Wing foil - Our advice
It is THE water sport since 2019 's summer. More and more riders on our spots, and you know, we love versatility at Saint Jacques.
Being able to adapt to the conditions to get the best out of it: you surf or SUP when it's glassy, you kite or windsurf when it's windy ... and in all cases you have fun. This is what it is to be a waterman or waterwoman!
What is wing foil ?
The wing-foil (also called wingfoil, wing surf or wing foiling) refers to the association of a kite wing with a foil support under a board.
THE WING FOR TRACTION
Basically, it is an inflatable kite that you drive with your hands.
Is it a kite then? No, the kite is larger (between 5 and 15 m2) than a wing (3 and 6 m2) and it steers with a bar and lines (25m distance between the rider and his sail). The wing is therefore more compact and in direct connection with its rider.
So is it windsurfing? Still not ! The windsurf sail is not inflatable and is attached to the board by a mast.
You understand, it's a mix of kite and windsurfing. Note that we do not use a harness for wing surfing unlike other disciplines, we aim for simplicity.
THE FOIL TO FLY
The foil is a large fin which is placed under the board and which allows you to fly above the water without friction. The feeling is unique, and so is the speed. We wrote a full article on this subject, check it out here.
THE BOARD TO FLOAT
We usually use a board that has a volume greater than its weight to take off without frustration. An 80 kg rider will use a board with a volume of 100 liters. We will reduce the volume of the board according to its level and the force of the wind.
Wing foil - for who ?
Naturally, kitesurfers and windsurfers were the first interested in this discipline because it combines some of their characteristics. Then stand up paddle riders (read the article about SUP) and now the practice opens to the general public with the evolution of the equipment.
Main advantages compare to kite :
> fitting the wing is easier. No line to connect, you need less space to take off and go.
> safety level, you hold the sail with your hands so in the event of a problem you let go and it stops, no safety to activate.
Main advantages compare to windsurf :
> easier than windsurfing, you can go upwind faster;)
> the equipment is less bulky.
In both cases, the attraction of novelty and the sensation of flight often hit the mark!
Then the wing foil is not only intended for board sports riders.
It is a new discipline which offers unique sensations which are accessible to the greatest number, the proof with the number of wing schools which explode!
Wing foil , easy or not?
I have asked myself this question a lot because there is something contradictory in my opinion.
On one hand, the wing itself is very easy to learn, very fun and safe. But on the other hand, the foil is a rather technical “tool” and it is better not to fall on it!
In fact, it appears that with suitable equipment (large board and stable foil) and ideal practice conditions (laminar wind and flat water) the progression is quite fast.
And frankly the sensation of flying over the water, without friction or noise, is incredible enough and motivates to advance in this discipline.
Getting started in wing is relatively easy and quick, no need to have practiced kitesurfing or windsurfing before.
Wing foil for which discipline?
In my opinion, the wing is a bit like athletics, it breaks down into different practices and that's why is great!
First of all, we foil to fly on a flying carpet, and we don't need a lot of wind to do that. We are pulling long tacks, the feeling is crazy. We admire the landscape and the seabed, then we tackle the increasingly technical transitions.
DOWNWIND - SURF
For me the holy grail and the real interest is there! The foil allows you to slide with the swell. You can easily hold the wing with one hand and concentrate on pure gliding.
Then we go up with the kite and we start again, the merry-go-round is open.
Be careful in hollow waves and shore breaks because the foil becomes much more technical and demanding, so less interest.
Jump with a wing and a foil is possible, proof is with a world championship which is already in place. Railey, front and back loop with straps on the board.
Many things to come for this practice which remains reserved for the best. Please note that you must wear an helmet!
AND MORE ...
A use in Supfoil and Surf-foil but not only!
The foil makes it possible to reduce the drag and therefore to benefit from an increased speed with little resistance. However, using a wing is so easy that it can also be used on water without a foil.
Moreover, why limit yourself to water?
This product is also sought after for urban sliding (skateboarding) and for the mountains (snowboarding or skiing).
As you will understand, a wing is only limited to your imagination!
Which neoprene wetsuit for wing foiling ?
As with any aquatic sport, you have to protect yourself from the cold, friction and sun.
The wind tends to accentuate the feeling of cold, be careful to protect the extremities (booties, hood and glove).
At Saint Jacques we develop neoprene ranges compatible with all disciplines. Yes, all our wetsuits are tested in particular in wing by our testers and riders.
A particular point in terms of knee reinforcements because you often start on your knees on your board.
Discover our neoprene wetsuits for the wing foil here
Does wing foiling is the future ?
Yes, the wing foil is in the process of creating a place of choice among water sports.
Less dangerous than kiting, easier than windsurfing, it turns out to be THE right mix of all disciplines.
It attracts with its simplicity and practicality.
So stop kiting or windsurfing? Not sure, it will depend on weather conditions and individual preferences.
This new practice is therefore ultra fun, even if it requires a real learning in the handling of the foil. Some variables remain difficult to interpret, such as the weight of your equipment, the size of the ideal wing, the surface of the wing of the foil ... especially since the equipment changes very quickly.
The only simple thing in the end is choosing the perfect wetsuit to have a blast in the warmth: it's over here !!
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