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Youngsters on course to Wing Surf!

This week at The Official Test Centre a flock of grommets flew into the centre for our Kids Wing Surf Course and they soon got a handle on the all the technical bits on land and it wasn't long before they were on the water smashing it!

This is a very exciting emerging area of watersports, it is so inspiring to see the next generation finding their wings and inflating their knowledge and most importantly having fun! We are super proud to be at the forefront of what will no doubt be an explosion of kids wanting to learn how to wing!

So what makes learning to wing perfect for youngsters? Learning to wing is easier for young riders, when they are learning to wing there is a quick progression.  For young kids this means fun, fun, fun! When we teach youngsters to wing we start out with higher volume boards paired with a very small wing. We start out with the Sealion Summer board and the kids have instant success gliding across the water. First rides and the independence of returning to the same spot comes quickly and with this success the next generation of wingers are born and the next step is flying high on the foil! There's no stopping Youngsters on course to Wing Surf!

By Emma Nicholson.

Kids Wing Surf
Youngsters taking part in the RYA Kids Wing Surf Course at The OTC

I asked The Official Test Centre(OTC), Operations Manager, Maurin Rottenwalter who ran the RYA Kids Wing Surf Course along with The OTC Chief Instructor Joe North (pictured above), is this course quite a new concept?

Maurin said: "No and yes. It’s definitely been our biggest group for a two-day course of 9-14 year olds. We used to have the occasional youngster, but the wings where mostly too big in the early days and unsuitable for kids for a multitude of reasons. Now wings have moved on a lot, small sizes are available and the design has improved, so that kids have a user friendly wing to enjoy learning. All the boys had a fantastic time learning about the wings and how to handle them on land before taking to the water, which was the biggest test for Joe and myself because the kit has moved on enough to run a successful session. We were super positively surprised and they all did amazing. The progress throughout the day was brilliant to see and it has opened the doors for more winging in the future."

What qualification do the youngsters get?

Maurin said: "Currently The OTC are using the RYA Adult Guidelines for the kids course, as the kids scheme has yet to be written. Their first initial wing surfing and improve to wing surf, first learn to wing surf, in the learn to wing surf they go out, basic steering and how to turn around."

Youngsters don't necessarily have to have a wing taster to do this course, Maurin explains why;

Maurin said: "We are totally starting from scratch, we start on land how a wing works, how to handle a wing, wing walking on land so they get a bit of a feel for it and then we start going on the water, do self-rescue and going through first motions of turning around. Going out, steering, that normally takes the first morning and afternoon.

"The second day we move onto improve to wing surf, we look into going back upwind, tacking and switch stance. With the adults we would go through gybing , but because it is hard keeping them upwind with the children so that is not the most important on the list."

What kit do the youngsters learn on?

Maurin said: "Sealion windsurf/SUP paddle boards with a daggerboard, we finally have some 1.4 m wings, 2.2 and 2.8 which in the beginning we didn't really have much access to such small kit which was useable for the children."

What do the kids who took part in the course want to do next?

Maurin said: "They want to go foiling! Ted who is 10 years old, took part in the course and booked to go foiling this Wednesday, straight after the wing surf course, he stayed up wind, he went foiling and the wind was a bit strong today, but watch this space."

What is it like as an instructor to see the next generation getting into winging?

Maurin said: "Mostly me, Callum, Joe and Bry we are actually more amazed that it actually works, that actually something that has been accessed by some youngsters whose parents are already into winging or you are a professional windsurfer or winger and they put their kids out. But to actually open it to the general public to everybody to start to learn and to make it a really easy session to run and really."

Is this the forefront of something that is about to explode?

Maurin said: "Up to now we always said for any school, we can really only access windsurfing, because we have always been used to it, it is easy, they can learn it, it is accessible, but actually now winging is becoming more accessible for smaller numbers for school groups, it is really exciting to be at the start of something new. We were at the start of winging for adults and that has exploded. To now see that with the children happening is fantastic."

Joe North
OTC Senior Instructor Joe North talks the youngsters through the basics!
Wing Surfing
Getting a handle on winging!
Wing Surfing
Finding their wings!
Wing Surfing
Water time!
Wing Surfing
Wing walking!
Wing Surf
Getting their glide on!
Wing Surf
Going for it feet first!

Do you have a youngster that would like to take part in a two-day RYA Wing Course? Minimum age is 9 years old. Call the The Official Test Centre, 07817 717904, to discuss when the next course is happening, alternatively if you'd like to book a wing taster for your grommet the team can help arrange this for you. Also, don't forget here at SurfDoctor we are a one-stop-shop for all your winging kit!

Wing Foiling
One of the youngsters who took part in the Kids Wing Surf Course having a go at Wing Foiling this week! What a quick progression! Great to see!
Wing Foiling
Ted showing such amazing perseverance and talent at such a young age! Go Ted!

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