Learning to wingfoil – 3 key things to consider
There is a saying – you can’t have it good, cheap and fast – but you can pick two.
Wingfoiling is the fastest growing water sport at the moment, and as you consider getting into it and making the time and cost commitment there are 3 key things to consider:
Getting a board, wings, foil, helmet, wetsuit, and other accessories is a significant commitment. It’s easy to get the cheapest thing available at your local shop, online, or from a forum. However you should be aware that the sport is growing so fast because it’s fun, new and last but not least, riders progress faster. So cheaper at the beginning does not mean cheap over time, as you will need to buy new better gear shortly after you start! The cost of the gear is also tightly corresponding with the quality and performance of the gear. So look for gear that would allow you to enter the sport at a reasonable price point, but also allow you to scale and upgrade as you progress. Why take a loss on your slightly used gear just a few weeks or months after you got into the sport, when your equipment can grow with you?
Getting the first flight on a foil is amazing, and an experience you will never forget! Some are mesmerized by the sensation, some by the lack of drag, some by the complete silence once you are in the air. Foils are subject to substantial forces, at times hundreds of kilos, and their construction and drag efficiency will have significant impact on the performance and speed. The mast is a key piece and the component that transfers the foils ability through the board to the soles of your feet, and gives you the feedback so you can control your flight and your ability to perform maneuvers and experience the amazing sensation of flying. Flip your board so your foil is up in the air, and tap the tip of your front wing, if your foil twists and vibrates the mast is too soft, and you will have a subpar experience.
As you get into jibes, tacks, up-wind, down-wind, jumps, pumping, wave riding and more your gear will need to change as well. You should look for a foil system that would facilitate your riding growth and allow you to have different masts, fuselages, front wings, rear wings and so on. A modular foil would allow you to change components to it as your skill set grows, and your interest in different parts of the sport expands. It’s better for the environment, and it protects your investment.
Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, Cheap, and Good…pick two. If it’s fast and cheap it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good it won’t be cheap.” Fast, cheap, and good…pick two words to live by.