Sizes Available: 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5m
Size Tested: 5m
Wing foil sensations are beyond compare. The feeling of freedom you get from being the only connection between the wing and the foil is unique. It is thus essential to make the correct wing choice to enjoy the full experience. The Strike V2 and its improved design will give you even stronger sensations, no matter your skill level.
Based on the success of the Strike V1, the F-One development team could have sat back and milked last year’s progress a bit farther, however that has not been the case and now the Strike V2 has been released with some substantial changes that refine the Strike platform’s power and feel.
Starting with the new wing sizes, F-One has done away with the awkward sizing gaps that came from early wingsurfing and is now offering the Strike V2 wings in half meter increments from 2.5 to 5.5m. On a pure visual level, it’s clear to see that the boom strut has inherited the extra swoop that we saw last year in the Swing V2. In terms of construction there’s been some additions and subtractions; the Strike V1 boom had horizontal webbing reinforcements that ran the length of the boom and those are no longer present on the segmented Strike V2 boom. The leading edge has received some additional gussets at the connection point of the strut and the leading edge’s individual segments have received extra oval gussets for improvements to strength and stiffness.
When we compare the Strike V2 5m in our possession with a Strike V1 5m wing, we notice that the V2 has a deeper profile in the forward portion of the wing and this was quite apparent on the water. If you lay the two wings on top of one another, you will notice that the panel layout on the canopy has remained mostly the same except that the canopy panel seams parallel and closest to the trailing edge have had subtle angle changes, which F-One attributes to lining up the fabric’s direction with load for better control and durability. The size of the V2 5m has a slightly longer chord in the wingtips where we noticed the V2 wingtip and trailing edge protrude beyond the outline of the V1 for a little extra surface area.
There’s other slight reductions in the scuff guards along the wingtips, while the leading edge closure seam follows a different path with a bit more of a chevron shape as it connects at the wing’s center. One of the most obvious changes is the cutout built into the ripstop rib between the top of the boom and the canopy. This mod allows for the relocation of the air distribution hose from the side of the strut on the V1 to a more hidden position above the strut on the V2; this is also a small improvement that reduces canopy material and consequently weight. Our last and final observation on construction changes was an extra sewing line down the middle of the handle grips; presumably this helps keep the webbing lined up with the EVA filler through the life of the wing without warping or rotating. It’s worth noting that F-One remains a proponent of soft handles, and while rigid handles seem to be turning heads, there is certainly merit for both. F-One seems to be of the mind that when soft handles are done correctly, they give you control, comfort and one less hard surface to put a hole in your board or your forehead.
Those are the things we observed on the beach, and since we could only get our hands on one wing size for this test, what we noticed on the water is confined to the V1/V2 in the 5m size. Immediately upon the water start, it felt as if the V2 wing canopy protrudes farther away from your body and is able to grasp at cleaner air. However slight, it seemed like the lifting surface of the wing was higher off the water and was able to gain more power during the intial stages of sinker water starts. This might be due in part to the new kink in the boom, but also due to a slightly deeper profile in the larger sizes such as the 5m we tested. That extra water start power continued into upwind riding in which the V2 seemed to generate just a little bit more low-end pull than the V1, but it also handled gusts a bit better, suggesting improvements to both low-end and high-end performance.
With regard to airframe stability, it seemed as if the Strike V2 had a bit more stiffness in the boom that translated to more pumping power. We didn’t notice a change in the leading edge diameters, however the boom diameter with its deeper swoop did seem slightly larger. There’s a big debate brewing about airframe stiffness due to the new materials that are becoming available throughout the industry. There are arguments that you can create too much stiffness now (who would have ever thought), at the expense of a user-friendly feel. Stiffness/material selection is a personal preference that may vary from rider to rider, but the Strike V2’s use of traditional high quality Dacron delivers stiffness that yields power and crispness that feels both performance-oriented and user-friendly.
It seemed to us that the Strike V2 has a bit more low-end power than the V1 as the deeper profile provided more grunty pull in the 5m size, yet it didn’t feel like it sacrificed any upwind ability. Sunken water starts felt slightly easier to climb up onto foil in the lulls, and when we sheeted the wing in to drive upwind, the V2 had good forward penetration yet retained its easy and intuitive sheet-and-go power.
In direct comparison, it felt like the V2 had slightly more canopy stability and a bit less auditory flapping (the 5m Strike V1 used for comparison was brand new and in equally good shape). Generally, the Strike V1 had good canopy stability but the Strike V2 did feel a little smoother in both powered and depowered states. With regard to handling, the Strike V2 remains very nimble and easy to steer through the window without feeling fidgety or out of control. When it came to putting the wing into neutral and dropping in on waves, it’s clear that the V2 has stayed true to the ‘light is best’ ethos. The V2 continues to hover quite well because F-One has kept every part of the new Strike optimized for lightness by steering clear of weighty options like windows and extra handles.
Much of the success of the F-One wings has been connected to their strong command of canopy tension and commitment to eliminating excess weight. It is clear that there have been a number of small tweaks to the construction and the shape of the Strike V2 that take that craftsmanship to the next level. With a noticeable difference in the low-end power and top-end stability, the V2 does seem to deliver some additional wind range over the V1 along with clear improvements to overall stiffness. Although this review isn’t complete until we ride a smaller size wing, the clear consensus was that the Strike V2 is a solid step forward in power and control while remaining intuitive, user-friendly and light weight for riders of all levels.