DUOTONE PACE BOARD AND SPIRIT FOILS Review

Duotone Pace Foil Board

Duotone’s Foil Range – Reviewed!

This test first appeared in KW #101 in September 2019

 

Duotone Pace Foil Board

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Pace 4’6’’ arrived with a tasty Duotone package that featured two masts (75 and 90cm) as well as three different front wings, the Spirit Surf 1250, Carve 950 and GT 565 – all in a neatly padded mini-coffin bag. We’ve had six weeks to ride this full quiver!

You need to give any foil / wing / board a few sessions to really dial it in. It’s not like jumping from one twin-tip to the next which takes just five minutes to adjust to. Foils have so many nuances – some you don’t appreciate between one session and the next – it’s like their secret codes open up after a while. You have to get to know their character and, if necessary, adapt your style. It’s the same with the boards. It’s true that you can become so used to a foil that it then becomes hard to adapt to, even for good riders.

So don’t worry if you struggle a bit when you first get on something. Give it time. Duotone provide some wedges in the case which further allow you to tweak the set-up and we’ve commented on those in this review.

SPIRIT CARVE 950

 

Duotone Carbon Construct

 

The 950 will be the popular choice of the three wings for the majority of people, whether you’re looking for your first foil, or also if you’re good and looking to progress. It’s easy to ride, generates good lift, gets you going in light wind and accommodates poor foot changes quite well as it feels stable and relatively forgiving.

It’s also fast for a 950, but above all maintains good momentum. This particular wing glides very nicely and you can make a couple of mistakes coming out of a tack and it won’t sink straight away.

Although called the ‘Carve’, it has quite a large radius carve and needs some leg work, and the name seems a bit misleading – at first.

Once we started trying to stay on a wave face, even very little ones, we found that if you slow it down – and you can actually ride the 950 really slowly – it will then turn much more tightly. Find a nice flat section in front of a wave and you can do quite a laid out turn and then a little hack on the wave face.

The 950 has quite different modes; you can go fast and do long, physical carves – which is a really nice feeling, and then straight away drive it back upwind. However, if ridden slowly you can do lots of little turns back and forth. The 950 is very happy riding down swell doing snappy little turns and, with plenty of practice, will let you switch your feet quite comfortably when you need to between waves. You can switch up the way the 950 rides, but in and around white water it takes more concentration than the 1250.

The mast is 90cm and you do notice that extra weight compared to an 80cm mast when carrying it, but thankfully that extra weight doesn’t negatively effect the ride feel. Heaviness comes most into play once you start jumping, but you’re saving some money compared to a full carbon set-up.

 

Watch the product video:

 

SPIRIT GT 565

Duotone GT 90MAST

This wing is a lot smaller than the other two, and therefore for a more advanced rider. The 565 is fast and until you get up to high speed it feels loose and super carvey, which is nice. It’s not very directional, but for a little foil you wouldn’t expect it to be at lower speeds anyway. Once you’ve got skills you can push it hard and the foot changes aren’t as hard as you might imagine.

The difference between the 1250 and the 565 when you’re on the same kite is huge. You need a lot more power to get it going and inevitably you have to go into all your moves at higher speeds. Whereas on a large wing you can slow down and it will keep going, the difference with this small 565 is that stability

comes from speed – and is why the name GT is very apt! In truth we haven’t ridden a lot of foils in this small a size, but it’s a good one and if you’re at a point where you want two wings, this will work well in contrast to the 950. For example if you have flat water and you want to go very fast, all you need to do is buy a front wing to completely change your set-up. It’s so much faster and exciting to feel that difference.

 

Watch the product video:

 

SPIRIT SURF 1250

Duotone 75cm MAST

(Ridden with the 75cm surf mast)
The 950 will do most things for most people, but there are two kinds of rider that this big 1250 will work for – wave hunters and the inexperienced.

If you kite somewhere with decent waves and are a decent surfer then you might get away with paddling it, though it is a bit smaller than most prone wings. Also, if you kite somewhere wavey, it’s easier to get out through surf on this and then the speed management needed for riding waves is also easier. The extra surface area handles white water much better than the 950. It’s going to become more common for people to play in waves, whatever size, so this is a good one for that and for learning your tacks and gybes.

Then, if you’re a rider who doesn’t get on the water very often, or generally aren’t very confident, this size wing does make it easier to learn things at low speed, which can be a real blessing. It is fun to learn on a big wing and they have their place, but if you’re a progressive rider and not riding in waves, you may grow bored of it and find you have a need for speed.

 

Watch the product video:

WEDGES / SHIMS
Duotone provide a set of four wedges (often known as shims) which are little plastic washers that allow you to slightly alter the angle of the rear wing – adding more or less lift. When riding without a wedge (on the 1250 and 950), if you inject a lot of kite power quite quickly, the wing can lift sharply and the nose shoots up. If you haven’t gained any forward speed you end up balanced on it, but somehow hardly moving until you can drive it down and forward. Typically this happens during the water start if you’re aggressive with the kite, but it can also happen out of tacks. Of course you get used to it after a while and, if strapless, you can start with your front foot further forward and then move it back as you get moving.

Two of the wedges generate more rear wing lift and two reduce rear wing lift. We added a shim to lift the front of the rear wing, effectively making the rear wing generate more downwards lift, meaning you need less back front pressure and thus can easily utilise more front foot pressure. Swapping back and forth between the neutral and 0.5 degree settings, the difference is very noticeable.

Using the -0.5 shim the foil doesn’t lift suddenly when water starting and actually instead starts needing a bit more speed and power to get it foiling. Once again this is a different feel to get used to in terms of your body position for riding balance. Rob tested these wedges far more and found that tacking became easier with the wedge in place as it’s generally harder during tacks to keep your weight forward, so this helped to keep the board level throughout and not raise up at the end.

Faster more powerful gybes were a little more tricky as it then became easier to overload the front foot. The -0.25 shim may have been the better option, but overall, along with mast position, the wedges are really worth experimenting with, especially with the larger 950 and 1250 wings – adding and removing them as you develop different aspects of your riding. For the less experienced riders, starting with the -0.25 or -0.5 shim could be helpful to stop accidental foiling and venting.

There is more to test here to really understand the best options for shimming rear wings, but there are definite benefits and getting techy and discussing this with your foiling buddies is becoming a big attraction in this discipline. It’ll take more than one beer to get to the bottom of it! Finish wise, the whole set-up looks beautiful, complimented with carbon front and rear wings. There’s always a solid feel when riding it, no reverberations and the fuselage all fits together really well.

BOARD

Pace Foilboard Duotone

 

We were using the 4’6’’ Pace board, featuring the usual fine finish from Duotone and the deck pad with its’ fine grooves is grippy and comfortable. Overall the board feels nice and compact underfoot with a great connection with the foil – very direct.

The Pace is in between a high and low volume board, so sits medium depth in the water which is nice for board starts and then if you don’t come up on the foil straight away, it displaces nicely as you ride on top of the water. However, there’s almost no rocker in the nose, so it doesn’t ride out steep touchdowns with much forgiveness – so maybe look at the Duotone Free board if you need help with that.

 

Watch the product video:

 

SUMMARY:

A full stack of options here from Duotone and don’t be put off by what we’ve said about adding wedges etc. Once you’ve had a few goes you’ll find your balance evening out and discover what’s right for you – and there is a right setting. If you’re not massively heavy you can do most things on the 950. If you’re a reasonably good kiter, you can now learn on some 800s, so this 950 is right in the middle of what’s a good size to learn on and you won’t outgrow it.

KW LIKED:

This is a really full package and easy to add entirely different sensations with the simple addition of buying one more front wing.

KW WOULD CHANGE:
We’d probably make the ‘out-of-the-box’ set up on the 950 and 1250 ride more neutrally without having to add the wedge for beginners. But then again, you’ll probably progress to not needing the wedge and then you don’t need to worry about using it.

 

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