High Aspect vs High Speed

Published on 12 January 2022 at 09:37

I get asked the question to compare the Armstrong HA foils to the HS foils quite a lot. So I thought to write a short blog post about it. I hope my experiences will help you to make the right choice for you, your skills and the conditions you want to use it in. Again, as always, the below is based on my experience riding the foils to most I possibly can. 


Let me start with the HS series. These are the mid aspect foils in the Armstrong portfolio. They are designed to be user friendly. Lift will be gradual and you will be able to fly at lower speeds compared to the HA foils. They are quite maneuverable as the wingspan is still fairly limited. I consider them to be the go-to choice for most people because of their ease of use.


Now, if you compare that to the HA series. Obviously the design of the foil is completely different. With an aspect ratio of around 10, these are true high aspect, among the highest aspect rations in the current market. What this will give you is a ride that glides endless when you are on the foil, but with the compromise you will need to work a lot harder to get on the foil. The stall speed for high aspect is a lot higher. It requires a much more active sailing style as you need to make sure to keep the speed up. Where you will benefit most of this additional glide is when riding waves. It will be easier to stay on the foil gliding down waves, especially when downwinging. Because of this, you can ride much smaller foils than you would expect. I will compare the HA vs HS in a table below later. As the foils are much smaller they will also feel a lot faster. 


The wingspan of the HA is a lot wider compared to the HS. Normally this will compromise the maneuverability. However, with the right tuning and setup you can really unlock them and they will turn super hard. In terms of setup it is advised to run the HA with the red shim using the v200/ha195 and up to 2 red shims when using the hs232. To improve the maneuverability even more you can reduce the fuselage length. Personally I ride the HA foils with a 50cm fuselage, v200 and red shim. 


If I would need to compare both type of foils to the conditions I would be using them:


HS Series HA Series
HS850 HA525
HS1050 HA725
HS1250 HA925
HS1550v2 HA1125
HS1850 HA1325


I also tried to compare features that people normally find important:


HS Series HA Series
Ease of use ++ +/-
Lift ++ +/-
Stabilty ++ +/-
Speed + +++
Glide + +++
Maneuverabilty ++ ++ (with the right setup)
Persona You are an intermediate foiler. Foiling for you is about fun. You ride all kind of conditions and want to have a foil that works in all of those conditions. You are an intermediate to expert foiler. You are very focussed on performance and am always on the lookout to the next improvement. Your focus lies on riding roling swell and need the glide.


I really hope my thoughts on both foil series are useful to you. Again, this is based on my personal experience and feedback I am getting from customers. If you disagree or have questions, feel free to reach out. If you are looking for personal advice, get in touch!