Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, choosing the right Wingfoiling equipment is essential. Learn all about the gear you’ll need with Wingfoil South Africa.
The beauty of wing foiling is that there’s less gear to manage, store, clean and haul to the beach for a session. But that does not make it any less crucial to find the right gear for you.
The Wingfoil Wing
Wings are still in the relatively early stages of development, but already we’ve seen great strides in performance and ease of use.
Your primary area of focus as a beginner wingfoiler will be learning to steer the wing. It can be helpful to start on land and get used to how the wing moves. Focus on understanding how the wing works and how to power up and depower the wing.
Once you’re out and moving slowly across the water, you’ll begin to focus on getting up on the foil.
Choosing a Wing
As a beginner, you’ll most likely want to start with just one wing. We’ve found that it is easier to get started with more power than less, and therefore, you’ll want to go out in stronger winds and also start on a bigger wing.
Wing sizes range from 2.8 to 6.4 meters. A good starting wing (as a general rule) is to start with a 4m wing for anyone up to 70kg or 155lbs and a 5m wing for anyone over that weight.
Using the Wing
The second thing to consider when choosing a wing is how you’ll hold it. You’ll find two primary means of holding the wing, either soft handles running along the center strut or a hard boom that is attached to the center strut from tip to tail. Each has its pros and cons, so just choose what you’re more comfortable with.
Finally, consider your choice of leash attachment or how you’ll maintain a connection to your wing. Leashes are usually attached either on your wrist, usually attached to your “front” hand, or to your waist leash. Each version has pros and cons as well, so once again, choose what feels more comfortable.
The Wingfoil Board
Beginner wing foilers should choose floaty and stable boards-yes, you actually want to be able to stand on the board while you’re just floating there. A good rule of thumb is to have 30-40 liters of volume over your body weight. For example, if you weigh 80kg, go for a 120L board.
As you progress, you’ll be able to move to a smaller and more maneuverable board, but for at least the first few sessions, you want to maximize your learning time. Bigger boards provide enough float so that you can concentrate on learning how to control the wing without also having to focus on balancing on your board.
With bigger boards, your balance doesn’t have to be as good, so keep this in mind when choosing your first set-up. If you’re more experienced in watersports, you may be able to start on a slightly smaller board. As a general rule of thumb, the more advanced you get, the smaller board you’ll want to ride. Many high-level riders are using surf foil boards with less than 50L of volume.
The foil is made up of a mast, fuselage and wings. When choosing a foil, you’ll want to look for foils that are stable, have good glide and plenty of lift. We’ve found that a taller mast (70cm +) is good for learning because it gives you good height and keeps you from breaching in ocean chop or swell.
Beginner foilers will want to look for foils that don’t need a lot of speed to get up, meaning you’ll be able to get on foil at slower speeds. Super slow speed foiling is crucial for learning in a safe and effective manner. Look for foil wings that allow for speeds of 10-12km on the low end. You’ll also want to look for a foil that allows you to wing in a wide range of wind conditions.
As you progress, you’ll want a foil wing that allows for acceleration, more speed and excellent turning capabilities.