Winging on skates: Like Foiling in Winter!
Throughout last week, we kept an eye on the weather forecast hoping that the stars would align at Anse Vaudreuil...
Not too much snow, a sudden cold spell, and a strong nor'easter seemed to converge to create conditions that only occur every two to three years!
Friday morning, Alain went to the site to measure the thickness of the ice and the tests came back positive: 5 to 7 inches of ice in the bay! A few calls and texts later, word got out...
TIME TO PUT ON OUR SKATES AND PUMP OUR WINGS!
In total, more than fifteen winter lovers joined us at Parc Félix-Leclerc to take advantage of the incredible conditions. The surface was composed of 75% ice and 25% powder snow. As for the wind, a gentle northeast was blowing at 12 to 15 knots. We couldn't ask for more!
Some enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the bank while the others, more daring, raced all afternoon. These races allowed us to test several wing models and share our impressions with you.
The models and what we think of them:
North Mode Pro - 5.5m
North presents its racing model which maximizes speed and upwind performance. For sizes above 5m, the North Mode Pro offers ample power. No need to pump a lot to reach cruising speed. The wing has a tight canopy which facilitates power generation. In addition, its rounded wing tips allow for easy and quick manoeuvrability.
Without going into too much detail, the new materials used by North for the canopy (Matrix) and leading edge (N-Weave 45) translate into a larger wind range as well as greater low-end. Superb product for someone looking for speed and aggressive upwind performance !
We also love the carbon handles which feel light even in the larger sizes.
See the North Mode Pro
Ozone Fusion - 5m
We couldn't wait for this one to come out !
With a revolutionary design, the Fusion is the first wing in the world to have a foil canopy.
The objective of this new design is to minimize the turbulence found behind the leading edge which increases the drag on traditional wings (see diagram below).
What does that mean in terms of performance? Quite simply, this wing allows you to attain speed and upwind angles that were previously inaccessible with traditional wing models. The more we accelerate, the more we gain speed, the more we gain in angle of ascent.
That being said, this wing requires a higher level of ability than average. Only advanced riders will be able to unlock its full potential.
The new design also requires a new way of controlling the wing. The Fusion is not designed to be pumped like a traditional wing. We must therefore 1) make sure we have a sufficient wing size for the conditions and 2) be much more precise in our waterstarts. Once cruising speed is reached, that's when the power and marked acceleration join the party.
Please note that if you use a front foil wing that is too large or whose ratio is too low (Mid/Low-Aspect), you will considerably limit the level of performance of the Fusion.
In summary, the Ozone Fusion provides unparalleled performance that only the most experienced riders will benefit from.
Ozone Flow - 4.3m
Simply our favorite wing of the day. Ozone has hit a homerun with this design. The Flux is Ozone's speed-oriented wing. It was therefore designed to optimize its upwind performance and pace.
That being said, this wing remains very accessible to ordinary mortals like us! The Flux is not only a fast wing, but it is also very stable, predictable and comfortable for riders of all levels.
One attribute of this wing that we noticed and that sets it apart from others is the following: its progressive sheeting. When sheeting in the wing with the rear hand, power generation occurs very gradually. There is simply no stalling point throughout the whole motion. Same thing when you sheet out the sail (move the rear hand away), the nose of the wing does not tend to crash or pitch unpredictably.
Additionally, the wing flies very stable during transitions, allowing us to approach our turns with confidence and speed.
In terms of power, this wing will perform best when used in strong conditions, or even overpowered. Its high end is his greatest strength. With that being said, experienced riders will have no problem pumping it to generate power. For beginners/intermediates, we recommend adding 0.5 to 1m over the size you are used to using.
Finally, the wing is equipped with two long, rigid handles that are very comfortable to hold. Their reduced circumference as well as the pronation angle of the front handle only adds to the comfort.
Duotone Unit D/Lab 2023 - 6m
Already a bestseller at 30 Noeuds since its launch in 2020, the Unit is a wing that is already in its 4th iteration.
The program for this wing is dedicated to waves, freestyle and downwinds. It is a very agile and maneuverable wing with a powerful profile. We can usually reduce our usual wing size from 0.5m to 1m depending on the wing with which we compare it.
Add to its power the ultra-light and rigid material that is ALUULA as well as a MOD3 canopy (3 times less stretch) and we obtain one of the most powerful sails on the market. These stronger materials mean that the wing should last much longer than a wing with basic materials (Hello depreciation $$).
There aren't many wings that can match the all-around performance of the Unit D/Lab in light wind, waves or everyday conditions. This sail has only one caveat: The price!
Ocean Rodeo Glide HL SERIES - 6m
The Ocean Rodeo HL-Series pairs ALUULA fabric with basic industry materials to create an interesting blend of lightness, rigidity and ease of use; all at a price that does not require a new mortgage!
The Ocean Rodeo Glide is their first wing to be released and with all the podiums it has won on various international racing circuits, it goes without saying that the Canadian brand's designers have done their homework.
In terms of profile, it is a wing that can be considered to be "high aspect". The goal of the design is, like any good racing wing, to maximize speed and lift angle, which the wing manages to do extremely well.
The HL-Series version of the Glide is approximately 25% lighter than the average wing using standard materials. The central strut made from 100% ALUULA offers unparalleled rigidity and responsiveness. The ALUULA reinforcements strategically positioned in places under tension complement the rest of the "basic" construction, thus offering a feeling that is perfectly balanced between high performance (rigidity, aggressiveness, rapid response) and comfort (flexibility, flexibility, stability).
Several handle options are available to you, including flexible handles (included in the basic purchase), rigid carbon handles (additional charge) or a carbon boom (additional charge).
Ocean Rodeo Glide AA-Series (ALUULA AERIS) - 5m
A second Glide was being tested, this one with the all-new AERIS and AERIS X materials.
Thanks to its privileged partnership with the ALUULA company, Ocean Rodeo is currently the industry leader regarding the innovation of new ultra-light and ultra-resistant materials.
3 years after leading the ALUULA revolution in the inflatable kite segment, Ocean Rodeo does it again, this time in the wing segment with AERIS materials. Without going into too much detail, these new materials allow for greater rigidity, greater longevity as well as a weight reduction of almost 10% compared to wings made of ALUULA! A 5 square meter wing now weighs 3.65 pounds. Absolutely mental.
In terms of wing profile, the Glide AA-Series has been redesigned to allow, among other things, better stability when luffing while we surf the waves.
The feeling you get when holding it is rather unsettling. It's hard to explain how light this wing is. For those who can afford it, there is currently no other wing that compares in terms of weight and stiffness.
View the Ocean Rodeo Glide AA-Series
It was a day as much fun as it was productive for the employees and friends of 30 Noeuds! Many questions have been answered regarding the selection of models for the 2024 Summer season.
It is important to understand that in terms of feeling, wing skating is probably the winter activity that is closest to wingfoiling. Skates provide hydrofoil-like speed and lift angled that skis simply can't match on snow.
We are therefore confident that the performance observed on the ice will largely transfer once on the water.