The other day I test rode a mid aspect foil, a higher aspect foil, and a true high aspect foil wing back to back to back. I made videos contrasting the different feels and my experience and take away on the three different aspect ratios.
Here is the YouTube video where I ride and talk about the three different aspect ratio foils:
I made more videos and talk more about the foil wings, both what I love and my concerns, those videos can be found here: on the foil reviews page.
The foils I rode are the Eagle 990, the Seven Seas 1200, and the Phantom 1480. Jeff Clark has F-one foils, wings, and boards in his shop in HMB. I rode all three on a custom adapted mast, the details on my mast setup and adapter are here on this page.
These three foils have a similar span width of around 95cm, which in my experience is a pretty good way to compare foils. Overall area is apples to oranges, especially since the biggest true high aspect is only around 1300 and even then it’s very wide and keeping the tips in and structural strength and flex become issues. My understanding is that in theory the most efficient wing would be thin and short cord with an infinite span, in practice this wing is difficult to build and impractical to launch/ride.
Seems in production we have mid aspect from 600-1500 square cm, and high aspect 600-1100. I have found the smaller the wing area is the more board weight and size become noticeable and feel less stable. In a way it is a catch 22 as smaller foils become impractical or impossible to get up on foil with a inflatable wing or by paddling in on smaller boards. This is why folks switch to towing up onto foil with small boards. For me at my weight of 90 plus kg a 900 area foil is about as small as I want to go either winging or foil surfing.
A lot of folks at Crissy have moved down to 800 or even 600 size true high aspect wings, the elite pro level riders make this look easy and fun. Everyone else seems to need to work harder to get up on foil and pump more when luffing. If it’s 10 feet or so an 800 is doable for me, in the usual size wind bumps I have yet to feel the need to go smaller than 1100. I had some of the longest biggest bumps rides in the SF bay yesterday on a 1480, at times I wish I had the Seven Seas 1200, and yet the bigger foil made it easy and I spent more time actually surfing and less time pumping.