As more and more people a looking for windfoiling experiences we decided to catch up again with Tez Plavenieks to find out how he is getting on. He penned us this update, which includes a Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review.
Even though windfoiling (or windsurf hydro foiling if you will) has only really been available in user friendly guise for a short period of time (it’s been around for much longer than that albeit with only experimentalists and/or mad professors choosing to participate) the technology and rate new products are appearing is fast.
I’ve only been properly flying for about 18 months, yet things have progressed rapidly in that time. Compared to the foils I was using back at the start of my journey flying machines are now so much more user friendly, accessible, versatile and polished. That said there’s still much work to be done.
Windfoiling experiences #2
The last time I wrote for AWE365.com I was describing my early windfoiling experiences. As with the products themselves my own skills have now improved. With time and perseverance, plus using some of these third gen foils, such as this Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review, it’s possible to make decent progress.
Zeeko Kites is owned and operated by Nicolas Caillou who has considerable experience across all forms of foiling: kite, windsurf, surf and SUP. His company has invested hefty amounts of time into kite foils.
This knowledge has recently been put to good use designing and tweaking the brand’s windfoil range. For 2018 the initial product has been updated giving a more efficient flying machine.
Up until using Zeeko’s Windfoil I’d mainly been concentrating on carbon types for my windfoiling experiences. I’d kind of dismissed alloy as not being very good. Lesson: never judge a book by its cover!
Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review
The Zeeko foil features an anodised, painted alloy mast, fuselage and head. The alloy Zeeko use is particularly stiff and corrosion resistant. These elements are then coupled with high aspect G10 wings.
For those with prior windsurfing experience you’ll know standard fins have been made from G10 for years. It therefore makes perfect sense to produce G10 foil wings. Hard wearing, efficiently hydrodynamic and more cost effective than exotic materials they also give the Zeeko Windfoil a unique look.
Another point of note is Zeeko’s integrated AVS (Ant Ventilation System) technology which helps alleviate over foiling, cavitation and spin out. Anyone who foils knows the feeling of suddenly losing power, after the foil lifts too much and exposes the wing (usually the front), resulting in a huge splash.
Zeeko’s AVS system is comparable to a multitude of mini fences laying next to one another across the surface of the foil wings. Disrupting air flow it helps keep the foil in the water and bring everything back under control. Over foiling can still occur but it should at least be far less frequent with Zeeko’s AVS grooves in the mix.
Attaching your board via deep tuttle (at least this is the case with the version I’m using – you can get other fittings via the brand’s website) is standard fair. Coupled with a foil ready board the connection between foil and box is solid with zero movement. After all, the last thing anyone wants is a wobbly foil!
Zeeko’s Windfoil mast is 90cm long, although you can get a 70cm version. To be honest I’d suggest learning on the longer type, or at least getting onto this as soon as possible. Whilst shorter masts do give some anxiety relief you actually have more leeway with longer versions. After all, the faster you go the more you lift.
And through my windfoiling experiences I have found that over foiling can therefore occur sooner with shorter masts. You also clear chop and flotsam easier with a longer version so the ride is less erratic.
Wings and fuselage
At 77cm long the fuselage on the Zeeko Alloy Windfoil is new for 2018. It helps deliver greater control, has less hydrodynamic drag and increases torsional stiffness. The mast has also been newly positioned which, again, benefits control and efficiency.
Finally there’s a small mini wing that sits underneath the stabiliser and helps protect the foil when scraping seabeds as well as giving additional stability. All in it’s a product that improves upon an already solid formula.
Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review: First flights
The first time we used the Zeeko Windfoil was during an extremely light air blow. Coupled with a 7.5m it taxis quickly, getting up to lift speed quick smart. Give it a little pump and she rises progressively.
Although any foil likes consistent power (read consistency between wind gusts) Zeeko’s Windfoil glides through lulls even when not fully lit. Stance and trim will help riders keep flight but it does a good job of flattering ropey conditions and technique.
Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review: Second session
In complete contrast the next session of this Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review was 4.8m weather with horrible chop. Once up and flying, however, you can float above the flotsam and enjoy a smooth glide. It was also during this time we noticed two very different performance traits.
With feet slotted firmly into footstraps and outboard riders can rail the board over for upwind flight angles not possible on standard windsurfing gear. You will, however, find that this stance yields the fastest speeds so in terms of engine (sail size) you’ll need to be on point otherwise you end up generating too much lift for comfortable glides.
To remedy this simply take your back foot out of the strap and place inboard. The foil settles, your stance becomes more upright and over foils are way less common. It’s also tangible just how smooth the Zeeko is – on all points of sail…
…and in fact it’s that word which sums up Zeeko’s Windfoil performance whatever the conditions: smooth. A lot of foils do tend to undulate somewhat, either because of inefficient technique or choppy/gusty conditions.
Zeeko’s Windfoil doesn’t, whatever was thrown at it. It remains (mainly) lock stock still. And in gybes it doesn’t push back at riders like some foils do making round bends more achievable.
My windfoiling experiences: Conclusion
I often get asked whether windsurfers should give windfoiling a go. My answer? Of course! It’s there and will add another arm to your watery antics.
Plus, foils nowadays – especially these third generation+ designs – are way more user friendly and easier to get on with. There’s still a period of adjusting to new sensations but it’s nowhere near the same as things were a year ago.
Zeeko’s Windfoil is one of the newer designs available that demonstrates what I’m talking about. Superbly smooth when flying, efficient in a variety of conditions and fast. It’s also extremely affordable being made from anodised alloy and G10 materials.
For added versatility you get the option of switching out wings and head fittings making it super tunable and able to fit into any situation riders want it. If you’ve been pussyfooting around the subject of windfoiling then now’s the time to get involved, and if you choose to hop atop Zeeko’s Windfoil then you won’t be disappointed.
We hope you found this Zeeko Alloy Windfoil review useful. If you want to start having windfoiling experiences of your own you can pick one up for €949 here: www.zeeko-kites.com/403-alloy-winfdoil