Wing surfing might be the new kid on the watersports block, but it’s already picked up a passionate and growing fanbase - and it’s easy to see why.
Fast, fun and perfect for use in almost all conditions, wind wings allow you to harness the power of the wind and transform any foil board or standard SUP into a completely new riding experience.
There’s no waiting around for perfect conditions, setup time is minimal and the learning curve is fairly gentle.
Not sure what we’re talking about? This article is for you. Read on to learn more about what wing surfing actually is, how it works and what gear you’ll need to get started.
A quick history lesson
It’s only recently that wing surfing has grown in popularity, but the concept goes back at least a few decades.
Back in the mid-80s, avid windsurfer Tom Magruder developed something he dubbed the Wind Weapon, a rigid, rotating sail that was attached to a windsurf board. For whatever reason, Magruder’s creation never hit mainstream status, but fast forward to today and it’s clear that the spirit of the Wind Weapon is alive and well, albeit in a slightly different form: wind wings.
What is a wind wing?
If you want to wing surf, you’re going to need two things: a foil board or regular SUP board and a wind wing. Typically measuring about four square metres, foil wind wings are lightweight, handheld kites that capture the power of the wind and propel you across the water.
Wing surfing’s not really about riding faster or catching massive air; it’s more about introducing elements of sailing to surfing and SUPing and providing watersports enthusiasts with a whole new way to carve.
Unlike windsurfing sails and kiteboarding kites, there are no lines, rigging or attachments to worry about, which makes them a breeze (see what we did there?) to set up and eliminates the risk of tangled up in your hardware.
Who can use wind wings?
Wind wings can be used by a wide range of board enthusiasts, including:
A wind wing is the perfect addition to SUPing. Even mild winds can make paddling a chore, but a wind wing allows you to easily generate power regardless of the conditions. Wind wings can be used with foil SUP boards as well as traditional SUP boards.
Wind wings shine when used in conjunction with foil boards. Having a constant source of energy at your disposal means you’ll always have the power to get out to that next juicy swell. Fly upwind, depower the wing and foil surf the swells downwind, or just cruise the coastline.
Wind wings are primarily used by SUPers and hydrofoilers, but pretty much any boardsport can use foil wind wings to harness the power of the wind. Skateboarders, snowboarders and skiers have already given the wind wing a go - just be warned that bailing on land is going to be a whole lot more painful than falling in the water.
Tips for your first wing surfing sesh
Wing surfing is fairly intuitive. If you have a bit of experience with wind-based watersports, you’ll probably be able to snag a few good rides on your first session, but do be prepared to spend a bit of time waterstarting and wrestling with the wind wing in the water.
Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Spend some time with the foil wind wing on land. Get used to how it feels and simulate the movements you’ll make on the water when you need to turn.
- Learn how to use a foil board without a wing before you try wing surfing. Alternatively, you can use a SUP board.
- You’re going to spend a lot more time in the water than you would when kiting, windsurfing or SUPing. Wear a suitable wetsuit if you’re going to be in cold water.
- Start on flat water where you’re sheltered from the swell.
- Use a board large enough for you to stand on without sinking.
- Keep your front arm high to keep the wing out of the water.
- Most foil wind wings don’t have a window, so remember to lift it up frequently to keep an eye on your surroundings.
Check out our range of wing gear
Want to get in on the wind wing action? We’ve got you covered. Check out our great range of wing gear in our online store, or give us a call on 027 245 7540 to discuss which setup would suit you best.