The year 2015 has seen the arrival of several kitefoil with aluminum mast, fad ? ease of production? real innovation?
The important point for an aluminum mast is that its price is much lower than a carbon foil due to manufacturing simplicity. Indeed, here no need draping plan, machining of metallic molds, cooking, cutting CNC prepregs carbon fiber. For most brands masts come from China, they are produced by tens meters and are then cut to the desired length (between 80 and 95 cm usually).
An aluminum foil does not compete with a carbon foil in terms of performance and will require much more careful maintenance. It will indeed provide a general rinsing after each session and use a protective gel application on the screws every two weeks. Otherwise the screws will remain sealed because of electrolysis and it will be impossible to disassemble your Kitefoil. Among the various foils we must distinguish two available finishes: galvanized (coated with a corrosion layer) and galvanized - painted, it offers the best possible protection for aluminum foil.
With regular maintenance the aluminum foil remains a good alternative to start the foil at a lower cost (usually less than € 1,000 for a full foil), still careful to clean well as corrosion probably pose warranty issues.
Since the kitefoil, carbon models have not changed much in terms of construction. Although the foils performance have evolved considerably in recent two years thanks to the work done on the profile of the wings, the buildings are substantially similar.
Only the choice of materials has evolved, most makes use of pre-impregnated carbon fiber, some of the high modul carbon fiber (more resistant), and still others use a core in order to reduce manufacturing costs and especially the weight. Construction differences are primarily around the manufacturing process: vacuum, press, mold with integrated heating system etc ....
Carbon foils have a slip much nicer than the aluminum foils thanks to the mechanical properties of carbon. Cavitation phenomena are much less present at high speed, it is also why we see only carbon foils on race or speed competitions.
When grooved it will be easier to repair a carbon surface with the aid of glue or epoxy resin (usually black, which makes it almost invisible repair).
Maintenance of carbon foils is greatly diminished compared to aluminum models because you only need to rinse your foil 1 or 2 times per month . Note however that all carbon foils are not processed and varnish Anti-UV, so protect your foil from the sun.
So in the end, what we must remember: Aluminium foils have facilitated the acquisition of a kitefoil significantly by reducing manufacturing costs.
Most models are fun to use in everyday life and perfectly suit the learning and freeride navigation. However, it will subject themselves a good rinse after each use, or even screw lubrication to prevent corrosion.
The Zeeko Alloy Foil is an excellent compromise, with its galvanized treatment it offers excellent performance with good resistance to corrosion.
The carbon foils, however, remain much more interesting with more and more second hand foils available. Slips is better, maintenance is reduced and resale will always be easier provided the foil is in good condition. The gap between good carbon foils and aluminum foils is reduced, you will just have to fond a good deal.