Pics: WSUK, Nick Kingston
As foils continue to evolve it’s hard to sift through the hype to determine exactly what they need. And just because something is labelled or described in such a way doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. Aspirations, skill and sailor style all have to be taken into account. Getting the opportunity to pit two foils, with differing purposes, from the same brand is therefore a worthy exercise – in this instance Exocet’s freerace EVO and freeride NOE foils.
Both foils are carbon modular designs. Masts are hefty chunks of the black stuff with tapering profiles. Moving down to the fuselages it’s more of the same with high quality finishing. Exocet’s foil wings are also quite distinct. These are very much the higher aspect type with stepped spans.
For the EVO foil the mast is 97cm long whereas on the NOE it’s 80cm. With the EVO thinking is more tight upwind/deep downwind runs will be the course of action so more leverage is needed. The NOE is more cross wind performance. Lastly you can get an indication of speed and power needed to lift each foil from the profile of the front wings. The EVO’s is considerably thinner.
Sure enough, the first run out on the EVO confirmed its racey nature. More power is required to get it to lift. From a rider’s perspective that means either a bigger sail or more wind. You may have to work a little harder in marginal conditions to get it flying. Once up, however, it’s a lightning quick flight. We paired the EVO with the brand’s foil specific RF91 and literally flew upwind, so much higher than we expected. In one tack we’d covered significant ground, and all at warp speed.
Piloting the NOE, we used in conjunction with a less voluminous, more manoeuvre orientated board. It’s a much earlier lifting foil but with its shorter 80cm mast height there’s less room for error – especially if foiling in chop.
The NOE’s lift is certainly quicker but it does so in progressive fashion. And whilst no slouch it’s definitely not as fast as Exocet’s EVO. It can also be flown in a more mellow fashion with the sail feathered and a more inboard stance adopted. For jumping it’s an adept performer. Not quite as much spring as some it can still be launched high off the back of its decent speed.
For those looking towards race like (and in fact race winning) performance Exocet’s EVO freerace foil is the one. Lightning quick – if ridden high on its longer 93cm mast to avoid drag – there’s plenty of scope for speed. The NOE meanwhile is better if you’re after cruising and/or jumping performance. Both are premium foils though and worthy of inclusion in any foiler’s kit box.
Exocet EVO foil – £1499
Exocet NOE foil – £1299