(updated 2020-08-30: See ECHO Trim on the end)
I am riding the Duotone ECHO wing in the size 6,0 m² since 3 month for about 15 times and now ordered also the 4,0 m² to close the gap to my old first generation 3 m² Duotone wing. As I see more and more questions about sizes of wings and foils for winging I want to share my impressions about that first.
I am winging since more than a year, beside most time kiting but getting more enthusiastic about it, so last weeks, wing time starts to be dominant.
Most I am on lakes in the flat developing freestyle (duck jibes, jumped jibes, 360, trying the flaka). Till now I (62 kg) used most available sizes: 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 of duotone wings, but also Ozone and old Kitewings. Foilwing sizes till now just 1900 – 1500 – 1100 cm², last time nearly only the smallest for its jumping potential. Also boards I have tested from 110 litre inflatable – over 90 l hardboard – down to 72 l inflatable, which I still prefer and own, but is quite advanced.
My impression about wing sizes
is that you first have to check well if somebody is talking about traditional wave conditions for winging where you need relevant less pull to get into foil flight then on small lake conditions maybe even without any relevant wind wave. Just remember SURF/SUP foiling was born just without wing, which means you don’t need to much pull to replace a paddle, when starting foil flight on a wave. That’s why my impression is on a small gusty lake better go bigger, which brings us to topic Nr.2: ECHO in size 6,0 m²
Last year with my 168 cm and 62 kg I was happy with the first generation 5 m² from duotone and thought bigger for me could be already too big. Now to me also a 6 m² would be an option as it surprisingly didn’t feel too big, even not while flipping over for start. In the opposite it made balancing on my small board waiting for the next gust even easier. This not just by size and stiffer wing to boom connection, but also by the way to have the lower tip resting on the water as an extra floater with a very solid feel connection via the boom. In wave conditions this is for sure not relevant or even possible, but on a lake, it can make the moments with no wind much more relaxing on a small board. Also, from the first start I was directly able to do usual manoeuvres like jibes, tacks, 360s and small jumps without having the feel of a too big wing, even started trying the flaka 360 roll jump with the 6 m², even if not yet successful.
Coming to the differences,
upgrades and downgrades of the new duotone wing. The ECHO has now an extra small classic valve, not bad if you lost the duotone adapter or your pump and a zipper to reach the bladder. Repaired an bladder of the old 5 m² these days, which was also without any problem for me (first bladder repair in 21 years of mostly kiting with foils and surprised how easy it was 😉 ), so don’t know if relevant. Most important visual change is that the wing now has shorter battens and is additionally to the boom supported by 2 pulleys and a string. Which indeed made the wing feel even more solid connected to the boom but may have also disadvantages I will come back to. One of the most important advantages could be that this helps to have the middle batten split in two which again solves the biggest packing problem of the old wing: You may now fold the wing first in half of the boom length before rolling up.
On the other hand, coming to old and new disadvantages: The wing still lacks a bit in pressure support in overpower condition where other wings with middle strut might have an advantage I can’t quantify. When you depower the wing to much in the gust the front part of the profile will invert and will push your front hand even more down, similar also known from windsurf sails. But as said I can’t number if the wind range of the duotone is better or worse than other wings with usual strut support. The old duotone wing had the nice feature to trim the boom tension by shortening and elongating the boom, which was even possible and often used on the water trimming to more and less profile adapting to wind conditions. With new two pulleys and support line unfortunately designed to be fixed on the fixed end of the boom this feature is still there but much less powerful in use. Even if I haven’t seen the recommendation in the duotone description I would recommend to just hang off the line out of the back pully for the trim with shorter boom / low wind / big powerful profile. Unfortunately, this can’t be done on the water (tried it) until you don’t start to change system itself by tinkering for which for sure some not to complicated solutions are existing. If I will buy one I will modify it here.
Coming to flight characteristics,
to tell what all this could mean for your ride. My general impression was in general and overall relevant better but also not a huge step, so no need to immediately sell your old wing. Most important apart from the named even more solid feeling could be that self-stabilisation in role and yaw could be relevant better which all together is well feel able when pumping, but could also be when riding down a wave which I haven’t tested and still would expect that the boom less wings as ozone will be still relevant better in the behaviour when just been hold on the front handle. Also, about wind range I am not sure till now but would expect to be similar to the old one. In the first small jumps it felt more solid but comparing 5 to 6 m². A trick I have seen to instead of pulling out the boom grabbing the support line with back hand to lower the profile I also tested in overpower conditions, which indeed could be a nice new feature, but didn’t felt to effective till now and if pulling to much the trailing edge will start to flutter. So overall I see still quite some potential in the boom design but some of it seems to be still unused by duotone and wouldn’t wonder if they bring a version without boom as other brands as well in the future, but hopefully are going on to improve the design I prefer coming from windsurfing.
In conclusion compared to duotones first wing
+ power and solidity
0 wind range
– trim potential (on the water, without modification)
Modification for in flight trim potential
A few sessions ago I just exchanched the blue string that is holding the 2 pulleys by a small clamp and a black covered string fitting to clamp size. Addtionally I added a small snap shackle on the place of the back pulley (could also be better on the front or both pulleys). During the last sessions I so had the chance to trim wing profile by:
- changing beam length (but now also togehter with string tension control)
- changing string tension and so profile deepness
- changing profile curve by conection pulley points
And the best is, appart from lenghting the boom, its is possible to do all this not just on the beach but even in full foil flight (even on a monofoil) if you are using a harness. So if you feel that the wind is going down or if you have already dropped out of foil flight and have to pump up again, then just release the shakle(s) and or release the string tension on the clamp and pump up with a deep powerful profile. Then if you want to go 6 km upwind as I did last time, just trim the profile flat by hooking in the shakle and tensioning the line.
The trim also seem to influence the pitch stability of the wing when you riding it hooked of one handed, actually to me it felt its best with line a bit tensioned and the back pulley point released, even this is a bit against profile theory. There is for sure still something to find out, but as I am riding my small 1100 m² wing I don’t want to miss anymore the potential to trim the wing for early take of and then in flight for best freestyle and jumping stiffness.
I am sure winging will become very big and even with 21 years of kiting it actually teaches a lot to me for kiting, as downwind 360, being unhooked most of the time, etc.