(From the print issue #20 summer 2021)
I’m not even sure where to start with Armie Armstrong. We’ve known each other for a relatively long time. Armie came to Maui often during the summer months when SUP was just about the hottest new trend. We first met when we were paddling the Maui2Molokai SUP race. We were on our way back from Molokai to Maui after my first M2M race eight years ago. I even had Armie on the cover that year. That was the 6th issue in the fall of 2014, that memorable SUP race where cover was shot would give us enough content for a story on its own. This was a time long before wings and foils. It was a time when the world revolved around downwind racing in Hawaii and big events like the Battle of the Paddle.
Armie and I met time and time again at different events. It was typical Armie when he wanted to compete with his foilboard at Molokai2Oahu in 2017. However, he was banned from doing so. The race officials were skeptical. I only know few people who bring more enthusiasm to something than Armie. The year after, however, the organizers could no longer ignore the trend and SUP foiling was allowed at M2O. Armie was there, of course, but didn’t finish very well. But that didn’t matter, because at that time it was mainly about the pioneering performance.
Armie was back on Maui in summer so we spent a day together. That’s when the idea was born to do an interview and introduce Armie a bit closer. For those who do not know his story we have an interview where we get to meet Armie and learn more about his amazing product.
Aloha, Armie! Really great to see you again. It’s been a while since we last saw each other. I think it was at the 2019 Gorge Paddle Challenge when you were exhibiting your foils. One memory however that has stuck with me in particular, though, is when you tried to cross the Ka’iwi Channel with a foil back at M2O 2017, but race officials prohibited it. As I recall, that was a prototype that looked like it was made in a garage. A lot has happened since then. Tell us the story.
Yes, that was one of my first foils. It was a “high aspect” foil and I wasn’t really good enough to control it. Nowadays this foil would probably win races, but back then it was too fast and too maneuverable for my skills.
How did you end up with a foil like that and after all your brand?
Answer on next page.