A catch up re foiling with NCW’s man in the know.

Most will know by now of our foiling interest. NCW’s sister site, Foilshop UK, is all things flying above water. But wider than that we appreciate foils are increasingly familiar sights on beaches and stretches of water everywhere. We catch up with Foilshop UK’s man in the know to get a view on foiling as its stands now. With summer 2022 holidays just around the corner, could we be on for an even bigger boom with foiling?

How popular is foiling really at this point?

Wing foiling accounts for the biggest chunk of interest. This isn’t to say there are huge amounts of gear being sold. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are certainly sales of kit. Just not necessarily to the levels of inflatable SUPs (for instance) at the moment. Winging pricks the interests of many though. It’s definitely the biggest growth foiling discipline for sure.

Wingin’ with the rest of ’em!

In some areas, there are pockets of SUP and prone foilers. Whist eFoiling is gaining traction. Kite and windsurf foiling are pretty much static and pump foiling is still niche compared. But also getting more popular.

When did you discover foiling and what appealed?

Foiling was first about the windsurf variety, which made sense with me being a windsurfer. Maximising light wind days for some cruise and glide fun, which then progressed to waves. Close behind was SUP foiling, although that was trickier due to the inconsistent nature of my local. We get swell but it isn’t right through the year or even right through any given week!

Spin it to win.

When wing foiling exploded I didn’t jump straight into it, instead choosing to wait and see what happened with the gear. Pretty soon though I was wangin’ with the rest of them.

In the last few years, I’ve really gotten into flat water pump foiling, using the bungee start to good effect. And when the chance arises I love a bit of eFoiling. Basically foiling of all types I adore. The feeling of flying is unique. And each foiling discipline offers its own reason to be addicted, but as I said before it’s all just foiling. I still have fun on fins, but conditions more often than not dictate riding hydrofoils.

Has foiling panned out the way you envisaged?

Not really. I never wanted to be ultra techy with it. At first, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. One foil and that’s it. But quickly, as equipment’s evolved, I’ve realised different foils and wing combinations deliver different performance and feels. That’s why I love working with brands like Axis Foils who offer a mind boggling array of combos. But get your head round it and the possibilities are endless.

SUP & surf foiling - is it really the future of riding waves
SUP foiling action.

Most new foilers don’t want the hassle of too much kit. At first, they’re most likely going to want it to remain simple. But as with myself and others, go more down the rabbit hole and your inner nerd will appear. Suddenly you’ll be pouring over equipment brochures and foil data with the rest of us!

How has the foiling scape changed for you since you started?

Massively! The choice of gear is now extensive. It’s hard for some to know where to begin. Price points make a difference, although that doesn’t always translate to the best experience. Foiling’s still about foiling so if you want to foil my advice is focus on the foil first. Get the best you can afford and you’ll do fine. Boards get so much attention (too much IMO). And whilst well shaped foil boards do make a difference it’s ALL about your foil.

Wingy wing wingin’.

Wings have improved massively as well. Wing foiling wings are now far more efficient than they were – which is great. And designs will just keep evolving. As will the sport itself. Splitting into distinct areas (freestyle, wave, race and freeride) which will necessitate a specific kit. That will then drive the evolution of equipment design further.

Final thoughts on foiling?

Foiling’s fun. But it’s also diverse and versatile. Don’t get hung up on one type of riding. Investigate all areas. If you can foil you can foil. And life’s too short to limit yourself.

Thanks to Oli Lane-Peirce for the shots.