My first time wind foiling, I was tired
In May I took a lot of time to receive my Starboard GT carbon foil. I had already watched hundreds of videos on YouTube and in my mind I had flown dozens of times. I imagined what it would be like. A beautiful day, but very little wind. In the afternoon there was a very light wind. And quickly with excitement in my body on the water. I won’t forget that first time soon. What an experience and what was I saying, with gallons of adrenaline in my body.
YES, YES, YESSSS and BANG
I think I’m starting quietly with a Severne NCX 7.5m2 freeride sail and an old F2 Formulaboard. In the beginning super uncomfortable and clumsy to get your material into the water. Walk much further into the water, so that the wind foil does not touch and go to the soil. Funnily enough, you don’t notice very much of that huge ‘fin with wings’ when you quietly sail away. Now looking for the wind and looking forward to that one gust that would help me into the air.
Here comes that one gust! Full power pumps and then wait and see what’s going to happen. In plané everything is still the same. The board is already a bit looser on the water than if you plan with a regular fin. And now just trying to get high. Little bit lifts your front foot and the board came out of the water. YES, YES, YESSSS and BANG there I was in the water. Once again on the board scrambled I played back the film to realize what had happened. Yes, flying is simple, but then! If you fly, it’s looking for a totally new balance. After all, your board has no stability of the water. Your balance is the long ‘fin with wings’ that is also at the back of your board.
Not only stability, but also height balance
With all that adrenaline in my body, I kept going. Every time I flew it went a little better and the flight took longer. I flew about 75cm above the water. What a height! Pretty scary, that’s why I really didn’t dare to hook in my harness. No Way!
Now that I was finding my balance somewhat, I found out another challenge. It’s not just about keeping your balance on your wind foil, it’s even more about finding the height balance. One time the board wants to go down and the other time up. And even though the mast is very long, the mast is coming to an end. What happens next? When the wings come out of the water, all the upward pressure is gone in 1x and pops the nose down in 1x (nose drop). Fortunately, the nose of my board is wide and therefore does not dive into the water. That allowed me to just avoid a catapult. Another extra adrenaline rush in my body.
Effect downward pressure of surf sail
Keeping the lift balance is to a large extent a matter of how you stand and also the state of your sail. Going to the back side of the board is lift and forward is more downward pressure. However what I have never realized before is the down force that a surf sail delivers. If you get a gust, the surf sail generates downward pressure and your board will initially go down. If the wind falls away, exactly the opposite. And the latter is also harder to correct, precisely because you get away with pressure in your sail.
So my first wind foil session was with little and gusty winds. My tip for you: start with wind foiling with a constant wind with about 12 knots.
The sound of silence
What has stayed with me the most from my first time is the silence. You hear almost nothing. A little ‘drip’ of water flowing past the foil and maybe a light zoom in the foil. That’s it. In fact, it’s so quiet that you hear that the wind makes a panel or mast cover shake a bit or that your uphaul gently taps against your sail. And waves literally don’t bother you to some extent. They’ll continue under you!
After first time already 100% addicted
The 1st time I’ve been wind-making for about 1.5 hours. I came wheezy for the effort, thrills and adrenaline of the water. But it was obvious to me. This is super cool and tastes like a lot more. The next few days I sat on windguru watching when I could go again and was upset if it started to blow too hard (?!?)