Words: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: Tez Plavenieks, Oli Lane-Peirce
Towards the end of 2020 I decided that if we were going to start an online shop selling wing foil gear (among other flight products) I should focus on the discipline and learn as much as possible about the different styles of gear.
I’d done the same with surfing, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, windfoiling and SUP foiling so now it was time for some focused wang action.
Over the course of six months or so I’ve tested all styles of wing (boom wings, 100% air wings, hybrids, high/mid/low aspect), foils and their different component parts (high aspects, low aspects, different foil mast lengths/fuselages/tail wings) and boards themselves, from high volume floaters, to mid-tier sizes and low volume sleds.
Plus, in that time frame I’ve had most kinds of weather scenarios you’re likely to find as a winger. Uber light wind cruising, medium wind freestyle conditions, high wind rocket boosting weather and surf.
To cap all this off I was approached by Mistral’s International Brand Manager Steve West to help with testing their wing and windfoil products around the start of 2021 (more on that later).
As you can see it’s been a pretty busy time. But suffice to say I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the wing foiling market as it stands.
And this is just a statement of fact rather than implied arrogance. Hopefully this experience gives customers confidence we (I) know what I’m on about when discussing kit options.
The Mistral connection.
When you get asked by a longstanding watersports brand to help out with R&D of a new range of foil gear you’d be daft to turn the opportunity down. As well as having toys to play with you get to see how products are developed and brought to market.
This insight and experience with Mistral has been super interesting. Taking a product from conception to fully fledged ‘machine’ is a long winded process with much toing and froing and discussion.
But it’s worth it if what you end up with is pucka! Suffice to say I can’t wait until the production gear proper lands.
Back to the broader topic of wingsurfing and the different styles of gear really do make a difference to people’s riding. Some differences in kit are subtle, but enough to affect all areas of a person’s riding – for better or worse.
Other contrasts in equipment design are more obvious, such as the actual size of a foil wing for instance, and how that affects early take offs. And the gaps are growing as the sport matures and brands bring out more specialist kit for the differing areas of wingin’.
As such the testing of new products doesn’t stop. Who knows what’s coming down the road and how wing foiling will evolve.
If you want any info or have any questions relating to wing foiling then give us a shout hereat Foilshop UK. We’re only happy to chat.