2024 Duotone Unit D/Lab Wing | Worth the Upgrade to Aluula?

2024 Duotone Unit D/Lab Wing | Worth the Upgrade to Aluula?

The Duotone Unit is now available in the Aluula construction, known as D/LAB. How is it different from the standard Dacron construction, and is it worth it?

Benefits of Aluula

If you compare a 5m standard Unit with a 6.5m D/LAB Unit, one of the first things you'll notice is that the leading edges are very similar in diameter. This isn't because they stay the same across the range; the D/LAB material is so strong and stiff that it becomes possible to reduce the diameter of the leading edge. This gives you a better top end, reduced drag, better upwind ability, and generally more efficiency.

The Aluula material is ideal for a wing frame. It's so lightweight that the 6.5m D/LAB wing is noticeably lighter than the smaller 5m Dacron wing. It's also extremely stiff, so the frame can be very rigid. This helps keep it from deforming, even in overpowered conditions, so you won't get dragged downwind because you're losing that forward pull.

I'm a big fan of the D/LAB, but it's not a cheap date by any means. However, if you have the budget, it is without question a worthy upgrade that you won't regret. The construction is solid, and we've had such a blast on these wings. In fact, we're finding it hard to go back to anything else after flying one of these. They're so well-behaved, lightweight, and high-performance.

New riders won't need to be afraid of this wing, either. It still has the low-end grunt you'll want to help get you up and riding, and then you'll have all kinds of progression to grow into, with a bit more range.

The D/LAB colorway is beautiful and matches this year's SLS boards from Duotone, which is their high-end carbon construction boards. It looks great if you're into getting a matching set.

What's the Same?

All the other details remain the same between the D/LAB and the standard construction. The handles, inflation, canopy, and windows are all the same. The only big change is the Aluula material in the frame and its slightly reduced diameter.

Who's It For?

After riding these, my impression is that this is a great wing for everybody. If you love the Unit, you're going to love the D/LAB even more. If you've been curious about a Unit but went with a Slick instead because of the boom and that ease-of-handling and one-hand ability, this may be an intriguing year to give the Unit a go, especially if you want increased surf performance, increased grunt, and more height in jumps. The Slick, of course, is still the winner in terms of speed and efficiency upwind and it's still the wing for racing, but if you want a more versatile performance or if you're a brand new rider looking for a wing that you can grow into and you're more interested in waves, jumping and freeride tricks, the Unit is your wing. I really can't say enough good about this wing. It's fantastic.

Tucker's Nitpicks

If there's anything bad I could say about it, the D/LAB really is pricey. You can buy two of most other wings for the price of one D/LAB, but that's the price of technology and performance. You could have a Honda Civic, but if you're into cars and you have the money, you're probably going to buy a super car, and that's what this wing is. As for the design, it doesn't have a huge top end range. I'm not going to take the 5m out when it's blowing 40, and I normally ride my wings really overpowered, so that's saying something. Also, for somebody that's dropping their wing a lot, like new riders, they have a propensity to flip on their back because there is quite a bit of dihedral in this wing. When you leash out, if it's fairly windy chances are it's going to rock and then roll over if you don't grab it right away. For most experienced riders, it's a non-issue since you're not typically leashing your wing out unless you have a really nasty crash. But I really like this wing and there's not a lot bad I can say about it. This is in the top echelon of wings in terms of where the market's at right now.

Anything Else?

Remember that if you're buying one of these wings, you'll need to buy a leash and a pump adapter if you don't already own those. Then you'll be ready to ride. See you on the water!

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22nd Nov 2023 Tucker Vantol

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