A Beginner’s Guide to Wingfoiling
In this article, Bradley will introduce you to the intriguing and fast-growing sport of wing foiling and give some great insight into how, and why, you should take the plunge.
Basic winging terminology
• Wing: The handheld inflatable sail
• Board: The platform the rider stands on
• Foil: The underwater hydrofoil which gives the board lift
• Leash: The leash connecting the wing to the rider
Background on winging
Different forms of wing powered sports have been around since the 80's however the wings were often bulky, heavy and awkward to manoeuvre. The sport as we know it today has only taken off in the past couple of years as equipment has become increasingly lighter. The development and affordability of hydrofoils have allowed the sport to grow and is one of the main driving factors in the sudden surge of wingers on the water today.
What is winging?
The rider holds a wing that is not too dissimilar from an inflatable kite. Most wings take their shape and rigidity once fully inflated, however, some wings have a physical boom structure to increase stiffness. The rider stands on a board and uses the wing to harness wind energy which in turn, powers them along. Where this sport differs from any other wind-powered water sport is that the wing is handheld and not attached to the rider by a harness nor the board. This makes it an extremely free-flowing sport and is part of the reason so many people love it.
What is wing foiling?
Winging can be done on a variety of different boards. The most basic form of winging can be done on a stand-up paddleboard. This is a lot of fun for kids and families turning a relatively calm day down the beach into a bit of an adventure. A great way to introduce wind sports in a low-risk manner!
Wing foiling is where the rider uses the same type of handheld wing to power them along but now with the introduction of a hydrofoil. A hydrofoil can be mounted onto a variety of different sized boards. The more beginner boards being larger and higher volume whereas advanced boards will be much smaller and partially sink under the rider's weight.
Wing foiling is much more extreme and allows riders to perform increasingly more technical tricks, ride at higher speeds, surf waves, and even jump!