Firstly, give us a bit if background on your riding. Where and when did you start?
Always been a water baby, could swim before I could walk. Grew up on/in the water sailing, water skiing and swimming. Swam at the top level as a youngster. Retired at 22 as windsurfing became a lot more fun, that took over everything for a lot of years, now that was back in the real early days. Got fed up waiting for the wind and normal life took over, eventually got back into sailing and raced twin trapezed 6m dingy cats which would work in 8 knots, got to a reasonable level, sailing in Nationals and Euros. Moved to the west country from London and then kitesurfing appeared… that was some 12 years ago, OMG even more fun. Gave up my consultancy work and turned pro running a well-known kite school in Devon for many years.
I used to move the school to Tarifa for my winters and subsequently, Tarifa became home for quite a while, still is really. My passion in kiting was riding my surfboard in the waves and Saunton being my home beach I was in heaven. Kite foiling turned up some 6 or 7 years ago, so that meant we didn’t have to wait for the wind so much, I remember being the second person foiling in Tarifa, how hard was it back then? So how FusionX started?? One day being on the beach with my friends who all ended up getting foils, I think I had gone through 4 or 5 foils in a short while buying and selling them not being happy with any of them so one day I said I could design something that works better than all of these….. they all said “No way Paige, come on…” Red Rag and all that… so FusionX was born… some 5 years ago. I ended up having a serious hip problem and my time for teaching was going to come to an end so I sold the school to a dear friend who is no longer with us now to concentrate on FusionX full time.
What floats your boat (mostly) these days?
I have 2 passions in life: R&D (which is my background and then always wanting to be a Rocket Scientist) and riding on the water preferably in waves… OMG how lucky am I?
When did you have the lightbulb moment to start shaping and designing foils?
Lightbulb moment? More like a strobe light… It’s constant, just not enough hours in a day or enough resources. It’s also a lot more than design. Relatively design is easy these days with CAD systems and analytics, it’s more about how to make it. No point designing a spaceship if you can’t build it and then go fly it to the stars. So, we now have some ground breaking Pre-preg tech to make our foils and as for our boards… Not telling any more! So that’s the passion: riding what I design and make, never ever about money.
Tell us about the FusionX Nitro Pro board range.
Well the Nitro board is the total evolution of the species, of wing boards that is. Wing boards are a unique breed and it was about solving problems. Volume, stability, surface water tension and hence release, touch downs and pumping. Then once we had the design which was super complex it was how to make it, knowing it needed to be super strong, yet light, with generally speaking conventional wet layup. To make things lighter you use less materials so it loses strength. The big boys don’t care, it’s all about money and warranties (or lack of them). Anyway, off my soap box! I knew I had to come up with something ground breaking again hence the Pre-preg Innegra system was developed and with custom sizes as well.
How much time spent on R&D are you putting into FX products?
Pretty much 90% of my time up till now, but that has to change. I need more time on the water and a holiday – winging of course!
You’re a big supporter of wing foiling. Why is this? And how popular do you think all foiling will become?
I’ve been around for the birth of 3 sports now really: windsurfing, kitesurfing and foiling. I missed out on SUP. And now this thing called wing surfing and it is the most exciting especially as I’m involved in the development side. All the other sports have a lot of restrictions, one way or another – skill level needed, accessibility, location, cost, amount of gear, wind range and so on. And the risk factor due to location and/or conditions.
I think with wingsurfing the appeal is enormous and we are only scratching the surface, it’s a lot safer and easier to learn. Yes, you still have to learn it, all skill sets, wind, kite, wake, skate, surf are reasonably transferable, but the locations we can ride are much more varied as is the wind range and conditions. We can now ride in 8 knots with our new foils and wings and then the kit is much more simplistic, that’s if you want it to be of course! You can even have an inflatable board so everything will fit in a small car boot easily. Personally I think it will grow exponentially over the next 4 or 5 years as it will bring in people from kiting, windsurfing, SUP and total watersport novices. After all it looks super easy and remember you can use a wing with a SUP, no foil needed to start.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
Finish of the last couple of high aspect foil wings to complete the FX range – one to go! Then get to June and have a holiday.
And final thoughts on FusionX, foiling or watersports in general?
FusionX has always been passion driven and always will be. Money/costs are secondary to design. It’s always about creating the best possible products. If the tech doesn’t exist to make it then we invent it. Watch out SpaceX I wanna go to the stars next!
Check out the following for more FusionX related info –