“Axillary engine is included”: Review on the Levitaz Cruizer hydrofoil with emphasis on riding impressions
Levitaz just released the all new Cruizer hydrofoil for 2017. I have been thinking about to try it, but I have been busy with trips and the large front wing was not too appealing for me as I am riding MUCH higher aspect front wings for a long time. It felt like going back to basics again. I got my new Sync board from Temavento and the forecast was rather bleak with very light summer breezes, so it felt like the perfect time to give it a shot. ‘
The assembly was very easy and took about 10 min to complete. I cannot resist to tell about the wing and mast covers, which are probably the best products in this category on the market. It is coming with plenty of protection, very easy to use and produced from high quality materials, which will protect and take all the abuse for years.
I chose the "minimalist approach": riding with the smallest possible kite using the small waves of the ocean to propel. I was on a 9m FS Sonic2, while others opted for the 15m Kitech Fly4 and 15m Ozone Chrono. On my first session the wind speed was about 9-11 knots (about 20km/h max wind speed). After my waterstart I realized that I could have been on an even smaller kite. The foil kicked me out of the water at a very low speed. I did check on my GPS watch multiple times during take offs and I got readings below 10km/h!!! I weigh 180lbs and not sure if it is possible, however, it is for sure the earliest planing I ever experienced. The early planing ability, however, is not associated with uncontrollable rodeo ride. After getting out the water the Cruizer levels off and glides effortlessly over the water with no tendency to shoot up. The following day was even lighter: 5-6 knots. The same fellow foilers on 15m foil kites struggled to keep it working. Just for heck of it I put up my 9m FS and after a few tries I was up and flying over the water☺ It was an amazing experience and also proved my theory: the exceptional lift of the Cruizer wing will work with a small kite in low wind conditions.
Speed range: this was very surprising. The wing as stated before kicks in at very low speeds, however, due to the low drag, (which is unique in low aspect foils) can be pushed to good speed without inducing ventilation or cavitation. I achieved on my first runs over 40km/h (in 20km/h wind), and the following day 35km/h (in 11km/h wind). Higher speeds can be achieved, however, I would drag race it on flat water and not on ocean swells, as at high speeds the moving water (waves) can subject the wing to sudden pitches. The amazing high end of the foil is very significant, since most or probably all low aspect front wings I have tried would have blown up (ventilate/cavitate) underneath me at speeds around 30km/h. The ride is very intuitive with good control. Jibes, tacks, transitions are effortless. One interesting finding was how slow I can do 180s, 360s: by sending the kite aggressively to zenith the foil can be almost stopped. After occasional touch downs the Sync’s generous rocker let me continue my ride.
The fun part:
As expected due to the large wing and the heavier fuselage (more inertia) the arcs are more mellow, and drawn out. After getting the flow this actually turns into a ton of fun and for me this is the best part of the setup: this is where the “Axillary Engine” kicks in. The large front wing hovers effortlessly in the water and by pointing down the grooves of small swells it moves on its own. The pull from the kite almost drops to zero and the Cruizer generates its own speed. It can be pumped efficiently too, but found that driving to the optimal height of the wave is sufficient to have the “engine” turn on. This is amazing, since I was able to generate speed with the foil and use it to hop from one small swell to another. It felt like the hovering of sea birds in the sky or the long carved lines of ice skaters. If you are into waves (and can be a big guy too >200lbs), this will introduce you to a new dimension…
White wash: another surprise:)
Most of the foils have difficulty running through white water (air in the water: breaking waves, water behind jet skis, boats). The Cruizer crosses through without any problem or imbalance. This was so strange to me first, so I decided to follow and ride in the white waters of jet skis and as it turned out with no problem.
The new Cruizer wing seems to steal the show, however, the mast needs attention, as well. The most important change is the stiffness of the mast. This has been improving year after year and the change is very significant for 2017. The feel became direct and the wobbliness has been eliminated. The mast is also faster due to its progressive shape (from plate to fuselage attachment) and the optimized hydrodynamic profile.
The fuselage and the stabilizer (back wing) is the same as used in the Element or Aspect sets. Both of them well proven designs. If I can have a wish I would lighten up the fuselage for even more improved agility.
Low Aspect front wing with amazing low and high ends
Fantastic for big guys (>200lbs)
“Minimalists”/wave riders: by positioning the wing to optimal height and angle the wing generates its own speed with little to any pull necessary from the kite. It gives you the urge to ditch your kite
Stiff, fast and refined mast
Transitions, tacks, jibes are easy and can be performed at very low speed.
Beginner setup only? Think again!!!