TAKUMA KUJIRA HELIUM 1500
Test in the foiling magazine
Takuma have a strong heritage in hydrofoiling and are producing some of the most innovative products on the market at the moment. The Helium series is a case in point. It is a more accessible hydrofoil with a lower aspect ratio and a slightly thicker profile, completing Takuma’s foil range with four available sizes. It is sold as a complete foil only and can be upgraded with any other wings from the Kujira range. It comes as standard with a 75cm mast and 65cm fuselage. It is unique in its design with these unusual looking tubercules on the leading edge of the wings inspired by the Humpback whale’s pectoral fins, combined with upturned winglets for the front wing and downturned tips for the stabilizer. It’s visually and hydrodynamically a unique design, channeling the water flow through the wing profile with an aim to reduce drag and offer a faster, more controllable, and sensitive hydrofoil.
The aluminum mast and top plate are mounted together with three standard M6 torx bolts and the mast foot is mounted on the fuselage in a similar fashion. The front wing and fuselage are mounted together with a proprietary system and another three torx bolts, removing any play in this key area. Mounting the foil on the board is fast thanks to the open threaded mounts of the baseplate, which has a board saver ABS pad. It is extremely rigid, stiff and light compared to other aluminum foils on the market. The overall design is pure, and the unique shape of the wings makes it a unique and eye catching foil.
The Helium foil is pre-tuned and doesn’t need to be shimmed. Paddling out on it feels natural. The foil is light and as soon as you give it a little cadence it assists the balance of the board and naturally follows the movements of your body, stabilizing the board when paddling at speed. This is a plus when you are paddling in choppy conditions with current. Catching a wave feels smooth and the takeoff is comfortable. It lifts up and builds up speed gradually when your feet are on the board. Up and riding, the Helium has a gently graduated lift and is extremely stable at any elevation, deep or close to the surface. The foil is really stiff and any impulse is auto-stabilized giving you a highly comfortable and controlled pitch characteristic. It accelerates gently and gradually and glides effortlessly. The carving control is responsive enough, and despite its lower aspect ratio, cruises at decent speeds. It slices through water very confidently much like its higher aspect ratio cousins, and gives a super comfortable and enjoyable foiling experience. The overall tuning of the foil is surf-driven and a good surfer choosing the Helium will find their early foiling progression as easy as it gets.
Under a wing the Helium foil is incredible on how quick it will bring you out of the water. It can handle surprisingly low speeds without stalling and will help beginners to intermediates with their progression. The extra amount of stability is really helpful when working on transitions, gybes and tacks. The speed range is quite impressive for the surface area and the Helium can take you fast enough for 90% of riders. Learning how to connect waves and dock starts with the Helium is entertaining. It is stable enough to forgive your positioning and timing mistakes, and fast enough to save your cardio. I could pump this thing for more than two minutes around the lake with plenty of control. One of the key features of the Helium is that its agility at pumping will take you from one wave to another.
The Kujira Helium 1500 is an ultra-accessible hydrofoil that will suit any beginner and intermediate level foiler in both wingfoiling and surf foiling disciplines. It works incredibly well in a wide range of conditions from small to medium waves and is a really well designed pumping machine. It is intuitive and predictable and will allow a lot of fun and accessibility to any foiler. In the surf it has enough lift to foil in a couple of feet of swell, and will be comfortable through until mellow shoulder high waves.