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It is surprising how inland bound human spirit can produce crafts so amazingly fun to ride on the surface of the oceans. Who would think that a country famous for its beautiful mountains and excellent skiers can produce such a nice, high end hydrofoil like the Levitaz. I have been using it for three weeks now. Here is a quick review of the Levi!
It is a carbon+stainless steel construction. The workmanship is absolutely impeccable on both the steel and carbon components: the reason is that it is produced in a company with more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing high end steel, carbon and advanced composites and it was tested and perfected at the Lake Neusiedl and Traun in Austria.
The Mast is a very stiff, simple, but attractive carbon piece. It has a cylindrical housing for the stainless steel fuselage. It is about a meter long, which makes it ideal for the ocean (high chop, wave) conditions. It has some rotational flexibility, which helps absorbing sudden yaw forces (like cavitation, due to e.g.: seaweed, jelly fish attacks). It is coming with regular plate attachment, so it is very easy to mount on any kind of boards from wakeskates to surfboards.
The Fuselage is a cylindrical piece of stainless steel, which has small overall diameter, however, it is extremely strong. It is not going to bend like the aluminium fuselages due to jumps. The length of the fuselage is perfect for stability, however, it gives also freedom for sudden moves like loading and popping.
The Wings are made from carbon. The attachment of the front wing to the fuselage is unique as the fuselage slips into a reinforced channel. The attachment is very secure I have not had any issues with loosening of the screws or resonation. The back wing is attached to the fuselage with two stainless steel screws. There are two different front wings: the Element is a lower aspect wing with larger surface area, which makes it ideal for low wind conditions and for beginners, as it is planning very early at about 6-8 knots of speed. This is forgiving for beginners as the lift happens at a very comfortable low speed. I tried it first strapless and it was a pleasant surprise how easy it was to get on it and ride. It has a fantastic and predictable pitch and roll stability allowing easy foot switches, toe side riding and jibing. The Element will make many strapless surfers happy, who are currently contemplating on acquiring something that is working in the low wind summer conditions. This wing is smooth with the carving feel of rolling from waves. The element can be also pushed to speed, so it is not a “turtle” and this comes especially handy during high speed jibes, as cavitation is NOT going to explode it underneath you. The bottom line is that it is a great low wind option, however, doubles up as a fantastic wing for waves, free carving and jumping.
The Aspect 3.0 is at its name suggests is a wing with a higher aspect. It planes a tad faster at speeds around 8-11 knots. It is wide and narrow with a thinner overall profile giving a silkier, smoother riding experience. The acceleration, stability of this wing is excellent and it loves to be pushed to speed. I have been throwing at this wing everything and anything I was able to and it has been taking on all the challenges. Racers have been using it and it has a great top end. At the same time it is easy to spin, jump, jibe and tack with it. Low speed wave ride is better on the ELEMENT, however, freeride is a ton of fun. I was able to jump over 10m with this wing, but what I have been REALLY enjoying is tacking. Tacking is a difficult move and air tacks (when the board not touching the water throughout to turn) are difficult to pull off on tube kites as they will not hang the rider as efficiently and with power as foil kites do. I keep finding myself doing most of the time tacking practice on this foil. It made me a tacking addict. I have not been able to pinpoint its secret, but it maybe the combination of the relatively large back wing and the balanced front wing. The wing is also exceptionally stabile. It is easy to change feet from toe side to heel side or vice versa. I was sitting on the board the very first time I was trying it. It needed no adjustment from me at all.
The Wing Covers
These are not essential components for foiling, however, probably one of the best and most protective design out there. It fits the wings and mast perfectly, reinforced along the edges providing maximum impact protection. Taking on and off is a breeze due to the smart placement of Velcro and it is also secure.
I have been using these foils with Nils Stolzlechner’s board (NJS Designs). It is a super light and STIFF bamboo composite construction. In addition, this board has a 5 fin setup, so it absolutely doubles as a nice surfboard too. It is extremely stabile and for my 175 pound weight it provides plenty of flotation. The deck is surface treated as windsurfing boards for no skid and it is also padded. The foot strap position is well thought out and just where they need to be. Hope this one or something similar (light, durable and STIFF) will be available through Levitaz.
The Levitaz hydrofoils are high end carbon-steel constructions with tremendous built in range regarding its usability. By exchanging the front wings the foil will make happy beginners, strapless foilers, freeriders-freestylers and aspiring racers, as well. You only need to add some wind☺! Have Fun out there!!!