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Armstrong Foil 1200 and 800 review

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Created by KB7 5 months ago, 4 Dec 2019
KB7
NSW, 34 posts
4 Dec 2019 3:14PM
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I've had the Armstrong foil with 85cm mast ,800cm and 1200cm wings for about 2 months now , I only use it with a kite. After 25hours on the 1200 and 10hrs on the 800, in conditions ranging from 1ft to 6ft waves, 12 - 25 knots, I expect this ratio to continue as I will explain.

Background: I'm 87Kg , windsurfed 40 years and kiting for 19,usually in waves. Last year I finally decided to get into foiling and I bought the Axis 680 with the full intention of using the foil for kite and prone surfing. Quickly gave up the prone idea, waves not suitable here and too many close calls with the foil.

The Axis was a great foil to learn to Kite foil on very easy to ride and stable, solid build , no complaints. However over the years I've found that most things carbon are usually better so I decided I wanted a full carbon foil and started researching the market.

Finally obtained budget approval from the wife and bought the Armstrong foil from Morgan at Ozone NZ who had stock and was a pleasure to deal with.

Everything comes in its own bag, all surfaces have the same brushed carbon weave finish with the deadly sea snake (don't bite me) paint job. It looks awesome, super light and the quality of the finish is like a work of carbon art. Even the shims and mast fitting hardware are custom titanium which shows an incredible attention to detail. The way the fuse fits the mast is innovative and solid the wings can be changed over with just 2 screws in under 2 minutes. Its easy so you do it more often and always ride the right wing for the day.


1200 Wing.
This wing is similar size to my old Axis 680 axis so I rode it first. High anticipation having spent so much money, would it make a difference? I had the answer on the first run, so quiet, smooth and balanced. I've done close to 500km on this wing now and absolutely love it for my style of riding which is wave riding with the smallest kite possible. It can be slowed down to walking pace but will also chase down swell at well over 30Kmph but always in such good control. My favorite move is a down loop jibe onto an oncoming wave the faster the better. With the Axis I would often breach as the power loop kicked in or as the foil engaged with the wave after the turn and my front foot couldn't hold it in . With the Armstrong you just go around the turn and come out smiling, there is no pressure increase as the speed increases the balance is perfect. Another major point of difference is the handling in rips and white water. You know you are in the rip but its never an issue and going out though white water is a none event. Just check your speed depower the kite and glide on though, I rarely ever fall now going though broken waves. I can only think the difference is due to mast flex. I was sold into the stiffer is better argument of Axis but after riding the Armstrong I have to agree with Armstrong that some reactive flex is good.

800 Wing
This is not the smaller brother of the 1200 but a totally different design with an anhedral wing. I ride it in the same track position as the 1200, the only adjustment is my front foot is about 2cm back. Again a very easy foil to ride much faster than the 1200 (about 4-6Kmph average) it feels like there is no resistance at all. Same perfect balance with no shim change. I need to ride it powered to really go up wind. You can go into turns in flat water at insane speed its effortless. Off the wind over 40Kmph without really trying. I'm sure it would jump well but I don't have the straps on to try. On the wave you don't feel that same foil engagement with the wave like the 1200, it wants to go too fast down the line. It's a great foil to ride when its windy and makes flat water fun but I prefer the 1200 for most sessions.

Certainly glad I bought both wings to mix it up.

So Its allot of money but I've improved so much just by changing foils and for the hours of enjoyment I feel good value. In addition I'll probably get a windwing at some point and then just need to add the Armstrong 1550wing, same 2min switch over so the system is very versatile. Riding the Armstrong foil is like riding my Yeti Mountain bike, you just feel like its something special and you have no excuses for not being able to improve.

Great work by a Kiwi company they deserve to do well.

hilly
WA, 5253 posts
4 Dec 2019 3:25PM
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Great review, totally agree with your point on flex. Bloody awesome kit
And no tefgel No fizz bro!

wolfieee
5 posts
6 Dec 2019 6:51AM
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I just got this setup today!! Same foils and mast.

I started this spring and learned on a Slingshot Space Skate and Infinity 76.

Is the 1200 fun on flat water, as well? I'm hoping it will be a nice wing to learn flying jibes (with foot stance change) on. Right now I bring the board (Alien Air) down on the water surface to swap feet.

Can't wait to try the new gear!!

Thanks for posting your review!

eppo
WA, 7525 posts
6 Dec 2019 8:09AM
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Nice review

Kamikuza
QLD, 5174 posts
6 Dec 2019 1:22PM
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hilly said..
Great review, totally agree with your point on flex. Bloody awesome kit
And no tefgel No fizz bro!



I think the consensus is you still need TedGel.

https://provenproductivity.com/galvanic-corrosion-carbon-fiber-materials-2/

natho6026961
WA, 61 posts
6 Dec 2019 12:56PM
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Incredibly nice looking gear. The hex fuselage design is nothing short of amazing, not to mention the shims

KB7
NSW, 34 posts
6 Dec 2019 3:56PM
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You are going to love it, so few about at the moment. I never had a chance to demo so a leap of faith but all good.

The 1200 is still fun in flat water and the best wing for learning tricks because it has allot of lift and low stall speed which gives you more chance of recovery. It's very well balanced and there is a wide sweat spot that makes foot switches easier.

If you are not learning tricks then the 800 is more fun in flat water. You can turn so hard at high speed and really lay over.

Kami...No need for Tef Gel (one of the reasons I went with Armstrong) it has stainless screws into titanium threads. I took it apart after 2months just to check, nothing wrong, I've only changed over wings in that time. ( I rinse after every session but leave the foil and board together)

Kamikuza
QLD, 5174 posts
6 Dec 2019 3:03PM
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Ti seems to be the solution. Wonder how much weight you save

Had a demo/prototype foil in NZ for two months, only used in salt water and un-anodized mast/plate. No corrosion either, so I do wonder how much of a problem it actually is in such short term...

wolfieee
5 posts
6 Dec 2019 3:00PM
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Thanks for the reply KB7. I can't wait to try it!

hilly
WA, 5253 posts
6 Dec 2019 3:23PM
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Kamikuza said..

hilly said..
Great review, totally agree with your point on flex. Bloody awesome kit
And no tefgel No fizz bro!




I think the consensus is you still need TedGel.

https://provenproductivity.com/galvanic-corrosion-carbon-fiber-materials-2/


No you do not. Left mine unwashed assembled for weeks at a time, correction months. No issue. Armie states "You can leave it at the bottom of the ocean for 20 years and still no fizz". Best thing I ever did was to get away from ali - it is heavy and corrodes.

hilly
WA, 5253 posts
6 Dec 2019 3:25PM
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Kamikuza said.. Ti seems to be the solution. Wonder how much weight you save


Over a kilo difference from Axis to Armstrong, very noticeable.

WA Surf & Foil
WA, 236 posts
6 Dec 2019 3:57PM
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Great review of a bloody great product, we are now stocking more and more of the Armstrong gear as it is getting such positive feedback.

I personally have been riding all the wings now and absolutely love the CF800 and 1200 for kiting.

My previous J Shapes set up was also from New Zealand and still rate very highly but really wanted a set up that i could interchange wings for Surf/Sup/Tow/kite and now winging plus the fact that my young fella can use the same gear as me.

We have just received the new HS232 tail wing which i will give feedback on as i am super exited for the extra performance as we did notice the slight drag when kiting at speed on the current Uni Tail wing, not much and still fast enough.

Cheers
Jason
WA SURF






Kamikuza
QLD, 5174 posts
6 Dec 2019 9:14PM
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Select to expand quote
hilly said..

Kamikuza said.. Ti seems to be the solution. Wonder how much weight you save



Over a kilo difference from Axis to Armstrong, very noticeable.


No I meant changing out the bolts for titanium ones

Oh the core is Ti too isn't it...

Youngbreezy
WA, 639 posts
8 Dec 2019 1:58PM
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I should not be reading this!!!

kobo
NSW, 213 posts
10 Dec 2019 7:18PM
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Bought an Armstrong kit from WA Surf just recently, and had it out for a few sessions prone.
Its an amazing bit of gear, super light and totally silent, smooth balanced lift and fast.
Turns really nicely and so easy to change wings (1200 and 1550) 72 mast 60 fuse.
Had no chance to kite it yet but can't wait.
Interested to hear what difference new the tail wing has , but it's already so much better than anything I've been on.

djdojo
VIC, 1556 posts
22 Dec 2019 10:02AM
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Great reviews people, cheers. Has anyone ridden both the Armstrong 800 wing and the Zeeko Carver (the original G10 710cm2 Carver)? If so, how would you compare them for speed, smoothness through turbulent water, and turning response?

Evan Chia
QLD, 39 posts
23 Dec 2019 9:22AM
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djdojo said..
Great reviews people, cheers. Has anyone ridden both the Armstrong 800 wing and the Zeeko Carver (the original G10 710cm2 Carver)? If so, how would you compare them for speed, smoothness through turbulent water, and turning response?


I have the Zeeko Freeride, and I had a demo on the Armstrong 800 (haven't tried the Carver). There is no comparison for speed - the Freeride is fast and has so much glide. You can feel significant drag and loss of glide with the 800. The 800 definitely travels better through turbulence, and is more grippy in the turns. It's definitely a wave oriented foil.

Plummet
4714 posts
23 Dec 2019 4:58PM
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Indeed a good review. What size waves have you had the 1200 wing out in? Been in any fast head high plus stuff???

KB7
NSW, 34 posts
24 Dec 2019 12:08PM
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Plummet. I've ridden the Armstrong 1200 quite a few times in overhead waves now.

Cronulla is a 5Km long curved bay with outer reefs at the North end. A typical session starts by cranking up wind to the outer reefs which are fast breaking waves that fade out into deep water. It needs to be solid overhead for these spots to work properly though and you have a long swim (in NE wind ) if you break something. So far keeping it safe and stay ahead of the curl on the 1200 in those waves there is so much power and speed its intimidating but the foil is still balance (no increased front pressure) but does start to feel draggy at the very high speed.

We then head to the beach and ride downwind stopping at various banks that range from too fast to make, to slow and full depending on tide. The wind is cross off and fluky near the beach so the challenge in bigger waves is keeping the kite flying going down the line at speed. I feel the 1200 wing is at its best riding waves you would consider foil specific. Slower breaking where you can ride slower do bottom turns with no pull from the kite just like a prone surfer would do. The Armstrong 1200 in bigger faster surf is better than me at the moment so I don't feel I've reached its limit yet.

800 wing update:

Crazy bush fire conditions here have created unusual wind here with big Southerly changers that blow 25-35 Knots. I've been riding the 800 wing with a 5m and having a ball in conditions I never thought I would ever foil in.
Then yesterday we had a very unusual 21 second period South swell with double overhead set waves closing out at Wanda beach and a light NE wind.
Very dodgy conditions that we watched for ages. We walked 2Km up the beach to a gutter with smaller waves and managed to get out, fully expecting this would end with a swim. The outer reef was too much at that size with light wind so we rode the swell at Wanda.
This was a whole new foil experience for me on the 800 wing. The swell was moving so fast that you had to turn 100m ahead of it then gun at full throttle. Speeds up around 40 Kmph and just holding on the hill the feeling of intense wave power though the foil a pure rush. A breakthrough foil session to a new level for me.

Based on today's session with the 800 working in light 12 -14 Knots with a 9m I will ride this wing whenever the waves are overhead now.

Adfreetv
VIC, 111 posts
11 Jan 2020 1:18PM
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After a lot of online research I upgraded my Jshapes to Armstrong in the hope that it would magically improve my flying jibes.

i purchased the cf800 wing, 85cm mast 60cm fuse and 4'6" board.
I agree that it is all beautifully made but I have not found it has improved my riding at all

The Armstrong whistles a bit whereas the J Shapes carver has more float and is no slower.
I would like to know about you setup in detail:
1. do you have foot straps? Foot hooks?

2. Do you all have the 60cm fuselage? 3. Do you use the Armstrong board? What shims have you tried (I have tried the 0 and +1) and don't notice much diff?

4. would you prefer a taller mast?

5. how far back do you set the mast?

6. Would you prefer a whole deck pad?

thanks and regards

KB7
NSW, 34 posts
11 Jan 2020 4:34PM
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Good to hear you have bought the Armstrong foil. I actually had a chance to demo the J-Shapes and found it an excellent full carbon foil, it was on my short list. I had no trouble doing flying jibes on that foils either so perhaps we need to know more about where your are struggling.

Once you have the foil setup right for you I think that move is more about the kite handling skill plus if I want to switch feet I always switch before or after the turn not during. The 800 wants to turn at a good pace so don't slow down. If I'm powered move kite 10-2 if not then I down loop. Try to initiate the turn onto a wave face or nice chop ramp. You will get it.

To answer your questions.

1. do you have foot straps? Foot hooks?
No I ride strapless.

2. Do you all have the 60cm fuselage?
Yes I have this fuselage with the standard rear wing. (looking to buy the new smaller one soon though)

3. Do you use the Armstrong board? What shims have you tried (I have tried the 0 and +1) and don't notice much diff?
I use a Dwaft Craft 4.6 and more recently the Axis 94cm carbon pocket board with the 0 shim which is perfectly balanced for me.

4. would you prefer a taller mast?
No I feel the 85cm is a good compromise. I ride off the beach and across shallow sandbars. The 85cm is tall enough to prevent breaching going though waves fast in all but extreme short seas.

5. how far back do you set the mast?
I set it right back on both boards with 800 and 1200 wings. My back foot is over the centre of the mast.

6. Would you prefer a whole deck pad?
Both boards have full deck pads I think this is a good idea because you can move your feet around.

If you ride in surf I would buy the 1200 wing as well, you can turn slower with more lift and it goes upwind better in really light air.

Gorgo
VIC, 4363 posts
11 Jan 2020 6:02PM
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Adfreetv said..
....
The Armstrong whistles a bit whereas the J Shapes carver has more float and is no slower.
....


This works pretty well for whistling foils

wolfieee
5 posts
12 Jan 2020 2:49AM
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I've used my 1200 w/85 cm mast on a strapless alien air on flat water twice now and absolutely love it! For me, it's a perfect balance of glide, carviness, and steadiness. As pointed out, it does whistle a bit; certainly more than the space skate and infinity 76, which are the two foils I owned previously. But the whistling is a minor thing compared to what feels like a major performance upgrade for me.

I started on the space skate w/71 cm mast. I liked that a lot. Very carvy. It didn't ride a wake behind a boat very well tho, nor did it catch swell very easily. Keep in mind I'm new as of last spring - others might be able to ride a wave with it. That said, I had no problem riding the boat wake with my buddy's goFoil and Naish foils.

I also tried an infinity 76. This is not a fair review if the 76. as I only rode it twice, maybe an hour each time, but I didn't instantly love it. It felt locked in and didn't carve easily for me. Perhaps if I'd given it more time I would have bonded with it. I know a lot of guys love it. However, I heard a lot of good things about the Armstrong so i decided to give that a go.

I knew within seconds that I loved the Armstrong. The first time was on flat water, blowing about 12 to 15 mph with my 9m Cabrinha drifter. It was so stable that I decided to try foot stance changes while flying - of course I bit it, and the water was 33 degrees (brrr!), but my point is the foil felt so stable to me that I couldn't resist trying.

The second session it was blowing 20 to 25 mph. I used a 7m Cabrinha drifter and loved it again. I could have used a smaller kite for this session, but 7 was as small as I had.

My mast is mounted to the Alien air somewhere between the 3 and 4 markers. Closer to the 3, I think. I can let folks know if anyone is curious.

I'm looking forward to giving the 800 a try. That will be the smallest foil I've ever ridden.
Next new thing I'm curious to try is a Boardriding Maui Cloud kite. The wind on our inland lake can be light at times, so I'm curious to give one of these a go, maybe a 10.4m. I love my drifters though, so I'm a little nervous to try something new.

Edit: just wanted to add that I have 60cm fuselage. Not sure which shim I'm using though - whichever came with my kit, I guess!

kobo
NSW, 213 posts
12 Jan 2020 6:35PM
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Interesting, I have proned and kited SS infinity 76 for 12 months and loved it, had the space skate before and thought it was a dog (no glide and lots of drag ) it was bearable with a kite pulling it along.
If you only wanted to own one wing for kiting, proning and supping the i76 is hard to go past.It has a huge range and is fast for its size with great low speed lift and quick acceleration.
Now have Armstrong 1200&1550 and it's a whole new world,can't fault them, mine is totally silent ,smooth,very fast and turns on a dime.

kobo
NSW, 213 posts
12 Jan 2020 6:37PM
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Armstrong shims, get the +1 if you want to kite or ride bigger waves , it makes a noticeable difference

CFLKiter
4 posts
12 Jan 2020 10:07PM
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kobo said..
Interesting, I have proned and kited SS infinity 76 for 12 months and loved it, had the space skate before and thought it was a dog (no glide and lots of drag ) it was bearable with a kite pulling it along.
If you only wanted to own one wing for kiting, proning and supping the i76 is hard to go past.It has a huge range and is fast for its size with great low speed lift and quick acceleration.
Now have Armstrong 1200&1550 and it's a whole new world,can't fault them, mine is totally silent ,smooth,very fast and turns on a dime.


Kobo, can you comment more on the on the performance differences between the Inf76 and the Armstrong 1200? I have the Inf 76 and I really like how it handles but I find myself getting the upgrade itch. I know there is no comparison in weight and build construction but what really matters is how it handles on the water. I have found the Inf 76 is great till I get into head high waves on the kite as I start to get a bit of a pucker factor dropping in with a kite. I wish I could easily shim the stabilizer on bigger days. I have also been unsuccessful so far in my attempts to prone surf it, but is suspect I just need a bigger board to learn on. I weigh 185 so I have wondered if getting a bigger wing would help with the mushy waves we are often dealing with here in Florida. So I am now on the fence of getting an Inf 84 or going all in and getting Armstrong wings either the 1200/1600 or 1200/1550.

kobo
NSW, 213 posts
13 Jan 2020 11:12AM
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I'm 83 kgs so same weight as you. I prone the i76 on a 5'10 slingshot Skywalker (51lts) and I also used the 4'8 alien air to prone as well, but only on days where there is not a long paddle out.I also use the alien air to kite foil the i76 on.
I have found I can ride the i 76 in 1 ft mush ( with the mast forward all the way ) and paddle into 6 ft fat waves ( with the mast all the way back ) I always use it in the "A" position mounted through the wing on the fuse.In this position with the mast back you can almost take off on anything ,hold the board down ,get to my feet and keep the board on the water until Im ready to Ollie up and fly. ( big advantage in larger waves and speeds)
Tried both tail wings ( 42 and 48 cm ) and also tried B position on fuse.48 cm tail is slightly slower and more lift,I prefer the 42cm. I don't really like the B fuse setting for anything as it's too much front foot pressure, be good for a sup or something where you needed the extra lift. Some like the B position better for pumping but I prefer the A position with the mast forward in the track.
The i 76 accelerates fast and has a huge speed range for a surf foil and I think this is due to having a large surface area combined with a thinner profile. This makes it ideal for kiting , as it goes quickly without wanting to breach and blow out at speed , but the surface area allows it to go very slow and stay on foil which is great for learning/ light winds and transitions.It is also very stable in roll which makes its easy to kite on.
From a proning point of view its a bit too stable and resists turning , therefore harder to do tight turns unless you slow down.But it you like really fast long carving turns, you can't beat it,the acceleration and speed gained in the turn is amazing.There are 2 tail shims , the more pointed one is faster ( wind sports), the rounded one slower ( surfing). I prefer the fast one for both.Tried the i 84 couple of times , slower more drag, more lift , good for tiny waves or easier pumping.
Armstrong: Proning smoother more gradual controllable lift (no Ollie needed), Turns way, way better , Just as fast maybe faster, feels lively ( the carbon mast and lightweight). Pumps better for sure , the shims make a noticeable difference and I change them all the time depending on conditions.
Only kited the 1200 once and on a 70 cm mast in the surf, honestly didn't think it was better any than the i 76 , on the other hand I instantly thought the Armstrong was better for proning. But I also have a 90 cm mast for kiting the i76 which helps.
Conclusion : Armstrong way better for proning , not so sure about kiting.

kobo
NSW, 213 posts
13 Jan 2020 11:15AM
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I got the 1550 and 1200, 1550 for smaller waves and 1200 for bigger ones and kiting.Both wings are fantastic for surfing,Think I prefer i76 for kiting.

CFLKiter
4 posts
13 Jan 2020 9:04AM
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kobo said..
I got the 1550 and 1200, 1550 for smaller waves and 1200 for bigger ones and kiting.Both wings are fantastic for surfing,Think I prefer i76 for kiting.


Thank you for that excellent comparison Kobo. Really appreciate the feedback. Might be time to pick up a bigger board for prone days. My biggest challenge is just catching the wave. More foam will definitely help.

Can't rule out some Armstrong foils to go with it though....

CFLKiter
4 posts
13 Jan 2020 9:04AM
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kobo said..
I got the 1550 and 1200, 1550 for smaller waves and 1200 for bigger ones and kiting.Both wings are fantastic for surfing,Think I prefer i76 for kiting.


Thank you for that excellent comparison Kobo. Really appreciate the feedback. Might be time to pick up a bigger board for prone days. My biggest challenge is just catching the wave. More foam will definitely help.

Can't rule out some Armstrong foils to go with it though....

CFLKiter
4 posts
13 Jan 2020 9:04AM
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Select to expand quote
kobo said..
I got the 1550 and 1200, 1550 for smaller waves and 1200 for bigger ones and kiting.Both wings are fantastic for surfing,Think I prefer i76 for kiting.


Thank you for that excellent comparison Kobo. Really appreciate the feedback. Might be time to pick up a bigger board for prone days. My biggest challenge is just catching the wave. More foam will definitely help.

Can't rule out some Armstrong foils to go with it though....



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"Armstrong Foil 1200 and 800 review" started by KB7