Words & photos: Tez Plavenieks
Cotswolds-based brand McConks has always been a forward-thinking, progressive SUP business. They’ve always had their fingers in other watersports pies due to owners Jen and Andy indulging in various other watersports growing up. Dig beneath their standard 10’6 offerings, and you’ll find many other diverse and versatile toys in the McConks product catalogue. I’ve been fortunate to test their electric hydrofoil boards in the past. But until recently, there’s never been a bona fide McConks inflatable foil board.
This model is very much a prototype, and I’m not even sure if McConks will be putting this into production. No less, it’s interesting to get McConks take on the fly above water disciplines.
The 6’ inflatable foil board reviewed is a well-manufactured product. Once inflated, it’s a super rigid platform – although the compact nature of foil boards automatically reduces much of the deflection you get with standard iSUPs. That said, it’s robust and hard-wearing with a quality grip pad. Ignore the straps come handles, as they’re not accurately placed. Not that those detract from the board’s overall performance though.
Most notably, with inflatable foil boards is what your foil attaches to. Being inflatable means there’s an additional carbon plate that needs to be affixed to the hull. This should be rigid and offer as minimal ‘play’ with the foil as possible. Some iFoil board makers don’t get this right resulting in the foil plate flexing when trying to take flight. As you can imagine, this is a nightmare for riders learning – everything needs to be as rigid as possible.
Fortunately, the McConks inflatable foil board is bang up to the task. During testing, I paired it with my usual high-aspect (wide-span) foil which can put additional stress on foil plates. The McConks remained rigid and movement free, ensuring an easy take-off and stable flight.
Foil boards are usually relatively compact – this one being no different. As an inflatable, however, it does sit on the water instead of in it, making it feel lively and nimble. Some paddlers may require time to dial it in. I used it on a few choppy days, but after a short period, everything settled down.
In flight, the 6’ remains very composed for an iFoil board. Glidey redirects and pumping are responsive. Touchdowns are mellow, and should you fall, the air-filled nature of the McConks means it’s no issue if you land on it. That’s an additional attractive point about using iFoils and its ease of storage and transportability.
If McConks brought this model to market, they’d have a decent inflatable foil board to offer riders. If this is the case, we’re sure it’ll be tweaked, so you can be sure of a proper top-shelf product if it does materialise. Fun to use in SUP foil mode; it’ll also accommodate wing action. Here’s hoping we have something of this range from McConks soon.