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The Performer series from AFS is divided into three different wing sets, with the standard set (for all-round freeride winging and downwinding), the RS set (slalom/race) and the DS set (downwind/surf). We had the classic Performer 950 on test, and straight out of the bag, this foil is immediately striking – a beautiful, French-built, all-round, full carbon hydrofoil specifically designed primarily for wingfoiling.
Assembling the foil is really simple, using only one tool. It is extremely rigid, stiff and light at just 3.1kg, and a beautiful piece of engineering. The matt finish on the carbon is stunning and everything fits together tightly. We ran the tests while wingfoiling in varied conditions, ranging from sub-10 through to 25 knots, riding the AFS Fire 5'0 board in open ocean conditions, with the waves at 3-5ft. I’m 186cm, 86 kilos.
On the water and it was immediately clear that this foil is perfectly tuned, and no shims were required. On take-off, the Performer provides a very balanced and progressive lift and accelerates instantly to a comfortable cruising speed without really having to ‘feel it out’. It knows where its sweet spot is and it gets you straight there. It is very stable, comfortable and perfectly reliable, and it glides in absolute silence and enters carves easily. When accelerating down the line, it builds speed with control, and pumping with it is also very easy – you can deliver slow, powerful pumps to maintain your speed without burning your legs. The stabilizer is well tuned and paired with the front wing to smooth out the extra amount of lift, and the Performer offers an impressive pitch stability but remains very easy to turn.
The AFS Performer has a comfortable speed range but remains a freeride hydrofoil. It goes fast enough to race with the local crew, but if you are aiming to compete you should perhaps consider the Performer RS series. Nonetheless, it enjoys a very respectable speed range, and retains control throughout almost any wind speed. It takes off early enough and provides a very balanced ride and remains stable and predictable when the wind gets stronger. The carbon construction and stiffness of the foil gives you a very tuned-in experience and a controlled level of energy, building speed gradually and gliding comfortably with a really low speed stalling point (around 10 knots). The carve control is smooth and responsive and you will get to any angle you are aiming for.
The AFS Performer is a true freeride wingfoiler’s hydrofoil. It does it all and it does it very, very well. If you are aiming to get one foil to go riding everywhere in the world, from flat water to freeride racing, downwind to carving into waves then, well, you have the perfect combo. AB