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Wind foiling vs wing foiling

Author

Marco Boone

Subject Our experiences
Published

20/12/2021

2021 will enter the books as the breakthrough of wingfoiling. It seems that Wingfoiling is more popular than Windfoiling. Our lessons for wing foiling are fully booked and the material cannot be dragged on. We see kitesurfers, windsurfers, suppers and also a lot of people without any water sports and or ‘wind experience’. Time to take stock; What’s more fun now? What do we experience as the most important differences in terms of ‘feel’? And what’s easier to learn? We list it for you.

What are the differences between Windfoiling and Wingfoiling in terms of ‘feel’?

We notice that many people eventually get a preference for wind foiling or wing foiling. What you like the most depends on what you are looking for. We try to describe the differences in terms of ‘feel’. Wind foiling is clearly a ‘next step’ of windsurfing. You have a board and a sail and with that you’re going to fly. Most people start with wind foiling especially in the lower wind range. That is also the biggest advantage, but we see that wing foiling is shifting very quickly and also with more wind is very nice and also more and more foilers also choose the foil with more wind instead of the fin. Speeds of 40 km or more are easy to reach. And yes, there are also the small wind foil boards with the freestyle foils, but that remains relatively small in the Netherlands. Most wind foils are more freeride, freerace or race oriented. It’s in that corner that’s where most of the development comes in.

Wingfoiling is the most similar to wave surfing with a loose ‘sail’. You are loose on your board (a very small board even) and you hold a wing (kite or kite as many call it) that ensures that you get ahead. Being detached on the board gives you a special feeling of freedom. You really have a lot more freedom of movement with wing foiling than with wind foiling. Carving, jibes etc is faster and the response to every movement is much more direct than with wind foiling. It is (for now) less fast than wind foiling. It’s more easy going and playing with the water, the waves. Just like wave surfing actually. When I’m carving on a nice swell I’m always reminded of snowboarding in deep powder snow. That feeling is really indescribable! Wing foiling is already possible with little wind, but even with a lot of wind at sea, wing foiling is also very cool.

What is easier to learn? Wind foiling or Wing foiling?

We’ve already seen hundreds of lessers for wind foiling and wingfoiling come along, so we have a pretty good impression of what the differences are. People who want to learn wind foiling can already windsurf (that is our minimum requirement to be able to participate in a wind foil course). Say 95% of the students can already wind foil quite nicely in 2 hours. That means being able to fly at least 100 to 200 meters in a continuous way. Sure, most of them don’t go completely smoothly yet and it’s still strenuous at first. But a good foundation has been laid and further practice yourself.

Wing foiling really turns out to be a lot more difficult for most students. Also experienced windsurfers it takes more effort and time to learn wingfoiling in .m. wind foiling. The lack of stability is the biggest challenge for most students. After all, you are ‘loose’ on a small shelf and also have to keep a wing above your head to control. Keeping balance with getting on the foil is the next challenge for many students. We have students with an experience with kiting, wave surfing, snowboarding, supping and windsurfing. On average, we see that people with windsurfing experience pick it up the fastest.

The comparison is not entirely fair, since the road to learn wind foiling is really much longer for people who can’t windsurf. Most people without windsurfing experience need 2 maximum 3 wingsurfing lessons to then be able to do the wingfoil lessons. See our lesson design that we use.

Wingfoiling less hassle

What appeals to many people is that wing foiling as ‘less hassle’ is experienced as windsurfing. You have a small manageable board, the foil and a wing that you inflate in less than 1 minute. It is lighter than a wind foil set or windsurfing set and you can take it more easily in your car or when traveling. Kitesurfers also see the advantages of wingfoiling i.c.w. kitesurfing. It is not only more compact, but also more manageable. The biggest advantage is that wingfoiling is seen by law as a sailboard and it is therefore allowed almost anywhere. Where you can only kitesurf in a limited number of places.

Flat water vs waves

This is very personal, but we find wind foiling more fun and easier on flat water and wingfoiling more fun at sea with waves and / or swell. Wind foiling at sea with waves is more challenging since a wind foil more than a wingfoil can go straight forward horizontally and one with wing foiling the board follows the wave much more automatically, which makes it so much more fun too :).

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