What is Wingfoiling?
Wingfoiling is a relatively new and innovative form of surfing, gaining popularity each year. It merges elements from windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and windfoiling. In wingfoiling, you use a wing, a lightweight kite-like device, to propel yourself on a surfboard equipped with a hydrofoil. This hydrofoil lifts you about 50 cm above the water surface, creating a unique floating effect. This effect is due to the upward force of the hydrofoil under the board, which lifts the board at speeds of around 10 km/h.
The Difference Between Wingfoiling and Wingsurfing
Wingsurfing forms the basis for wingfoiling. In wingsurfing, you use an inflatable wing to convert wind power into speed on the water. For wingfoiling, a special wingboard equipped with a hydrofoil is used. This hydrofoil lifts you completely out of the water, allowing for near-frictionless gliding. This unique aspect makes wingfoiling feasible even in a gentle breeze (wind force 3), adding a spectacular element to the sport.
Accessibility of Wingfoiling
Wingfoiling is distinguished by its accessibility. Unlike windfoiling, prior experience in windsurfing isn’t required, appealing to a wider audience. However, good balance and a sense of the wind are essential for quickly learning the sport. Surfers, windsurfers, and even snowboarders often pick up this sport quickly.
Benefits of Wingfoiling
One of the major benefits of wingfoiling is the ability to enjoy the water in low wind speeds. The hydrofoil allows you to lift off the water with minimal speed, resulting in an efficient and enjoyable experience even in weaker winds.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Wing Foiling?
The time it takes to learn wing foiling varies greatly depending on factors like previous experience with similar sports (like windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing), practice frequency, physical condition, and the quality of instruction. For newcomers to water sports, it could take several weeks to months to feel comfortable. Those with experience might learn faster, possibly within a few days to a few weeks.
Average Cost of Starting Wing Foiling
The costs vary based on factors like equipment quality and whether you’re buying new or used gear, or taking lessons. Here’s an estimation of basic expenses for new equipment:
- Wing Foil Board: Costs between 650 and 2000 euros, brand and specifications dependent.
- Foil: Ranges from about 600 to 1500 euros.
- Wing: Usually costs between 500 and 1200 euros.
- Accessories: Including a wetsuit, helmet, impact vest, and possibly a harness. Costs range from 100 to 500 euros.
- Lessons: Depending on location, duration, and instructor experience, a beginner’s course varies from about 200 to 500 euros.
Expect to spend between 2000 and 5000 euros to start wing foiling, including equipment and lessons. Remember, these are estimates and actual costs can vary. Many surfers opt for the second-hand market for more affordable options.
7 Tips to Learn Wing Foiling:
- Ensure you’re in deep enough water to avoid damaging your board, foil, or yourself.
- Start practicing on a board without the foil to get familiar with the wing.
- Begin in stable winds of 12 to 16 knots (about 3 to 4 Beaufort).
- Initially use a wing no larger than 5 to 5.5 square meters.
- Use a board with about 20 liters more volume than your body weight.
- Keep distance from your board when dismounting and dismount in deep enough water.
- Beginners may prefer wearing a helmet and impact vest for safety.
Wingfoiling is an exciting and accessible water sport that offers a range of skills and sensations. With its combination of different water sports and the challenges it presents, wingfoiling is an attractive option for both beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts. The sport is expected to gain more practitioners in the future.
Is wingfoiling easier than windsurfing?
Wingfoiling is more accessible and easier to learn compared to windsurfing or windfoiling, offering more freedom of movement.
What is the cost of a wingfoil set?
Expect to spend between 2000 to 5000 euros for a new set, with second-hand sets being considerably cheaper.
How much wind is needed for wingfoiling?
Wingfoiling becomes enjoyable from wind force 3 (about 8 knots), and is manageable for most people up to wind force 6 (about 25 knots).
What is the best wingfoil equipment for beginners?
For beginners, equipment that offers stability and ease is essential. A wider and longer board with a larger hydrofoil provides