Joining the hugely successful F-one hydrofoil line-up for 2023 is the brand new SK8. The new addition aims to fill the gap for performance wave riding and freestyle. The medium high aspect ratio means they have a narrower wing span than the Seven Seas and Eagle which allows them to turn tighter and their smaller size and thin profile gives them higher speeds than the Phantom allowing the rider to really push through their turn with great speed and glide.
The SK8 is built in a High modulus carbon which gives a higher rigidity than the standard Carbon used in the Phantom and Seven Seas. This use of material and the foils relatively small size gives an idea that the foil is for the higher performance riders who want to transfer every foot movement into a reaction from the foil.
The SK8 comes in six different sizes that should suit every size intermediate – advanced rider:
550 – 650 – 750 – 850 – 950 – 1050 cm²
The aspect ratio is 8.0 – 8.2 in the smaller sizes.
The foil mounts using the Titan Connexion as all the other carbon F-One foils do so it can be mounted to your existing mast as an upgrade.
A big change at the back of the foil is recommended as F-One suggest pairing the SK8 in all sizes with the new Monobloc fuselage/stabilizer. Where the Eagle, Seven Seas, Phantom carbon foils you had a fuselage to mount to the front wing and a stabilizer to mount to the fuselage F-One have turned this into a one piece monobloc rear fuselage and stabilizer mounted to the front wing. The idea being that the one piece structure improves stiffness and reduces turbulence by eliminating connection points and therefore making the foil more stable and faster. While this monobloc tail will only feature in the SK8 it feels like it may unlock some performance with their other foils and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a downwind monobloc tail for the Eagle in the future.
F-One have lined their foils up well over the last few years with clear line of progression for developing riders and the SK8 adds to that. The Gravity and Phantom are at the heart of F-One’s hydrofoil collection with the Seven Seas and Eagle catering for endless glides and downwind performance. With the release of the Phantom-S last year it pushed speeds higher but with out much pumpability. The SK8 allows for a similar high speeds but gives much more efficiency and pumpability as well as control. The only way to unlock more speed and performance then is to head to the Escape but at 630cm and 530cm² they are exactly everyday foils for everyday users.
We have had the SK8 850 since the end of 2022 and have managed to put it through its paces in flatwater, waves and rolling swell and really the stand out attributes are the control at speed and this is most evident in waves when linking turns together. It looks like the Fences from the Seven Seas have paid off in testing as they make an appearance on the SK8 too. These are to help reduce turbulence that foils get towards the wing tips and the Fences are much less scary than the wing tips of the Eagle.
In small UK wind blown swell you have to pay attention to where the speed of the foil carries you as its easy to get well ahead of the wave face but this gives plenty of scope for good turns even on small crumbly waves. On bigger more powerful ground swell the speed comes into its own as it accelerates without huge amounts of lift to hold down meaning your free to concentrate more on where your going.
Through turns you really feel you can lean into the turn and push hard to to tighten it up without too much consequence. I don’t think I’ve ever survived so many wing tip breaches – you can hear, see and feel the wings tips coming well clear of the surface but this doesn’t cause too much disruption to the turn shape and is easily recoverable most of the time.
The glide of the foil is surprising and whilst not on the same level as the Eagle or Seven Seas the 850 SK8 feels efficient through the water. The speed the foil carries means you can glide for a long time without a wave or power from a wing and this translates into pumping the foil. Again not on the same level as the higher aspect foils in the range but it is a pumpable foil with the ability to link multiple waves or wind wind swell together.
Adam Bennetts aka Mister Bennetts has been riding/testing the SK8 for a while and creating some pretty epic prone and tow foil videos and really demonstrates how fast and agile the foil can be in the right hands. Worth noting that he is also riding a new F-One Mast that should be released later this year which he has been raving about. The feeling is that the new mast will be stiffer and thinner than most carbon masts on the market currently and should unlock even more performance from the F-One range especially in speed, glide and reactiveness.
Overall the Sk8 has become a go to foil for me this Winter/Spring. Its speeds are great for flat water and freestyle, maybe a little twitchy for any kind of racing (maybe a longer fuselage would help with that) but its in the turns its the most fun. With a narrower wing span the turns feel much more fun and give the ability to push and pull the board into a new direction in a snap. Being able to push from one direction to the other and carry your speed really opens the doors for a variety of turn shapes, cut backs as well as tight gybes and tacks onto the wave face. The foil not loosing stability when tips are breached gives you confidence to try tighter turns both on a wave face and through crumbling white water. On an over head tow foil day I think I found the limit a few times in terms of speed on some steeper drops and the smaller sizes would have probably given for better control at higher speeds and but that is not everyday conditions. There is no doubt in my mind that the new mast coming will improve performance of the foil dramatically and if I’m honest the aluminium mast did feel too soft on the bigger days at higher speeds and this was again noticeable when turning from one way to the other. Size wise the 850 sits in the middle of the range and feels like a good size for my weight (73kgs) as a one foil for most conditions. I’ve managed to get out in lots of varied conditions from flat water, knee high waves, wind blown down wind swell and some over head waves both wing foiling and tow foiling.
Be sure to keep an eye out on the King Of Watersports Website to get your Sk8 Pre-ordered.