Sizes Available: 2.9, 3.5, 4.2, 5, 6m
Sizes Tested: 4.2, 5m
Maximum performance, minimum effort. No strings attached. Balanced and reactive, the Nova Wing generates more forward drive and upwind performance than anything you’ve ever ridden. At the heart of the Nova design is a super-stiff geometry for power and efficiency, enabling instant take-offs and a massive wind range. Intuitive transitions. Comfortable ergonomic handling. We’ve carefully positioned everything, from the XS Litevision panels to the low-profile handles, in the best place to trim the wing and make transitions safer and more intuitive.
The tow-friendly wing shape with sweep and dihedral also helps keep it tracking when towing behind you on a wave. Whether your focus is on the flow of riding open ocean waves, carving or stomping out tricks, the Nova Wing will help you make the most your local conditions. Load up. Pump up. Ride longer.
Visit for more info: www.northkb.com/en/products/foils/wings/nova-wing
As far as first stabs go, the North Nova hits the wing foiling scene with a perfect bullseye on meshing a really high quality build with super reliable handling that can take the beginner’s beating and provide a super stable power source for intermediate and advanced maneuvers.
Type of inflation: Single bayonet valve on LE
Number of boom handles: 4 center handles
Y handles: Yes / 2
Wrist leash style: Closed loop cinch
Window / Coverage: Yes / Small
Design and Features
The Nova airframe comes with medium plus-sized leading edge and boom diameters that allow you to carry lower inflation pressures with really good rigidity from the airframe. The boom has a bit of bend shaped into the strut with a fairly slim luff strut that keeps the canopy profile efficient and flat. The canopy has sufficient profile tension sewn into its panels for an extra efficient profile during pumping. The Nova inflates via a standard bayonet valve on the leading edge that uses the standard pump hose without any special nozzles. Unique to the Nova, North has installed two distribution hoses on either side of the boom which allow the boom strut to inflate and deflate really quickly. Other wings have had issues with slow inflation and deflation which encourages riders to take shortcuts that tend to harm the longevity of bladders. The Nova with its fat distribution hoses and molded fittings keeps the air pathway open and the rigging process as quick and easy as it gets. With the larger inflatable spars you don’t have to inflate the wing to super high pressures to get crisp airframe rigidity, and this means you will get more longevity out of the product with less stress on the seams in comparison to some other designs on the market. There are attachment points for those that want to install harness lines, all indicators that the Nova does a great job of getting all the little construction details spot on. The trailing edge uses double ripstop and some foam battens to control the leach while the boom strut uses a XLT joint with the boom handles getting webbing reinforcements that wrap around the boom and give us the impression that the Nova’s construction is ready for long hours of obsessive use and abuse.
Grasping the Nova on the beach, we immediately fell in love with the soft EVA handles that are easy on the hands. It appears that North has wrapped a wide webbing strap with soft EVA on the top and bottom to give the handles both a firm connection to the boom, but also an ergonomic and soft grip that will pay off in comfort over longer sessions. The handles are pretty shallow, keeping your hand fairly close to the boom and fairly narrow so there’s very little movement in the strap as you push and pull on the boom. Our chosen handles for upwinding were the first/forward handle and the second on the back; they seemed to deliver the perfect balance of pressure and capture the wing’s center of effort. We also liked using the lower Y handle as we could dial in our arm stance width and the subtle angle aligned our wrist for a more natural position on longer attacks. The wrist leash offers you a nice thick bungee-infused webbing with a cinch-style wrist leash that features a soft neoprene body and a thoughtful swivel (very helpful if you like to tack endless circles around your friends until they waterstart again). The cinch style makes getting the leash on your wrist super easy. You just slip your hand through and then cinch it down with your other hand.
While the leading edge and boom strut are generous in size, the canopy profile feels fairly flat for a very efficient feel when we put our foil on angle and started grinding upwind. Even in the larger size we tested (5m) we felt like the Nova wanted to drive into the wind without causing fatigue in our arms, partly because the angle of attack feels really efficient and partly because the center of effort feels quite natural, spreading the load between our back and front arms. The Nova does a great job of hitting higher angles of attack without backwinding if you unsheet too quickly or drive it too far into the wind. All of these features give the Nova a really user-friendly casual feeling that doesn’t take a ton of energy or attention to keep the wing out of the water and the magic carpet ride on the go. The Nova doesn’t have a ton of low-end grunt, but the airframe delivered good rigidity that made pumping feel both lively and easy to generate drive out of each movement. Unlike some of the wings with deeper drafts, the Nova feels like it creates a bit more power with apparent wind and that seemed to tie in with the wing’s overall efficiency. The wing feels fairly stable on its yaw axis, meaning it seems to track straight going upwind without a ton of input from the rider. When it comes to chasing swells and riding waves, the neutral handle is mounted a little lower on the leading edge. As the Nova has a very neutral float with stable and balanced side to side evenness, it does a good job hovering while you search for glide.
The Nova comes with a smallish window that is planted in a good place that allows you to move the wing and get a glimpse of your surroundings. This seems to be a great compromise between material longevity, foldability, keeping the weight down and avoiding knuckleheaded crashes with your friends. When you step back and look at the Nova you will find a lot of small design elements that show attention to the little details. The control handles feel perfectly placed and designed for comfort while the handling feels very steady and intuitive. We nailed our first couple of tacks without any need for adjustment or compensation which is a good indicator of the Nova’s predictable flying and ease of use. In the construction department, the build quality seems to be fairly bomber, perfect for progression-oriented wingers that are likely to put the product through the wringer as well as the intermediate and advanced riders that will be logging obsessive hours of fun.
With over 112 products reviewed, get the digital version of our 2021 Gear Review Guide that puts all the latest products reviews in one easy to access and searchable guide. Want a low-v bar with a durable PVC coated throw line and soft padded bar ends? Use our guide to stay on top of gear developments and find the exact piece of equipment to match your style.
*Already a subscriber or purchased our 2021 Gear Review Guide in the fall? Your guide has been updated to our latest version in your Tkb library. Log into your account to read the latest reviews.