What is and how to learn "Downwind" Sup Foling - Wake-style.com
What is and how to learn

What is and how to learn "Downwind" Sup Foling

June 19, 2024

What is Downwinding?

Downwind foiling, or downwinding, is one of the more challenging disciplines in foiling. The goal is to harness the energy in the water, typically generated by wind swell or wind ‘bumps,’ to travel from point A to point B purely on this energy. This is most commonly done using a wing or SUP foil setup, which allows you to paddle up on foil or use your wing if you come down off the foil. It’s also possible to ‘chip in’ on a wave while prone and pump out into the wind line to then downwind, but if you come off the foil, the swim back can be long.

How to Start (SUP Foil) Downwinding


Essential Skills and Tips

Learn Wingfoiling

Wingfoiling is likely the easiest way to get airborne on a foil. Once you master getting on the foil, you’ll spend significant time on it—potentially up to 50 minutes in a one-hour session, unlike other foil sports.

Proficiency in Freewinging

Before diving into downwind SUP foiling, it's crucial to be comfortable wingfoiling. Ideally, practice freewinging in the ocean waves or lake bumps to understand wave energy. Release the wing with your backhand and try to ride the waves as far as possible without using the wing. Aim to downwind for a kilometer without using the wing.

Practice Dock Starting

Dock starting is beneficial because it can be done close to home, without relying on specific wind or wave conditions. It’s an excellent pump training method. Use a small, old board for dock starting to avoid damaging a new one.

Improve Your SUP Paddling Skills

While some use hand paddles, a SUP paddle is the best and safest option. You need to reach top speed within eight paddle strokes and maintain it for another ten strokes. Practice paddling straight without changing sides or turning.

Flat Water Paddle Ups

The goal is to learn to accelerate without turning or pumping. You might need a long, narrow board and a large foil. Mastering this can be challenging but is crucial for downwinding.

Choose the Right Downwind Run

Start with a short, safe run of about five kilometers. Even if you’re proficient, shorter runs allow for experimentation with equipment and techniques.

Use a Suitable Board

Board design has evolved rapidly. Opt for a long, narrow board that builds speed easily and gets on the foil quickly. Be cautious with older designs labeled as downwind boards, as newer models are significantly better.

Select the Right Foil Set

Foil choice is personal, but starting with a larger foil (1600-2000 cm2) is recommended. As you improve, you can switch to smaller foils (1000-1500 cm2). The foil should perform well at both low and high speeds.

    Where Can I Downwind?

    Downwinding can be done on any sufficiently large body of water. You typically need some distance for the wind to create bumps (fetch). The longer the fetch, the better the bumps. Deeper water and stronger wind also result in better conditions. Always reach out to locals for the best conditions, as nothing beats local knowledge. Beginners should start with bay or lake runs, where bumps are more consistent and currents are minimal compared to the open ocean.

       Do you want to know more about downwind foiling? Contact the store Wake-style.com or pass by in Loosdrecht, we are happy to assist you and to guide you in the right direction so you can achieve max success in the shortest time possible


      See you on the water!!!