Wind foiling 101: Tips and Beginners Guide

17/04/2019 creative recreation

The use of hydrofoil in surfboards has become one of the most common topics in the sport of sailing. With the kits becoming easily accessible in windsurfing stores, we were inclined to let you know more about this revolution brewing in water sports. 

So, What is Foiling? 

In reductive terms, foiling is where you attach a single set of wings on any sailing board or craft. The wings allow the craft to levitate a bit as you move forward, lifting the board a few inches off the water level, with the hydrofoil still on the surface. 

Why is foiling so popular in Windsurfing? 

Firstly, the experience is breathtaking! As you move out of the water, the environment suddenly goes into deep silence. Here is when you’ll realize that you are actually lying’ across the water waves. This feeling is unique and takes experienced surfers to a nostalgic experience of the wavy days where there was little consideration for weather conditions. Another great advantage that comes with planing on windsurf boards is the wind itself. During windsurfing, you’d normally need about 10 knots to start planing but still that is only possible on big sails. With foiling, you only need as little as 6 knots to get flying as you also have the option of using smaller sails. As foiling lifts every windsurfing component up, the drag is greatly reduced and pretty much any sailing board can get flying with spectacular board speed. 

Kits needed

If you’re looking to get your own foiling components then consider checking out our wide range of kits including foils, boards, and sails. As expected, the most important item is the foil itself. Although they come in various sizes, you need to choose the one that matches your board. You will also need to check your fin box as most foils fit boards through the deep tuttle box. The box is mostly found in larger freeride, slalom, and formula boards. They are the most suitable since they cover a broad surface area and higher volume ratio, which allows you to take off at lower speeds. Pretty much any sail will do- although the board may require a few tunnings here and there. 

What standards do you need to set? 

The most important thing you need to know about foiling is being comfy in your footstraps. We assume that you already know a few things on windsurfing and has mastered the skills required in adjusting stance to the conditions. Just be comfortable in the harness and you will be able to navigate as you take off. If you are conversant surfing along a straight line, how about flying along a straight line as well. The idea is not focusing on the difficulty of the skill, but more on the difference. As you plane for the first time, you get new forces and ways to maneuver for the first time. As you try to adjust, you will soon realize you are just tweaking the same windsurfing techniques you already know of. 

With favourable conditions, we’d expect you to get your first flights in a matter of hours and then going further to sustaining flight. 

Weather conditions for windfoiling

Even if the aim of foiling is to get flying in pretty low wind speeds (10knots or less), we prefer you start foiling at speeds of at least 13-16knots and a smaller sail (5 or 6m2). This will be the easiest way to learn foiling and handling the sail, giving you enough room to manoeuvre. That way you’ll only have to focus more on body position on the board to adjust the height. 

Is windfoiling dangerous?

Well, if you’re used to the inevitable catapult crashing in windsurfing then foiling really not a dangerous sport. However, precaution measures always go handy, wear a helmet as well as an impact vest for added protection. It is also important to have your suits and boots on, even if it means during hot sunny days. 

Time to get out on the water! 

With these few tips, we hope that you’ve gathered enough confidence to discover the future of windsurfing. We have amazing foiling kits at our windsurfing store in various sizes and colors. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your windfoiling holiday ASAP!