Learning to Wing Foil, just how difficult is it & what are the advantages, disadvantages to it over kite & windsurfing.
Plus, do you need lessons and how physically fit do you need to be,
along with what experience and what equipment do you need?
And finally, the million $ question, how long will it take to be up and running relatively consistently?

Last update 8th October 2023

Wow it's not been three months since my first session on the foil, 21st July and I've now clocked up 33 sessions, both on the sea and the river.

I've now sold my 115lt board and Foil and have upgraded/downsized to a Naish Hover Ultra Carbon 95lt and 1400 Jet Foil along with an 85cm mast up from my previous 70, which is very noticeable.

 

And if you have issues with your knees then click here to read how I've found a good solution!

I thought I'd put this blog together to help people who maybe are thinking about learning to Wing Foil.

My latest antics / technique discoveries are at the end of this; click here to go straight there.

Basically this is my journey over the last ten or so weeks.

A couple of years ago just as the sport was taking hold I actually bought an Ensis 4.5 /iwING/ Wing from Surfladle, this was actually for me to use on the snow in Serre Chevalier, up at the Col du Lautaret, as opposed to using a kite; but I never got round to it, not least I heard that friction was an issue, and more on that later.

I was aware of more and more contemporaries taking up Wing Foiling, as I see their Strava, though I've never been tempted to take up kite foiling or windsurf foiling.

During last season's trip to Los Caños de Meca / Tarifa, over the month or so that I was there, I witnessed some very impressive foiling, especially on the waves at Los Caños, compared to the previous trip (before Covid), the only foiling I saw were a few windsurfers & kites, and no Wings.

This year after the ski season we came straight back to the UK as it was my Mothers 100th, so no Tarifa/Los Caños, and not the usual June & July back in Serre Chevalier; plus I knew what with various projects that I'd be here well into the Autumn.

On arrival back to the UK, circa 3rd week of May, it was like high summer, wall-to-wall sunshine and no wind, so it was the usual cycling and running as well as swimming in the calm sea, where I gradually increased my distance up to 1.5km, in fact looking back at my Strava, my first kite-surf session was 26th June!

On the 13th of June, an email arrived from Sport Pursuit that caught my eye, as it read Dakine Kite Wing and Foil at 52% off!
Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

 

Now here I have to admit that one of the major stumbling blocks to not taking up Wing Foiling, apart from being in the mountains most of the Summer was the necessary investment, as the gear seemed to be ludicrously expensive, what with the foil, board and Wing.

Though I note that now there are very good complete packages that will get you on the water at a good price, check out some of these here at Surfladle in Shoreham.

Now I already had the actual Wing so all I needed was the board and foil, so the Sport Pursuit deal seemed very good, but to be sure I checked with my mate Jes Wootton, who has been helping the cash flow of the local shops by purchasing an inordinate amount of foiling kit over the past 18 months and has become something of a human reference book on Wing Foiling, and he exclaimed that indeed it would be a good purchase, and to opt for the larger board and foil set-up, as better for learning, with more volume and likewise a bigger foil etc.

So board is 115lt and Foil 1950 with a wing-span 1000 & 70cm mast and an aspect ratio of 5.13, whatever that does :)

What I failed to see on Sport Pursuit was the delivery date, so I ordered the kit on June 15th, to then find out it was not scheduled for delivery until 18th July, and then as soon as I ordered it so the wind arrived!

I did think that whilst waiting for my board and foil I could use the Wing on my SUP, however, it would be prudent to buy a daggerboard kit to stop you from going off downwind, at least enabling you to stay upwind a little.

And I ended up purchasing one of these from Worthing Water Sports which as you can see are two fins mounted under the SUP using a simple strap mechanism.

Learning to Wing Foil SUP Drift Stopper Another hard day at the office

 

I initially went out in a very light wind from in front of where we live on Worthing Sea Front at low tide, kneeling on the board getting to grips with the Wing, and by the end, I was standing up but could not stay upwind, and then a repeat the following day, where I was standing up most of the time, but still couldn't stay upwind.

The next two days I decamped to the river Adur at Shoreham as the wind had increased and was too choppy on the sea, plus there were more Wingers there, and by the end of day two (only 90mins sessions) I was easily keeping up wind which was in part due to my windsurfing background, though I became frustrated that I was only on the SUP, whilst others were on foils, and to be honest it was quite mundane, which was more to do with the friction of the SUP.

So I went back to kitesurfing and even windsurfed, especially when we had crazy gales one weekend, as it was safer to windsurf off where we live than kite in 80kph winds!

So I suppose now is a good time to explain my background with regard to water sports.

I started Windsurfing in the day of wooden booms and no harnesses, on the original Windsurf Regatta, and still bear the scars of when you put your daggerboard over your arm to sail off downwind. Over the following years, I became a solid windsurfer amongst the local posse here in Worthing and there was very little that would phase me, and when I was recently out in 50mph winds I still had it.

In 2012 I started kitesurfing with a crash course in Dakhla and it's interesting looking back at that compared to what I'm going through now.

In Dakhla, I went for ten days, and was kiting for around 8 of those, two hours in the morning and at least an hour, sometimes two in the afternoon, and I came back being able to kite back and forth over the lagoon and was then able to put that into practice here.

I did think that kitesurfing was pretty physical to learn, but in hindsight compared to Wing Foiling it was a doddle!

So yes I have a very good understanding of the wind, which obviously helps in a number of scenarios such as recognising gusts travelling across the water - etc

So that's one of the reasons why I didn't have lessons, of course they would have benefitted me and I'm most impressed listening to the couple of instructors down on the river talking to their pupils via Bluetooth headsets. If you've not windsurfed or kited then I'd recommend lessons.

Physical Fitness is essential when learning to Wing Foil, especially if you're getting on in years.

So for the record, I'm 65 this coming December, 5'11" 179cm and weigh circa 77 kgs, fit for my age, though do have numerous muscular skeletal issues from years of abusing my body :)

And has to be said, I've met a fair few people down at the river who I recognised from the windsurfing days of old, and many a similar vintage to me!

And after my first session with the foil, I was amazed at how physical it was, and that's more to do with clambering back onto the board, as opposed to actually flying the Wing, as I said earlier, on the SUP it was mundane; I reckon after looking at my Strava, in one session on the foil, I fell in over 50 times and that means getting back up on the board the same amount, with my average heart rate over the first three sessions in the 115 - 120 range for 90 mins!

So I'm hoping my water sports background and fitness will help me through what seems a steep learning curve, and I know it's going to be a challenge and let's face it, in windsurfing, for many the Holy Grail is the planing carve gybe, which many simply failed to master, in Wing Foiling it's a key transition!

Over the past seven or so years in kitesurfing, I've kited a directional / surfboard (better for the back & knees) which requires more adept footwork when transitioning, and I'm hoping those skills will also help when on the foil.

I was a little concerned at how difficult getting up off your knees to standing would be, and it's actually not been too bad, though the wetsuit has created a nasty cut/scar below the knee that's taking a while to heal, and my knees do feel constantly bruised!

My journey to date.

The playground, the river Adur at Shoreham, is the equivalent of a skiers nursery slopes, and it has been very busy there with upwards of 30* out there especially if howling on the sea, but it's very gusty!

Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

 

On Neap tides, it's very easy to hit the bottom, and the first challenge for many beginners is to actually get to the deeper water, though often it's easier to stay on your knees and try and get upwind before attempting to stand. 

After my first session using the 4.5 I think I managed to get out of the water for all of a couple of seconds, and I did feel underpowered and was on a smaller Wing than most, as many people on the river were using 5.5's and 6's, so I then purchased an Ensis Spin 6.1  though ironically I used it on the second session for all of ten minutes before changing down to the 4.5

With each session, there are marginal improvements, though just as I was progressing well on my 5th I noticed my Wing losing air** as it was not exactly rigid as a gust hit.

For the first four or five sessions I was getting up on the foil, but not that consistently, though I was able to try and tweak the Wing and board before being ejected, and I now know why many wear Impact Vests, which  I too have now purchased!

However it is gusty as feck on the river at Shoreham, and I've been revisiting some of the YouTube videos as I now have a better comprehension of the subject matter and many of the "Common Beginner Mistakes", one highlights the need to use a big Wing, as you need to maximise the potential of the wind, which I now understand, as often I was just not getting up on the foil, so that is going to be the new norm.

I also have been doing the classic catching the front tip a lot, and again even though I saw the videos which explained what to do I sort of failed to understand the intricacies and what to do should it occur.

I am also totally useless at pumping, which is frustrating as on a longboard windsurfer and even shortboard sailing I was pretty adept at that, and again, I think after looking at some more vids I understand the nuances so that's three-game changers hopefully!

Mind you I was thinking that when learning to windsurf and kitesurf I just got on with it as there were no videos to go off and watch.

I'm optimistic and know that the learning curve is steep, I'm anxious to get off the river and onto the sea, as driving over there when I have the sea in front is a tad frustrating, and as I mentioned its so gusty there, plus on the river its so tidal dependent, and tide times do not always tie in with the wind, such as afternoon sea breezes etc

However, the river bed is soft, and I always managed to ding my windsurfer fins sailing from the beach here, so what hope do I have to manage to keep a foil in one piece?

* And message in from Tim Mayer of Aquatonic Boardsports who teaches down on the river.
Please spread the word about parking - locals are complaining about it, please avoid parking where the road is narrowest on the tight bend.
If we want to maintain access, we have to be considerate. I am also in discussion with an Environmental group who are concerned about the impact to the bank. We need to be a bit careful now it's getting busy. Bad parking is very high profile, lets not draw attention to ourselves.

**Fitted new leading edge bladder, wasn't too difficult

So what are the advantages, and disadvantages to Wing Foiling over kite & windsurfing and where are the best locations?

Also titled, what I now know before I started to Wing Foil.

Call me an old cynic, and yes I admit to a huge amount of scepticism, as over the years I have seen a fair number of sports develop.

Obviously the first was Windsurfing, then Mountain Biking, Snowboarding, Kitesurfing, Foiling, and SUP.

And within all those sports, various disciplines; too many to mention, have emerged.

In some ways, I almost admire the windsurfer who has stuck to his roots and did not take up kitesurfing, though like I said many switched because they could not master the carve gybe.

In my short spell Wing Foiling I have met many ex Windsurfers who never crossed over to kitesurfing but have migrated to Wing Foiling.

One of the reasons for the reticence to cross to the Dark Side (kiting) was that in the early days of kitesurfing it was dangerous, and we all knew people who  had accidents. Even though the gear is much better, it is still a dangerous sport when it goes wrong, and I have had two bad incidents!

Launching and landing the kite can be complex, as is finding a suitable location, and on the whole you're better off kiting with other people, though for my own part I prefer to kite relatively alone using anchors attached to the groynes in front of us.

Kites don't like gusty conditions, and nothing worse than a kite falling out of the sky when the wind drops or switches offshore.

These are not so serious an issue when windsurfing and Wing Foiling.

Kiting however, to me at least is better than windsurfing, for those that love to boost big air (not me), you're not going to get that on a Pole or a Wing.

Here on the South coast a directional kite surf board can make you feel great as you rip the wavelets and then ride close in to the shallows and doing downwinders close in to shore, all not so doable on a Wing, however the Holy Grail has to be out on Wiing Foil on a decent wave and rolling swell I think most will now say the Wing is a far far better option, and again on a down-winder riding the big swell out the back a km or so offshore!

The location is a big issue for a Wing especially when learning

Though many will happily learn in chop not realising how much better flat water is.

But most decent flat water locations are tidal, so that can limit your time on the water.

An ideal location will enable you to have 90mins in the morning and then the option of another session in the afternoon, and of course clean winds and flat water, and of course a sandy soft bottom so you don't trash your foil.

On the list of locations I'd like to try, if only for more constant winds as opposed to the gusty conditions on the Adur, are Calshott and Portland, ironically places where many tried to hone their carve gybing skills, but again tidal, that said, I'm also thinking about a road trip to Stithians Reservoir in Cornwall, which is a very windy location, non-tidal and flat water, so ticks all the boxes.

That said, I think I'm now ready to go out right in front of where I live, given the right conditions, and as I type this, today could be the day as wind should be gusting high teens, (not enough on the river) and whilst choppy hopefully not too demanding with the tide on the drop couple of hours after High tide.

As for equipment,

I did naively think that Wing Foiling would not be so gear focused, how wrong I was. I suppose I should have realised that when looking at friends Strava as they all itemise the equipment that they use in any one session. So you have the different sized Wings, then the board(s) as well as the Foils and masts, as well as no doubt other kit I don't as yet know of.

If you're contemplating getting into Foiling then now's the time to buy as according to Danny from Surfladle...
"Once these clearance lines disappear, which are the real-deal, they will not be repeated in 2024, as they are the result of over optimistic production compounded by the cost of living crisis, resulting in substantial surplus stock held by manufacturers/importers as well as retailers, and then once gone, 2024 pricing will make your wallet look a lot less full."
Click here to see their latest deals

And now having done 20 sessions, of which the last eight or so have been on the open sea in challenging conditions, I'm now finding myself perusing the various FaceBook groups and pondering about a smaller size board n'foil, and whether that will help me to gybe any easier; the fact that I've not really attempted one doesn't seem to matter in this decision-making process :)

I knew that helmets were a necessity, although I'm still amazed at some of the "Learn to Wing Foil" vids on Youtube and how instructors and pupils don't wear any gear. And I used to question why nearly everyone was wearing a life jacket, as little did I realise it was in fact an Impact Vest!

And how much wind do you need?

And this question is more focused to beginners, I again thought that it was a water sport that could be done in light winds, and to some extent that's true, but that's also the case in Windsurfing and Kitesurfing especially when adding a Foil.

If you want, you can go buy a 15m kite and big board and get going in 12-15mph, also buy a big windsurfer and sail, I used to sail with a 9m in the quest to plane in light winds.

But realistically, you need at least 20mph to get you up on the Foil as a beginner, as you become more competent with pumping then you'll be able to get going in lighter winds and smaller Wings.

And then just to throw a spanner in the works, on the river it seems you need for it to be blowing circa 25mph on the coast for it to be worthwhile on the river, as people are out on the open sea using 4.5's whilst on the river we're struggling to get going with 6.0's!

So what is it that's making Wing Foiling so popular?

I was speaking to a Swiss guy who was here on holiday, and he was telling me how the sport had exploded on the lakes near Zurich, as they were not kite friendly and many are just using one board and one Wing, big kit basically.

If you Google Wing Foiling and Lake Garda there are something like ten or so schools along the lake, and I should imagine that now in the height of summer it's probably bonkers busy.

It is strange it seems, as you have the equivalent of a giant razor blade under you, the learning curve is steep, and very physical, but it's the buzz of flying on the foil, and as a beginner that is what it's all about, as once you've experienced that, many find there is no going back, and end up selling all their other gear.

I'm also pragmatic in that I'm not going to be riding the swells out the back in front of me here for quite a while, so I'm not going to be getting that buzz just yet, but I'm now nigh on ten sessions in, and that's ten sessions where I could have been kitesurfing, but I'm more stoked with what I'm achieving on the Wing Foil than if I was out on the kite, or windsurfer?

And after my last session (10th one) see below, I can't wait to get back out there; which neatly brings us to........

How long does it take to Wing Foil and be consistently up on the foil?

And by consistently be up on the foil, I define that as almost ready to start transitions at the end of the run, instead of wiping out every 10 meters :)

For me, I'd have to say, hopefully, it was after my 10th session (see below), but it will very much depend on other parameters, which I have already alluded to.

If you have constant winds over flat water and are able to Wing Foil twice a day then obviously you'll progress faster, but again will depend on what experience you have with regard to other water-sports and if you've foiled before in those sports.

And age, and general fitness will also come into play as well as how accessible, and how much time you can devote to learning, and of course is there enough wind!

My ten sessions were over the course of 25 days, and I did welcome the days off!

However, to learn a new sport I'm a firm believer on being totally focused, though that said, I did sneak a couple of kitesurfing sessions in, but I think I needed to get a good buzz/adrenalin rush rather than being incompetent and feeling useless and subsequently beaten up :)

Finally, it does help to live close to where you can practice it and react to weather conditions, I would say it also helps to not be tied down to work and be stuck in the office, but it seems that many can now pick and choose where and when they work, so a quick early lunch hour on the river is possible.

The best option is to do what I did when I learnt to kitesurf, go abroad to a consistently windy location where you can do two sessions a day over the course of a week/ten days.

If you can only do weekends in the UK and have to fit those in around a domestic diary and UK weather patterns, then obviously it's going to take a lot longer.

 

Putting it all into practice - starting with the most recent session first

Nightmare 5th November

Out on the sea yesterday day, from various reports conditions were up there with some of the best that many can remember be it on a kite, windsurfer or Wing.

I opted to try my Wing and in hindsight I should have kited / windsurfed, as I found the conditions way too challenging and at one point did think I might feature on Saving Lives at Sea ??

The Hardest point was walking out, and getting to the right depth to get on the board before the next roller took me out.

About 5 or 6 attempts and then once on no problem with the wind, in fact as I suspected it was 4.5 winds once out pass the rollers.

But the slightly scary bit was trying to simply trying to get on the board and get going in the swell, one moment quite flat then a huge face, plus wind was nuking.

When I decided to come in that was fun n'games with a rip bouncing off the beach causing various issues, so more scratches on the foils and noticed a big rip prior to launching on the leading edge of the wing atop the bladder which I patched, and it actually stayed on, think that was a result of a gybe wipeout on the river the other day.

Prior to that session I've had a fair few sessions, and have started to try and gybe when the conditions are just right and have surprised myself as I come round, but that's as far as it gets, one nasty fall and the foil came up and hit be below the armpit, so luckily I was in a wetsuit along with impact vest, and then after that session I noticed I'd put a rip in the leading edge of the Wing.

It's now the 8th October and since my last update, I've clocked up another 13 or so sessions, along with selling my old 115lt  board and upgrading to a smaller 95lt one, together with a longer 85cm mast and smaller 1400 foil.

The first two weeks of September were calm, so it was back to open sea swimming and other stuff, and was good to give the shoulders a rest!

I've been out mainly on the sea in front of where I live and that really is so much more difficult than the flat water of the river, and if I need to restore my Mojo I head back to the river, though it is so gusty compared to the constant wind on the sea.

Looking back at my Strava Diary I had some challenging/frustrating sessions with the 6.1 on the sea, often the wind and sea state would both pick up making it really hard, and wiping out as the board and foil had a mind of their own.

The 23rd September I clocked a good session and think it was that which prompted me to decide to go for a smaller board, and the eventual first session was a nightmare, low tide at Shoreham with the leftover swell and waves of storm Agnes and little or no wind, not helped with the longer mast which meant I had to go out that much deeper to get on to the board, the only positive was that when I did get on the board I was amazed at how quickly it came out of the water!

The next day, I went back to the river for another light wind session and again I was pleased with the potential the board and foil showed for wanting to fly.

Then this past week I've had a run of five sessions, a couple of light wind river ones and finally my best session yet on the sea with the 4.5

 

Naish Hover Ultra Carbon 95lt and 1400 Jet Foil

 

I'm still nowhere close to gybing, mainly because I either wipe out or run out of wind, especially on the river, and out a long way out to sea I don't chance a possible injury.

With the smaller Wing seems I'm able to go off more downwind and it's that I'm concentrating on.

I have to admit to fantasising about the perfect location, constant winds and flat water so I can start trying to gybe!

How to protect your knees when Wing Foiling

Ever since I started Winging back in July I've had issues with pain just below the knee cap, a classic case of Clergyman's knee or Infrapatellar Bursitis which is due to inflamed bursa, which are the small fluid-filled sacs to protect lubricate the area (tendons) below the knee, as I progressed so the issue faded.

Fast forward to my new smaller board and I'm back spending more time on my knees again, and the knees became very inflamed.

So I purchased for £9.99 from Wickes (UK DIY store) these knee protectors, which are high density foam, flexible and soft enough to use under my suit, though they do NOT work over the suit, and they are brilliant, no issues at all even though my knees were sore from previous sessions.

 

Wing foiling how to protect your knee
 
 
More here about knee pain

 

26th August 20th session on the foil since the 1st on the 21st July

And nigh on a repeat of the day before, in that just as I walked out at mid to low tide with the 6.1, so the wind kicked in, and again I did not come in to change down.

Another challenging session though I did feel that from getting on to the board by using the handle, whilst at the same time being careful so as not to pull it too close and bash the bridge of your nose, then balance pushing down on the Wing in the water with one hand on the board, dangling your feet off the side and almost delicately standing up was getting better with the net result of fewer stupid frustrating falls.

Once flying, I was enjoying the rush and silence of going totally off the wind, and then coming back up foiling close to the wind, and amazed at just how close to the wind you can go!

I'm also deliberately experimenting with slowing the board speed down at times, rather than lose control and subsequently wipe-out.

The only issue that is of concern, is that I'm almost getting fixated in being paranoid about not being able to gybe in those rough conditions, which I know is a bottling (fear) issue. Maybe I need to be back out with other people on the water rather than "miles" out on my own :)

25th August another double session 18th & 19th

I wasn't too sure if the wind would develop as the Isle of Wight was clearly visible, which is never a good sign for the "Worthing Effect".

So it was a neap mid-tide blowing around 10mph, and I decided that some light wind gybe practice was in order on the calmer sea than of late, so went with the 6.1.

And then as soon as I waded into the shallows, so the wind arrived and gradually got stronger, so I was hanging on with it gusting mid to high 20's. And what's amazing about the Wing is how easy it is to de-power it, I knew that I should really change down to the 4.5, but I had in the back of my mind a second session later.

That was my best open sea session yet, though as ever I didn't even attempt a gybe, which out the back in the swell is more out of nervousness as I don't really want to be all the way out there and injure myself.

Second session was way more challenging as the strong winds had produced a much rougher sea with wind blown swell and waves, which made even getting on the board difficult, but I'm learning how to use the handle to stabilise the wing in the water and almost help me get on the board, and then I trail one foot off the side of the board to also help balance things out before I attempt to stand up, and way out the back in the big rolling swell that was quite a challenge, and as I said later, maybe biting off more than I could chew.

That said, I did get some rides down the swell, nothing substantial and certainly could not take my backhand off and flag the wing, but that's where I want to get to which might come before nailing a gybe :)

Strava route shows how I have a tendency to go out a fair way, in comparison to where the pier is !

 

Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

 

22nd August Double session 16th & 17th

Again wind gusting circa 20's, did tide on the push and then tide on the drop.

Bumpy sea but small marginal improvements, using Wing to stabilise me whilst getting on to the board and kneeling, catching one's breath, and then trying to tweak kneeling to standing to make it smoother, and to avoid pushing down too much with the back foot and becoming unbalanced.

The second session also concentrated on trying to avoid the board suddenly slamming down on the nose. Did a couple of long up wind rides and then played around going off the wind de-powering the wing. Almost attempted one gybe but just happy to get those long runs in and then graciously falling in at the end rather than wiping out :)

Being ultra careful with the depth and actually ended up having to swim the kit back in at the end!

20th August 15th session, back out on the sea

This was what I've been hoping for, in that the wind was marginal, and no way would I have opted to kite.

Plus being a sunny Sunday afternoon the Grockle factor was high so it would have been frustrating to try and park up somewhere only to find that there was not enough wind, however to just walk out your front door and onto the beach is what it's all about!

And I was lucky in that the wind did come up a couple of mph, and I was well powered up, though as ever on the sea did find getting going very frustrating, especially trying to pump, but again marginal gains resulted in some great run, and after watching a couple of videos I started experimenting with going off the wind and then back close to the wind in readiness for attempting gybes!

But I think that's still someday off, and I plan to start feathering the Wing maybe letting go of the backhand etc

Below you can see the wind speed of the session, just hovering below 20mph

 

Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

 

19th August 14th session, and back to the river and best yet!
Maybe I should have really been on the 4.5 as it was that windy, but decided to go with the 6.1 and again was amazed at how you can de-power the Wing.

This session, I launched from the airport side, great in that there's a coffee van there, bad in that it's very close to the bridge and on a strong flooding tide if you mess up you could end up in the doo-doo.

But was easily the best yet with nigh on bridge to bridge runs and even had me thinking about gybes, did sort of fake one and didn't like the view of the foil coming at me as I went over the edge and the board tipped up!

17th & 18th August Devil's Tack - 12th & 13th sessions

Took the bit between the teeth and opted to go out on the Devil's Tack in conditions that normally I would not consider, that said it was a constant ESE'ly gusting 25mph and at times I should have maybe been on the 4.5 and not the 6.1.

I went out just about 3hrs after High Tide and had a good hour or so before the tide sluiced out, and was very conscious of the foil and depth of the water.

By far the worse part was getting on the board, kneeling and then standing, which seemed to really feck with my head, on more than a couple of occasions I fell in after a minute or two of taxiing, that said I managed some super long runs way out to sea, if only because I didn't want to stop, and then out the back it was even worse to get going in the rolling swell.

I started to even try and wiggle and did find it was easy to get up on the foil using the speed of the swell, but I regularly seemed to catch the tip of the board.

And my heart rate was way higher than being on the river!

Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

Shot taken by my daughter from WeatherCam HQ, you can actually see how close I'm sailing to the wind given it was ESE'ly.

So three days in a row on the sea, in quite rough conditions, though still I'm not even thinking about attempting a transition.

15th August 11th session and first one away from the river

I was more than pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to stay upwind, though as the tide receded became increasingly paranoid about grounding the foil.

Though I did find standing up from kneeling to get going in the chop and waves a real challenge compared to the river, and made a series of silly mistakes, but I did get a couple of cracking beautiful long runs well out to sea beyond the yellow buoys.

Probably the best part was going out from home and not having to drive anywhere, and then leaving the gear on the beach to dry off whilst still keeping a close eye on it all.

 

Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

 

Learning to Wing Foil Another hard day at the office

 

14th August 10th session and major Eureka moment.
Well major Eureka moment on the water today and not something I've actually seen/heard in the coaching videos I've watched.

Last evening I was watching "How to learn to pump" vids, and this morning I was able to try and put that into practice as conditions very much demanded it, and I was pleasantly surprised at some degree of success.

However, the major lightbulb moment was when I realised if I pumped my legs when on the foil, akin to surfers foiling it made a major difference to me flying !!!!

A friend who has been foiling a good few years, who was a kitesurfer, did tell me that I'd end up selling everything as the bug got me, commented on Strava, after my first session Well done. By hour 10... You will be proficient - and I think that was a good call, though I'm not too sure I'd class myself as proficient :)

13th August 9th session: a couple of firsts today down on the river (1hr 45), first one was achieving getting up on the foil with a couple of pumps, though was hard to repeat the success consistently, which tends to be the story of the Wing Foil learning curve!

And the next was getting over to the other side for a break after 45 mins, landing there and then having a coffee on the bridge as the wind eased.

Again managed some decent long runs and the normal associated wipe-outs.

12th August 8th session: and best down on the river (1hr 28), and this time I went with the 6.1, where usually I would have gone with the 4.5 and that made all the difference in the quality and consistency of the runs. Easily had by far my longest/furthest runs and even started to try and go upwind whilst flying on the foil.

I now "get" what people are raving about, the silence and almost surreal calm of flying across the surface of the water.

The negative is that going fast and flying on the foil the ensuing wipe outs are hard, and glad I now have an Impact Vest and obviously a helmet!

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