Wingfoiling, also known as "wingsurfing", is the latest trend in the watersports world. A completely new sport that combines elements of windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing, and foil. But don't be fooled: Wingfoiling it's not just an alternative to these sports or a passing fashion, but a complete discipline that is here to stay!
In fact, Wingsurfing is currently practiced by both surfers coming from other disciplines, and newbies who have never practiced a watersport or boardsport before.
First of all, Wingsurfing is a sport that is simple to learn, and accessible to everyone. It's fresh, fun, challenging, and offers some technical advantages compared to other watersports.
Foilers love wingsurfing because you need less bulky equipment, less space on the beach to set up, less room in the water and, once mastered, even less wind to start.
Furthermore, with just 2 foil wings you can cover a very wide wind range (literally from 10 to 30 kt!). Finally, it's also safer if compared to other disciplines.
If you get into wing foiling, you will immediately notice that there's less gear to carry, store, clean, and manage compared to windsurfing. It's easier to transport in your car, store at home, and carry with you on a surf trip.
Once deflated, foil wings are way smaller than kites, while the hydrofoil once disassembled fits a carrying case (conveniently provided when you buy a complete hydrofoil kit). Also, a wingsurf board is significantly shorter than a windsurf board.
Compared to kitesurfing, wingsurfing doesn't need 20+ meters of free space to set up on the beach and ride around. And that's the reason why wingsurfers are often admitted on beaches where kitesurfing is forbidden.
Finally, to wingsurf you don't need a harness, at least until you are very advanced.
Wingsurfing riding styles are basically the same you will find in the other watersports, but with some interesting innovations:
Reach high speed and cover long distances in no time, go upwind to the limits of what's physically possible. Or enjoy light wind days cruising around while your kitesurfing and windsurfing friends are stuck on the beach.
Wing foiling opened a whole new range of tricks and possibilities, making it possible to perform tricks derived from both kitesurfing and windsurfing. Immagine being able to perform a raley (from kitesurfing) and a forward (from windsurfing), as well as 360° aerials using the same gear!
Perform top-turns, bottom-turns and cutbacks while literally floating in the air, from overhead solid swells to mushy waves that wouldn't be surfable or fun on a regular surfboard. Sounds cool aye?
The best way to get into wing foiling is to choose the most appropriate gear for your experience level. The right equipment will help you maximize your experiences and progression, so be sure not to overlook it!
Wing sizes range from 2.8 meters (nine feet) up to 9 meters. The first thing that you'll want is an appropriately sized wing for your weight: a good starting size would be 5m2 for anyone above 80kg and 4m2 /4.5m2 for anyone below that weight.
When you're looking to get started with wing surfing, it's going to be easier to learn in stronger wind rather than light wind conditions (just don't do your first attempts in crazy conditions, as it will make it too difficult to learn).
The wingfoiling equipment currently sold on the market let you choose between 3 different types of wing handling:
Eleveight WFS with a rigid boom
Duotone Unit hybrid wingsurfer
The handliing system is really a personal choice, so we recommend testing them all before buying your foil wing. What's sure, windsurfers will find the boom system very familiar, as it makes the handling much more similar to that of the windsurf sails.
A leash is essential to assure a reliable connection to your foil wing during surfing, to make sure you won't lose your wing in the event of a wipeout. Once you let go, the wing will float in the air powerless, but close to you being connected to your wrist.
There are different points on the wing where you can attach your leash. The best thing to do is to try different setups and decide on one for yourself!
For those who are approaching wing foiling, the board must be wide and stable. Yes, you actually want to be able to stand on the board while you're just floating there!
A good rule of thumb for choosing your wing foil board is to have 30-40 liters of volume over your body weight, even though it might seem like too much at first!
i.e. For a rider weighing about 80 kg, the ideal wingsurf board to start learning how to wing foil should have a volume of at least 110/120 liters.
As soon as the larger size becomes manageable with practice, try going down in size incrementally. By perfecting and refining your technique, it will be then possible to reduce the volume of the board and use smaller and more manageable boards, specific for the wingfoiling discipline you want to practice.
Experienced watersports enthusiasts can also try to start on a slightly smaller board with less volume and more stability, in the 75-95 liters range
Advanced and high-level foilers will have to invest in discipline-specific foil surfboards, of about 50 liters of volume or less. These offer the rider lots of maneuverability and control over their movement through turns, with the added chance to try and land from basic to spectacular freestyle moves.
The Fanatic Sky Wing, for example, is available in 3 different sizes:
A Wingsurf foil is made up of:
When choosing a hydrofoil, you'll want to consider stability, for an easy glide, and plenty of lift.
A fairly high mast (around 70cm or more) will offer you an optimal height and allow you to pierce through the choppy water. As a beginner, look for a shorter foil, that won't require high speeds to get up. You'll be able to learn more safely beginning at slower speeds, like 10-12 km/h on the low end.
As you progress, you'll then have a look at a longer foil, able to make fast turns, accelerate quickly, and reach high speeds.
Start by practicing on a spot that has a free and safe area downwind. Most likely, you'll do many repeat runs before learning to stay upwind.
Take deep breaths and give yourself plenty of time: falling off the board, plunging into the water pulling oneself back on board can be exhausting! Take rest breaks as needed and don't forget to laugh and have fun! :)
Practicing just with the foil board will make you understand how it works, so that it will result easier to ride later on when trying with the wing. You can practice hydrofoiling behind a jet ski, a boat, or also an e-foil.
Put your helmet on and protective gear to protect yourself from injuries. Hydrofoils are sharp, and boards are hard, so wear a helmet, impact vest, booties, and full wetsuit.
When learning wing foiling, it's important to have expert coaching, as well as a safe and effective environment around you.
WakeStyle also runs a wingsurf school, offering wing foil lessons and dedicated hydrofoil lessons with the aid of a boat (also for kiters).
Lessonses take place at Almere (Marina Muiderzand), and Loosdrecht.
Click on the link or contact us directly for more info!
If you still have questions, check also our page dedicated to the Wingsurfing FAQ
Wakestyle is a specialized Wingsurf Shop, if you find yourself in the Netherlands, come to visit our physical store! We're just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam, Almere, Utrecht, Hilversum, and Amersfoort.
WakeStyle also gives the chance to try the newest wing foil gear at many spots in Noord Holland. The nearest spots to our shop are: Almere, Marina Muiderzand, Loosdrecht, Wijde Blik, Ijburg and Strand Horst.