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The Gong Allvator SUP/Surf foil

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Created by colas 2 months ago, 5 Sep 2018
colas
2792 posts
5 Sep 2018 2:24PM
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surfcowboy said..
Not to divert the thread but can someone post a review of that Gong foil? I'm curious about it as the price, even with shipping to the US is pretty incredible. We need a demo unit here in SoCal. (I'm happy to host it of course.) ;)

But seriously who's ridden it, start a thread please.



OK, I'll go first.

First, a disclaimer: I am a Gong ambassador, and have never foiled other foils than the Gong one, and not a lot (49 foil sessions only). I can foil, turn, pump on the wave to go through flat sections, but not pump on the flat to come back to the peak.

These foil wings has been CAD-designed totally by Patrice Guenole, the Gong shaper, prototypes shaped and glassed in France by Beryl, the Gong expert foil rider (he is also a skimboard wizard) you may have seen in videos. It then has been made in China, with Patrice going physically there to drive the process. This is not a "Chinese clone". The price is low because, as for other Gong products, there are no intermediaries. But Patrice wants the Chinese factory to receive at least 50% of the total price, so workers can be well paid and have proper safety gear. If this foil was to be sold in a traditional retail shop, with the chain of the importer, distributor, etc, demo units, it would cost three times more.

The tuttle head (you can also buy a plate head), mast and fuselage are aluminium. They fit perfectly. As said in another thread, the mast is at the same dimensions as most of the other aluminium masts on the market. The wing are foam + carbon + glass, so the carbon should not touch the alu parts to minimize corrosion. Weight is reasonable at 3.5kg, the full carbon Gong foil was at 3kg. Any wing can go on any fuz, they are precisely made to specs. You can also put the smaller "kite" stab on it to enhance maniability and pumpability.

They seem solid. I mistakenly dropped the main wing on the concrete from 1m high and had only a very light scratch.

The trailing edge is much more thinner than the hellvator, but still more blunt than surf fins. Tips are well rounded for safety.

The carrying bag is neat, all pieces encased in form with romm for the 2 currently available wings, 70cm and 80cm (I have the 80cm)

On the water, this foil has a lot of lift, much more than the older Gong hellvator. It is slower, but Patrice loves speed so he tried to still have a foil that is faster than the other foils with the same lift on the market (he buys them all to compare against, so I trust him on this). It is very easy to fly, and is sane in turns, and easy to pump, again in my limited experience. All the people I know who bought it rave about it. And from the feedback of people having experience with other foils, they say that it is on par with them. (but I do not think I have had feedback from people that tried the more exotic high end foils out there, only the most common ones). It feels also very rigid with no flex or wobbles.

I guess Patrice was too obsessed by making a fast foil on the Hellvator and traded a bit of lift and behavior at low speeds in it. He corrected this in the Allvator.

At first, I was a bit wary of the alu parts, because of the corrosion and weight issues. But now I am not so sure: I love the ultra precise fit and feeling of sturdiness of aluminium, it may balance the need to dissasemble and rince it, and the slight extra weight.

This foil is so good that I refuse to sell my previous carbon foil. It would be a disservice to sell it to somebody instead of advising him/her to get the 400 euros Allvator, so my more than 1000 euros investment in my previous foil is gone. The Allvator killed the 2nd hand foil market :-(

For reference, here is an already posted video of me on it: My 97kg are on the 80cm wing.



Here is a friend, that never managed to pump a SUP foil before, on the Allvator for the first time, pulled by his son on the beach:



He is in the waveless Mediterranean sea, 75 kg on the 80cm wing, and is ecstatic, he managed 3 sessions in a week, on glorified chop of thermal winds:




You can read discussions (mostly in French) about it at: www.gongsup.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=9859

colas
2792 posts
5 Sep 2018 3:16PM
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Gaspard Dabbadie, son of the legendary French shaper Gerard Dabbadie ("Superfrog") started surf foiling last month on the Allvator (but he is an expert kitefoiler)

colas
2792 posts
5 Sep 2018 3:19PM
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I recopy here my first review of this foil I made on the Gong forum (and translated in English by the Gong team):

The First test on my new Allvator this morning, with the 80cm Wing. Some nice little Landes style waves, hip-high, glassy, 7 seconds in between but the Tide was to high so they were barely unfurling.

First of all, the finish and quality is just awesome, it bleeds precision and solidity. The Alu makes for some ultra precise usage, the Alu pieces (Tuttle adaptor, mast & fuselage) fit together perfectly, which is a nice change from the carbon.
It's slightly heavier than my 100% Carbon Hellvator, but nothing to dramatic. In total, when carrying the Board + Foil + Paddle to the beach, it's difficult to feel a real difference from the Hellvator.

When Paddling, you can feel immediately the Foil wing has more lift : the Foil is more 'present' and captures the waters movements, but after an hour, on the contrary, we use this presence for better balance.
For what I'm going to say that follows, is surely because, quite simply, its's due to the fact that my Hellvator L was just to small for my 100kg, and that the Allvator 80cm is just better for me.

First wave.. I was off in a shot, catapulted, the Foil was piercing the surface ! The Foil has way more lift than the Hellvator, on which I never really put to much weight on the front, I was always looking for a bit more lift. With the Allvator, at cruising altitude, I really feel constantly in balance between ascending and descending, it's livelier, I had to consciously get on the front foot more to get the speed in order to go faster. But even then, after an hour, it just became second nature. And I got kicked off the first 2 waves but the third one was the charm.

It demands more high/low piloting with the speed changes (waves that hollow out) compared to the Hellvator, which was more like 'automatic pilot' which got its speed with height, this one is much more maneuverable and clean even if when you're hauling ass.
In any case, therein no speed problem, and the speed you can attain is just amazing. That's what surprised me so, the feedback I get from other brands is that their larger Foil wings are very slow to the point that they have a hard time getting through the sections. Maybe, intrinsically, it is slower than the Hellvator, but there is so much more lift that you can really, and seriously, pilot in function with the wave without losing to much lift, and in the end, I'm going faster, with longer distance and get a lot more angle in the wave compared to the Hellvator. In two hours I didn't have to pump once, the speed I got in 'real' turns was sufficient enough.
In fact, it is way more stable when turning : I didn't have to add a mini-fin stabilizer to counter the instabilities I found when lacing turns as I did with the Hellvator, carving is super clean, the Foil doesn't dig or raise once that turn is locked in. I don't know if it is the rectangular Fuselage or the curved tips not he wings that gives it this characteristic.

And. it doesn't vibrate !! I haven't had to sand anything down. The sweet sounds of silence. Attention the tips are thinner than the Hellvator. They aren't very sharp, but if you decide to sand them down, I think you'll be taking risks.
In other words, conquered. A pretty huge technical progression with this Foil. I think that the 70cm Wing would be useful if I was a more of a Hardcore Foiler (it's only my 5th session on Foil this year), and I felt that the 80cm Wing would probably have to much lift for my 100kg if the waves were shoulder high with 10 second intervals in Landes, with need for more intense piloting. But in this case I have the SUP so the 80cm Wing is exactly what I needed.

Just a small note ; I dismantle and rinse the Foil after each use, at home relaxed. After I dry it completely, and put it back together with TefGel, and I store it mounted, but super dry, in the van. So I don't have to deal with putting it together in the dark before sunrise and impatient to get in the water.

icharus
28 posts
5 Sep 2018 6:10PM
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Good info - I had the Allvator out yesterday in proper waves for the first time. Disclaimer - I have kite foiled for 2- 3 years now - so I really know foiling, and have been practising in crappy windblown stuff at the beach close to my home. I also know nothing about SUP and have previously before deciding I wanted to get into foiling without a kite spent maybe 3 Hours max on a sup! So I dont know if those 2 things cancel each other out! SUP requires a whole new level of fitness that I dont have after getting good at kite foiling. I am a pretty poor surfer too I like to think that I could handle it if only I had the skills to get on the wave in the first place - but it was no more than wishful thinking .

Turns out it wasn't wishful thinking at all. The first time I got myself in good shape on a good wave - I was off down the line carving exactly the same as I do with a kite . it was amazing.

I aslo ride big Shinn and Naish foils - and have Zeeko and Sroka kite foils. I think the Naish and Shinn would have worked as the waves had some heft in them and they do ride so smoothly - but I also think bigger is better at my stage of learning. If I can draw a parallel with my learning curve with kites. I wasted an awful lot of time on tiny foils - the Shinn P foil was a game changer in terms of technique. I think surf companies should employ duffers like me to test their products instead of 25 year old surf gods that can ride a toothpick !

Mo' bigger Mo'better is my conclusion and the Allvator seems pretty great so far. I am trying to loose weigh and get fitter so I can ride it downwind.

The stoke is strong with this one.

roro1357
1 posts
6 Sep 2018 4:02AM
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Hi everyone. I'm Romain, Coolas's friend who appear in the short movie.
As I've got the chance to ride my first waves today with this foil, I'd like to share some pictures. This is a first one. Very small conditions of swell (5s of period and knee size) but a lot of fun !!! Who could guess that riding Mediterranean micro wave could be so exciting ?
I've got some photos sequences that show take off and ride of such small waves if asked.
I've also got the .gpx file of one part of the session (several waves). The analysis is quite interesting.


toppleover
QLD, 1394 posts
6 Sep 2018 6:12AM
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Gong front wing



surfcowboy
15 posts
6 Sep 2018 12:37PM
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Thx guys. Great info.

Sounds like a solid design and great that it's their second one. I'm sure the progression will continue.

colas
2792 posts
6 Sep 2018 3:13PM
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surfcowboy said..
Sounds like a solid design and great that it's their second one. I'm sure the progression will continue.


Yes. And I guess it is the same will all brands (the real ones, that design their foils, not the ones who just apply a sticker on alibaba foils).
They are all progressing and making better foils.

colas
2792 posts
10 Sep 2018 12:33PM
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I love the transparent water on this one:

colas
2792 posts
15 Sep 2018 12:02PM
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For completeness, as I mentioned it in another thread: Shippping costs worldwide (US and OZ at least) are aroud 100 euros.

Fishdude
6 posts
5 Oct 2018 6:48AM
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Hi Colas you mentioned that theirs also a smaller horizontal stabilizer the fits the Allvator but i don't it on there site. Is it something in the works or?

5 Oct 2018 12:04PM
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is it just me or is that a ridiculous amount of tail area hanging over the back of the board from the foil....Especially when everyone i know is putting their foil close to the tail for bigger turns & manoeuvrability especially as boards are going much shorter... or are they just retro-fitted boards? The tail is hitting the water in a couple of the shots... All the big names in foil boards are using step tails or at least bevelled rails & tails...

surfcowboy
15 posts
5 Oct 2018 10:27AM
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The boards are unusual but I think the foil is a great compromise between untested alibaba specials and maximum profit big names. This is why I'm interested in learning more.

colas
2792 posts
5 Oct 2018 3:24PM
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Jimmy Lewis Boards said..
is it just me or is that a ridiculous amount of tail area hanging over the back of the board from the foil....





For SUP foiling, the benefits outweight the drawbacks. As I stated many times before, it allows for having the same position for paddling and flying, which is a HUGE advantage, especially when learning, and mandatory with straps. Plus the board is more nimble in the air as you do not have this huge swing weight in front, and it is less sensitive to the apparent wind, which can be quite strong at the high speed of foiling. Basically you get the nimbleness of a short board, and the paddling speed of a longer board.

Robert from Blue Planet explained in one of his video that he chose to not have a whistle tail on his production boards for example, as the leverage of a signnificant traditional tail length on the water was helpful when learning to fly.

Gong Surf foil boards, on the other hand, have the mast more backwards, as the boards are shorter and the paddling position is not relevant anymore.Note also that Gong has always been a pionneer. They made the first production SUP, and promoted 7' boards at a time where all other major brands were saying that sub-9' boards were impossible to ride (with the execption of the other French innovator, Bruno Andre with his Sealion and later the first SUP foils). They tend to actually experiment things rather than stay with conventional thinking. So I have experienced a lot how the argument "nobody else does it" is not always relevant, especially in wave-related disciplines.

PS: this is the first generation of Gong SUP & Surf foil boards, based on classic SUP shapes. The new generation is still being prototyped. Gong sells a lot of gear (surfs, SUPs, kite boards & wings, paddles, foils, ...) all designed by Patrice Guenole, they cannot develop everything at the same time, and in France, dedicated SUP foil boards is a tiny market: nearly all SUP foilers are wanting boards that can also be used without a foil. I guess it is not obvious if the pure SUP foiling boards is a market with enough size to have production boards that could be cheaper than custom ones.

colas
2792 posts
5 Oct 2018 3:27PM
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Fishdude said..
Hi Colas you mentioned that theirs also a smaller horizontal stabilizer the fits the Allvator but i don't it on there site. Is it something in the works or?



It is actually the kite stab: gongsupshop.com/epages/box1707.sf/en_GB/?ViewObjectPath=%2FShops%2Fbox1707%2FProducts%2FGON8FOILALLSTAB45KITE that also fits the SUP/Surf fuz

5 Oct 2018 7:31PM
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I totally disagree Colas.... There is no extra swing weight in the shorter foil boards we're using by having shorter tails.. the paddle power is almost identical & the flying time & manoeuvrability is 100 times greater...The longer tail doesn't help you to get lift or fly one little bit.It's all technique....Sure the sport is evolving quickly but it's not a NEW sport.... if you want to talk about pioneers of the sport well Alex & Jimmy were making boards & foils for Laird & the crew 15 years ago & have worked closely to bring the sport to where it is today... You can certainly "talk the talk" about design with your engineering background but until you can "walk the talk" you don't have the ability or experience to be telling everyone what is right... IE... banging on about footstraps still is a waste of time.... The jury is still out... i still don't use them & don't need to & some of the best guys in the world don't but it's horses for courses... If you are comfortable with either 1 or 2 straps go for it but it's what feels right for the individual... As a surfer i don't like them...

colas
2792 posts
6 Oct 2018 1:26AM
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Jimmy Lewis Boards said..
You can certainly "talk the talk" about design with your engineering background but until you can "walk the talk" you don't have the ability or experience to be telling everyone what is right


Frankly, it is becoming a bit tiresome. I definitively think that I proved that I could learn fast to foil to an intermediate level, even without no previous kitefoiling experience, and at my age, compared to people needing 3 times more sessions and foiling all the time compared to me. Just look at Beasho recently who thought I had many more sessions on the water...

My input is what is best to learn quickly SUP foiling, without previous foiling experience, and not being a young athlete anymore. And I definitely my track record is relevant there.

colas
2792 posts
6 Oct 2018 1:27AM
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Not a lot of waves for the Quick Pro in Hossegor these days, so pros (and Kai Lenny) play with foils.

Michel Bourez, a Tahitian French surfing pro, tries Surf foiling for the first time (not bad!), on a Gong Allvator foil and board:

www.lequipe.fr/Adrenaline/Surf/Actualites/Quiksilver-pro-france-2018-michel-bourez-teste-le-foil-a-hossegor-avec-kai-lenny/946744



Fishdude
6 posts
10 Oct 2018 9:48AM
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Hey Colas, i was reading Bear mention of 90cm and 100CM wings coming soon for the Allvator. "arrival of a 90cm and a 100cm with a dedicated fuselage" do you know what he means when he says dedicated fuselage? The translation is difficult sometimes.

I'm i correct to think it won't fit on the current fuselage? But i will be able to use the same mast?

Thanks for the link on the smaller tail stabilizer. i didn't notice that it was smaller because both are 45cm

Piros
QLD, 5257 posts
10 Oct 2018 1:42PM
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That's the Achilles heel for big wings is the connection to the fuselage they flex, so going by what you said they will probably have a more beefed up fuselage and wing connection to take these bigger wings but still fit to your existing mast. Can't say for sure but that would be my take on it.

colas
2792 posts
10 Oct 2018 2:38PM
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Fishdude said..
I'm i correct to think it won't fit on the current fuselage? But i will be able to use the same mast?


Yes and yes.

Do not hesitate to ask questions on the Gong forum in any language.

Just like Piros said, bigger wings need stronger connections, otherwise you will get wobbles.

colas
2792 posts
19 Oct 2018 12:18AM
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Another video. Note the use of only one strap, a good compromise ease of paddling / flight control.

www.facebook.com/maxime.hainneville/videos/10217427143449350/

colas
2792 posts
19 Oct 2018 5:47PM
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Jimmy Lewis Boards said..
I totally disagree Colas.... There is no extra swing weight in the shorter foil boards we're using by having shorter tails..



Just look at this latest picture of "Steamroller" on a recent 7'2" Kalama board, posted by Beasho: The position is centered: the handle is in the middle of the straps. And thus there is some tail length behind the rear strap.

icharus
28 posts
19 Oct 2018 8:54PM
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are these hybrid board designs? I certainly struggle with my hybrid - it just always feels like the foil is too far back getting from paddle position to foiling position is a 1 shot thing for me - if I don't make it I am in the sea. But Jimmys boards obviously work and look way more happy once flying. That long tail must hinder pumping.

colas
2792 posts
20 Oct 2018 4:56PM
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This Kalama board is not a hybrid, but a foil only design.

All boards work, but as always in surfing, they are compromises.

As you found out, having a different position for paddling and flying is a huge disadvantage for the learning phases, especially with straps. Once you are experienced enough to move your feet around while flying with no issues, having to change position between paddling and flying becomes less problematic, and thus you can look for different compromises in your boards.

PS: I do think that long tails preventing pumping is a bit of an urban legend. From my experience, and seeing expert pumpers in real life, 99% of pumping lies in the rider technique (and pumping more than 50 meters requires top fitness), the tail hitting the water does not noticeably slow down. A short tail and/or a "whistle tail" biggest benefit seems to ease the special rocking/pumping movements to take off on flat water. But Robert from Blue Planet said a longer tail was easier in the beginning stages because it provided leverage on the water... So even for this, different solutions have different advantages/drawbacks depending on your current level.

To get back on the topic of Gong foils, Gong has announced its new line of foil-only SUP boards - the "Zuma" - that should be available for Xmas:
www.gongsup.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=10209

Here is the 6'6 x 30'' x 110L, full PVC sandwich. Note the semi-pointed nose, that gives a much higher paddling speed than a wide square nose, and the concave deck to reduce the "log" effect of a thick board.



colas
2792 posts
20 Oct 2018 10:35PM
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Some tidal bore weightlessness...

colas
2792 posts
21 Oct 2018 12:13AM
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And some action in surf, SUP and kite: (the kite wings are different from the surf/SUP ones)

Holoholo
5 posts
21 Oct 2018 3:50AM
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Colas- That shot was likely not taken yesterday... it is of a Kalama board that is over a year old. His designs have changed/progressed quite a bit.

scubaste
WA, 143 posts
21 Oct 2018 10:34AM
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colas





Looks very similar to my last design.....



colas
2792 posts
21 Oct 2018 1:13PM
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Holoholo said..
Colas- That shot was likely not taken yesterday... it is of a Kalama board that is over a year old. His designs have changed/progressed quite a bit.


Oops yes, the board was recently bought, but I see it was second hand.

Scubaste: nice work!

colas
2792 posts
22 Oct 2018 8:28PM
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Just some more info that I get asked for often:
- For non-European customers, the price will be without the EU VAT, so not 399 euros but around 340 euros!
- For countries like US and OZ the transport fees will be around 100 euros
- For any questions, just ask directly info@gongsup.com . They will answer very quickly in French business hours (GMT +1) and workdays. Do not hesitate!
- To order, just order on the gongsup.com shop, the delivery fee will be the EU one, and the team will come back to you with the exact amount to pay. Of course, you can get refunded immediately without questions if you decide to cancel the order.



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"The Gong Allvator SUP/Surf foil" started by colas