At A Glance
Armie Armstrong is the driving force behind the Armstrong brand but certainly isn’t a one-man band. The New Zealand company isn’t afraid to bring in experts to make the best products money can buy, among their staff is Jim Moore, foil maker for New Zealand’s America’s Cup wing building campaigns, Rob Whittall, aerofoil designer & Armie’s father David Armstrong, a standout NZ architect. On top of this, this foil has been developed with key design input from Pete Burling, Helmsman of Team New Zealand’s Americas Cup yacht (current AC holders), and tested by legendary sailor Jimmy Spithill.
The attention to detail that Armstrong has put in is immediately obvious when getting it out of the box. This foil has the highest quality components and finishes that I’ve seen. Everything is full carbon fibre and all hardware is titanium. Construction is based around a high-density foam core, which is wrapped with 100% IM and High Modulus Carbon. The mast connection to the fuselage and in turn the front & rear wings is genius. The fuselage is has a solid titanium core running throughout its length, all of the titanium screws tap into this core using a unique barrel nut connection. Making it the strongest, corrosion-free design that I’ve seen, even if it does take a bit of time to put together! It’s worth it.
The mast has a tapered one-piece design that looks incredibly solid. Armstrong has put in a unique core layup designed to deliver smooth consistent reactive flex. You’re going to hear the word ‘titanium’ several times, one example being the mast to board connection. Armstrong has created a strong and corrosion-free connection system using titanium bi-directional washers, titanium T-Nuts, and their own Torx head stainless steel 316L screws. For those that don’t know, Torx screw heads are far less likely to succumb to wear and tear due to the lack of slippage potential.
HA925 stands for High Aspect 925cm2. This is a fairly small surface area when it comes to wingfoiling, that however is made up for by the high aspect shape. It is by no means their smallest foil though! The foil comes complete with a bag and padded covers for every part, this is something that not all manufacturers do and it's a welcome addition. The covers will make it so much easier to look after your gear and have it last for years to come. Alongside the HA925 I had the 85cm mast & the flying V tail wing. Also pictured is the HS232 tail wing however I just couldn’t put down the V tail wing, so lookout for a test on this tail wing in the next issue.
On The Water
This was the smallest foil I’d used for wingfoiling so far, so I was unsure of how it would perform in light winds. I needn’t have had any worries, I got foiling in surprisingly light winds for the size of the foil. Yes, it does have a faster stall speed than larger foils but the high aspect design meant that once I was up I could fly through the lightest of lulls.
Onto the windier days… the speed of this small foil was next level! This in turn meant that I boosted some of my biggest airs to date, the speed allowed me to load up and pop aggressively. For this test, I used the Armstrong 39L Wing Surf Board & 4.5m A-Wing. Once in the air, the hang time in the wing was excellent. What are the other benefits of higher speed? Upwind performance: I absolutely flew upwind on this foil. With the 85cm mast, I was able to lean over and ride at steep angles towards the wind. The speed again works in your favour when executing tacks & gybes. Going into a tack at speed gives you extra time to pull the wing over your head and catch the handles, it was such an addictive feeling once I’d mastered it on this foil.
Riding downwind and catching bumps in free-fly mode felt great, the foil pumps super efficiently and the flying V tail wing made for a loose, carving feel. I also managed a session in some sizeable swell and found the foil exceeding itself yet again, rather than just hanging on for dear life trying not to breach I was in control and executing turns on the face of the wave. Too much fun.
The HA925 from Armstrong is the complete package. Outstanding build quality combined with next-level attention to detail creates a foil that will take your riding beyond what you thought capable. It won’t only excel when winging, this foil would make an excellent SUP, surf, kite, downwind, and windsurf foil due to its small but high aspect profile. It might come with a slightly higher price tag but it will be worth the investment, it’s a bombproof piece of equipment.
This review was in Issue 10 of Tonic.For more information visit Armstrong Foils