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Duotone Unit 24

The Unit has been a Duotone staple offering since the early days of wingfoiling, as the do-it-all cross discipline, morphing from soft loop handles back in the day to a rigid handled multipurpose tool we’re now presented with. With Duotone’s comprehensive team of riders pumping out consistent examples of it being used in all situations, from technical freestyle to wave use, we were eager to feel how it had changed for 2024. The range of sizes available is massive, and now runs from 2m to 6.5m in half-meter increments.

Shape-wise it has a medium dihedral and a lot of taper into the tips, with quite an intricate segmentation and decent scuff guards in the extremities to protect it. There’s an elegantly curved strut and bolt-on handles which have a chunky higher-diameter EVA grip. The rear half of the strut attaches directly to the canopy providing a solid connection and perhaps contributing to the generally connected feeling of the wing. There’s a small, profiled section of ripstop in the front half which controls the shape of the intended air foil section well. The leading-edge seam has a robust construction with an extra band of webbing reinforcing it and chunky high tensile thread locking it all together. No leash is provided as standard to the wing, so you can choose your own, be it waist or wrist. The Duotone offerings are coiled surf-style leashes, coming in two different lengths dependent on the wing size, and obviously offer excellent compatibility.

A longer front handle angles slightly towards the rider with a shorter rear handle in a sensible and ergonomic position. These are now made from carbon fiber and seem lighter than previous. There’s a small gap between the handles which makes it very easy to mount a harness loop. The extended front handle helps with one-handed control in an almost boom-like manner, with the central balance point of the wing available at the back of the front handle. The wingtip doesn’t seem to tip much as the weight and placement of the handles is biased forward, and in turn the weight distribution sits closer to the front of the wing. There is a fairly thin flexible front surf handle which allows decent control and has enough twist to not hurt your shoulders if the wing decides to rock. A large neoprene pad behind this protects your knuckles from any potential chafing. Inflation is handled by the Airport valve that carries across from the kite range. Two dump valves are present with one on the leading edge and one on the strut allowing you to roll it up with ease from the wingtips.

The canopy is comprised of the MOD3 material sitting at a higher density of cloth than standard kite ripstop which is far more suitable for task. It has a crisp and water-repellent coating. The seaming design panel cut distributes load towards the center and tip of the strut, and the canopy is noticeably tighter and flap-free, even when overpowered. Two fiberglass mini battens tuck into pockets on the trailing edge and help contain potential vibration here. Two arrow-slit windows made from a flexible PU give some vision downwind, and importantly don’t hinder the pack down.

Getting onto foil with the Unit is a simple affair with a direct and assertive pump feedback. The wing seems to have adequate grunt for its square meterage, with a consistent and progressive pull and no backwinding on over-sheet. The grunt forgives poor technique when starting on the foil, you can hang off it with the wing high and it forgives any errors.

One of the key differences we felt for this season was a far more composed wing through tacks and at the top end of the wind range. The improved canopy tension also translates into a wing that oscillates far less when flagged on the front handle in the neutral position, making it a friendlier ally in the waves. We felt upwind angle, general forward thrust and overall feeling of efficiency was also stepped up significantly from the previous model, with improved ergonomics in the handle angle and a generally more balanced feel when in motion.

The 2024 Unit has plenty of subtle changes to make the upgrade a worthy exercise. Overall, it’s quite a step up from the previous model in terms of ease of use and stability, but it retains all its performance and shines as a universal work horse for all situations you are likely to find yourself in.

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