Vyper or Hyper?
Choosing a foil for winging, is it just a case of getting the latest gear?
Our foils have very different characteristics based on shape, span, aspect ratio, and they are designed to do different things. It is tempting to think that the latest gear is always the best but experience shows this is not the case.
For example when we designed the original Hyper wing it was envisioned as a downwind foil not a surf foil. We have the Vortex which was designed for the surf but riders soon discovered that the Hyper would allow them to catch multiple waves with its pumping ability and could still turn well.
Fast forward a bit to the Vyper release. Here was a foil designed to perform in surf and pump. What we soon discovered was that its tight turn radius and massively stability made it the perfect foil for freestyle winging and winging in waves.
The qualities that make high aspect foils perform so well on flat water and downwind, their speed and efficiency, can make them unstable and unpredictable when jumping and performing tricks.
The Vyper’s deeper chord makes it more stable at lower speeds, less likely to drop when you lose speed, and easier to recover from stalls. Its narrower span and down-curved tips make it fun to turn and open up endless possibilities in the surf. In these conditions our riders found that the Vyper let them focus on riding not on controlling the foil.
So to help you choose the right foil for the job here’s a few notes on each wing.
Deeper chord (distance from leading to trailing edge of foil) provides low-end lift to get you on foil quicker. Good for light wind, recovering from stalls, landing jumps, providing “pop” for jumps.
Narrow span and down-curve make turning a breeze. Intuitive is how it feels to turn - the foil leans over easily and is easy to control.
Very stable in strong winds.
High aspect (HA) foils are the most efficient for creating lift but require more speed than mid-aspect foils. We refer to the minimum speed required to create lift as the stall speed.
The Hyper requires more wind to get going in the smaller sizes but once you are on foil the speed is unlike anything you’ve ridden before. This is a combination of reduced drag from thinner mast and thinner foil section on the front wing.
Our new Katana masts offer the best combination of stiffness and speed, thicker than our previous mast but still faster than any other foil brand.
High aspect (HA) means there is an increased span relative to the chord length. So wider and thinner. This provides maximum lift but is more sensitive to changes in speed.
Compared with the Vyper it is less pitch stable: meaning it moves up and down more in response to changes in speed.
For downwind and freeride this is not an issue but in waves and for freestyle this can mean it feels like the foil is controlling you rather than you controlling the foil.
When you want to go fast a more efficient foil is the go-to; when you are in a situation where there are a lot of moving parts (in the surf, performing tricks) you want a foil that behaves in a predictable way.
For novices and progression
For novices and progression a slower, more stable foil allows you to concentrate on getting the building blocks in place. Easy turning means you can focus on learning gybes and tacks. Lower stall speed and early-lift mean you will spend more time on foil, less time getting up. Narrower span provides yaw stability in choppy conditions and keeps the tips in the water.