Wing Foiling is the art of riding a hydrofoil board while harnessing the wind’s power via a handheld wing. If you’re not familiar with a hydrofoil, we’ll talk more about that later. Wing foiling truly adds another dimension to anything you have done on the water previously.
What is Wing foiling?
Attach a mini aeroplane (hydrofoil) via a mast made out of aluminium or carbon to the bottom of a sup- or surf board; When the board starts moving forward, lift is generated by the hydrofoil and the surfboard starts flying above the water.
And while all of this is happening, the surfer/hydrofoiler pops up on the board and balances the foil flying through the water. Sounds super tricky but it isn't really. It's all about balance & body co-ordination by flying a wind wing with your hands while you are steering the foil mounted onto the surfboard through the water.
Learning to wing foil can take more or less time depending on your profile. People who have already practised board sports such as windsurfing, surfing or kitesurfing tend to progress more quickly. Don’t worry, even if you have no previous experience in water sports, Wing Foiling remains accessible. Are you up for the challenge? ... Keep reading ;-)
How long does it take to learn?
To give you an idea, the first flights usually take 1 to 3 sessions of 2 hours for a person with no previous experience but with a good physical condition.
In wing foiling the learning time depends on the equipment used, the physical condition of each person, their size and how well co-ordinated they are. As a rule of thumb, you will see a great progression after 10-20 hours of practise. This can be through lessons and/or practising with your own or rental equipment. And as with all sports in general, the more time you practice, the more you will progress.
I personally found it useless to keep pushing the limits when things in a session seem to have stopped working. I had magic success with the following formula: Stop your training when you are still in the happy place and got some energy left in the tank. Have a good rest over night and give it a go again on the next day. You will see that the manoeuvre/s you were working on magically seems to work out now all of a sudden. Foiling is a lot about building muscle memory and training with a big smile on your face. Keep this in mind when you are working on your gybes, foot-switches or tacks ;-)
How do I get started?
Firstly, what's your current ability level and experience in the water? Are you a board sports super star? Do you already kiteboard or windsurf? Are you familiar with how the wind works? Or are you a total newbie to wind and watersports?
There are two ways you can learn to wing foil; One is with an instructor and the other one is without an instructor. If you're in the latter ability category, meaning you have zero water experience and no board sports background, you'll most likely want to find an instructor who will take you out. If you're an avid water sports enthusiast, you might wanna get one or two private lessons and hire equipment to progress on your own.
The awesome thing about partnering with a school to learn to wingfoil like ours is that we'll have all the latest but most of all the most suitable gear ready for you! In the beginning, you'll be learning to balance on a board while learning to control the wing. Hence, most individuals will start out on a very big board. Eventually, you'll progress to riding the foil, at which point your board size can go down. You won't need as big of a board because you will be riding the foil instead of balancing on the board on the water.
What gear do I need to learn to wingfoil?
In the beginning stages, you may not want to purchase your own board, because most likely, you'll progress to a smaller size in a relatively short amount of time. Besides a board, you'll also need a wing and a hydrofoil.
To wingfoil you need three components: 1. A board 2. A hydrofoil set (front wing, fuselage, tail wing and a mast and 3. A wind wing (sail)
Choosing the right board will make learning all the basics way easier and more fun. Just accept that you might have to get a smaller board at some point in the near future, but if you start small you may never get off the starting blocks. 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. 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. The board size also depends on the location/the wind speed you are going to predominantly wingfoil.
Wind Wing sizes range from 2 to 7 meters. A good starting wing (as a general rule) is to start with a 4m wing for anyone up to 50kg or and a 5m or 5.5m wing for anyone over that weight. But this is completely dependent on your local spot. 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. This youtube review of the Takoon V2 wings goes into the finest details of wing design.
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 (85cm) 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. 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. This is a great review/tutorial about how to choose the right foil set up.
What drives us to run the Hydrofoil Academy Australia?
We truly enjoy teaching and inspiring others; Allowing our students to fulfill their wildest dreams and progressively master their skills.
Our passion for Wing Foiling and Hydrofoiling drove us to develop the Academy to provide training in both disciplines and to pave the way for the future of the Hydrofoil sport.
We simply help you to find the best version of yourself; And allowing you to accelerate your progression in wing foiling. You might find our courses challenging but they are also lots of fun and will challenge you in every aspect. Wing foiling will allow you to grow and to see this world from a different perspective.
We are in LOVE with the Ocean and the Ocean is our favorite and infinite playground. We can't wait to share our passion with you !