was incredibly quiet. So the one I rode was a 93. So when do these come out, roughly? I know with all supply chain issues and this and that, but when do these come out and then what sizes will they ultimately be available in?

Kjell:

Right. So right now, the 935, the 93 and a half centimeter mast will be coming out a little bit later this year, not too far out, but a little bit later, and I can tell you that there are going to be two other sizes at the moment. There's going to be one that's a little bit longer and one that's a little bit shorter.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Okay, great. Fantastic. Well, it's really incredible but let's move along. So you've got this exciting thing right here and down where I live near Jacksonville, Florida, we've got some of the most incredible wake foilers and tow foilers around, so can you tell me a little about this? I've seen this prototype on the water, actually, but this is the real thing.

Kjell:

Yeah, exactly. So you've probably been seeing Austin Tovey, who's our…

Steve Sjuggerud:

Austin Tovey, yeah.

Kjell:

…who's our wake maniac. Amazing, extraordinary rider. I think, the last time I heard, he was working on a double back flip right now.

Steve Sjuggerud:

That's right. I think he's in a race to complete that, right?

Kjell:

Exactly.

Steve Sjuggerud:

I'm sure he will.

Kjell:

Exactly, and so he's been integral in testing for the WKT, but WKT, so what does that stand for? So it's wake, kite, and tow, and this is a board that's really been four years in the making, actually. So down in New Zealand, Armie's got a friend who's an ambassador of ours who loves riding really thin, really short boards, towing and also kiting. Of course, when you ride a thinner board, you have more sensitivity, more reactivity, you're closer to the foil and it gives you just a really upgraded experience riding a foil.

Steve Sjuggerud:

But also more things that could potentially break, right? I mean, being so thin and trying to handle the forces of the foil.

Kjell:

Right, exactly, and so this board's only an inch thick. If you're looking at it from the side, you almost can't see the profile.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Right, right.

Kjell:

It's quite thin, and it does actually have even a little bit of recessed deck, but they've gotten around that by creating a pretty trick molded carbon construction, and actually something that's really interesting. This shares a lot in common with our mast top construction, so the solidity that you get in the mast top construction has been translated across into this board. Now of course, it's been done pretty strategically so the board doesn't weigh a ton, but it is incredibly solid, because it's meant to be able to land airs like what Austin Tovey would be doing.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Awesome. So you've got this. This is pretty dedicated. Well, let me say, it's WKT and then P, because…

Kjell:

It is WKT with a silent P at the end.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Because you said yesterday you were pumping this…

Kjell:

Exactly.

Steve Sjuggerud:

So it works for pumping just as well?

Kjell:

It works great for pumping, because when you're pumping, of course, you don't really want a board, especially if you're doing a dock start, right, because all you're looking for is for something to attach you to the foil and that's about it, and…

Steve Sjuggerud:

So you did this yesterday here in Hood River, and what foils were you using? What style of foil?

Kjell:

So we were riding a bit of everything. I mean, it works for everything. I was personally riding our CFv2 2050.

Steve Sjuggerud:

You want to tell us a little about the CF line?

Kjell:

Yeah, certainly.

So for those who are or maybe aren't familiar with Armstrong, the original range that was released a number of years ago was called CF. It was Carving Free Ride.

Steve Sjuggerud:

I didn't know that. I just know it's CF, so we're good.

Kjell:

Yeah, so CF stands for Carving Free Ride. HS stands for High Speed and HA stands for High Aspect. Earlier this year, when we released CFv2, it is in many ways a v2 to CF. It succeeds the original CF line, but it's very different in many other ways, and without getting into all the details, it retains all of the essential qualities that makes the original CF range great. It's super user friendly, it's all about fun and it gives you a really wide range of use across all the sizes, but now the performance range is pushed further in both directions.

Steve Sjuggerud:

I would say, so much so that you've seen some of your top team riders in some YouTube clips choosing to use this. We were just talking to Austin Tovey. I've seen him ride this.

Kjell:

Absolutely.

Steve Sjuggerud:

A few other guys that are pretty high-end riders have actually chosen this and they say it's just easy, and that was my experience yesterday wing foiling. It was just a plain easy foil.

Kjell:

Absolutely. No, you're 100% correct. Austin Tovey loves the CF950.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Was that even part of the design brief, by the way, to have these guys like it?

Kjell:

I think that's where it started.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Yeah, oh really? Okay.

Kjell:

That's where it started and what's funny, actually, is I was talking to Armie recently and he's telling me all he's been riding has been the CF950.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Oh really?

Kjell:

So even Armie loves it and it works. It's super fun and you can go out and rip on it.

Steve Sjuggerud:

So you can be a beginner and you can be an expert, can use that one foil all the way through your entire foiling experience.

Kjell:

Exactly. And like with everything that's Armstrong, it's made to last and it's all cross compatible. So you get one, you step and you step, and you just get your toes wet in the family but you can actually upgrade through and through.

Steve Sjuggerud:

So before I let you go, I have one final question. These are things that are coming out now, but I can see something and we don't need to reveal it yet, but I know you guys are always testing. So what I see over there is a, can I share? It's a downwind board.

Kjell:

You can share it.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Have you ridden it? You don't have to share too much, but I heard that you and Oscar were out the other day, so can you share a little bit about what might be coming down the pipe?

Kjell:

Yeah, absolutely. So downwind boards are pretty hot at the moment. Downwind boards are pretty hot at the moment and just…

Steve Sjuggerud:

Do you think downwind is an actual… I mean, is it worth making a production board? Is it a real thing? I know it's a real thing in the Gorge and in Maui, but I mean is this a sport that's actually going to happen?

Kjell:

Yeah, well the thing with downwind is I think even though it may be a small percentage of people that are currently doing it at the moment, it has a future and that future lies in making gear that's more accessible. It's all about designs that make it easier and more possible to get on the water, and so what I can tell you about the board right now is that two weeks ago, I was riding a board with 40 more liters than that.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Oh wow.

Kjell:

And now I'm riding this and I'm very comfortable and it's something that I thought I would never be able to do at this point in my progression with SUP downwind foiling.

Steve Sjuggerud:

And I know we're digressing a bit, but what size foil did you start with for downwind and then what size foil would you use today on the new type of prototype boards?

Kjell:

Yeah, absolutely. So I started out on a large high aspect that was very confident at low speeds, and right now I'm riding what you could consider a smaller, very fast, high aspect.

Steve Sjuggerud:

Awesome. Awesome. Well, thanks. This is all exciting. The new mast is extraordinary. You've got the high end stuff and you've got stuff that everybody can use and you got a little bit coming down the line. Thanks Kjell, thanks for introducing us to it all.

Kjell:

Thanks, Steve.

Subscribe to the Friday Pump newsletter!

Join over 22,000 subscribers that love their Friday foiling fix!

*We will also send you occasional emails about the latest gear tests and giveaway announcements!

Related Articles...

The Takuma eTow is here

The first self-controlled electric towing watercraft

READ MORE

Phantom Chronicles EP3 | BELHARRA BIG WAVES FOILING

Hold on tight and get ready to watch the next episode of the Phantom Chronicles.

READ MORE

Tom Earl carving on the New Hyper2 150

Tom Earl dominating the waves in Cornwall.

READ MORE
The Foiling Magazine quote

"It's a beautiful thing to see how far foiling has come!"

Damien LeRoy – Pro Kiteboarder

"I enjoy every page of the Foiling Mag – keep it up!"

Evan Mavridoglou – General Manager, AXIS Foils

"I had a good time reading issue N°1, everything is high quality from the content to the paper!"

Julien Salles – Brand Manager, Manera

"Foiling Magazine is incredible."

Chereé Thomson, Brand Coordinator, AK Durable Supply Co.

"What a rad publication."

Ivan van Vuuren – Signature Foils