Wing foiling vs wind foiling? Windsurfers share their experience – Part 1

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

Foiling has been a revolution for windsurfing and will continue to grow in the coming years.

But let’s admit it, there is an elephant in the room.

The new sport “wingfoiling” has also a bright future ahead. Just in between kitefoiling and windfoiling, winging combines the joy of foiling, with the excitement of jumping and surfing the waves.

The simplicity of the equipment makes it very attractive for complete beginners or when travelling. Many advantages which for sure will seduce many people into the sport.

So the question many are asking right now:

Should I try wingfoiling?

At Windfoil Zone, we of course love windfoiling and will continue to do so no matter what. But we also realise that wingfoiling is here to stay, and that the sport is too close to freeride windfoiling to ignore it.

So here is our “coming out”: We have “secretly” got involved into wingfoiling the past months, and we will develop a Wingfoil section to the website.

This will not replace our passion for windsurf foiling, but it will add a new dimension to the website. I’m sure many windfoilers are actually willing to give it a try without admitting it!

To kick-off the wingfoil discussion on Wind Foil Zone, we have asked several windsurfers to share their windfoiling vs wingfoiling experience and give their views on the new foiling sport.

First one out is Simon Croft (@siwindsurf on Instagram). He is the owner of Wellington windsurf school in New Zealand and a foil frother from down under. He is a long-time windsurfer, windfoiler and he is now wingfoiling only. He tells you why:

Read also our two other interviews with Tez Plavenieks and Dean Peaple.

Hi Simon! Firstly, could you just give a brief background of how you got into foiling to give you some context?

My first experience foiling was through windfoiling. It came very naturally as it is very similar to windsurfing using familiar skills. The feeling of windfoiling is very similar to windsurfing and I believe this is the best way for any windsurfer to get their first taste of the foil. For me the appeal was the simplicity of adding one tool to my kit and I was able to get into this new sport.

Living in Wellington, New Zealand (the windiest city in the world) your average windsurf sail quiver ranges from 3.5m - 5.0m. I was then able to use those same sails in much lighter wind ranges where i normally wouldn't bother going out (as we are so spoilt with wind here).

Then came along winging...

Disclaimer: I can't stress enough how loyal I am to windsurfing. For years, kiting has tried it's best to lure me away but I stayed strong not giving an inch. Even windfoiling felt like a slight betrayal but the conditions never really clashed.

So to be honest, my first impression of winging was that it appeared a bit lame although possibly a handy tool to improve my SUP foiling. When giving it a go I was pleasantly surprised at first. I was up and flying within half an hour in around 10-15knots of breeze. The feeling was totally different to wind foiling, the wing takes a more passive role although as a windsurfer trimming on the Duotone boom was very intuitive.

The feeling of freedom is on another level. Every session on the wing blows my mind and has easily surpassed my expectations tenfold. You have the ability to truck upwind like a formula windfoil and yet completely neutralise the wing as though it's not even there. Simply surf any type of wave/chop at will. It's like tow foiling without the jetski noise and hassle.

would I start wearing board shorts over my wetsuit?

This in turn posses some scary questions, would I start wearing board shorts over my wetsuit? Will I feel dirty owning a pump? And ultimately, will it overtake my loyalty to windsurfing/foiling?

The answer is yes and no. For me at this point in time each have their place, but the lines are starting to blur. Sadly windfoiling for me has been squeezed out in favour of the more free and surfy winging in lightish winds and crappy waves. Windsurfing still holds its place in nuking wind/big waves.

So, for me in my situation, winging has become my preferred choice. To anyone else, there is still a strong case for windfoiling and it is certainly a great tool for light winds and also flatwater freestyle to take your existing windsurfing to the next level. Plus it is much easier to learn if you can already windsurf.

That said, if you are coming in completely new to any windsport I would singly advice winging. If you are looking for a totally unique buzz I would advise winging, plus in my experience teaching it is much easier to pick up from scratch (literally).

Are hybrid boards wing/wind the future of the foiling sport?

My first steps on winging and wind foiling were on a hybrid board. It was great way get a taste of 4 sports in one board and certainly save space in the car. I think as both sports progress, the boards will look much more specialised and I don't see a great amount of crossover in hybrid boards that work great in both disciplines. I would be happily to be proven wrong ;-)

You are obviously blessed with strong winds, but in very light wind (8-10knots), what works best, Wind or wing?

Initially windfoil gets going much sooner in light winds but as you develop pumping technique in the winging they end up quite similar.

Thank you Simon for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure this will help our windfoiling community to decide if they want to give wingfoiling a go or not.

Read also the other interviews in our series of articles "windfoil vs wingfoil":

- Dean Peaple

- Tez Plavenieks


#wing #wingfoil #winging #simon









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