What’s a Wing, and how is it used?
Wingsports (wingsurfing, wingfoiling or wingboarding) are a new and exciting group of sports that can be practiced on land, snow and on water using a handheld wing to harness the power the wind. They’re a hybrid of many existing (water)sports, and due to this fact appeal to a wide range of people. It might look quite unusual at first but the fluidity and grace of an experienced wingfoiler is breathtaking to see. A wing which resembles a windsurf sail is handheld and used to generate power to propel a sailor standing on a board with a hydrofoil underneath. When the wing is positioned to generate power the hydrofoil “lifts” the sailor and board above the water, giving the effect of floating or flying with ‘wings’ across the water.
The evolution of watersports: Foiling
Hydrofoil boards became popular back in 2013 after watersports enthusiasts saw the extreme speeds reached by sailing Catamarans. The same principles were used in new board designs, and hydrofoils started appearing on stand-up-paddle, windsurfing and kitesurfing boards, bringing new dynamics and faster speeds to each sport individually. When the first wings were developed, which could be used together with a hydrofoil board, a new sport was born.
Wingfoiling has exploded in popularity in the last years, in part because its uniqueness and versatility makes it appealing to all board sports fanatics. Skateboarders, snowboarders, surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers already have the skills and knowledge of wind and/or board control to make the learning process quick, making wingfoiling one of the fastest growing watersports ever.
Endless possibilities, steep learning curve
Wing sizes vary, enabling the sport to be done in both strong or light wind, and it can be done in the oceans, with or without waves, or flat water like lakes and rivers making the sport extremely versatile as to where it can be practiced. But a body of water is not even needed at all, with a skateboard or on snow with skis or a snowboard, the wing opens up new horizons of fun and enjoyment for any conditions available.
Wingsurfing can be practiced with or with the hydrofoil adaption on a board and is increasingly popular amongst SUP owners, with downwind adventures being one of the choice activities done with a stand-up paddle board and a wing. Paddleboards are extremely useful for beginners to use while learning how to fly wings, with a progression on to a hydrofoil board coming later when technique allows. Popularity of the new all in one watersport has reached such heights that almost every wind- or kitesurfing spot around the world now has a dedicated group of wingfoilers and wingsurfers respectively on the water when conditions are favourable.