Wing Foiling - What makes it so appealing?
It’s no secret that this sport is attracting new people every day. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons wing foiling is so accessible and enjoyable.
- The gear is compact compared to other sailing and windsurfing sports. The equipment easily fits into your 4-door car, or two door vehicle with the board on the roof. If you really wish, a Mini could be your vehicle of choice.
- Walk to the beach, or take public transport. Placing the board under your arm with the handwing, pump and wetsuit in a bag and on your back.
- Air travel is possible without extra costs. A board, two wings, pump and wetsuit fit into a bag that weighs less than 22.9kg. There are also inflatable boards on the market for ultimate travelling options. The performance of an inflatable board may not be as good, but if you are a novice, you won’t know the difference.
- Launch from small cove beaches, there are no kite lines to lay out.
- The wing fits in a backpack and take around 60 seconds to inflate.
- Foils attach easily and once you’re familiar there are only a few minutes between arriving at a spot and hitting the water.
- You don’t need to rely on other people to safely get into the water to launch. It is always safer to be around other people in the water but once you have some experience you can head out alone.
- Never give safety a day off. ALWAYS check conditions, and ALWAYS tell someone where you are going. We recommend Predict Wind for the most accurate weather.
- The total water time is your foil time (minus your crashes). Once on the water, there is no wasting time heading back up the mountain or standing in queues. Compared to surfing, there is no paddling out the back after a wave, or waiting in turn in the pecking order for “your wave” to come.
- Smooth consistent winds help, but moderate to semi gusty conditions are also fine with this sport. This is a quantum leap from kiteboarding.
- If you want to stop and have a break, just stop, sit down on your board and hold your wing. You can do this if the conditions become harsh, or if you have been out the water much longer than what your body wants to.
- Down-winders with your mates is a great social activity to do. Once the logistics are sorted, the wind is free.
- Wing foiling is LESS dangerous than kiteboarding. People who were put off by kiteboarding are able to get out onto the water to wing on their own terms… not the kite’s.
- It is common to complete a down wind run and then catch a ferry or bus back up wind thanks to the compactability of the equipment.
- Storage or the equipment can be at the end of your bed, or in the hall way if you are tight for space. The equipment doesn’t take up the entire garage and fits into the corner well.
So what are the cons?
- USD$3000 for a kit to get you going. It is alot of money.
- The wing always comes off the water wet and requires drying EVERY time. Sure, you don’t have to dry it, but it will get smelly and mouldy much faster if you don’t.
If you are coming from a kiteboarding background, you may find that assembly of the foil/mast takes longer than kiteboarding. However, there are no lines to organise or tie and the wing takes only a minute or so to inflate.
- Heavy onshore winds with large surf can be troublesome to get out into deep enough water.
- When learning, you may feel like an awkward penguin walking into the water as you try to keep the sharp foils away from the canopy. Hint, watch what other people do.
- Foils do get damaged and scratched easily if you ride them into the ground, especially rocks, sand or boat ramps. Inspect your gear often.
- The foil is sharp, especially the tips of the front wing and the stabiliser.
- The sail cloth, or canopy, can stretch “bag” out and performance reduces over time.
All in all it’s clear why wing-foiling is becoming so popular for people of all ages and around the world. Sure it can cost a little to get setup but the moment that board leaves the surface it all comes together. Being able to get setup in minutes, launch without assistance and pack down to a board and a backpack means it’s convenient.
Whilst there is a pretty steep learning curve to those that have not experienced windsurfing, kiting or foiling, but with some perseverance the payoff is huge.
Get involved with this new sport, it’s truly phenomenal.
Cheers from the team and FoilPro, we hope you enjoy this content!