Sam Thom tells us why he's hooked on the Ozone Wasp V1
We're not sure if you've seen the instagram sport sensation that is @foiltycoon or any footage of the Wasp we've shared on our socials, but most of this is thanks to foiling legend Sam Thom. Sam is a passionate foiler who you'll see out sending it most days at Kohimarama Beach in Auckland. He's recently taken a liking to the Ozone Wasp, and has been absolutely sending it to say the least, so we chatted to him recently about what it is that makes the Wasp so appealing, and so easy to use...
How long have you been using the Ozone Wasp and how did you find it first go? Do you find it easy to use and handle?
I have been using the Ozone WASP for approximately 2 months. I had been watching lots of videos of people using them online and could not wait to give it a go myself.
From the very first session I was absolutely hooked and wanted to get back on the water with it as much as possible. The WASP is very simple to use and handle. If it is your first time I recommend playing with it on the beach initially for around 10 minutes. You will get used to how the WASP feels in your hands and will quickly get a sense of how to power and de-power it. And you can practise simple hand transitions for when tacking or gybing.
Prior to using the WASP I had done a lot of tow foiling behind a boat. This made the learning curve very easy as I simply jumped on a floaty foilboard and was flying within minutes. If you have never foiled before I would strongly recommend you become competent behind a boat before trying it with the WASP. If you are comfortable with foiling behind a boat you will have no problem getting up and riding (provided there is enough wind).
What kind of conditions have you been using it in and what conditions do you think it works best?
My local spot is Kohimarama Beach in Auckland and I try to get on the water most days after work if there is wind. I have been pleasantly surprised with the range of wind I can go riding in. I have the Ozone WASP 4m and use it in anything from 10 knots to 25 knots.
I have been out in 25 knot Northerly breezes where there has been a nice swell running and had lots of fun sailing upwind and then gliding on the foil downwind with the waves.
I find it equally as fun sailing in moderate offshore winds where it is flat calm and I really enjoy sailing up the Auckland Harbour on a South-Westerly and practising foiling gybes in flat water.
As long as there is at least 10-12 knots I can have fun riding in all wind directions and sea states.
Do you find you can pick up power or speed quite easily with it?
Yes I have been very happy with the ability to go out in much lighter winds than expected. Your ability to go out in lighter winds and get foiling will also be determined by your technique and what board and foil you are using. I have been mainly using a 110 litre SUP foiling board which has a lot of buoyancy and a 2000cm front wing which provides plenty of lift. With that combination I am able to pump my Ozone WASP like a windsurfer would to get planning and pop it up onto the foil. After a few sessions practising in lighter winds you will perfect the timing and technique needed to get up and foiling when the breeze is marginal.
If it is a steady breeze I simply just ‘sheet in’ and I pop up without any effort. In solid breeze you can be boosting around in flat water at a speed of between 16 to 20 knots. It is so much fun being fully powered up trying to hit your max speed. Speed is of course also determined by what foil you are using and high-aspect foils designed to go fast will certainly help give you a few extra knots of speed.
Have you tried it with any other boards on or off the water? Or do you prefer it for Foiling? If so, why?
I have used it on a normal SUP board and also a skateboard. Foiling is certainly my favourite way to use the WASP however on a nice summer’s day if you wanted to have a cruise around on a SUP board it would be quite enjoyable and faster than paddling. When I used the WASP on a skateboard it was very fast and great for practising gybes and hand transitions.
How would you compare it to other water kites?
What I love about the Ozone WASP is the simplicity of it. I can pump it up in around 20 seconds and I am ready to get on the water. I don’t have to worry about lots of different components as you do with windsurfing and it packs down to the size of a small backpack so very easy to travel with.
There have been places I have taken the WASP that would be nearly impossible to kiteboard from as there is no place to launch or land a kite. Even at Kohimarama on the days where it is offshore and gusty (which would make it difficult to kite) I can simply float out to a breeze line 50 metres off the beach and I am good to go.
They are also great if you do a lot of cruising on a boat as they are easy to store on board and can take off from the stern of a boat without having to worry about your kite lines.
What do you enjoy most about the Ozone Wasp?
What I like most is the simplicity of it and that I am getting so much time on the water with it.
Every time I go out I can learn something new and depending on the conditions I can focus on different aspects. My current challenge is the foiling tack and also using lower volume boards with straps to learn how to jump.
Where and when have you had the most fun using the Wasp?
It is hard to pick a favourite as I have had so many great sessions blasting around the harbour in flat water and riding some epic swell on some upwind/downwind sessions.
However recently we had about 10 people meet up at Orewa to have our first ever wing race. It was so much fun riding with a good size group of other people and you could get a sense of how your speed compares to others. Nothing like being under pressure in a race setting to see how your gybes are going! I absolutely loved racing them and very keen to see at least 20 people on a start line this summer.
And finally, would you recommend the Wasp to other Kiters and Foilers? Why?
The Ozone WASP is perfect for those who have never done a wind sport. They are very simple and safe to use and the learning curve for them in my opinion is much faster than kiting or windsurfing. I have seen people who have never done any form of sailing before up and foiling back and forth on their first session.
For people who currently kite or windfoil I would say simply give it a go! You will already have great skills that will make the learning curve much easier. It may not go as fast or jump as high as your existing activity but from personal experience it has given me the ability to sail in places I have never been able to ride before and I am spending more time enjoying the water than ever and for me that is the dream :)