Wing Surfing Lessons @ Silverknowes Centre

Maverick: Requesting permission for flyby. Air Boss Johnson: That’s a negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full. Maverick: Sorry Goose, but it’s time to buzz the tower.!

Although the use of the wing itself is pretty easy, even for people with no previous wind sports experience, we do highly recommend getting lessons to get started. At GOFORTH.SURF we start you by playing and experiencing the wing on the on the beach; how to understand it, to hold it, how to de-power it and how to generate power. This normally takes a couple of hours.

Then you get to try it out on a normal SUP board to get into grips of using the wing to keep your balance on the board and how different angles impact both power delivery and help in changing the direction of travel. The wing is basically a massive grab-handle that you can use to prevent yourself from falling into the water. Soon after you’re ready to play around with the foil board.

The major interest of Wing Foiling is to be able to move with as much freedom as possible on the water by using both the energy of the wind and swells. The wing brings the power for manoeuvrability and take-off on the foil. It is possible due to the wing mobility to switch ways to ride in the same session: going upwind using the wind and the best axis of your wing to reach the fastest speed for example and then going downwind and surf the wind swells like if you were Downwind SUP Foiling.

The hydrofoil allows to take-off over the water and to fly over the surface. Wing Foiling is practiced on a short but wide and thick stand up paddle board to allow its rider to be stable and easily stand up on the board. We recommend to learn Wing Foiling in average wind conditions on a spot that is not exposed to the swell (between 15 and 20 knots of wind). It is easier to begin with a sidewind.

The fourth step is the actual take-off. You now have enough speed with your board so that the lift of the foil is activated. To facilitate this, you can perform a light “pumping” motion by successively lightening your weight on the front leg and then on the back leg to play with the angle of the front wing of the foil and make it more supportive. When the foil takes off, you must switch the weight on the front leg and hold the wing firmly while remaining straight to maximize the lift of the wind too. Repeat this sequence as many times as necessary (sometimes once, sometimes 100..) until you take off……

HELP MUM! I’M FLYING!

You are now flying and the duration of this flight depends on your ability to effectively distribute your weight between the leg forward and back leg but also on the orientation / axis of lift that you give to your wing so that the wind allows you to continue to fly. Transferring the weight to the back leg causes the foil to rise and re-transferring the weight to the front leg make it go lower. It is important to stay upright and keep your centre of gravity above the foil to avoid falling.

How to turn on your Wing Foil

Now that you know how to take off and fly with your Wing Foil, you still need to learn how to turn to be able to come back to where your starting point. There are different ways to turn on while Wing Foiling: landing and then starting in the other direction (the easiest for beginners), to jibe by turning down to the wind, to tack on the wind using the accumulated speed, or to use the swell to make a turn while surfing on your foil.

To begin, we advise you to always turn down to the wind (jibe). It is easier to turn first with the board (the foil) to position yourself as you turn the wing over your head in a neutral way against the wind. When your transfer is complete, put the wing in the correct axis and go back in the other direction. You can note in the sequence below that Bruno changes his foot position between the first and the second picture, he moves from a “left foot forward” position (regular stance) to a “right foot forward” position (goofy stance). This allows him to attack the jibe without having to change his feet position during or at the end of it but also to always face the sail when sailing in crosswind for more comfort and more efficiency to go upwind. It is also possible to change the foot position after your turn.