How to learn Wing Foiling fast in 3 steps
Wing Foiling is a revolution. It is fun, innovative and very practical or versatile: it requires little equipment (especially compared to windsurfing!), little space on the water compared to kitesurfing and it is also much less dangerous. In short, it has many advantages. And, on top of that, it is very easy to learn if you do it properly.. And that is what this article is about. Learn how to speed up the learning process in 3 stages.
Table of contents:
- Choose the right gear
- Step 1: Wing handling without the foil
- Step 2: Foiling behind a boat
- Step 3: Wing + foil board
- Do I need lessons?
- How long does it take to learn?
Choosing the right equipment is crucial
We are going to explain how to learn Wing Foiling very quickly, but the first thing is to choose the right equipment for it. Nothing hinders the learning process more than inappropriate gear.
Ideally, you should learn at a center to take advantage of the best equipment for your very first steps and you should only buy your own gear after having a decent level. If that’s not possible, buy easy stuff. You can resell it later when you make progress and need better equipment.
To learn to control the wing, large boards with daggerboard are ideal, such as beginner windsurfing boards or sup boards with daggerboards or center fin.
To start foiling, your board needs to be big enough for you to stand on it easily. We use boards between 120l and 160l to start with. For people between 70-80kg, around 130-140l would be great. If you are very light, around 120l is good and if you are very big, don’t hesitate: 150-160 liters will be great to start with.
When we are able to fly on the foil comfortably, we can start using smaller boards. In fact, you can go down pretty quickly, but if we start with boards that are too small the learning process will be much longer. Therefore, renting equipment for your very first steps is a good idea. If that’s not possible, buy big boards and resell them when you are ready to use smaller gear.
Same thing we said about boards. Big and stable foils at the beginning, please. We use Gaastra 2000cm2 foils for 95% of our clients. They’re great to start with: stable and they get up at low speeds.
If you are very light, you can maybe start with a 1700cm2 foil. If you are heavier, then start with a 2500cm2 foil. But on average 2000cm2 is a good reference.
It is true that when you have a decent level, you can go down quickly (and a lot), but until we are able to fly comfortably and do our first transitions, use a big foil!
At the beginning, it is better to have plenty of power to make getting up on foil much easier. For light conditions, around 10-15knts, which is what we mostly have here in Menorca in summer, a 6m2 wing is a good size. If you are lighter, a 5m2 one will work for you and if you are very big, then a 7m wing is better!
Obviously if you sail in windier conditions, you will need smaller wings. And also when you learn how to pump properly, you will be able to take off earlier and therefore you will be able to use smaller wings. But don’t rush. You should go big at the beginning.
And now that we have the right equipment, let’s talk about technique:
Step 1: Wing control and handling without a foil
Before thinking about flying on a foil, it is very important to learn how to use the wing or sail very well. The more we master the sail handling, the easier it will be for us to balance on top of the foil. This step can be shorter or longer depending on your experience in other sports. If you are a good windsurfer, for example, maybe 1 hour is enough to move on to the next step. However, if you are new to this type of sports, don’t be in a hurry! Take your time and enjoy the process!
- Wing/sail handling on land: learn how to keep the sail stable on land. Learn how to get and lose power, how to place the sail higher or lower for speed or control and learn how to prevent it from touching the water.
- Sail on a non-foiling board: learn how to stay upwind, how to steer and control where you go and learn the basic turns.
Once we feel confident with these two exercises, we can move on to the next level!
And here we show exactly all you need to know about this first step:
Step 2: foiling behind a boat
We already control the wing on non-foiling boards and we can stay upwind. Now, before moving on to foiling boards, it helps a lot to do specific foiling sessions behind a power boat. It is true that it is not an essential step, but it speeds up the progression a lot. The idea is to learn to fly on a foil behind a motor boat so that later, when we start sailing with the wing on a foil board, our brain already understands the balance part.
How many boat sessions do I need?
Once we know how to fly in a straight line behind a motor boat, we can move on to the next step. This usually takes around 1 to 5 30min sessions on average. At this stage, you don’t need to know how to make big turns or anything like that. Knowing how to fly in a straight line in a stable way is more than enough.
Step 3: Wing + foil board
It’s the moment of truth. You already master the sail part and you already know how to balance on a foil. Now it’s time to grab a board, a foil and a wing and start flying!
First, get used to your new board
Now it’s time to sail on a foiling board, so first you have to get used to the new equipment:
- Learn how to get into the water with your gear
- Learn how to stand up on the board
- Make sure you don’t drift downwind
When know that, you can concentrate on getting up on foil.
Now, learn how to get up on foil
Now there is no boat to tow us. You need to use the powe of your wing. It will be easier if there is plenty of wind. If the wind is lighter you will have to pump properly. But once we know how to take off, no one is going to stop us. Once again, the equipment will be very important: large boards and foils and plenty of sail power to start with. As you make progress, you will be able to use smaller sails, foils and boards.
Watch our video tutorial for all the detailed explanations of this step:
And that’s it! You are already flying up and down. Congratulations!
Do I need an instructor to learn Wing Foiling?
Wing foiling is a fairly easy sport, compared to windsurfing or kitesurfing, for example. However, especially if you do not have previous experience in this type of sports, we recommend doing some lessons during the first two steps of the process:
- Wing handling
- Foiling behind a boat
From there, we believe that the format of visualizing what you want to learn and then practicing it on the water is the best way to progress. And if you get stuck at any step, you can always book a lesson again. But we believe that taking an active role in the learning process is very important. That’s why we have created this comprehensive guide. To help you understand what you need to learn and how and when to learn it.
How long does it take to learn?
We like to say that it usually takes between 5 and 30 hours to learn to fly comfortably. If you have a lot of previous experience in foiling, windsurfing or kitesurfing, it will surely be closer to 5 hours. If, on the other hand, you do not have previous experience in this type of sports, you will be closer to 30 hours.
However, 30 hours is nothing in this type of sports. If we compare it to windsurfing or kitesurfing, it is much easier and faster to have a decent level and strong sensations in Wing Foiling. And it is not even close! It is another of the great advantages of this sport and another of the reasons why it is having such success.
Of course, to speed up the process we recommend that you follow the advice in this guide and that if you do not have previous experience you invest in lessons both to learn how to use the wing and to learn how to foil behind a motor boat.
And now what’s next?
Obviously there is much more to learn. The learning process is endless. The next step would be to start with the transitions. Gybing is easier first and after that you can also start tacking. Stay tuned as we will be expanding this guide and adding more tutorials on our youtube channel to cover these steps as well. See you soon!