Armstrong Foils APF 1880 & Pump 202 2023 Wing Foiling, SUP and Surf Review

Armstrong Foils APF 1880 & Pump 202 2023

Reviews / Hydrofoils

Armstrong Foils 2,520

At A Glance

This is Armstrong’s first pump-specific foil. Designed specifically for ultimate efficiency and distance covered. They were clearly committed to making the best possible foil, going out of their way to hire Chris Porter, an aerospace engineer. The APF foil shares its DNA with his reputed Crisp 333 and 381 stabilisers. This foil is clearly specific for the task.

Armstrong knows about my obsession with dock starting and pumping as far as I possibly can, for this reason, they sent me the 1880cm & the Pump 202 tail. Perhaps not the first choice for most 70kg riders, it was exactly what I wanted though. I want to increase my pump time as much as possible. The smaller 1675cm APF is an easier-to-use foil for lighter riders (under 90kg).

Not only is the foil clearly massive, with a very wide wingspan. It also has a very unique and specific foil section, as you’ll see in the photos. The wingtips are also swept forward slightly.


Span: 1302mm

Area: 1880cm2

Aspect Ratio: 9.2

On The Water

I initially paired the foil with a 795 Performance mast, 70 Fuse & 108 WKT board. An excellent combination for lightweight & stiffness, essential for ultimate efficiency. I headed to the marina, there was a 5 to 10 knot breeze but nothing dreadful.

First jump off the pontoon and I immediately fell off, I actually had too much speed after running a couple of steps and jumping. The stall speed really was incredibly low. The next go I literally stepped off the dock with next to no speed, off I went... On that first flight, I hit 7 & a half minutes, immediately doubling my PB. Wow.

I found that it likes to fly with a pretty high pump cadence, just tiny fast and efficient taps that kept me moving without using much energy at all. It's got really good pitch stability, so you can just focus on staying high and keeping the board level.

After that session, I scanned the forecast and found a morning with zero wind. I also paired it with the 655 Performance mast for two reasons: first, to force me to fly the foil higher therefore reducing drag, and second, to increase stiffness and therefore efficiency even more than with with the 795.

This time I foiled for 11 minutes straight and covered a distance of 2.6km. It did of course take all my effort to get that far, but it genuinely felt effortless for nearly 5 minutes before I had to start really working. It’s by far the closest I’ve come to finding true limitless flight, an incredible feeling.

It’s got me planning mini dockstart adventures, travelling from dock to dock, a kilometre at a time. A great way to go for a workout and surf at the same time! I’m all for it.

One thing I will say is that the APF doesn’t turn that quickly, especially with the Pump 202 tail and my weight. I’m sure that if you combined it with a faster tail or had a heavier rider it would turn better. The thing is it’s not really designed for that, it’s designed for efficiency and it has certainly achieved that!

While I, unfortunately, didn’t have a downwind board at the time of testing, I have no doubt that the APF foils will be excellent for flat water starts & harbour downwind runs. If you wanted to speed things up a little, you could pair them with a faster tail, such as the Glide 220, HA195, or Speed 180.


Unless you’re over 90kg, I actually wouldn’t recommend this as a first dock start foil. You have to know what you’re doing to be able to control the incredible amount of lift at your feet. If you’re not accurate on your take-off, you’re very likely to fall or turn off to one side. Perhaps the 1660 would be a bit better in that regard.

However, if you know what you’re doing and are looking for one of the most efficient pump foils on the market, this is it. You’ll hit PBs on time and distance straight away, making the possibilities endless for what you can achieve.

The icing on the cake is the application for downwind foiling and flat water paddle-ups, making it a super versatile product.

This review was in Issue 17 of Tonic Mag.


By Jack Galloway

Tried this? What did you think?