Wing foiling tips & tricks: push it down to lift it up.

When starting your wing foiling journey there’s often a choice to be made in terms of what wing size to go for. A good many focus on 5m, and whilst this might be fine for average weight riders in moderate wind, chances are you’ll be needing bigger to actually get on foil regularly and sustain flight. Even in winds up to 25 knots! Be under no illusion.

Words: Foilshop UK.

Pics: Foilshop UK, Andy Stuart-William, Mike Pringuer.

6m no no?

There’s long been a fallacy that a 6m wing is too big to learn with. Wing design has progressed considerably over the last few seasons. Bigger wing sizes now have their tips turned much more inwards, reducing the amount of tip clipping. But there’s a specific wing handling technique that’ll reduce this further.

A 6m wing (or bigger) is often the only way to consistently get up on foil.

A 6m wing (and even bigger), when coupled with a large foil and high volume board is often the only way to start flying consistently. Time and again we have conversations with customers who’ve purchased their 5m (or sometimes smaller) only to discover it doesn’t deliver enough power. Particularly in the sub-20 knot wind band that most wingers want to ride in.

Wing design these days accounts for tips catching the water and therefore accommodates riders using bigger sizes.

There are a variety of other contributing factors why you mightn’t be foiling easily. Messy, choppy water states, gusty winds, strong current/tide and an unrefined technique don’t help. Using the right size wing will though.

Keep those wing tips clear.

The biggest fear of using a bigger wing is having the wing’s tips catch the water, the front section load up and the wing surge forwards and flip over. Perhaps dumping you in the drink with it. But with a subtle movement this can be averted

Once up and foiling riders can bring the wing more upright.

Starting with your wing slightly above your head is best. But undeveloped muscle memory and (often) erratic winds can drive the wing down. Also, as you focus on the board and foil riders sometimes forget about their ‘engine’.

Whatever size wing you’re using if you feel the tips dropping simply push downward with your back hand towards the water. This sends your front hand up and brings the wing back to a more overhead position, thereby avoid your tips clipping and catching the water. You may also use an upturned palm grip with your front hand which makes it easier to throw above.

Push your back hand down to lift your front hand up and level up the wing, thereby avoiding the tips clipping water. Canting the board over also helps but this is a more advanced skill.

At first this may be quite a vigorous movement but in time will become more subtle and intuitive.

The biggest advantage of this technique allows bigger wings to be used more efficiently. And, as already said, bigger wings often deliver more power and that much needed surge to get up on foil consistently. Once you’re foiling you then begin developing your skills further which in time will allow a scale back in terms of what size you need relative to the wind strength.

Smaller wings in less wind? Once you’ve dialled in your foil technique, for sure!

As an example it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to be using a 4m wing in 15-18 knots as a 90kg rider. But only once your skills have been dialed in. In the meantime, don’t be shy with going bigger and employ the ‘push down with your back hand’ technique to keep your wing clear of the brine.

If you have any more questions about anything foiling get in touch.