Pics: James Jagger
It was summer 2019 that wings started appear after some of the big watersports brands – most notably Naish (the legendary waterman Robby Naish’s company) – started appearing in vids and pics. Looking a little like a scaled down kite, minus lines, they’re designed to be handheld mere inches away from the rider’s body. Whilst they can be used to propel standard stand up paddle boards most people will tell you they really come in to their own when using alongside hydrofoils.
There’s a lot of other synergy – rather than just kiting – that wingfoiling has. Calling on skills from SUP, windsurf, surf and kitesurfing all the elements come together to create the sum of whole parts that is winging. But is it legit?
Fast forward to now (time of writing: March 2020) and a whole load of businesses are involved, producing equipment that covers all areas. From wingfoil specific boards, to hydrofoils and wings themselves it’s another ‘big thing’ being promoted as the future.
But winging’s nothing new, having been around since the early days of windsurfing. Due to foiling not being mass appeal back then wing riding was quickly shelved by the majority. Apart from a few mad scientists who kept tinkering (just as with hydrofoiling itself). Many deem wings to be at their most efficient when coupled with foils so as the flying discipline gained traction these last few years so winging was revisited.
Already we’re seeing the likes of Kai Lenny, Austin Kalama (Dave Kalama’s son) and the Spencer Brothers pushing the boundaries of wingfoiling. There’re also a bunch determined to make wings more efficient for riding boards without foils plugged in. huge leaps on this front are being made…
One of the notable benefits wings have is they’re inflatable; quick to set up, super light in the hands and need no additional rigging components like windsurf sails do. A lot of the stand up paddle board community have taken wingsurfing to its bosom as a natural evolution of paddling when the breeze ramps up. It’s going to be interesting to see if wings, wingfoiling, wingsurfing, wing riding and all the other labels it’s being given stands the test of time. We’re pretty sure it will and the level of performance is only going to skyrocket.
Watch this space…
If you’re already into wing dinging and looking for rubbery waterwear fit for the job in hand then hit up NCW’s range of wetsuits here.
If you enjoyed this then why not check out some of the other articles on NCW’s blog.