Foil words: Angus McIntyre.
Foil pics: Angus McIntyre, Steve Gladders, Mike Pringuer, The OTC.
Foil stories this time focuses on metalhead foiler Angus McIntyre. A foiling fellow we’ve known for a while. First through our shared interest in windsurfing and now through windfoiling and wing foiling. We caught up with Angus to get more info on his watersports and foiling journey to date.
Give us a brief background on your watersports career to date.
My first splashes in the sea were in an optimist dinghy, where I was taught to sail by my father. For the longest time, we raced out of Hayling Island sailing club together in a handful of dinghy classes (Taser, RS400, RS800 and Flying Fifteen) at club and national levels. Some of my best memories were of sailing that RS800. It is a really fun boat and draws big fleets in some wild conditions. Meanwhile, we would often holiday down in north Devon, where I consistently failed to learn to surf. On returning from university I took up windsurfing and stuck with it for 12 years. I then moved into foiling. I’ve not used a fin for 18 months.
When did you discover foiling and what appealed?
The first time I saw a foiling vessel in the flesh was the International Moths on Hayling Island. I was mesmerized by their smooth glide and effortless speeds. It also looked extremely technical and I knew I wanted a go. Fast forward 10 years and I found myself trawling magazines, trying to decide which foil I was going to buy for my first foray on windsurfing kit.
Was it what you thought the first few times out?
It was a joy. A big concern was that I’d not have the coordination for foiling so finding out it was possible brought out a big grin, followed by a big splash. The first take-off was breathtaking in a very literal sense. It’s so awesome that everyone forgets to breathe on their first flight.
How many sessions (roughly) did it take for consistency?
Windfoiling took around 5 sessions of good wind for level, predictable flights; around 25 hours. The right conditions make a massive difference. Gybing took longer to crack but it made me a much better windsurfer in the process. Winging was a totally different journey as I had to find the right kit, the right wind and unlearn some windsurfing habits. Fortunately, it is so approachable that I foiled and gybed within 30 minutes. Much more revealing is the speed at which total beginners can get going with a wing. One of my colleagues was foiling within 4 hours with no prior board sports experience. I’m not sure you’d be able to do this with windfoil.
What’s the most valuable foiling lesson you learnt back then?
Finding the right stance for your kit is key – keeping your weight over the foil makes everything easier. Also, drop a sail size as early as you can. You’ll learn more and your kit won’t take as much of a beating.
Where are you now with foiling?
2020 was a big growth year for my windfoiling. I nailed the gybes, got my first duck gybes and started working on downwind 360s. In 2021 I started wingfoiling and that has totally taken over my life.
Any particular goals moving forwards?
I very recently pulled out my first wingfoil tack. That was my headline goal for winging, as gybing was for windfoiling. I need to get some consistency there but it shouldn’t take long. The next big step is to windfoil around Hayling Island with my Dad! We’ve been meaning to give it a stab for a while. 2021 was meant to be the year, but the wind gods were against us.
Ed: We’ve since had conversations with Angus about SUP foiling and how he’d love to get involved with that. Watch this space!
Give us a brief rundown of the gear you’re using and why.
I currently have windfoil and wingfoil quivers in the van so I can pick my sport depending on who else is sailing. For winging, I use an Axis PNG 1150 foil, Swiftfoiling 100L board and Ensis Score 6.2 wing. My windfoil kit is a Slingshot Wizard V2 125L, with Infinity 76 foil. I like to keep things carvey and casual these days so it’s all lifty, slow speed stuff (although I’m actually investigating going faster with even higher aspect foils).
How has the foilscape changed for you over the last few years?
From what I see, there is a pretty clear separation now between the speed/course sailors and the carve and splash sailors. The kit has diverged a great deal. IQFoil equipment is becoming very prevalent and regional racing circuits have seen loads more foiling. It’s really exciting and I might have to get involved at some point. For the everyman with a limited budget, you now have to make hard choices about which route to go down. The biggest change to the scene appears to be the wave of winging that has swept the beaches in 2021. All of a sudden everyone was getting wing boards and pumps out of their vans. I’m not sure many of us saw it coming but it’s truly brilliant to have so many people getting on the water and out of their comfort zone.
Any foiling predictions for the future?
The kit divergence will continue and I think wingfoiling is going to start dominating the recreational watersports world for the next decade. It won’t be a SUP level phenomenon but it will eat into the freeride windfoil and kiting communities in a big way. The racing world will continue with windfoil and kitefoil as the headline sports. It’ll be interesting to see how they are both received at the Olympics.
Final thoughts on foiling?
Foiling is well worth the cost of entry so try to view the eye watering prices as an investment in your enjoyment and fun. As a long time windsurfer I can’t count the number of days I’ve spent bored in the garden because there isn’t enough wind for my equipment. All we ask for is a bit of nature’s power and too often it doesn’t align with our work schedule, or lets us down just after we get down to the water. Foiling makes us less demanding of the forecast and takes a great deal of the forecast stress away. My sailing days have tripled since I took up foiling. Less kit, more fun!
Thanks and praise?
Big shout out to the foiling community down at Calshot. They are a really cool bunch and have taught me loads about winging. Sailing with them is always a pleasure. A very special thank you to my grandfather, who sadly passed away last year. He spent many hours in the water with me when I was learning to enjoy the surf. I’ll never forget all those glorious summers!
And don’t forget to check out Foilshop UK’s previous Foil Stories below –