Have you ever witnessed someone speeding through the waves? With a surfboard 2 feet above the water? If you have, congratulations, you will join the craze for this new sport, which name is wing foil surfing and it will continue enjoying…
What is Wing Foil Surfing?
Wing foil surfing is the latest water sport. It is the art of riding a hydrofoil while harnessing the wind by holding a handheld wing. This involves using hydrofoils mounted on short SUP boards to handle the dual-hand wings.
This is an exercise in between Windfoil, Kite Foil and SUP Foil.
How does Wing Foil Surfing work?
Wings require the foil to be attached to a shorter and thicker paddle, allowing the foil to move through the water. But it doesn’t create waves or leave foam. And it is the foil, not the surfboard, that floats on the water, raising the surfer a foot or more above the water.
So wing foiling involves the foil board. That is combined with handheld wings. The surfer must shift the weight of the lower body to control the board, apply more pressure with the front feet. And shift the weight of the arms to steer the wings. Because of the height of the hydrofoil, the main characteristic of the wing is the feeling of flying or floating, rather than high speed. But the sport still requires optimal wind speeds of 12 to 14 mph.
Wing foiling surfing has not yet become widespread, mostly because of the pandemic – it’s been difficult to source materials and manufacture equipment.
Good start preparation for Wing Foil Surfing!
1. Choose a good place to surf: such as Maui, Oregon, San Francisco etc. More places suitable for Wing Foil Surfing can refer to this article: The Best Places to Wing Surf in the US
2. Prepare your Wing Foiling Surfing board: Assemble your hydrofoil and attach it to your board, place your leashes on the board.
3. Wetsuit is needed: when you ride in cooler water
4. Inflatable foil wing: Using a pump inflates your wing just before getting in the water.
5. Carry your gear to the water: Because you previously placed your wing board near the water, you only have a few meters to carry your board and wing board at the same time. Be careful and try to put your board on the side closer to the wind so you don’t risk getting the wings blown away by the wind and damaged on the foil.
How do I learn this fun new water sport?
Step1. Learn to fly with a large stable wide beginner windsurf board.
The centerboard will make headwinds easier, while the wide board will allow you to focus on learning how to fly the wing. This will make it easier for you to learn how to start your first ride. And how to turn/steer/jibe, how to headwind, and how to get back to the starting point. We recommend mastering these skills before attempting to combine wings with foil.
Step2. Learn to initially foil behind a boat.
Breaking skills apart makes it easier to master each step. Start with a jet ski or e-foil. You need to have accumulated enough speed with the wind. Once the speed is reached, you can position your front foot on the center of the board. This allows you to stand up in two steps which is a lot easier.
Step3. After you have practiced steps 1 and 2, combine the two together. This time place your back foot flat on the foil board and let you stand.
Good foot position is critical to a successful launch, the rear foot should be centered on the board. Ideally, above the foil mast, the front foot should be on the board in front of the rear foot, with feet spaced equal to the width of your shoulders. These gaps may vary depending on the size and volume of the foil. We recommend that you keep the wings near lift neutral overhead to avoid being unbalanced by wind gusts.
Then in the second step, lower it to position the center boom (or wishbone, depending on the model) so that it is almost horizontal. You get more lift and the board accelerates.
Step4. Learn to take off.
You now have enough speed to lift the foil with your board. To facilitate this, you can play with the angle of the foil’s front wing by performing light pumping movements by reducing the weight of the front and rear legs in turn, making it more buoyant. When the wing takes off, shift the center of gravity back to the front legs and hold the wing firmly, keeping it upright to maximize wind lift. Repeat this sequence as many times as needed (sometimes once, sometimes ten…) until you take off.
You are now in flight and the duration of this flight depends on your ability to effectively distribute your weight between the front and rear legs, but most importantly the direction/axis of lift you give to the wings so that the wind keeps you moving. Shifting the weight to the back leg lifts the foil and transferring it back to the front leg lowers the foil. It’s important to stay upright and keep your center of gravity above the foil to avoid falling.
Wing Foiling Surfing is a board sport as dangerous as any other extreme sport like windsurfing, kitesurfing or any other frustrating sport. We recommend that each rider bring the following equipment during training: Board and wing straps (mandatory), PFD/crash vest (required if you are more than 300m from the coast), helmet (highly recommended). If necessary, please do it under the guidance of the coach
We recommend practicing wing foil only where it has been observed and checked. Weather in oceans and lakes can change and change randomly, so it’s important to stay relatively close to the coast at all times so you can get back quickly and easily if the wind changes, gets stronger, or goes down completely. Pay close attention to currents caused by tides and swells.