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North’s Nova wing has now reached its second iteration and has been very well received, lauded as an elegant and balanced wing with a dual mini boom handle system that doesn’t generate much fatigue. North’s primary wing designer, Dano See, lives on the north Philippines coast, where there’s gentle wind for a decent proportion of the year, so it makes perfect sense that North have developed a lightwind-oriented wing. North have designed the Nova LW as a one size quiver topper, which you should decide on dependent on some body weight thresholds they’ve clearly set out.
The LW version appears to be a complete stand-alone design from the smaller Nova, and other than sharing fittings and fixtures, it’s a markedly different shape and design direction very much tailored towards lower wind speeds. For a big fella, it’s been on a major weight loss diet, losing the windows as well as employing lightweight bladders in the front tube and strut. The single-point inflation has been blanked off, and the strut and leading edge inflate separately using the familiar screw in bayonet system. There’s also far less beefy scuff protection weighing it down. The result of this is particularly noticeable where you may end up holding the wing statically waiting for a gust to get foiling. Rounded wingtips, and a compact span will broaden its appeal to a wider range of rider heights, promoting easier handling for a big unit, and avoiding the dreaded tip drag.
The leading edge and strut have a chunky diameter that fades out into the tips, and combined with the rigid mini booms provide an ultra-stiff airframe and direct feel, which is super important in a lightwind model. The trailing edge has been optimized to get you upwind, often a sticking point with larger wings, and whatever witchcraft they’ve employed has worked wonders on this with the Nova LW having impressive forward pull. Four mini battens also sit along the trailing edge to minimize flapping here as it reaches the top of its power range. The package is well presented in typical North style, with a decent sized recycled bag with a single shoulder strap. The wrist leash is a bungee covered webbing affair with a comfortable and secure feeling constricting closure. For a 7m, it packs down surprisingly small considering its size and handles.
On the water the fairly loose canopy fills with air in an almost spinnaker-like fashion. The canopy is extended along the truly lengthy strut and the aspect ratio is on the low and grunty side, which in the conditions it’s designed for is exactly what’s required. Not much pumping or talent is required to get moving – offer the wing to the wind, and it simply fills with air and provides piles of torque to get you onto the foil. For so much sail, it’s surprisingly easy to handle, and for large wings particularly, the perfect diameter rigid booms yield some definite benefits, and allow you to twist the wing through slower transitions and avoid the wing tipping out. It likes to be handled high and flat, being very easy to slide into a tack without creating any irritating downward pressure when it’s overhead. Whilst the low end is terrific, once it does get overpowered, it’s manageable, but you’ll want to change down pretty swiftly compared to its smaller siblings, which you can hold onto almost interminably.
From our perspective the Nova LW pairs best with a sleek lined neutral buoyancy board and larger, more efficient and probably high aspect ratio hydrofoils. We found ourselves venturing out in what would have previously been extremely dubious conditions and having some fun in some small waves and light airs. Miraculously, with a little bit of planning on your wave vs wind angles, and keeping your speed up, the 7m will flag admirably on a wave.
The big Nova LW is surprisingly easy to handle, ridiculously grunty and pushes the boundary of what’s currently possible when wingfoiling in light winds. RB