Wingsurfing foil wing handles: comfort and efficiency is key to performance and wing foiling progression!

Pics: Oli Lane-Peirce.

It’s safe to say that not all wingsurfing foil wings are the same. Whist many feel and look similar there are slight nuanced differences. But this isn’t just with regards to the feel of the overall wing. Something that often gets overlooked – especially where 100% inflatable wings are concerned – is the comfort and efficiency of the wing’s handles. More specifically whether they suit your style. An otherwise well performing wing can be let down with less than ideal handles whereas a not so great wing can be greatly improved (performance wise) with decent grippers.

Having now tested a considerable amount of wingsurfing wings the importance of handles is key. And I’m not talking about the amount of hand holds or where they’re positioned. I’m talking more about the rigidity and/or efficiency of wing handles.

When you start winging the alien nature, yet freedom of not having to wear a harness is appealing. Flying the wing and simply holding on is pleasant to say the least. Wings are much lighter than say windsurfing rigs and it can be liberating. Fast forward an hour or so, or a couple of decent wing foiling sessions later, and ‘badly fitting’ handles (as in fitting you, the rider’s ergonomics) can show face.

Tendonitis and muscle fatigue – particularly in forearms, wrists and shoulders – can set in. There is the argument to say use smaller size wings in the same wind strengths, which can relive stresses and strains. For those not having developed sufficient skill to do this, however, a bigger wing in more wind (we’re all aware wings need power these days!) is essential to get up on foil.

Personally I prefer super rigid, thicker wing handles that give the wing a more direct feel. Some may like looser, freer swinging and thinner handles. It all comes down to personal preference. With a thicker, stiffer set of handles I can hook my fingertips over and relax my grip when cruising. And when drifting whilst wave riding this is also the same.

Mark Shinn (ex pro-kiter, Shinn brand owner and equipment designer) suggested in a recent article I read that real development work will be seen around handles moving forwards. This is a good thing as not everyone wants to wear a harness when wingsurfing. Albeit some still will…

Ultimately the ‘fit’ of your wing is one way you’ll progress quicker. I appreciate it’s not always easy to glean this knowledge. Here at Foilshop, however, we know teh products inside out so can pass this info (and more) on. Let us know if you have any questions.