Freedom Foil Boards WCFC Frequent Flyer & JATO

Following on from our feature about FFB’s revival of the WCFC a couple issues back, we now have two new boards in the rack, the Frequent Flyer and the JATO, both part of the West Coast Foil Club range, a nod to the WCFC crew and their unquestionable influence on the scene before it was a scene… We spoke with Freedom’s founder Chris Sayer to find out what promise sits in these two new shapes.

Hey Chris. So firstly, give us an overview of the two boards, and how much influence into these shapes is there from the original boards ridden by the Hurley Brothers, the founders of the West Coast Foil Club?

The WCFC JATO and Frequent flyer boards are almost the exact design from their original models that came out over three years ago. Jeff and Ryan were way ahead of their time in their board designs. As surfers, they just knew what they wanted out of a foil board and the all-important ‘why’ questions. Their priority was a board that was light, rigid and lasted, which is really all you can ask for in a foil board. We came in and added our twist in the construction and build of their original boards, along with some slight adjustments in their board files but essentially, they are the same boards from years back. People loved their boards back in the day. If it’s not broken, why change anything?

Solid logic that. So did the brothers themselves have any influence into the range?

Jeff and I discussed the sizes of the boards a bit. To be honest I think they would have liked a bit smaller, for production purposes we went with a range of boards that is appealing to a wider target audience. Jeff and especially Ryan were riding boards back in the day that would be considered tow boards by most people because they were so tiny!

JATO stands for Jet Assisted Take Off. We’re gonna assume the JATO is a speedy little thing?

The JATO name came from Ryan Hurley. He’s got a ton of creativity when it comes to marketing. He was behind a lot of the WCFC Instagram posts and the classic foil memes they would share. If you look through any of their early IG posts, you can see they were all over the map, towing into world class waves behind their Yamaha Wave Runner. I remember early on picking up one of their original tow boards and being blown away by how small it was. The JATO is their interpretation and twist on a tow foil board. I would call it more of a pure surf tow board rather than a wake tow board as it has an outline that lends itself to surfing more than sticking airs and flipping behind a wake. At 1.75” thick and 16 liters, the board is super responsive to the foil under your feet and really reflects Jeff and Ryan’s philosophy and direction they see in the purist form of foiling, which is tapping into the energy of swells rather than all the flips and aerials that tends to generate a lot of attention now.

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What are the benefits of having such a limited size board when up on tow?

The Hurley bros knew early on that the smaller the board, the more immediate and responsive it will be to your foil. Because they never were into strapping in to do flips and airs, they weren’t concerned about the surface area needed to help stick big boosts. So going to a small board was all about having something ultra-responsive.

Which of your foil range does it best pair with?

The JATO pairs perfectly with our FFB Phoenix Wing. They are both designed for high-speed carves. Our Phoenix wing doesn’t get as much attention as our Halcyon but it's an amazing wing for people looking to tow and whip into some waves. Everyone gets so into pumping now that a good carve wing gets lost in the shadows…

Tell us about the construction and layup across your board range.

When we go out to build a Freedom board, we are looking at the same characteristics that Jeff and Ryan were thinking… We want our boards to be light, rigid and to hold up to the modern demands of foiling. We want them to last! I would say the fourth criteria is that all our boards are built with an intention for a specific discipline of foiling as well. Whether it’s a thicker deck pad for a wing board or a unique bottom lamination layup for prone boards that we want to be a little lighter, all our boards have a target weight and intentional design aspects that might favor one discipline of foiling versus another. We really dissect every aspect of a board and ask why it’s there or just as importantly, why it’s not there.

Who are the absolute ninjas out riding these two shapes?

I would have to say from our Freedom Team Kyle Maligro and Brady have really been loving the 4’2 Frequent Flyer. Kyle has been riding foil boards as long as Jeff and Ryan and he claims the 4’2 is one of the best boards he’s ridden. From a design perspective, the Frequent Flyer boards have a really unique reverse deck rocker in the tail. So essentially the board has a slight drop in the deck towards the tail which affects your foil and the angle of attack when you’re flying. It gives the board just a bit more front-footed pressure when in a neutral stance which in my opinion gives the board more of a surfy feel under your feet.

Are there going to be more boards to come in the WCFC range?

I hope so! It's super fun to be working with Jeff and Ryan. They are good people and are super smart when it comes to product design and marketing! At Freedom, we are always looking to work with people that have good insight and a passion for the sport of foiling.

Where does the bulk of the testing and product development take place? Let us in on your less secret spots!

We utilize all our team riders to prototype new designs so our boards and our protos are being flown all over the place. This is important because we want our boards to hold up in all different types of conditions. Hawaii for instance requires boards to hold up to the stronger and more powerful waves found there, and with its unique climate boards need to vent well to handle the warmth and humidity. We do have some nice secret spots to foil locally, but you have to be flying a Freedom board for me to share locations!   

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