Armstrong Foils HA Foil Range 880 & 1180 2024 Wing Foiling, SUP and Surf Review

Armstrong Foils HA Foil Range 880 & 1180 2024

Reviews / Hydrofoils

Armstrong Foils 2,520

At A Glance

The latest innovation from Armstrong's ever-progressing range is the second edition of the High Aspect (HA) Foil Range. It aims to build upon the success of its predecessors, released in 2021. Designed to cater to the needs of intermediate to expert surfers, downwind enthusiasts, and wing foilers, Armstrong claims this range brings an unparalleled blend of agility, ease of pumping, and boundless gliding potential. In this review, we’ll test the 880 and 1180 to determine if all the hype is true!

Unboxing the two HAs when they arrived, it was immediately obvious that Armstrong had put a lot of work into developing this foil. A newly developed section shape, outline, and profile are very obvious, particularly how the section is compared to the first edition.

With this section and design in mind, Armstrong recommends downsizing if you previously rode the original HA range, facilitating a familiar pumping experience with an overall performance boost. I initially tested the HA925 a few years ago, so the new 880 would be a good comparison.

Constructed from premium Toray high and intermediate modulus carbon fibre, combined with the 795 Performance Mast and the solid connection system that Armstrong is renowned for, I do not doubt that it’s one of the stiffest setups on the market.

The sizes available, or soon available, are 580, 680, 780, 880, 1080, and 1180, featuring an aspect ratio ranging from 9.63 to 9.8.

On The Water

HA880 - Prone Foiling

As luck would have it, almost as soon as the HA foils arrived, a perfect 10s, 1m wave was forecast for the weekend at my favourite spot. These are ideal conditions to get to grips with the HA880. I paired it with the 795 Performance Mast, 70 Fuse, and Speed 180 tail and rode a 4’2, 24-litre Swift board.

On the first take-off, I found it had so much lift for its size that I had to jump off, move it right to the back of the box, and wait for the next wave. In round two, I had much more luck, being central on the board and feeling in control. I did my first few small turns, which were super fun, and exiting the wave with speed got my first feeling of pumping.

At this stage, with most foils, it takes me a good couple of rides to get the pump technique right or adjust the setup. This was not the case with the HA880. I instantly felt comfortable, and I can tell you that it’s the most efficient foil of that size I’ve used.

Here on the South Coast of the UK, we have pretty gutless waves, perfect for foiling, but you need a foil that can pump well to make the most of the conditions on offer. So, I’ve always preferred slightly bigger foils to get maximum wave count while sacrificing turn ability.

Here’s where the HA880 is a game changer for me; suddenly, I could pump the same distance/time as my bigger foils, but when I made that connection turn, I had the turning and speed of an 880cm2 foil. What a dream! Armstrong has done a great job of creating a high-aspect foil that still performs on the wave; I felt super comfortable putting some of my hardest turns in, particularly when transitioning from bottom turn to top turn, where other similar foils have a slight delay in the roll.

On reflection, it probably isn’t the fastest of HA foils of that size, but it’s more than fast enough and doesn’t buck you off when you hit max speed. I believe it’s all down to that thicker foil section, which massively reduces the stall speed and lets you get away with murder. I’ve had countless moments on it where I’ve hit some whitewater or breached slightly, lost speed, and been in that ‘digging the grave’ situation, only to miraculously pump my way out of it. What a relief! I back up to full speed and hit the next connection turn with full power.

HA1180 - SUP downwinding

I’ve only taken the HA1180 on one downwinder, my longest and easily best run. 18km down the Solent from Hurst Castle to Lepe in marginal, sometimes epic, wind against tide conditions.

It was a type 2 adventure on a cold January weekend in England. I took a bit of a gamble riding the HA1180 as before then; I’d only ever downwinder on the MA1750, a much bigger foil. Fortunately, it was worth the risk as even though the wind was often lighter than predicted, the HA1180 had an exceptionally low stall speed, so I could paddle up on the foil and start making my way downwind.

The Solent is the closest thing the UK has to Hood River conditions when you get the tide right. While the majority of the run that day was a huge effort, there was a middle 5km section where a squall gusting well over 30 knots came through, and with the tide rushing against me, it created the fastest and biggest bumps I’ve ridden yet! The HA1180 handled the massive rollers impeccably; I was hanging on for dear life but still in control.

Mirroring what I’d felt on the HA880, I could quickly turn and control the High Aspect wing, which meant peeling back to the next bump behind me easily. I even experienced a few of my first SUP downwinding turns when the bumps were big enough - endless surfing that I really can’t recommend enough.

Again I had the 795 Performance Mast and Speed 180 tail, especially with the larger board (the Armstrong DW 7’2); the stiffness of this setup is noticeable. You want as much control as you can when riding a big board, especially if you want to return to your van in time for lunch. This setup delivers that.


So I’ll refer back to Armstrong's statement in the first paragraph of this article: “unparalleled blend of agility, ease of pumping, and boundless gliding potential” - they’ve hit the nail on the head; I couldn’t have said it better myself.

If I had to have a one-foil quiver for all foil sports - prone, winging, downwind - it would be the HA880. I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to dock start it, too, once the summer arrives, certainly the 1180.

If you’re looking for a high-performance HA foil with a forgiving stall speed that inspires confidence in your riding, you can’t go wrong with this.


This review was in Issue 19 of Tonic Mag.

For more information visit Armstrong Foils


By Jack Galloway

Tried this? What did you think?