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First Impressions Part 1: STRIKE in La Ventana

3 Jan , 2021  

F-One sent us a few STRIKE (sizes 4.2 and 5.0m) we were able to immediately put to the test in La Ventana (Baja, Mexico). La Ventana is a fantastic place for winging, with consistent and strong daily thermal as well as numerous beaches to start from. Epic downwinders from the hot spring when El Norte blows are a must, and if you like waves, you will have plenty south of La Ventana, in the long stretch going for miles all the way to the light house. If you want to get on the wing game, you have numerous schools to learn from (we recommend you call Ozzy Kite School).

Christopher McDonald flying high – Photo: Chris McDonald

First full production of STRIKE will start to flow to our network of dealers in North America the second half of January (for sizes 4.2 and 5) then early February for sizes 2.8 and 3.5. The light wind STRIKE 6m + is not yet finalized and will come in March. You can already contact your favorite shop to pre order yours!

Below are the first impressions from expert wingers, some as young as 13 with deep experience with the SWING, our beloved first generation wing. Best way to appreciate the STRIKE was to compare it on the water with the SWING, knowing that to this day, the Swing is still one of the very best.

Rider: Nico Ostermann – Photo: Chris McDonald

Upon first grabbing the Strike you immediately notice some improvements in construction and design. The new larger handles (only two now) are really bomber feeling in your hand. The larger handles allow for enough room to move your hands back and forth and are really easy to grip. There’s now webbing near the handles that go around the strut which improves load distribution of the handle to strut joints. The handles placement is perfect and allows for a more balanced load on your arms (less rear arm) and positioning feels very natural. The canopy layout with cross reinforcements and the panel shape and cuts are a huge step forward virtually eliminating flapping during all angles of attack. Additionally, the new shape creates a much more rigid feeling wing so when you sheet in you feel direct power and no lag or slack as you pull in on your rear arm. This in combination with the new shape translates to much more speed, power and the ability for higher angles of attack than last year’s Swing. The power and upwind are a substantial improvement. The new Strike was so much stronger upwind in both angle and speed that I couldn’t believe it and questioned that such drastic difference was possible. Downwind the Strike was very well balanced as you would expect. Tacking, jibing and transitions were predictable and easy and the improvement in power made coming out of lower wind tack and jibes easier as you have to only provide a little rear arm input to get you back in plane again. Overall, I really loved this wing and appreciated the vast amount of improvements – Brian Friedmann

The first thing I noticed even before starting my session was the two larger handles that come in handy giving you the ability to hold the wing in the perfect position at all times. There was a notable improvement in my ability to jump. With the speed I can generate I get higher, the Strike catches me on the way down making for a smoother landing. The Strike is definitely the finest wing I have ever flown. The future of winging has arrived. – Mary Rose Kissinger (16)

One of my favorite things to do with winging is jumping. On the first day after ten minutes on the 4.2 meter Strike I was jumping higher than I ever have. Man does this wing have lots of hang time. One of the first things I noticed was the tighter canopy and the more reinforced panel stitching. This makes the panels much tighter so they can hold power way better.  I can’t wait to get more time on this amazing new wing.  – Christopher McDonald (14)

After thorough inspections of the new STRIKE and its new paneled design, we got straight on the water with high exceptions. And oh boy did it deliver. The second I got my hands on, I could instantly feel the power. With the new panel design, it holds its shape more without flapping which keeps more power during turns and going upwind. I found that I could almost keep up with the kite foilers going upwind! Another key aspect of the Strike is its jumping abilities. It’s perfect as it gives a boost during the ascent, and carries you down to the water, gliding effortlessly for an easy landing. When freeriding, you almost forget you are even holding a wing so much it keeps its stability when holding it with one hand, which is perfect for smooth turns in the waves. – Morgan Ostermann (13)

Photo: Matt Bansak

I really like the wide handles. For the back hand going up wind one can grip the handle further back for more power or bring the hand more forward to get the wing in the sweet spot for going up wind in a relaxed position, as to not using much muscle energy. Transitions obviously are way easier having a wide handle. Big upgrade with the Strike flex. I see most wingers riding overpowered. This definitely makes riding overpowered way better. The strike was not only stiffer, the canopy was not flapping on the trailing edge. Not sure if it was a combination of the stiff wing or the shape but the low end has way more power thus allowing one to get up on foil in way less wind. All the wings I’ve used go up wind at about the same angle. Till I used the STRIKE yesterday I was convinced that a kite foiler was superior for going up wind. I was able to go upwind like I was on my kite with a foil board. I am guessing about a 15 degree difference for myself.  Wind resistance is the biggest upgrade for wave ridding and tacking. When going into the wind the strike is not pulling you back or flapping. This is huge for bigger surf and or offshore wind conditions. Having that dump valve on the center strut will make putting your wing away that much faster. The canopy lay out as far as panels seems to have been designed for no flapping in the canopy along with the shape change. Having webbing wrap all the way around the center strut at the handle attachment points along with the stiff center strut made for no flex in the center strut when pulling in hard with the back hand. Weight. A little heavier than the Swing but when flying the wing it didn’t seem any heavier. When I fly back winded the STRIKE went side to side where the SWING stays parked. The Swing gets overpowered easily where the STRIKE power is more consistent and easier to handle when backwinding – Treve Jones