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Determined to think a little bit out of the box and to deliver an ‘everyman’ foil, North have put a whole lot of R&D time into the Speedster Combo. It looks different to a lot of other foils and the pricing is very competitive indeed. And from what we have seen it’s fair to say that North mean business with the Speedster Combo…
Construction wise and the mast is super-stiff AL 900 extruded aluminum (unique to North), then the connection to the fuselage is with Polygon Screw Lock inserts which provide a ‘bombproof’ connection to the foil and will also not work themselves loose with use. The wings are constructed with a carbon compound and construction process which delivers the stiffness you expect from carbon, but also enable the wings to have a durable and less brittle outer coating. The most defining element of the foil is the winglets which are on both the front and rear wings. These are designed to improve the directional tracking (i.e. keep you going in a straight line) and also result in a sharper turning circle.
We tested the foil with the Pro Foil board (pictured). The first thing to note with the Speedster Combo is its target market – this is a foil that is aimed at pretty much everyone from beginner up – and as soon as you hop on it you can really appreciate the thought that has gone in to this. You really don’t need much speed to get up on the foil and it then comes up slowly and predictably, kind of like riding an escalator! Then there is plenty of time to apply front foot pressure and to get yourself and keep things levelled off. For cruising around, you can really feel the winglets working for you – it is a very stable foil and there are no hidden surprises. It takes a little longer to initiate a turn than other foils but the improvements in stability make this a worthwhile payoff for the beginner or intermediate foiler. Once you begin changing direction, turns are smooth and very predictable and give you the confidence to begin heading downwind without feeling like you have to fully commit – there is almost a skatey playfulness that really boosts confidence. If you want to turn on the speed then you can do this and – although this is never going to reach the speeds of a full race foil – there is plenty there to get the freeride foiler’s heart rate up.
In a sentence: The Speedster Combo offers the perfect balance of accessibility and performance – it’s an easy foil to pick up the basics on and then offers enough performance to keep 99% of foilers happy.