At A Glance
Armstrong has gone from strength to strength and clearly take it seriously when they release new equipment. I have no doubt that R&D is done exceptionally carefully, so that they release only the highest quality products. That’s why you don’t see gear released yearly from them, only when a genuine technological update is needed.
With that in mind, getting the WKT out the box actually blew me away. The board is a thing of beauty. The shape & finish are not like anything I’ve seen from a board this size. It immediately feels strong as a rock, while maintaining a thin profile & light weight, but not ridiculously light.
WKT stands for Wake, Kite, Tow. Fortunately for Armstrong, all three disciplines require very similar, if not identical, characteristics in a board. They did however miss something - Dock Start - although that wouldn’t have flowed nearly as well! Dock starting is something I spent a good deal of my time doing when testing this board and I’ll discuss this later.
The board on test is 109cm, 3’7 by 16’5”, 8.2L. This is the smallest in the range and is aimed at lighter or advanced riders. The two other sizes of 122cm & 137cm are aimed for intermediate & beginner riders respectively. The weight of the rider will also have an impact on what size you choose so do check out Armstrong’s website for full details.
The WKT is made from high tech moulded carbon, this is designed to allow a thin board that is still incredibly durable & stiff. It has a slightly chiselled nose outline and features a progressive rocker. And as standard on all Armstrong boards, it includes the A+ high strength mast tracks & titanium footstrap inserts.
On The Water
Now, why does this board exist? It’s all about manoeuvrability and swing weight. When winging, you need volume to get you up on foil, but once on foil a big board can get in the way, reduce the feel of connectivity to the foil & make pumping more difficult. With kiting, towing, and dock starting you do not need that volume to get on foil. The forces of the boat, kite, or your dock start skills negate that, hence why this board is just 8.2 litres.
So in theory, this board should be doing aggressive rail to rail turns, pumping like a master and allowing you to focus on the foil. Let me tell you… it does all that and more!
As you’ll see in my short video review, I initially took the WKT out for a dock start session off my ladder set up. With the idea of linking small waves on the way downwind. The first thing to note is that the size of the board means that gripping the rails as you do your run up is really easy - that gives you more control & accuracy in your take off. Which in turn will improve consistency. Compared to some of the slightly bigger boards I’ve used the WKT was an absolute joy to dock start with.
Once I’d successfully made my take off, the stiffness & lack of swing weight are immediately noticeable. I honestly felt like I’d improved my pumping distance by about 20%, it made things feel so much more efficient. That stiffness leads to control of your foil and extra stability, which along with a thinner board makes connectivity to your foils feel next level. To explain that - the thinner your board the closer your feet are to the mast plate of the foil, on a thick SUP board you do lose connectivity as your feet are further away from that mast plate. On prone boards your much closer but the WKT is just next level, I’ve never felt so connected.
All of the above meant that when I was linking waves on my way downwind I felt in control & comfortable. In time, this will lead to pushing the limits of your capabilities. I’ve not been lucky enough to tow with the WKT yet but trust me, when the opportunity comes I’ll be there! Banking turns on a small fast foil with the WKT at your feet will feel insane, I guarantee it.
Armstrong have included their standard extra long mast tracks on the WKT. This is actually essential on a small board like this, particularly if you’re using foils from different brands. I know of a couple of dock start boards where the mast track is too far forward for certain foils, and you end up riding with your toes hanging over the nose of the board just to stop yourself breaching - even when the mast is at the back of the tracks. After one adjustment my foil was in the perfect spot with plenty of room either side.
Interestingly, the WKT is so thin that a conventional leash plug is too big to fit in the tail of the board! Armstrong have simply put a small hole through the board itself and used a large knot on the other side of the leash. A simple solution that is really effective.
So who needs this board? Literally anyone who tows into waves, kite foils, or wants to up their dock start & pumping game. It will change the way you ride for the better and you’ll struggle to go back! Sizes, build quality, & finishing touches are all spot on.
For the time I’ve had it, the WKT hasn’t left my van & I’m certainly looking forward to getting out on the kite with it. If you would like to see a full kite foil review, please check out IKSURF mag for their recent test report.
This review was in Issue 15 of Tonic Mag.For more information visit Armstrong Foils