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Meet Omen, one of the newest yet arguably most advanced foil brands to date. Born from a shared passion and relentless pursuit of pushing boundaries in material science and foil design, the brand’s philosophy is deeply rooted in evolution, change, and progression. In an industry overwhelmed with countless board and foil configurations, often leaving consumers overthinking their options, Omen offers a refreshing simplicity: a single board design, finely tuned into different sizes, built with the legendary Appletree construction, and a foil range designed to do it all. The Operator series, inspired by the versatility and adaptability of a military ‘operator', aims to be the Swiss Army knife of foils. Currently available in 1050 and 850 sizes, Omen has dialed in this series to unlock the “highest possible efficiency across the widest possible range.” Designed for winging, surf foiling, and wave freeriding, the Operator caters perfectly to intermediate and advanced riders in search of the highest-performance ride. Interestingly, both front wings share the same 90cm (35.4”) wingspan, resulting in a 7.7 aspect ratio for the 1050cm2 (163in2) size and a 9.5 aspect ratio for the 850cm2 (132in2) foil.
For our test, we paired both sizes with their signature 75cm mast, The Stiffy – a refined version of the No Limitz V2 mast with a 1-degree rake, slimmed baseplate, and fully integrated fuselage fitting. This is one of the lightest and stiffest masts we’ve tested. To top it off, we used the Ahi small tail with the Operator 850 to maximize speed and maneuverability, and the Ahi large tail with the 1050 to optimize stability and stall speeds. Paired with the Appletree-constructed 36L Flux board, we hit our local beach break to give it a whirl.
Upon takeoff, the first thing you notice is the smooth lift and stable speed. The low-profile design of the mast, paired with the small-diameter 316 stainless steel and carbon hybrid fuselage, makes the Operator 1050 feel faster than other foils of the same surface area. The super rigid connections also allow for instantaneous rail-to-rail turns, maximizing control through turbulent current and white water. The speed and maneuverability of the 1050 facilitates quick top-to-bottom turns. While you need to maintain some speed to pump this foil efficiently, it covers ground so quickly that linking multiple waves at a time is a breeze.
After sizing down to the little brother in the same 1-3 foot surf conditions, the Operator 850 took all that speed, maneuverability, and performance to the next level. This is where you really notice the speed range, as you can take vertical drops and jam turns in critical sections. To date, the 850 is one of our favorite wave-riding foils. With a slightly higher stall speed and requiring the rider to stay high on the mast to pump longer distances, the 850, having the same wingspan as its bigger counterpart, still offers a ton of glide, allowing you to link waves and harness even small bumps.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Operators is their ability to recover from breaches. These foils quickly shed any ventilation, enabling continuous riding even with large portions of the wingtips out of the water. This breach-ability effectively mitigates the impact of a broader width, making the Operators feel like they have a much smaller wingspan than they actually do.
In conclusion, Omen has masterfully crafted a product that combines advanced design with top-tier construction, all while being made in the US. Whether you’re aiming to enhance your winging prowess, shred through surf, or gracefully ride swells, these foils are designed to help you unlock your full potential. The 1050 offers an impressive balance of stability and speed, making it a versatile option for various conditions. Meanwhile, the 850 brings agility and responsiveness, perfect for those seeking a more dynamic experience. With a significant amount of overlap between both sizes of the Operator, you can't go wrong with either option.