Author Topic: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review  (Read 1974 times)

ninja tuna

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My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« on: August 24, 2020, 03:50:50 PM »
Armstrong wing and 1850

Stats for this report.

Rider weight = 190 lbs (86 kg)

Beginner, maybe about 12 riding sessions total,  tried a few times in way to light of wind that I am not counting.

Other wings I have ridden for comparison are the Gong version 1 wings in 5m and 7m and the Naish version 1 4m.  The other foils I have winged on are Armstrong 1600 and 2400.

Setup for this report:  5.5 A-wing, 6’4” x 29 foilsurfmachines sup,  1850 HS front wing, 72 cm mast, 232 tail, O shim, 60 fuse.

Location in east central Florida

I paid full price for my stuff and not endorsed by anyone.  I really like my Armstrong foils so I was looking forward to these wings coming out.  I was also looking heavily at the slingwing2 and the Takuma wing ride model 3.  I could care less about windows. Don’t care what your opinion is on them.  In fact, I wish the Armstrong wing did not come with them.  I found them useless, but more on that later. 

I bought the A-Wing 5.5 and the 1850 HS wing together. With the reviews of the 1850, I could not walk away without it.  When I opened up the wing at home, it was questionable whether I would be able to get it back in the bag.  The bag seems small but I have been able to get back in.  In the Real Video, Matt talks about how rigid the frame was and he had it pumped up to 7 or 7.5 psi.  I pumped it up initially to about 5 psi and it felt just as rigid as he was showing in his video.   When I rode with it the past 2 days, I pumped it up to 7psi on both the leading edge and the center strut.  Yes, you have 2 locations you have to pump up.  I am using a WMFG 3.0T pump with a gauge.

This is after riding 2 days straight.

First day out, the wind where I started was a little more out in the open at 13-16 mph and where I was finishing my runs was in a little shadow behind an island at 10-14 mph.  I usually hold my wind meter up for about a minute or  2 to get an idea of the speed.  In the past, this would be me on my 7m with the 2400.  I have not ridden my foil with a wing in about at least  3 months because of work. So initially I had to shake out a cob web or 2 for the first few minutes.  Initial impression as soon as I had this wing in my hand was “this thing has some pull”.  I was able to power up and jump on foil pretty quickly.  As I familiarized myself with this combination, the takes offs became very easy.  I would just pump the wing with short arm pumps of about 6 inches while waiting/resting. When it would grab wind/ higher wind/ gust it would easily start to accelerate the board. At this point is when I would pump the wing  harder with longer strokes, normally about 1-3 times.  Yep… insert jokes. I then would pump the foil and lift off.  Usually only had to pump the foil maybe 3-5 times.

This wing does have a lot of pull. I was amazed that I still consider myself a beginner and could ride with such ease in the lighter winds. I could go upwind with ease too.  I was picking points that were pretty far upwind and I could get there.  This was all on my heelside.  I have not taken gybes as seriously I as need to and so I put the effort in on this day.  It was not pretty and I know I had some good falls if anyone wanted a laugh.  As I made it down to where I get out and start over, I mentioned the wind was a little lighter.  I was still able to gather myself and take off.  Most of the time with little effort as mentioned as above.  There were a few times where I had to work a little harder to lift off.  With the lighter wind, I did have a harder time lifting off on my toe side twisted around. 

Day 2.   Followed a rain storm and had to wait a few minutes for the wind to kick back up.  Same location with the initial point wind in the 15-20mph range with gusts to 23.  Ending point was 14-16mph.  Did I say this A-wing thing could pull.  The more power made it easier to lift off on my toeside.  Riding toe side with more power made things a little iffy just in terms of speed and control. My own issue.  Lifting off on my heelside, I felt like  pro.  Could lift off at will with minimal effort.  I could definitely go for the longer mast with the chop I ride in.  I could race upwind again today. Again aiming for points way upwind.  The speed I could get today felt fast while up on the foil but I know it was probably reasonable.  Most of the time I was trying to bleed off the speed.  Some times I felt like Mary Poppins with the wing straight out over my head with plenty of speed on the foil. Breaching in the chop, up on the foil, and at speed again provided for some good launches of me into the water.

I watched a few videos and figured out what I was doing wrong on my gybes.  Today I was completing them in both directions.  At least about 70 percent of them.  And some were not pretty.  But some I stayed on the foil through the whole turn and kept riding.  So that was cool.  I think I have the muscle memory now but that will depend on when I get to ride again.  Wind is supposed to be marginal tomorrow and into the future.

This wing and foil combination definitely allows me to ride a smaller wing and smaller foil.  Earlier this year, I was riding the winds from the fronts going through with 25-35 mph winds.  I was thinking about this after riding today.  Looking at smaller wings and smaller foils for the future.  I was hesitant to believe the power of the 4.5 in the Real video.  I now believe it after riding this wing.

In terms of the windows.  This is just my opinion. I tried them.  I had the wing held at a higher angle most of the time and they were of no use.  I am also gambling that the material will hold up.  The bag that comes with it is small.  Yes, I can get the wing into the bag.  But to not fold the windows you need to roll the wings up from each side. Then put it sideways if that makes sense.  Maybe my pictures will show my explanation better.  The bag is 38 inches long and the windows are 41 inches long, so you have to roll this way to avoid bending/creasing them.  The coil leash I was not sure about.  But it is really nice quality.  It was nice without a straight leash dangling around.  The bag has a built in tube next to one of the pockets and I am guessing that will be for the future mini boom coming out.  The bag has a mesh pocket on each end to help drain any water from the bag.  Bag also has nice buckles, a shoulder strap, 2 small interior pockets.

The handles I had no issue with.  I pretty much used the first and the third handles.  They felt solid and I felt like I had good control over the wing with them. I played with the Y handles some.  This is my first wing with them.  When I used them, I used the bottom one for whatever direction I was going.  Did not try them with the gybes. Had enough going on at the moment.  They seem Ok.  I just need to play with them more.

The inflation valves I am not a fan of.  I have used valves on my Gong and Naish wings, and my Core and Liquid Force kites and prefer the valves on all of those over the valve on the A-wing.  This is also very minor complaint.  To me it just does not feel as secure and I have had to adjust every time I pump the wing up to get it to hold air in order to see the pressure on the pump gauge.  The 2 valves did not bother me either.  Having to pump the leading edge and the strut separately did not bother me.


ninja tuna

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2020, 03:53:32 PM »


Ok, I think I covered as much as possible.  Now photos.

The handles from the side.





The Y handle and valves



The leash





ninja tuna

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2020, 03:54:29 PM »

The bag








The flag out handle and leash attachment




ninja tuna

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2020, 03:55:22 PM »

The valves





Folding/rolling  it to put it in the bag





A few action shots from the first day









Phils

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2020, 06:48:12 AM »
Thanks, lots of detail here.  Sounds like your A wing came along at a good point in your winging progression.   I am happy with my Swings in Gorge winds but may have to give the 5.5 a try when in Florida.   

I think the pros and cons of windows have been discussed enough but was wondering if the recommendation is to not fold these windows when bagging (like with Naish)?

ninja tuna

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2020, 01:27:37 PM »
Hey Phils,

In the little booklet that comes with the wing, it basically says to roll it up from the wing tips towards the center and fold it in half to fit in the bag.  That basically means you are folding the windows in half.  The are no warnings in it about folding the windows.  With all the talk about creasing windows, I am just playing it a little safe.  The warnings in the booklet are :

-avoid inflating this product on an abrasive surface
-inflate slowly making sure the bladders are inflating correctly, If you see a twist or something looks strange stop pumping and check the bladders. They may need re-aligning to ensure they inflate properly.
-Once inflated secure the product. Do not use heavy objects on the  wing.  Boards and fins can damage the material.
-Never leave the product for long periods of time in the sun, UV, flapping due to wind and debris hitting the sailcloth can all severely shorten the products lifespan.
-Only pack  the wing when completely dry. Packing wet can damage the material and its coatings and may lead to dye running or mold marks. This is not valid for warranty.
-Never leave this productinside a car or in direct sunlight, heat can damage!

deja vu

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2020, 06:46:35 AM »
At the 1:15 minute mark of this video it appears Matt is using the "boom" attachment.  I'm assuming it is an accessory since there is no mention of it in any reviews (including Matt's).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4_mko6ePE8&t=386s

Phils

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2020, 01:23:49 AM »
 A-wing 5.5 and 4.5, 70 kg, intermediate level rider.

They are the best wings I have used (I have owned 3 current wing models from major brands and tested 2 others).  They are very, very powerful for water starts with just sheeting in or a bit of pumping.  Being low aspect in shape, it is easy to position them vertically even before lift off to generate power.  While foiling, they are just so solid and they don't flap.  I loved the feeling of having tons of power on tap to accelerate or go upwind.  I was concerned about upwind ability due to low AR and large leading edge but they go upwind very well.  Handling during transitions is great; surfing with leading edge handle is easy.  After crashes, they almost always land right side up, unlike some other wings that do the opposite.

Critiques:  I have pretty short arms and using handles 1 and 3, had some trouble reaching the back handle.  It required me to bring the wing closer to my head than I am used to but I am sure I will adjust to this without a problem over time.  I am also going to try the rod thing they make.  The windows are useless but you can fold them without a problem.  The bags are too small and I purchased some $7 laundry bags to carry them in.  They come with really nice coil leashes but I am used to the F-one leash and continue to use them.

There are reports online of the strut bladder popping.  This was apparently a problem with the first batch but has been fixed on current wings.

I am getting the 3.5.  There is a 2.5 in the works which will hopefully be out before I return to the Gorge in the spring.

Wetstuff

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2020, 09:00:37 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to post all that, Tuna. 


Jim
Atlantis Mistress .. Blue Planet MultiTasker ..   Atlantis Venom

deja vu

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Re: My Armstrong A-wing 5.5 review
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2020, 09:20:42 AM »

 


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