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AFS W85 FOIL AND AHD TOPAZ 127 BOARD 2019 TEST REVIEW

Stats Price FOIL: £1199 F-800 WING: £549 BOARD: £1499

AWS

AFS W85 FOIL AND
AHD TOPAZ 127
BOARD 
2019
TEST REVIEW.

THEY SAY
The Wind 85 has one goal: to make windfoiling accessible to the greatest number possible. We have taken the elements that made the AFS-2 successful, improving them with the major changes made to our new Wind 95 and 105 models. For those windfoil addicts wanting to keep a freerace program, the Topaz offers optimised shapes for an upgraded level of performance and comfort while flying.

WE SAY
The W85 impressed us so much last year with its ease and range of performance, matched only by its exceptional value for money. For 2019, the design and monolithic full-carbon pre-preg construction of the foil remains unaltered, yet its layup has been refined. Now produced with a hollow mast as standard, the new season W85 may have increased in price, yet the mast’s stiffness has improved, and over a kilo of weight has been scrubbed off. For no additional cost, there is also now the option to buy the foil’s mast and fuselage glued and pinned together, akin to the W85’s larger siblings, the 95 and 105 – a good option if you want to mitigate torsion as much as possible and can store the foil fixed together. Locating the Deep Tuttle head correctly into the board’s box is easy, guided by the flange on the front of the head. All AFS foils are hand finished, so a little fine tuning and rubbing of the head may be required to ensure the perfect fit. We have used the W85 extensively over the last 18 months and have to say it remains one of the team’s favourites. It is just so balanced and predictable in flight, responding smoothly to any applied change in height through foot pressure, providing the confidence to really push and explore its straight-line potential. Supplied with its F-700a front wing, the foil’s light wind potential has to be earned compared to some low-aspect rivals. With good pumping technique though its efficiency shines through … but there’s a much easier way too! The F-800 front wing that AFS sell separately is a wonderful addition to any AFS quiver. With its 1120 cm² area and medium to low aspect outline, it generates lift early, yet remains fast and efficient for an exciting ride. It is a true secret weapon if you’d like to really make the most of those marginal conditions, accelerating smoothly to amplify the apparent wind and maintain feedback through the sail in the lightest airs. It provides the early lift and low speed glide of a low-aspect wing, without compromising on performance or crispness of response. As the wind increases upwards of 12-14 knots, the F-700a can be switched back in to really explore the foil’s capabilities in stronger conditions. It is certainly fast on every point of sail, possessing more than enough ability for the freeride foiler … but more than this, it still amazes us just how easy and accessible its performance is. Secure and dependable, it responds predictably to input, feeling balanced at all times and capable of adapting to varying riding styles or boards. Stand upright in a cruising stance with inboard straps for manoeuvring and the W85 enters transitions with the speed, measured response and sense of reliability that will serve to inspire the pilot time and again. Partner the foil with a wider platform, housing outboard straps, and it can be loaded with power to cover great distances in comfort. The stiffness and ride quality of the W85 is exceptional, and for a full carbon outfit remains one of the best value foils on the market today. The Topaz is an all-new board line for AHD; a 2020 release available in the UK now, complete with a quality black G10 Select Power Edge fin (UK Only). As with the rest of the brand’s range it witnesses the welcome return of a blue livery – the stuff of legend, harking back to the late nineties and turn of the century, when the brand sat on top of most national and international podiums. The 127 is the smaller sibling of a two-board range (although we hear a 107 may be due in spring 2020) that is designed to be a true hybrid, to be used with both foil and fin. Used with a fin initially, it certainly feels big and comfortable at rest, capable of carrying an 8.5m sail without issue. Deliver power and it releases easily, requiring little input from the rider and accelerating smoothly. The new AHD straps supplied are wider than the norm and are certainly comfortable, whilst the diamond-grooved deckpads offer plenty of traction whilst driving against the domed rail. Sporty and alert in nature, the Topaz hides its size well once properly powered, feeling responsive and compact underfoot and capable of dancing over the water’s surface whatever the terrain. The fin supplied is excellent, really helping to release and accelerate the board, without ever feeling its control is compromised. Plug in the W85 and the 127 converts to a fantastic foiling platform, the inboard/outboard strap locations providing the tuning range to cater for varying rider abilities. In marginal winds, and with the F-800 in place, the combination was simply stunning, making full foiling gybes a cinch, the wide flat rear deck of the Topaz providing plenty of margin for footwork inaccuracies. As the wind increases to comfortable 6.5m foiling weather or stronger, the F-700a front wing compliments the 127 well, with plenty of drive and response through the feet to retain manners throughout. Overall, the AHD-AFS package may have gone up in price, yet the improvements in range and performance fully justify the increase. If you’re looking for an easy, accessible foiling-freerace package, they don’t come much better.

VITAL STATS

FOIL
Head: Deep Tuttle
Mast Length: 82.8 cm
Mast Material: Hollow monolithic full carbon pre-preg
Fuselage Length: 88.5 cm
Fuselage Material: Monolithic full carbon pre-preg
Front Wing Span: 70.4 cm
Front Wing Chord: 14.0 cm
Font Wing Area (Quoted): 779 cm²
Tail Wing Span: 50.2 cm
Wing Material: Monolithic full carbon pre-preg
Weight: 3.66 kg

BOARD
Length: 230cm
Width: 82cm
Volume: 127 litres
Fin: Select Power Edge Free Slam 45cm Black G10 (Deep Tuttle)
Sizes Available: 127,147

www.kaisports.co.uk
www.afs-foils.com 
www.ahd-boards.com


Also in this test:

• AFS W85 FOIL
and AHD TOPAZ 127

• FANATIC FLOW FOIL 1250
and STINGRAY 125

• NEIL PRYDE GLIDE WIND
and JP  HYDROFOIL 120 FWS

• RRD WH FLIGHT ALU 85 V2
and POCKET ROCKET 122

• SLINGSHOT HOVER GLIDE FWIND
and WIZARD 125

• STARBOARD SUPERCRUISER
and FOIL 111

• TABOU AIR RIDE 81 CED


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