Mateo Ell

Hi my name is Mateo Ell. I’m from Kauai Hawai’i. I’m 15 years old. I've been surfing since I was about three years old and I took on foiling in mid 2018.
Kauai, Hawai’i
15 years old
Wing foiling since August 2019

Sports

SUP

Questions & Answers

What other water sports do you do and how long?

The water sport that I do besides foiling is surfing. I’ve been addicted to this sport for as long as I can remember. Since foiling has come along, I don’t really surf anymore. Maybe once every two or three months.

What do you like about wing foiling?

I like wingfoiling because it allows for super high speeds and with those high speeds you can boost! Another reason I really like wingfoiling is because you’re able to tow yourself into waves. It’s like self tow-ins. The third reason I like wing foiling is because it allows you to be in the water way more. I personally have never done a windsport until wingfoiling. I live on the east side of Kauai where it’s almost windy everyday so learning a wind sport was a great decision for me. On days where I would have said “oh it’s blown out, I’m not gonna go surf” those are the days that I hope for now!

How did you learn and how long did it take you to wing foil?

I got invited to Hood River in August 2019 to do the Gorge Paddle Challenge on a SUP foil board. When I was there Rob Whittall and Armie Armstrong showed me how to hold the wing on the beach for 15 minutes or so. Then I went out and had my first session and I couldn’t get it my first two runs. Then my third run I was up and going.

What is your favorite gear combination and why?

My favorite gear combination at the moment would be my 3’11 25 liter prone board with the HS 1050 and my 4 meter ozone wasp. I just got brand new Armstrong A wings (3.5 and 4.5) and a brand new 4’11 38 liter board from Armstrong that I have yet to try. I’ve heard great things about this gear and I can’t wait to use it.

What was your favorite wing surfing session?

My favorite wing surfing session to date is a session on March 8, 2020. It was a big and windy day on the east side of Kauai at one of my local spots. I was dropping into waves overhead and heading straight back out to get another one. This session was done on the gear I had just mentioned above.

What do you want or believe will significantly improve the wing foiling gear?

I believe that stiffer wind wings and thinner more high aspect foil wings are in the future. The more that people progress the more demand there is for faster foil wings. I believe that the Armstrong A wing is gonna be a game changer because it is stiff and has lots of power for its size.

What tips or recommendations do you have for anyone who wants to start?

The advice I have to give to beginners is to go out on a windy day to start. Don’t go out on a marginal day because you’ll get frustrated and won’t be able to get up on foil. Another piece of advice is know where to hold the wing. This was a huge part in my learning. I wasn’t holding the wing right and so I wasn’t getting the power I needed to get up on foil. My problem was I was holding the handle on the very top of the wing aka the luff handle. The place you want to have your hand is on the middle strut of the wing. The last piece of advice is do downwinders when you first start so then you don’t have to worry about going upwind.

What is your biggest water sport achievement?

My biggest water sport achievement is winning the men’s SUP division at the Kalapaki Bay Foil Challenge and also getting second place in the men’s prone division. This was probably the best day of my life.