North Sonar HA-Series

Completing their Sonar high aspect range following the earlier release of the HA850 and 1050, North’s HA Series is now available in a very comprehensive nine sizes. We hit up North’s Brand Director Mike Raper to hear about the whole line-up…

Hi Mike. Could you give us an overview of the high aspect range, what it contains, and who should be looking to benefit from it…

I should start with a warning – the Sonar HA Wings are designed for intermediate to advanced riders in different powered foiling categories like wing, kite and towing in bigger and faster swell. Engineered for the highest speed and efficiency possible across a range of disciplines, the HA Series require minimal pump and power to generate glide.

The HA is our most efficient wing to date. With excellent lift at high speed, the HA850-HA1250 are your core wing-foiling and surf sizes. The smaller HA550-HA1050 have less planing surface and higher stall speed. They are designed to generate maximum efficiency and lift for high-speed wing foiling, racing, kite foiling and towing into large swells. The larger HA1250-HA1450 are ideal for light wind winging, bigger riders, coastal runners or stealing wakes.

Tell us about any unique features you’ve built into the shape?

The foil sections have been designed from a clean slate with a strong focus on maximizing laminar flow over the section; this minimizes drag, which maximizes glide and top speed while also preventing flow detachment and ventilation when tip breaching. The flow conditions at the foil's tip differ significantly from those at the root, so the foil section also changes along the span of these wings to suit the different requirements. The tapered planform minimizes resistance to turning inputs, which maximizes maneuverability for the span.

Who’s responsible for your foil design?

Naval architect Uli Sommerlatt heads up our design and development team as foils Product Manager and our Foils Engineer Danyon Watchorn does all the CAD and design work. The pair make a fantastic team, both drawing from their naval backgrounds in sailing. They have much experience combined with real-world practical mold-making.

It’s a very comprehensive high-aspect range. What was the thinking behind having the nine available sizes?

We made 10 different first-round test samples, and we were planning to choose around five for production, but once we started testing each iteration in some of the core sizes, I must admit our enthusiasm took over. We loved them all. We took all nine into production spaced every 100mm except for the jump from HA1250-HA1450.

How do these HA wings perform when breaching?

These wings breach extremely well – they can breach, recover and track again instantly.  Recovery on sharp turns is also incredible. The custom-designed section shapes resist flow detachment, meaning the foil doesn’t ventilate when a tip is breached. The flattened-off wingtips create a steeper exit angle between the foil and the water surface, which also reduces the disturbance from breaching.

Tell us about the construction and layup. How have you kept any vibration to a minimum?

The carbon fiber prepreg layup and core material have been selected to maximize stiffness, providing a direct and consistent feel and eliminating low-frequency vibration. The refined wingtips and trailing edge minimize flow-induced oscillations. This combination of streamlined shape and stiff structure provides a smooth and vibration-free ride.

Which of your stabilizers are best paired with the HA range?

We have launched the S208 stabilizer to pair with the HA range. It has been designed with faster foil sections and a more efficient shape, which help to unlock the high-speed potential of the HA front wings. We are also launching the S178 in March, which pairs with the smaller HA front wings for experienced riders looking for even higher speeds. Depending on body weight, we recommend the HA950 and below on the S178 and the HA1050 and above on the S208.

You’ve added some larger sizes, the 1250 and 1450, tell us more about their potential application.

Great for light wind winging and heavier riders, the larger sizes also crossover into downwind, allowing more experienced riders to foil in faster-moving ocean swells. Ocean swells move faster in the open ocean – slower in shallow water or closer to the coast. The faster you move through the water, the more you need a very efficient wing.

What sort of top speeds has the GPS been clocking on the smaller sizes?

Our team rider in Fuerteventura, Gunnar Biniasch, has recorded over 37 knots on GPS with the HA550 with the 4.2 Mode wing.

The 850 and 1050 have been out for a little while already. How’s the response been to those?

For winging, good. The wings are very fast, targeted to an intermediate or advanced rider who can keep their speed up in the gybe. (We’re first to admit that it’s not the right wing for learning how to gybe!). The 850 is more playful and responsive and has more top speed. The HA1050 has a slightly earlier lift to foil, is a bit easier to ride, has a bit more glide, and you’d also enjoy it more in lighter wind. If your winging includes big offshore rollers, the larger wing is great.

Anything else coming out of the North camp we should be looking out for?

A new 2023 Nova Wing and a sick new range of surf foils and low-speed stabs are coming. These work well for prone and wing surfing, dock starts, pumping and downwind. There is also a new 95cm mast and a smaller S178 stab, which will complement these high-speed HA Wings.   

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