Foil stories: finding the ‘something else’, with Matt Thorn.

Foil stories finding the 'something else', with Matt Thorn

Next up in our real world Foil Stories series is local to Foilshop HQ Matt Thorn. A windsurfer, stand up paddler, surfer and now wing and SUP foiler Matt’s out on the water often and loves an elevated glide or two.

Words: Matt Thorn.

Pics: Darren Thayne, Matt Thorn.

Give us a brief background on your watersports career to date.

Started off windsurfing on an inland lake with my Dad when I was 10 or 11. Into my teens I grabbed any opportunity to get to the coast which was mainly Halying Island. Spin on 15 years I moved to Hayling Island and continued windsurfing whilst getting into SUP surfing.

When did you discover foiling and what appealed?

For the past 3 years or so I have been looking for ‘something else’. I was getting a bit disillusioned with windsurfing – the conditions at my local not providing what I look for. I have never enjoyed big windsurf kit, but got grumpy on light wind days with no action. The smaller kit of winging ticked these boxes, providing a new experience and getting me off the beach in lighter winds.

Matt Thorn: full power windsurfing.

Which foiling discipline (s) are you involved with and why?

Mainly free riding with mates and (trying to) wave riding. The latter is a work in progress.

Has foiling panned out the way you envisaged?

Mostly yes. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I do. I now look for lighter wind days as much as the stronger wind days for windsurfing.

SUP surfing action with Matt Thorn.

Was it what you thought the first few times out?

I was not expecting the adrenaline rush of the first flight!

How many sessions (roughly) did it take for consistency?

For me, it was more about finding the right conditions. Hayling can be choppy and gusty most of the time. So finding flat water in the harbours really helped. With 2 or 3 flat water sessions I felt really dialed into the equipment.

Have you found foiling easy or hard? And why?

Linked to the previous really. I wish I’d sought out flat water earlier on in the initial learning phase.

Matt’s first wing foil sled.

I found it harder than people on social media seem to make out. By that I mean pro type level riders saying how easy it is to learn. For me, I found that different to my experience. It’s not that I think it is hard per se. More that the impression given by others is that it is easier than in reality. This is the myth. Pro riders/sponsored riders/shops/brands have a job to promote foiling. And I feel things are often exaggerated.

What’s been your biggest inspiration for foiling, and why?

To reach those long swells that we get to maximise the fun.

Where are you now with your foiling?

Aiming for consistent gybes and long glides on waves.

Matt Thorn: man of many disciplines, surfing.

Any particular goals moving forwards?

To keep having fun and get more consistent at SUP foiling.

Give us a brief run down of the gear you’re using and why.

Takoon wings 7m, 5m & 4m Gong foils and my homemade board.

The Takoon wings are great with a good price point. I have always wanted to make a board but lacked the space. With wing boards being that much shorter and compact it was the perfect opportunity.

More SUP surfing slides.

How has the foilscape changed for you since you started?

Other than what I see at the local with growing numbers I have no idea. I just tend to get on with it without looking around at others too much.

Final thoughts on foiling?

It’s fun and adds a new dimension to time on the water and increases the opportunity for time on water.

Thanks and praise?

To a few mates down at the beach for sharing their experience and knowledge. Without them I would be further back along the learning curve.

Check out previous Foil Stories articles below –