Words & pics: Romain Jourdan (Windfoilzone.com)
Romian from Windfoilzone.com gives us his take on the NeilPryde RS: Flight AL windfoil.
Neilpryde is known as a brand offering high-quality products and we were curious to know if they could deliver a quality windfoil at an affordable price (£699), making it one of the cheapest foils on the market.
There were no instructions on how to assemble the foil or how to maintain it. Even without any instructions it was very easy to put together. The titanium screws have different lengths and sizes so you cannot make any mistake. It took 6-7 minutes to assemble it for the first time, and less than 5 minutes after the second time. It is quite easy and intuitive.
We were impressed by the width of the mast (5cm). It was quite large, which led us to believe that perhaps it will provide additional power when pumping and better upwind capacities. The width may also improve the rigidity and reduce torsional twist.
Its colour is bright pink, which makes it quite visible, to say the least. While you may not like the colour it has the great advantage of being visible when you are out on the water next to the board, so you have less chances to hit the ground or even worse – injure your feet. Or maybe the bright colour is also a way to warn fish about the impending danger? The wings are black though, which are not very visible under water.
The deep tuttle head is welded into the mast in an efficient way. Wings are made in G10 and are quite thick, but not that wide. The back wing is relatively wide and has a small vertical winglet, which should improve lateral stability.
There is an optional washer that you can add onto the screws of the back wing to be able to tilt the wing slightly up or down. Down to create more lift by increasing the angle of attack, and up to reduce lift.
NeilPryde’s RS:Flight AL is a solid foil, well-conceived, and visually appealing. The main drawback is probably its weight (4.6 kg), which is mostly a problem when you carry the foil to the water rather than when in it.
On the water
Out on the water we were not disappointed. We first tested the foil with the Loftsail Skyskape 6.4m2 and 12-14 knots of wind. The foil responded very quickly: it was easy to start flying, almost without pumping, by gently pushing on the back foot.
In flight the sensations were very good and the JP Hydrofoil board is a good combination with the Neilpryde RS:Flight AL foil. The foil is perfectly placed between the footstraps of the JP 135, and it’s really easy to control the height of the foil by slightly moving your body backward or forward. Going upwind is also simple, most likely thanks to the width of the mast, and because of the width of the board, which enabled us to push harder on the foil. When heading downwind, the stability of the foil is also great, you only need to have some more weight on the front foot and open the sail a bit more to find the perfect balance in the air.
Next session was with stronger winds, 18 to 22 knots. When the speed reaches about 20 knots, the NeilPryde aluminium foil starts whistling noticeably. Some may find it annoying, others may enjoy the noise of speeding. In any case, you can get rid of the sound easily by sanding one side of the mast to make it a little bit asymmetrical along the trailing edge.
Finally, we tested the foil in a light wind session, 8-10 knots, with the Loftsails Skyscape 6.4m. We managed to pump the foil and fly, but it wasn’t easy and sometimes difficult to keep the foil flying in the lulls. A 7.0m or 8.0m sail may have been the solution.
The NeilPryde RS:Flight AL has impressed us by its stability and the fact that we always felt very safe when flying, as the mast is relatively short (80 cm) and you always keep at a relatively low height above the water. The short mast may, however, be a drawback if you are sailing in a choppy spot. We were also convinced by its large wind range, starting from about 10 knots (for our weight) and up to around 22 knots, while keeping the same intrinsic qualities of stability and comfort.
The Neilpryde RS:Flight AL is a very good foil for beginners, but also for people who are looking for a freeride foil to have fun on the water.
A side note concerning the JP Hydrofoil 135 ES 2018: It’s a really fun board to play with because of its short size (215 cm). It’s easy to manoeuver and the wide tail and flat deck makes pumping and flying comfortable. The round and smooth nose curve is also ideal for beginners, as it tolerates most of the rough touchdowns and limits the number of catapults, which is the most common rookie mistake.
NeilPryde RS:Flight AL 2018 – £699
JP Hydro Foil 135 ES 2018 – £1299