What is wingfoiling?
Wing Foiling is a surface water sport that combines foil surfing with a wing. It is also referred to as "wing surfing," though wingsurfing does not necessarily include the use of a hydrofoil but could be performed on a regular surf, windsurf or stand-up paddle board (SUP). The rider harnesses the power of the wind with an inflatable, handheld sail called a “wing” to be propelled across the water on a surfboard mounted on a hydrofoil.
What gear do you need?
To wingfoil the equipment needed is a hydrofoil, a surfboard and a wing. Most people first learn to wingsurf on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) or a big windsurf board with a volume of 100 to 200 liters, depending on the weight of the rider. Once rider knows how to handle the wing he/she will need a foil SUP with a hydrofoil. The better you get, the smaller the board becomes with experienced riders wingfoiling on boards with less than 30 liters volume.
How much does wingfoil gear cost?
New wings cost between $500 and $1,000, foil SUPs costbetween $500 and $2,000, and hydrofoils cost $500 to $2,000. Some manufacturers offer complete sets for less than $1,500.
Where can you get wingfoil gear?
Most of the major windsurfing and kitesurfing brands produce wing foiling and wing surfing gear. There is also an increasing amount of local boutique brands in many countries that produce boards and foils. Search online and check with your local wind and surf shops. Used gear, especially wings, are still hard to come by because the sport is young.
How do you learn to wingfoil?
Learn to wingsurf first. Depending on your weight get (or rent) a 4-6m wing and a >150 liter SUP or windsurf board. If you have practiced wind or kitesurfing before, you should be able to control the wing and board within an hour or two. If this is your first water sport, it might take considerably longer. Once you can go upwind both directions switch to a foil board or SUP with 100-150 liter. Again, with previous water sport experience you should be able to go back and forth within 1-2h on the water.
How much wind do you need to wingfoil?
Like in kite and windsurfing, it depends on your body weight. Unlike wind and kite surfing, the board size is not the primary factor since the board will lift out of the water. Once it lifts out, there is almost no more friction. As a rule of thumb, half your kite size or ⅔ of your windsurfing sail size gets you going. For example, on a day for your 12-15m kite you could use a 5-7m wing. If a windsurfer is struggling with a 7m sail you might be rocking with a 5m wing. You can start wingfoiling with considerably less wind than regular windsurfers and kiteboarders. Only kite foilers will usually be able to get going with less wind (but larger kites) than someone with a wing.
What is the history of wingfoiling?
Wingfoiling is a crossover of two sports: windsurfing and foilsurfing. Using wings on surfboards dates back to Tom Magruders and Robert Crowell’s Wind Weapon in the 1980s. The wing was mounted with a mast on the surfboard and the wing design was inspired by traditional delta wings. The wing could be flipped to serve as a windsurfing sail as well as a kite to lift off and fly. The Wind Weapon inspired the creation of the Kite Wing without a mast. In 2011 Sony Logosz - working at Slingshot - added and inflatable front tube, thus creating the first prototype of the modern wing. However, the lack of a harness would make the use of traditional surfboards and SUP extremely tiring. Wingsurfing didn’t gain massive traction as a result. Then, in the earlier 2000s a few surfers repurposed a foil chair and invented the surf foil boards shown first in the surf video “Laird” in 2000 and subsequently in “Stepping into Liquid” in 2003. This surf board innovation stayed in the niche of a few pro surfers and watermen until it gained more mainstream traction in the year 2017 when Kai Lenny started using Hydrofoils on a SUP for downwind foiling. Furthermore the use of hydrofoils on kiteboards significantly contributed to the speed of development of hydrofoil technology. The earliest video of people using wings together with hydrofoil boards dates back to 2017 and the first commercial for wingfoiling became available in 2018.
What makes wingfoiling special?
Many wingfoiler state three things that engage them with the sport beyond the obvious thrill of riding foil boards on flat water and in waves. The first is the ability to start riding at much lower wind ranges than windsurfers and kitesurfers, thus getting more hours and days on the water. The second reason is the simplicity of the gear, setup, and launch: no masts, no kite lines, no mast feet, no extension, harness and bars. The third is that it is relatively easy to learn, especially for windsurfers and kitesurfers.