Foil wing learning – James’ journey.

Foil wing skills are often promoted as easy. In relation to other sports – such as windsurfing, which certainly takes a while to learn – this maybe true. But as we always say during conversations foil wing skills still require time, perseverance and practice to acquire. Wing foiling isn’t quite as easy and quick to learn as some would have you believe.

Words & pics: Foilshop UK.

James’ foil wing journey.

Our friend James comes from a surfing and paddle boarding background. He was interested in learning how to wing foil around a year ago. We said we’d help by setting him on a specific pathway and letting him use the appropriate equipment. At the right time. Also, guiding him towards the right location with the right condition when they popped up.

James Dunstone very first go wing handling
James’ first wing handling beach drills.

The route we chose (and ‘tools’ used) have been designed to make James’ journey as smooth as possible. With zero prior wind sports experience we felt it better to do things this way than force the issue. Also, it meant James got to play with other toys and enjoy a broader range of experiences related to wing foiling and foiling in general. This isn’t necessarily the right or only way to do things but it’s been fun and rewarding none the less.

Foil wing kit choices.

One wheel Magwheel cruising.

All the foil wing kit James has used was chosen because of its lightweight, accessibility and the experience it was likely to deliver. The McConks Go Fly 6m wing may sound large for learning but its super light handling and moderate power made it a worthy choice for James’ first foil wing. Sticking with McConks James also used the brand’s one wheel style Magwheel which is the closest thing to foiling on land. Pairing this with a wing allows foil wing drills to be practised away from the water.

One wheel Magwheel wing skating.

McConks also supply the Go Free inflatable crossover inflatable SUP. Combined with the popular retro fitted Driftstopper this was a great combo for wing SUP drills. Hyde Blast wings have always proved their worth – for beginners or experienced wingers. James has used a Hyde 5m Blast wing with awesome results. And more recently, James’ newly acquired Axis Foils PNG 1150 foil has been providing the accessible, high aspect lift for getting on foil. Here at Foilshop UK we’ve seen MUCH success with the Axis PNG 1150 which remains a solid choice for ANY foiler wanting to change to a higher aspect foil with superb low speed lift, tons of glide and bang on pumpability.

Wing skating fun.

The chosen pathway.

We did things very specifically with James. Rather than chucking him straight in at the deep end we wanted to build skills progressively and keep enthusiasm and confidence intact. Plus safety.

Wing SUP drills with the Tahe Techno 160L & Hyde Blast wing.

First off we practised wing handling on land. Then we shifted focus to riding a one wheel Magwheel to get some foiling muscle memory in the bag. Adding a wing to James’ Magwheel riding followed. This really is a great way (in little to no wind) to gain some foil wing understanding. Wing skating in a bit of breeze was next. Then it was onto flat water wing SUP stule, sans foil, to move James along nicely using the Tahe Techno Wind Foil 160L. (This might be billed as a windsurf/windfoil board but it’s turned out to be a great foil wing trainer as well). Getting him out for a raz on an eFoil setup to gain some actual foiling experience was gold. With a bit more wing SUP to consolidate skills following that. It was then time for some wing foil action proper!

eFoil radness.

The results.

With all the previous groundwork put in place, James was ready, and safe, to start foiling. So with foil connected and James able to confidently get himself back upwind off foil (super important from a safety point of view) James had his first wing foiling experiences just recently (as of Sept ’23).

More wing SUP action.

Making great advances the decision was quickly made to swap out his low aspect foil for the Axis PNG 1150. Straight away James made even more gains. Flying with additional frequency, with a smaller wing in less wind, you could see the stoke all over his face.

Success! With the Axis Foil PNG 1150 foil.

Next steps.

As well as James using the right kit and doing things the right way James has also had access to the right advice and guidance. In the world of foiling there’s a lot of white noise which can make it hard to get correct information. Fortunately, we (Foilshop) can help and guide properly. If you’re on a similar path make sure you consider where you get your foil info from. Reputable sources, born of real world experiences will see much quicker and more efficient progression.

More champagne foil wing moments for James.

For James, it’s now a case of consolidation and continuing his journey. More sustained flight is the next goal. Followed by learning how to gybe – which we all know can be tricky. But James will cross that bridge when he gets to it. For now it’s a MASSIVE BIG UP from us at Foilshop for having the patience and determination to stick with something completely alien and unfamiliar. Well done James!

If you have any questions or queries about wing foiling gear or foil wing in general then give us a shout. Also, if you’re looking for your ideal foil wing setup head over to Foilshop UK’s webshop here.