Independent Foil review: Sweet thanks for your detailed input Steve.
Below is a independent review of our F series foils done by Surfdocsteve.
Or check out his website for other foil reviews at Foilsurfing.net
Cloud 9 F-Series Foil Review
Disclaimer & Background info:
I am an average foiler that started in 2017. I am 54 years old and 5’4” tall at 145 lbs. I can pump out to a second wave but it is highly dependent on which foil wing I am on. I use technology to make up for my lack of talent and endurance. I buy my foils and equipment at full price and do not get any incentive to write this or any article. I try to bring an average foilers perspective to my reviews. Foilers like Kai Lenny could foil anything and make it look good. I am not that level foiler, I am just passionate about the sport.
That one word says it all about the new Cloud9 hydrofoils. I have been foiling for the past 3 years and a Cloud9 S24 foil was my second foil that I owned in 2018. I still remember how sleek and fast the foil looked compared to the Yellow Naish that I was riding at that time. The black on white wings were awesome looking. They looked good but were just the equivalent of other wings of that time. It was heavy and aluminum except for the wings. That time seemed so long ago in foiling time, but really was just a few years ago. In all honesty I had forgotten about Cloud9 and thought that they would just be one of those companies that comes and goes. I am an avid Instagram person, @Surfdocsteve, and only follow foiling related content. I came across the first images of the new Cloud9 F-series and immediately knew I wanted to get one. The design was so different than what everyone else was producing. I direct messaged Chris at Cloud9 inquiring about the wing and that I wanted to be on the list to get it. True to his word I was on the list and he reserved one for me. I kept in touch with Chris and literally picked up the new foil from his house on the day they arrived from overseas. He was still unpacking them as I drove up the driveway from a two-hour drive to get there.
I have had the F32 since early June 2020. I rode it the first day I picked it up at Mondos in Santa Barbara. It was 1 foot and I literally had to wait for the wave to pick me up out of the sea grass to get going. It was gutless one-foot surf and from the first wave I was amazed at the glide and pumping ability of the wing. It has been four months that I have had the F32 wing and now I have had the F28 and F38 for the past month which has allowed me to be able to use them in a variety of conditions. Here is my impression of the system.
The new build is great. It is all carbon and beautiful in both design and appearance. The wings are exceptionally light and attach to the fuselage firmly. Tolerances at first where very tight, which is a good thing. The tight fit allows for the inevitable loosening that occurs with time. I find that the fittings are still tight and no loosening of the joint areas so far. I have ridden the foil 3 to 5 times a week since June 2020. The mast connection to fuselage is a typical connection of rectangular head into a box in the fuselage. This is a good connection but is a weak point that allows some flex. Cloud9 is on the better end of the spectrum as far as flex is concerned but it is not up to the gold standard of the Armstrong type connection. The wings are light but strong and my initial set did not require any sanding to fine tune them. I have had no cracking issues. I did have to drill out the holes in the fuselage a bit to allow the bolts to go in easier. The finish is impeccable, and the graphics are simplistic but impressive. The set-up just looks fast and fun, like an exotic sports car.
The take off on the F28 is easy. I have been in overhead surf as well as steeper waves with this wing and the control with it is second to none. The wing gives you confidence to attempt that wave you might back off on with a larger wing. It takes more speed to get the foil to start to lift. The wing gives a gradual lift that has no surprises.
This is where this wing excels. The first time I rode this wing I found that I was looking for more speed to lay into a turn. You could just lay it on rail as one would say in surfing, so I guess you would say “Lay it on wing” in foiling terms. The wing was very predictable both into and out of the turns. I found that I was not yawing a lot in the turn but able to maintain a stable platform during the turn. I could really feel the G-force of the turn and it was fun. Breaching a tip was not fatal and the wing would hold despite the tip breaking the surface. If I made such a turn it was more dependent on my balance and technique.
The lift on the F28 is smooth and linear. I found that when I used this wing it helped to move my mast up about 2cm from where I had the other wings. This helped me keep my 60%/40% ratio on front to back foot pressure. It obviously will not have the lift of a larger wing, but it is amazing how much lift this little wing can produce, it just needs speed to do it.
PUMP & GLIDE
The F28 is a very efficient wing. I was able to pump it but no where near as well as the other bigger wings. It requires a lot more effort in the pump and a much higher frequency. Glide is average for this wing and the Achilles heel of the wing. That is not a surprise since it is a small wing. It requires higher speeds to keep the glide (Lift to efficiency ratio) I know there are guys bigger than me that are pumping this wing all over the place, but I am average and that is not happening for me. I find that if there is any real distance between me and the next wave, I am just paddling to it and not pumping.
I think this is a difficult category to access with my experience level. A beginner would say it is not stable and I would say it is stable. I will give it a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highly stable. I would say on that scale it is a 5. I find that I do not have to think about controlling this wing. I think it and it does it. It I neutral in a different descriptor.
I will use the same description that I used with the Armstrong article. This is the high-performance wing in your quiver. It is the one to go to when the waves are big or pack some punch. You can push it to the limit of its speed and still feel in control. I would say it is comparable to the MFC 1075 or the Armstrong 1050 wing but better in both the glide and turning departments. It is more stable than the MFC and not as stable as the Armstrong. It is just as fast and the lift profile is very close to the others. I beats the others on glide and therefore pumping.
The F32 also has a very smooth and linear lift profile. It is just a scaled up version of the F28. I found that even on waves with some push I was able to keep the lift under control after the initial drop. It definitely begins to lift a much lower speed. It is the 3 bears just right amount for take-offs in average surf of 2 to 4 foot. Bigger waves, which I have foiled it with, require more concentration during the take off but are not fearful.
I am going to repeat the 3 bears descriptor again. This wing has the right amount of turning characteristics to it. I find that I need to throttle some speed to turn it but not much. You can get a tip out of the water and enjoy the G’s but still maintain control. Throwing your board from rail to rail is fun but requires a little more attention to yawing then the F28. Coming out of a turn you can sense the increased 4-inch width of the wing and its resistance to rotating out of the turn. It is not a lot but compared to the F28 you notice it.
This wing looks small even though the F28 looks even smaller. The first time I saw this wing I thought there is no way it has all the lift and glide it was hyped to have. Well yes it does. My 6 foot 225 lbs friend was able to pump this on the first wave he caught on it. The lift is linear and is easily controlled until you get going extremely fast. I did have to increase front foot pressure on steep fast waves flying down the line, but I was able to control it.
PUMP & GLIDE
This is where the magic is. This is the wing I have been searching for the past 3 years. This wing is small but the glide on this thing is incredible. Impressive is the term I would use. It is the type of wing where you can screw up and touch the water while pumping, then pop it up and continue to pump out. This increased glide in such a compact package allows me to have fun turning and then pop out the back and look to the outside for my next wave. My limit on this wing is only throttled by my endurance.
This the wing that is why you would buy this foil. It is the middle road that lets you do it all. It will forgive you on the take off. It will allow you to run at full speed with confidence. It will permit you to lay into a turn with a smile on your face. The F32 will allow you to look out the back of the wave and aim for you next wave of your ride with assurance you can make it. I would compare it to other wings but there really is no other wing that I have been on that comes close. I just started to ride the new Armstrong 1250 and it is close but not to the level of this wing. Hands down Cloud 9 will be on the leader board for a while with this wing alone.
This is a wide wing. It is 38 inches wide. I tried the Signature Albatross and did not like it. I could barely control that wing. This wing is completely different. The lift on this wing is smooth. I would not take it out in anything bigger than head high and only if I could take off on a smaller wave to get into a bigger one. Small waves are where this shines. You can feel the lift at a much lower speed and it will allow you to get into waves you thought you couldn’t. Pay attention on the take off and the reward will come soon.
This is a wide wing and turning requires a lot of attention to detail. I cannot lay it on edge like the other wings. That is not what this wing is about. This is a wing for cruising and getting multiple waves in one go. Big sweeping turns are fun and do not require a lot of speed. Care rotating out of the turn is need. I am sure you can breach the tip without an issue but I am not doing it.
Yes it is a big wing and the lift is awesome. It is not immediate and is very linear. I find that I can control it without issue, but I would not take this wing out on a juicy day. The other wings are good for that.
PUMP & GLIDE
This is currently my favorite wing to ride right now. It is simply because of the glide. It is insane. I find that on this wing I can easily get a third wave and a fourth in not out of the question even if there is some distance to go. I always would stare in wonder at guys like Jason Miller who seemed to be able just pump out into the distance and find the next wave to ride. This wing allows me to do that abet on a more limited scale. I find that if I can see an outside wave I can pump to it. There is definitely a sweet spot for this rig to pump well. It is when the wing is close to the surface. I can feel the wing release and the resistance fade. I can actually get the foil to accelerate while pumping. Slow tempo quick push pumps are the best on this wing. Pausing in between pumps is possible. If you are to low you can pop it up high and then accelerate. Again, my physical endurance is the limiting factor in how long and far I can go. I will ride the tiniest of bumps and I would imagine that this would be a pleasure to downwind.
This is my mellow small wave fun wing. I am never disappointed when I take this wing out. It will not make you a better pumper, technique and endurance will, but it will give you a handicap and allow you to pump like you never have before. I used to not even bother to look at the outside waves after I got off the back of a wave. Now I do. I have foiled the MFC 1400, Axis 900, Armstrong 1550 and Signature Albatross and this is the best of the bunch by far. Pump, glide, turning and stability are all top of its class. I like to turn but will gladly sacrifice that for the ability to make a second or third wave. There is very little sacrifice with this wing.
F15 Tail Wing
Standard Tail Wing vs Chopped Tail Wing vs Stab
I never chopped a tail until this foil. I have always been afraid I would not like it. I was lucky enough to get a second tail wing from cloud 9 so I made the commitment. I am glad I did. The tail wing is great in its original form with turning, pumping and stability well rounded. The chopped tail wing takes the performance to the next level. It gives it a looseness that is noticeable but in a good way. I think the chopped tail is best with the F38 wing. It loosens it up and gives the turns a better feel without a hint of decrease in pumping power. I think the original tail is best for the F28. It turns well but gives you a little extra in the pumping power. The F32 is good with both tail wings and I would use both without thinking there was a big difference.
I recently acquired a stab 13.5-inch wing from Kane Dewilde. I have never used a wing like that before. I put in on with my F38. Wow! The pumping acceleration is amazing compared to the standard wing. The tail wing is thin and light. It does not seem to flex but if it does it is only helping things. Pick a wave on the outside and you are there before you know it. Foilers in the line-up keep telling me I look smooth and fast on the set up, like I am hardly working while I am pumping. Little do they know how tired I am. Turning is definitely less stable on this tail and even pumping you need to be more careful about your foot position and not to push down a little off center or you will feel it start to go towards that side. I found that after a few surfs I was used to it. I like it so much I ordered one for my Armstrong. Just a warning if you get one you will need 15mm M8 bolts since the ones that come with the set-up are too long. Here is where you can get titanium ones.
It is solid carbon and is well designed. I cannot say anything special about other than that having multiple holes to mount the tail wing is genius. I did understand the importance of this until I was required to buy multiple fuselages from other manufactures in order to feel the difference that length makes to the characteristic of a foils ride. I personally like my overall length from nose to tail at around 60 cm. This is the perfect size for my stance and weight. I could never pump a 70 cm fuselage and always felt like my feet where in the wrong spot and could not get the leverage that I felt I needed to pump. When I switched to a 60cm, MFC first I upped my pumping game. I found a 50cm with the Armstrong required to high a frequency pump for my liking and style. I have never put the tail on the furthest rear holes since I know I would only like that for tow-in. I have used the other two positions which are the equivalent of a 50 and 60cm fuselage. I like the middle position which is right at my 60cm mark. I measured all my rigs, and they are all within a few centimeters of 60cm. Your magic number may be different, but the point is the Cloud9 allows you to do it on the fly. I even did it in the water to really feel the difference in real time.
Bringing It All Together
I am a big advocate of having a quiver of wings to use in a variety of conditions. Each of the wings has an advantage and a disadvantage that must be used to one’s benefit. The F28 wing is my high-performance foil. I will use it when the waves are bigger, or they have a wall and some power to lay out some turns. It is a turning machine so if that is what you seek it will not let you down. The F32 wing is my daily driver wing for mediocre to fun conditions. I know it will work no matter what the wave is like when I get out into the line-up. I know with the F32 that I can make some fun turns and still pump out to a second wave. The F38 wing is my cheater foil. It just makes life easier. It makes me better than I really am by allowing me to get into smaller waves, second, third and even fourth waves. I admit I am a fan of the Cloud9’s new wings. I was not impressed with the original S series wings, but they have improved their wings as the sport has progressed and these new “hybrid” wings are a next level achievement. They combine the benefits of a surf wing with the glide of a high aspect wing. I would like to see a F30 to merge the gap between the F28 and F32. The fuselage design is great with the ability to change length with just moving a few screws, but would be better with a more solid connection to the mast that reduces some of the flex. Flex is a sensitive issue since it is not necessarily bad if done correctly. I have had no issues with the flex in the system, but heavier riders may notice it more. I realize that there are many people that do not have the cash to just go out and buy a bunch of foils like I am able to. Thanks to my wife for that. I do these reviews to help those that are just overwhelmed with all the choices that are out there. I have no loyalty to any brand and I have never been that way. I go with what I think is best and if another manufacture achieves that I would just migrate to them. That being said, these are the best wings out there right now in my opinion. I only have the three brands right now, but I have ridden many other set ups and owned them as well. If I only had money for one set up this would be my choice without a doubt. If I could only get a one wing set up it would be the F32. Armstrong is a close second due to their build quality, but none of their wings compare to Cloud9, but the 1250HS is close. These are not beginner wings, but you could learn on these and then your progression would be unlimited. The sport is constantly evolving, and I am sure the next great thing is just around the corner. Gofoil broke the first barrier and made foils for everyone, MFC broke the second barrier with their wing design and then Signature with the high aspect wings. The cloud 9 wing design are the next level achievement of today. If you have any questions or feedback, please DM me on Instagram @surfdocsteve or Email me Surfdocsteve@foilsurfing.net