Wing surfing/wing foiling (call it what you will) – what’s it all about?

Words: WSUK

Pics: Oli Lane-Peirce

There are some that see new sports (particular wind driven) like wingsurfing/wing foiling as the continued dilution of windsurfing. The fact that we’re talking about wingin’ here is enough to get steam blowing out of ears, which we do get. Others meanwhile embrace new concepts seeing them as additional methods of enjoying the ocean and making the most of conditions – especially lacklustre blows.

Whichever way you look at it we don’t have full power, down the line wave sailing all the time. In fact, (stating the obvious) down the line wave sailing isn’t experienced by many of the windsurfing fraternity much at all. A lot of times we’re faced with glorified chop and flat water freeride conditions. This isn’t meant to be negative more a statement of fact. And let’s be honest this can be just as fun anyway. Here at WSUK we love a good blast on big gear as much as mixing it up with other disciplines like wingy wangin’. It comes down to mood for us as much as anything.

Being even more realistic windsurfers turning up to beaches on forecast only to be skunked and the wind not materialise is another common occurance frustration. Even being in such close proximity to launch options we still have this happen.

Enter windsurf foiling a few years back and this was poised to fuanatee sessions once more, regardless of Mother Nature’s moods. The criticisms of windfoiling, however, are that it’s actually too technical (at least for nailing moves like the foiling gybe) and too much mowing the lawn (even though this is exactly what creeridong for many is anyway).

And now there’s wing foiling. Yet another discipline set to draw participants away from windsurfing and dilute the sport further – potentially?

So what’s it all about? Is wing foiling an extension of windsurfing, for lighter wind days and junky waves? Or once you try it will you ever go back to windsurfing?

For us at Windsurfing UK it’s a complimentary activity. It’s been fun learning a new sport. At time of writing (April 24, 2021) there’s been a spate of moderate easterly winds (although we’re now back to full power Wlies). At our Hayling Island HQ ENE wimds manifest as gusty, flueky cross offshore winds along the seafront and is mostly the domain of big kit blasters or slalom sailors, if we’re talking windsurfing. In contrast, heading to the harbourside, with wing, board and foil in tow, has seen some idyllic cruising action been had. We’ve done our fair share of big gear windsurf blasting over the years so swapping this out for something new has been refreshing. Plus, the wing itself, being super light and not requiring additional strength and leverage to use delivers a liberating free feel over being hooked into a 7m+ sail. Small children can lift a 5m wing for instance.

Anyone getting into any of the foiling disciplines will probably being doing so to make use of those lighter wind days, rather than full power sessions. And there’s nothing wrong with this in our opinion. If it increases hit counts and maximizes time on the water then great. Plus, if wing surfing/foiling is set to be as popular as some predict then from brand stand points this keeps the cash flowing via sales of gear and allows windsurfing R&D and production to continue. The truth is windsurf equipment sales aren’t as abundant as they once were but we know those companies involved are still super committed and keen. But the money has to come from somewhere and if wingin’ (and windfoiling) can be the source of this finance then so be it. That will mean those of us still into sails and boards will have the option to get hold of gear and go for a blast when we feel like or conditions allow.

Having an open mind and broad view is what defines Windsurfing UK. Windsurfing isn’t just windsurfing to us, it’s a whole lifestyle based around getting wet – however that’s accomplished. Some may agree with our point of view and some mighn’t. Which is OK. Whatever your opinion on wing foiling it’s all good. So long as you’re still enjoying a dip keep on keeping on.

Note: this article isn’t about to signal a load wing foiling articles being published that’ll eclipse the core Windsurfing UK content of windsurfing. But we will be featuring the sport to some degree moving forward a…

If you’re interested in finding out more about wing foiling then head over to our partner foilshop.co.uk for more.

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