For many, the word Windfoil is synonymous with freedom: the joy of windsurfing full speed in smoothness and silence. But as for most addictions, foil-addicts always want more. More freedom, more sensations, more adrenaline.
We have discussed with Dominique who started foiling in 2014, and has now moved on to something which potentially could become a new discipline within windfoiling: strapless foiling.
In the following interview, you will read Dominique’s experience and tips to get started with strapless windfoiling. Check it out!
Dominique D. foiling strapless
Name: Dominique D.
Home spot: H2Eaux Pointe de la Vierge Baie de Fort de France, Martinique
Equipment used: Elix F1X-M, Starboard Foil
Windfoil Zone: Hi Dominique, Thanks for answering our questions about strapless windfoiling. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and when you started foiling?
Dominique D. : Hi, I'm Dominique. I'm a “young” windfoiler aged 43. I bought my first foil, a Horue GP, in 2014 after many views of the first videos of our foil master, Benjamin Tillier. My first try on a windfoil was enough for me to get addicted! Silence and smoothness...
Sunset windfoiling in Martinique
WZ: You have recently released a video of yourself showing your skills full speed on a windfoil board without footstraps. Could you explain to us why you are riding strapless?
DD: I have been surprised by the success of that long video. 3 minutes long but the point of view was nice. [Great perspective from the back of the board, showing the stance and the technique of strapless foiling]
Another windfoiler from my spot, Roland, got a serious ankle injury due to the break of his front wing. After 3 months without foiling, he decided to go back to foil last year, but without straps.
Two months ago, I was trying to break my 26 knots speed record and I was not satisfied by my position. Going downwind with all my weight on my front wing and little possibility to control the gusts made me feel unsecure.
I’ve been watching some videos of the best windfoilers with their back feet out of the strap or/and in positions that looked uncomfortable. The straps were perfect going upwind but not for downwind.
I decided to follow the road opened by my friend and I removed the straps and gave it a try.
Video of Dominique D. windoiling strapless
WZ: This brings us to our next question: do you lose some control? How easy is it to go upwind? Any particular technique you use?
DD: During the first try, I was surprised by the security given by the ability to move the front foot.
I was able to follow my friends with their slalom boards on their low upwind or downwind angles.
The board reacts very well to the pressure of the feet and you can take angles.
I think I have lost one degree on my upwind angle and 2 knots of speed but I gained a lot in control and smoothness.
Strapless is simple if you forget your habits of slalom. During the first ride, I was straighter on the board but I started to take some good angles with practice.
READ ALSO: STRAPLESS WINDFOILING - Learning to fly without straps
WZ: You have covered the entire back part of your Elix board with an extra large foot pad. Is it something you recommend when foiling strapless?
DD: I love trying new things, foiling was one. Strapless is another one.
I didn’t know what was the best position for my feet and I didn't want to get influenced by the original pad.
That’s the reason why I put that large pad on the maximum surface of my board. It offers me more comfort and I have better ability to push on my feet.
Sorry R-One for the new look of my beautiful Elix!
WZ: Do you think you will one day come back to a windfoil board with footstraps, or do you think you will continue to foil without?
DD: I’m just at the beginning of this and I love the freedom, the smoothness, and the control of being strapless.
I know that kitefoilers can also go fast strapless, so I think I will keep testing for one year before making my final choice between being strapless or not.
WZ: Do you think strapless windfoiling will develop further, a bit like kitesurfing or kitefoiling, which are often practiced strapless nowadays?
DD: We are at the beginning of windfoiling and it's the best moment for us to explore and test everything. Strapless is great for freeriding and maybe more.
WZ: To finish off, what advice would you give someone who would like to windfoil without straps for the first time?
The only advice I could give would be to start with a sail under 7m. If you foil with straps it will be very easy to foil without. Just try and have no fear, it's simpler without.
WZ: Thanks for answering our questions Dominique, now we just need to give strapless windfoiling a try!