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AK is a South Africa based brand manufacturing high-quality foils as well as surf, wakeboard and kitesurf accessories. From their base in Muizenberg, Cape Town, they have one of the very best foil testing playgrounds on the planet and a dedicated team of foil loving enthusiasts who can turn around and be testing prototypes in less than 24 hours. So: this is a very well-honed product!
The AK Surf foil has an aluminum mast and fuselage, with full carbon front and back wings. There are two sizes available, the 1300 (which we had on test) and the 1600cm2. The big difference with most of the other alu foils on the market is the depth of the mast mountings on the fuselage and baseplate. They are twice deeper than usual and are mounted together with two screws on each side. The torx headset gives you confidence to tighten everything up gradually and gives the hydrofoil a really stiff feel. The front wing comes under the head of the fuselage with a perfect fit mount molded on top. The stabilizer comes with an interesting tuning system that allows you to change its angle of attack by sliding it forward or backward. It is simple, looks really good, and gives you the possibility to change your tunings really quickly. The mast is a heavy-duty aluminum profile and the aluminum section is thicker than other production alu masts. Assembling the foil is easy and quick, and the open drills of the baseplate allow you to adjust your foil position and dismount it easily.
Once together and the first thing to say is: this is a really stiff hydrofoil. There’s zero play in the connections, the mast and fuselage are super stiff and it is still really light for an aluminum foil. This stealth fuselage looks A1, and the relatively thin profile of the front wing for a medium ratio looks really promising in the water. For the test, we used a custom 5´0 board n various conditions, from 3-7ft waves, with rider height at 186cm, weight at 86 kilos.
Paddling out on the foil is very comfortable, but you can feel the foil under the board. The front wing has a positive flotation, so when paddling in the rip you feel the board sometimes twitching a little bit, although this has no consequences and there’s no need to balance it, and it feels lively and stiff under the board. When duckdiving in powerful surf you need to be careful not to angle the board too much towards you when reaching the surface to avoid losing grip.
Getting down to business and pivoting and catching a wave is pretty easy. The AK foil has a really graduated, balanced lift. It feels safe to pop up on, no early lift and easy to angulate. The flight is balanced and easy to manage and the foil responds effectively with zero lag. It builds speed gradually, and as soon as you push into turns you feel that you have quite a lot of power under the hood. Everything is super predictable and it works really well in a large range of conditions. You can really rely on the overall balance and ride it with a lot of comfort. It provides a medium turning radius and you can sharpen it by trimming the rear wing to positive pitch. It is extremely stable close to the surface, and breaching wingtips in carves is fine and controllable, as the foil eliminates the air as soon as it dives again without stalling.
Pumping the AK is super easy and doesn’t requires a lot of energy to keep flying. The stall drop is really low and within two pumps it gets back to speed comfortably. The overall stability and speed range will allow you to pump with ease at speed and on long distances. It also glides really well and you can rely on that when your legs are burning. Connecting waves is simple and effective.
Overall the AK Surf Foil is a very impressive all-rounder. It has a super wide speed range and is a really stable platform for beginners to pros alike. Stiff, bulletproof and predictable: a true one foil quiver.