So after a bit of time getting to grips with the wings from a few different manufacturers, we are now pretty happy with them and how they work. Happy enough to use them in a whole host of different conditions, from flat water to chop; waves and even in some exciting downwinders. They really are pretty versatile and the industry at large seems to be getting behind the sport too, with more brands joining the fray ... and the early-adopter brands releasing extra sizes each month!
Getting people out on the water, giving it a go, is our aim for 2020 and in doing so, converting the general consensus from, "Don't see the point" to, "I'm interested enough to give it a go..."
One of the local sailing coaches from Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre, James Parker Mowbray (who's incidentally an enthusiastic windsurfer), was keen to give it a go and with that, the plan was set for him to become our first guinea pig, implementing our own teaching model and method.
We started out with an intro to the wing on land, moving swiftly onto the water and kneeling and then standing on an AHD Sealion Summer board, with the focus being on steering, turning around and staying upwind.
Once James was comfortable with that, it was time for a board with a foil. We used the Nah-Skwell Fly 7'4" - a dedicated SUP foil board with 155 Litres of volume. This, matched with the Fanatic Aero 2000, made for a great entry in the world of winging.
The first few minutes of the session were spent just getting used to the board; then it was time to get up and get foiling. With a bit of chat about wing-and-board technique, it was now in James' hands to start flying. Over to James to give you a little insight from his perspective:
"After a bit of swimming and getting to grips with controlling the power on a larger board, we hopped onto a foilboard. We worked on a bit of pumping technique with both the wing and the board and that was it: I was flying! Not necessarily with masses of control ... but I was up, albeit much further downwind than I wanted to be. With a few breaks on the shore and a bit more time going out and back, the control started to come and with a bit of help from Dan, we were making our way back upwind and foiling."
James' First Wing Session
"It feels more removed from windsurf-foiling (windfoiling) than I expected. For me, it's more of a natural, cruisey foiling experience. Although the lack of connection to the board means it's hard work on the arms and shoulders to start of with, once you get foiling and lock out the arms, it becomes relatively forgiving on the body. It should definitely be on the 'to-do' list for any kiter, windsurfer and paddle-boarder looking for something new to try."
If you're interested in giving it a go, feel free to get in touch with the centre and we'll get you winging in no time!