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AK Durable Supply Co. blew us away last season with the Phazer, whose elegant lines began a fashion towards a more traditional surfboard-derived shape in wingboard design, which seems to span most of the market as a concept when it comes to an easy starting and high-performing freeride-oriented board. The new Compact aims squarely at the intermediate and above rider who wants to push their aerial antics.
It’s a case of Compact by name and compact by nature. The volume is very concentrated into its parallel outline and it really centralizes the board’s balance point meaning it’s reassuringly stable on the water surface, even running a 20l deficit from our bodyweight with minimal wind. Three strap insert options are present to cater for all tastes, including a two-strap straight option. These offer plenty of fore and aft adjustment to accommodate different foils and riding styles. The corduroy deckpad pattern runs nose to tail giving an excellent balance of grip and sensitivity, translating feedback from the foil and board well. The concave in the deck lowers your center of gravity slightly when stood on the stringer and again, gets you closer to the foil. When on the surface, this has the benefit of helping stabilize the small planform, pushing the very even volume to the edges of the board like a subtle composite rubber ring. From a rocker perspective, the bulk of this is concentrated in the nose, and it makes an admirable job of deflating harsh landings when matched with a very subtle double concave which runs gently back to the foil box. Behind the box, the board is flat with a small 45-degree kick in the tail which runs back about 80mm into the rounded tail.
You’ll notice that the manufacturing and layup are completely revised from the Phazer to make it more robust for heavy landings and acrobatic horseplay. Most obviously the rail is covered with bands of Innegra, and overall as a result there’s slightly more mass per liter. Our 78l board weighed in at just under 6kg, making it very competitive amongst its peers. From a practical perspective, all edges on the Compact are gently rounded, meaning it’s a comfortable board to hold and deal with both in chop and on the beach. The carry handle that sits just in front of the foil box is full size, deep and well crafted ergonomically.
In the water, the inherent stability of the Compact makes it very simple to get on your knees and to standing, and once the power threshold is met to foil it releases very cleanly. Making your foot changes, thanks to its even weight distribution, the Compact runs extremely pitch stable and is forgiving for those more critical in-front-of-the-rocks jibes. In waves the high position of the chined rail lets you get nice and close to the surface for snappier shorter diameter turns. Loading up for a jump, the condensed volume and reduced windage makes rotations effortless to initiate. Importantly, the Compact displaces water extremely effectively on harsher landings, it doesn’t seem to skip out and rather plants itself, which is where that clever volume distribution once again shines.
AK have pulled out all the stops for the Compact and produced a board that’s well designed and very tailored to the freestyle task. It complements the Phazer perfectly for the more ambitious rider, and with more and more people running a two-board quiver for lighter winds and then reducing volume as conditions perk up, it’s a sensible step-down choice as a board that thrives in its top end, and let’s face it, that’s where the bulk of the joy of freestyle wingfoiling is… RB