We were intrigued by AHD’s Sealion Wings 7.6ft. Team rider/designer Bruno Andre is often seen putting this strapless design through its paces. The Wings is a multi-discipline tool that spans wave sailing windSUP, SUP, SUP foiling and wind foiling. Four sports in one nifty toy! For this test we’re focusing on the Sealion’s strapless wave sailing windSUP properties.
Manufactured in full double skin carbon it’s had a lot love poured into it. A pronounced swallow tail, compact length, colourful livery, twin 16cm fins and impressive foil box (complete with blanking section) is impressive. We’re not sure why AHD’s Sealion range isn’t more popular in the UK – when conditions aren’t firing it certainly provides a means to milk what juice is on offer.
We found the best method of carrying, in windSUP mode, is grab rig as normal then insert knuckles (the wrong way round) into the firm deck located handle. (The recommended method is the overhead ‘Hawaiian carry’ but isn’t the easiest).
Although most windSUPs are water pushers the 7.6ft was surprisingly efficient to get up onto the plane. Riders will need to give it a nudge but planing speeds were easily achieved. Booting along sans footstraps may be an odd experience at first, especially if getting airborne. Following a short acclimatisation period it’s very pleasant to be free of deck restrictions.
AHD’s Wings 7.6ft has been manufactured with sail power in mind first and foremost (paddling second). As such it’s nippy, adept and manoeuvrable. We wouldn’t recommend tackling Jaws but most low wind UK set ups are game for some Sealion windSUP action.
Small puff is all you need to drop into a liquid wall. Hurtling down the face AHD’s SL 7.6ft switches personality to an efficiently manoeuvrable platform. There’s a different technique for bottom turns, but riders will dial in quickly. Heading back up to curling lips is surprisingly fulfilling – sailors will end up fairly vertical.
How hard your back foot pushes will determine the amount of slide. AHD’s twin fins do grip, but with over exertion, they lose traction and will slip sideways possibly catching riders off guard. A few more goes will yield the sweet spot. Re-directing superbly the AHD is a bona fide wave carver.
AHD have come up with a real winner in their Sealion Wings range. With both paddling and windSUP wave performance available, plus the option of adding a foil – again, in both paddling and sailing guises – its versatility is hard to beat. Surprisingly rapid around the break with full power wind the SL puts a smile on many faces making it a great quiver board to compliment usual planing windsurf kit. Stay tuned for more about the Wings’ foiling potential…
Price: £1,579 with twin fins and foil blanking plate, or £3,149 with AFS-1 full carbon wind foil/SUP foil. (Non-foiling Sealion’s are £979 in wood/epoxy construction).