5 Tips for Wingfoiling in Light Wind Conditions
For most wing foilers around the world, mastering light wind days can more than double their time on the water. Good technique and the right gear is essential for maximizing your fun and minimizing frustration. Let us know in the comments below if you have any additional tips that work best for you, and the gear that you ride.
- Master Your Wing Pumping Technique Proper wing pumping can trick your foil into believing you are lighter and the wind is more potent! The key is to implement an aggressive downward and inward pull. Then, gently let your wing rise upward and away from you, reloading it for the next pump. Repeat this large, circular motion, gradually increasing speed as your board gains momentum.
- Understanding How to Pump Your Foil A bit of kinetic energy used to bounce your board can drastically reduce the speed needed to free your board from the water. The diminished drag from your board and the forward momentum derived from an engaged foil initiate a cycle of speed and power.
- Capitalizing on Gusts Develop your wind-reading skills to recognize varying wind speeds and predict gusts. Scan the upwind direction and interpret the ‘cat’s paws’ (small, moving wind patterns) on the water. Anticipating a minor increase in wind speed (2 or 3 knots) can greatly reduce the effort needed to pump onto your foil. Exploit this knowledge for longer, less strenuous light wind sessions.
- Leveraging Chop and Swell If you’re wing foiling on a large body of water, you’ll likely benefit from some wind swell. Coordinate your pumping with the additional energy provided by the water to help your board rise onto the foil. Surf the swell to make the most of the conditions.
- Selecting Suitable Gear Opt for a board with a high enough volume to support your weight. Convert your weight into kilograms and add 10 to find the minimum board volume in litres that will enhance your light wind riding performance. This is the minimum size required by most to keep them afloat in the lulls. Lightweight boards are preferable too. Foils ranging between 1800-2200 square cm in area are typically recommended. Advanced riders may find high-aspect (HA) downwind style SUP and Foil setups most efficient, as professionals can pump these onto a foil in almost no wind, a six meter wing may be all they need. For the rest of us mortals, a larger, medium-aspect wing in the 1800-2200 size range, paired with a 7 or 8-meter wing, is sufficient for commencing our journey in 8-10 knot winds.
Recommended Gear Progressing Riders
150 lbs Rider – 90+ litre Board, 1500+ cm foil, 6 m wing
175 lbs Rider – 100+ liter Board, 1800+ cm foil, 7 m wing
200+ lbs Rider – 110+ liter Board, 2100+ cm foil, 8 m wing
There is a revolution happening! Narrow down-wind style SUP Foil boards with large high aspects pump wings are the next logical evolution of light-wind gear. Check out the zero wind pump up video.
Here is another great video highlighting this evolution. Despite only seven miles per hour of wind, Gwen and Tony are determined to try out the new KT Genzu Dragonfly downwind board, the Sab Foil 1350 Leviatan, and the 6-meter wing from Cabrinha. The setup features a longer and narrower board with 105 liters of volume, providing surprising stability even in light conditions. The foil’s efficiency and lifting power combined with the wing’s lightness allow them to generate speed effortlessly, making wingfoiling possible even in the lightest winds. Tony expresses his excitement and belief that this could be the future of wingfoiling, paving the way for more opportunities to enjoy the water even in challenging conditions. The video ends with a powerful message of encouragement to challenge oneself and stay open-minded to new possibilities. This unique gear promises to revolutionize wingfoiling, presenting endless opportunities for enthusiasts to explore and enjoy the sport.
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