daniel Aeberli Interview

Foiling R&D


Hi Daniel,  
Fanatic has launched their new foil collection in April including the Flow Windsurf Foils and also the Stingray – a dedicated foilboard was released into the market earlier in the year. Please tell us about these products. The Stingray and the Flow Foil is all you need in windsurf foiling, unless you’re competing, then you better look at the Falcon foilboard. For anyone else, the Stingray / Flow Foil combo covers everything from total foil beginners to really advanced foilers. The secret of the board is that it’s wide to get you out of the water super early with maximum control over your foil. At the same time it’s extremely forgiving in all the usual mistakes in the beginning – which gives you the confidence needed to try and learn quickly. The box configuration gives you the freedom to ride pretty much any foil out there, whether it’s Tuttle- or Track Foil Mount system. The new Flow Foil is the perfect match for the board though! It got completely redesigned and every little detail has been analysed and improved by a new task force in cooperation between Fanatic and Duotone Kiteboarding. The Carbon wings offer much higher efficiency, increased range, improved control and really smooth and predictable turning. Also, the mast, the fuselage and all other individual parts were greatly improved which makes a massive difference on the overall performance. Some of these changes are not visible at first glance, but once you take off you’ll feel the difference immediately.

Sounds great! Which sizes are available?
The new Flow Foil programme consists of two different Carbon front wings – 1250 and 900, two incredibly stiff Aluminium masts –  90 cm and 75 cm, one 90 cm Aluminium fuselage and one 215 back wing. These make two combos, one for light wind / entry, one for performance free-foiling. With the optional adapters you can use the Flow Foil in any box system, whether it’s a Track Foil Mount, Tuttle or even Power Box*. The Stingray comes in 3 sizes this year, 140 and 125, plus a new 110 – for stronger winds, lighter riders,  or more advanced and manoeuvre-oriented foilers.

You also offer the Gecko Foil and many other windsurf shapes which can be used for Foiling. Isn’t that more attractive for a windsurfer to be able to make both ‘sports’ with one board? Do I need a Stingray?

Yes, we offer multiple boards which are approved for foil use, including the Gecko Foil Edition, the Blasts, Jags, and some of the Falcons. All of these are the original windsurfing shapes, so they are developed to be used with a fin for normal windsurfing. The Gecko Foil has a longer and more scooped nose, which helps for touch downs, the Blast has a compact shape, which is great once you’re up on the foil and the Falcon Lightwind brings the width for early lift in light winds and great control  
over the foil.  
The Stingray combines all positive aspects for foiling in one shape. Compact, wide and with a nose rocker that makes you recover easily in touch downs. The stance is optimised for foiling and on top that comes with bevelled rails in the nose section for a really neutral behaviour. This makes this board the best choice for anyone who just wants to foil with it – there are no compromises like in the other boards. The additional Track Foil Mount system allows to move the foil back and forward for trimming options, which you never have with Foil Tuttle Boxes.

That makes sense! Can you give us more details on the technical side of the new foils? You’re using Carbon Composite and Aluminium – that’s nothing new right … ?

The material itself is just one piece of the puzzle, but even here you can have massive differences. People tend to think Aluminium is Aluminium and Carbon is Carbon, but in reality there are different grades of both materials. We use a very high-grade Aluminium mast which is engineered in Germany. It’s about 30 % stiffer compared to other Aluminium masts and it’s not easy to beat that rigidity with Carbon. But even more important is how the different parts are connected. The connections are usually the weak spots and the engineering team took enormous focus on making the connections bulletproof! Stainless steel helicoil threads make sure you can load the M8 screws with 1.2 tonnes each. The glued and screwed connection of mast and base plate further improves the impression of riding a solid piece instead of some connected parts. 
The mast fits nicely into a pocket in the fuselage for better steering transitions and the wings itself sit on a large bearing surface which spreads the load nicely. Also that system will not wear out and never gets stuck like any kind of pocket solutions which you’d often need a rubber hammer to disconnect. The layup of the wings is a mix of unidirectional and 30° oriented Carbon fibres, for highly improved torsional stiffness. We took the long road with different suppliers for the different pieces, but like that we ended up with top solutions for every single part and a high quality product which is still affordable. *No warranties are given with the use of a foil in boards with Power Box! Only use your foil with a board that is approved for foil use!

Sounds like someone’s done their homework! It was about time for Fanatic to release something special in the foiling segment! We’re used to see top notch stuff in all other areas, but foiling was a bit left behind it seemed … ? Yes we must admit we were not amongst the fastest with our foil programme. Even more so we wanted to come with a fully developed and highly efficient range now to set a mark. At the same time we want to keep things simple and easy to understand, without too much confusion, so our range is still lean, but easy to upgrade and tune to everyone’s needs. We want to make foiling fun, easy and accessible for a large number of people!

One last question – everyone is talking about wing foiling these days – what’s Fanatic doing here – and is that part of your windsurf foiling division, SUP / surf foiling or is that more kiting? Hehe that’s a good question! There is a lot of excitement about the new trend of wing foiling, and it actually touches a lot of different sports. The Duotone Foil Wing looks like a kite without lines, but then has a boom and you hold it more like a windsurf sail. Then the boards used here are SUP or surf foilboards such as our Sky SUP and Sky Surf and the right foils for it are our Aero Surf foils, which we have launched also in April in 4 different combos and with the same high-end engineering as the windsurf foils. As the boards and foils used here are the same as for SUP foiling and prone surf foiling, you can find all these products in our SUP brochure and on our website.

Check the product pages for deatiled information about our WS Foiling Range:

Flow 900 Flow 1250 Flow H9


Falcon Foil Gecko Foil LTD 

Gecko Foil HRS

...and of course our Foiling Highlights clip featuring all of these models in action: