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After last year’s high-aspect push in general foil design, in more recent months the foil industry has seen a robust swathe of mid-aspect, heavily surf-focused offerings which blend wide speed ranges and playful roll characteristics. AXIS had a very complete range of foils existing, and their answer to the latest and greatest market trend is the Spitfire, which comes in a comprehensive range of seven sizes denoted from their spans ranging from 720mm up to 1100mm.
At first glance it’s extremely obvious why they’ve named it after the iconic WW2 fighter plane. The elliptical front wing design is instantly recognizable. There’s more to this shape than the RAF reference though – from the front you’ll notice a very gentle and gradual downturn over its span leading into the tips. The foil section is relatively flat on the underside with no concave hidden in the trailing edge and overall, it’s a sportive and lean looking profile per size.
It’s worth noting that the aspect ratios are also throttled down as the size increments decrease, so as the front wings step down incrementally, they become shorter in span relative to their chord and as a result have an easier roll tendency and therefore surfy feeling in turning response. One of the key features AXIS is eager to promote is the straight median line, an attribute that also spreads into their new ART Pro range. It essentially means the thickest part of the chord sits in one straight line across the span. In practice, this improves the predictability and control during turns, which is an ideal character trait for a surf-focused wing.
The Spitfire 840 we primarily tested is positioned in the lower half of the range and is 1006cm2 and has an aspect ratio of just over seven, a true mid-aspect by modern standards. For tail pairings, we used a combination of the 300p and 350p which offered a little more support in more confused water states and the 362 Skinny for a little extra speed and glide when things were cleaner. It bolts into the B-Series fuselage and is recommended on the Advanced + or Advanced geometry.
In context with the rest of the AXIS range in equivalent sizes, the Spitfire sits somewhere between the existing HPS and ART ranges in terms of general speed and lift performance. There’s a balanced combination of pace and glide, but the key improvement is in the turning capability which blurs the lines between straight surfing and surf foiling, and the way the rider can manage speed will certainly bring them close to the critical sections of the wave.
Regardless of your method of wave entry, be it wing, paddle or prone, the 840 is a foil for when waves are on the agenda; it likes to be thrown around with vigor. It always feels eager to initiate roll, with a constant, predictable level of resistance and feedback that doesn't vary as you push your carves and gives a pleasant consistent feeling as to where you are in the turn. It accelerates out of a corner nicely without giving a whole load of added front foot pressure and remains balanced at speed. In fact, the Spitfire seems to excel when driving through the back foot which really lets you lay down carves and feels more akin to surfing. The straight median line design, combined with elliptical tips mean that this foil breaches tips in an extremely predictable manner. Often when pushing our turns with this foil, the only evidence of breaching was the sound, but this isn't noticeable in how the foil feels, allowing you to commit to harder and harder turns.
It would be forgivable to assume that being a mid-aspect foil may be compromised in terms of glide, but this isn’t the case. The flatter foil section combined with that median line, gives the Spitfire much more glide than you would expect. This efficiency means the Spitfire also pumps well at speed and this combination means that many of AXIS’ team riders opt to downwind these foils as well, allowing them to rip endless surf turns whilst downwinding.
AXIS have filled a niche in their massively comprehensive front wing range very intelligently with the Spitfire. It’s uncompromisingly surf focused and if ripping turns in the pocket is your priority it’s an excellent choice. The massive range of sizes will make it extremely easy to tailor a quiver and mix and match with the other wing series. If you’re in the AXIS ecosystem already it would be rude not to drop a couple of sizes into the mix.