Challenger Sails may be a new name for some wingfoilers. But Claudio Badiali’s Italian sail brand has been around for a while. Taking the PWA Slalom Windsurfing title in 2022, with pilot Maciek Rutkowski standing tall on the podium, Challenger Sails are held in high regard by many windsurfers. Challenger Sails Ikaroz wings are also gaining favour among the foiling fraternity. The same pedigree runs through these creations as ‘Bad’s’ sails.
Words: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: James Dunstone, Mike Pringuer.
Additional rider: Tom Pringuer.
Thanks to Challenger Sails UK we’ve been able to spend considerable time with the Ikaroz 5m wing. Its low profile shape, hard rigid handles, performance freeride capabilities and all round wingsurf use has seen the 5m become a firm favourite of ours.
Notable is the large leading edge of the Ikaroz which inflates to 8PSI. This air pressure equates to a supremely rigid LE with the middle strut following suit. Two thirds of the Ikaroz 5m’s canopy is pre-loaded with additional stabilising mini battens along the trailing edge providing additional support. They also help reduce flap when riding.
We’ve already mentioned the double carbon rigid handles. These are affixed by dual bolts at either end. That makes for additional security if adding a tad more weight to the wing. Rounded out with a Hyper flow inflation/deflation valve the Challenger Sails Ikaroz wing is a distinct wing poised to get you flying with ease.
Being able to accommodate 8PSI of air pressure does mean a slightly longer winded (no pun intended) inflation process than with some wings. But it’s worth it to get that additional rigidity. More air pressure = better performance.
With the right foil and wingsurfing skills the Challenger Sails Ikaroz 5m will fly in 12-15 knots. At 90kg+ the Ikaroz has rapidly become our easy flying wing for lower wind strengths. Its pumpability is tangible. And whilst there’s certainly plenty of grunt it’s the wing’s efficiency that shines through. At the top end there’s no issue flying the 5m in 25 knots. It remains stable, dependable and doesn’t warp when gusts hit.
Considering the size of the Ikaroz’s LE it slips through the air without question. Partner with a high aspect foil and you end up with a rapid ride. This is great for booting about accomplishing upwind/downwind/cross wind runs that’ll put a big smile on your face.
Through moves, such as gybes and tacks, the Ikaroz likes a proactive approach and appreciates being loaded with power. Choosing a gust to execute your chosen turn with see the Ikaroz float and spin effortlessly. The handles are great for sorting hand placements and give a dependable reference point meaning concentration can be given to where you’re headed and not the wing. This is a good thing as it becomes all about the riding and not your equipment.
If you like a boost or two then step forward. The Ikaroz is an air time machine. With all that efficiency it helps launch riders skyward and offers plenty of hang time. The Ikaroz is one of our fave wings to jump with. For those with the ability and/or aspirations of spins and freestyle it’ll accommodate. But it’s super fun just rocket airing in its own right
Wave riding and drifting are admirably achieved with the Ikaroz. We found a pistol grip on the leading handle is better than holding the LE handle. Should the wing’s clew drop it’s then easier to raise the front and clear the water.
Challenger Sails’ Ikaroz 5m is a fun and effective wing suited to the performance freerider. You can certainly learn with the Ikaroz but it really comes into its own when you’re competently foiling. Razzing around your local spot it’s easy to get a riggle on with the 5m. Riders able to pump on foil at the lower end will benefit from the wing’s light wind efficiency. Whilst at the top of the breeze band it remains composed. Boosting with the Ikaroz is especially fulfilling. It loves a bit of rocket air and hang time is great. All in the Challenger Sails Ikaroz 5m is a cracking example of refined and considered design. Italian style and competitive pricing only add to its appeal.
3m – £659
4m – £720
5m – £754
6m – £806