Winging is the latest sport to grace the water and is quickly growing in popularity. It combines an inflatable wing either with a standard paddleboard OR a small, wide paddleboard with a hydrofoil attached to the bottom. Think of it as a cross over between wind foiling, kite foiling and stand up paddleboarding. It has become popular due to being able to move with as much freedom as possible on with the water, harnessing the power of wind and small swell.
What Is A Wing?
A wing is effectively a cross between a sail and a kite. It has a large inflatable leading edge and normally an inflatable strut across the middle in which handles are attached to hold on to. One of models, the Duotone Echo Wing however uses a boom instead of a central inflatable strut. The wing is constructed from the same material as kitesurfing kites are made from. This makes super light weight and easy to handle.
How Long To Pump It Up?
Less than a minute! They’re super quick to inflate, giving you more time out on the water! All you need is a kitesurfing pump with the correct adaptor for the valve on the wing. The valves do very from brand to brand.
How big is it packed down?
Most wings fit into a small bag or backpack so super easy to throw over your shoulder or in your car. Also, if you were to take them out on a stand up paddleboard you could easily pack the wing away after a winging session and go back to paddling.
How Big Does The Wing Need To Be?
As a rough guideline wings come in 3.5m, 4m, 5m, 6m and 7m and most sizes in- between. The smaller the wing, the better for stronger winds and vice versa. Generally lighter riders need a smaller wing and heavier riders need a larger wing size.
Whats The Wind Range For A Wing?
Its all dependant on experience and wing size but as a guideline:
- Wing paddleboarding – up to 15-20 Knots
- Wing foiling – from 8 knots up to 35knots
How Can I Use A Wing?
Either on a paddleboard or on a foil board.
- On a paddleboard or a large windsurf board to go for a light wing cruise. It’s a great option for going on an adventure downwind! It helps to have a centre board or a ‘drift stopper’ attachment to put on your paddleboard to prevent too much drifting downwind. You can carry a paddle with you if you need to paddle back upwind.
- If you fancy going wing foiling then you can move on to a foil board with a hydrofoil. This is a bit trickier to learn but definitely achievable with the right kit. Once you’re up on the foil you can start moving at some higher speeds with your wing and covering some bigger distances on both flat water and in small waves.
Where Should I Go Wingsurfing, Wing Foiling Or Wing Paddleboarding Is Essex?
- Ideally anywhere relatively flat to start with clean (ish) wind. Once you’re up and riding, almost any body of water will be suitable assuming the wind is clean and consistent. Try to stick to crosshore to onshore conditions. Anything offshore should be avoided if you can help it.
- West Mersea – Ideal 2 hours before and after high tide.
- Point Clear – Ideal 2 Hours before and after high tide.
- Alton Water Lake – No tides and flat water.
Where Can I Have Lessons?
- We are running lessons through Mersea Island Watersports (MIW). Currently they are 1 to1 sessions but we will be looking at small group sessions for summer 2021.
- There will always be a safe environment with a support boat and buoyancy aids always worn.
- All kit is provided
- Just get in touch with MIW to book – CLICK HERE
Check out Michael in his first wing foiling lesson below.
What Kit Would I Need To Start?
The Duotone Echo Wing – This has been one of the most popular wings on the market. It’s key feature is having boom to hold on to rather than the typical handles. This has been a favourite of ours due to the easy handling and being able to slide your hands around without having to put you hand on a particular handle.
Duotone Foil Wing Echo 2020
The Naish Wingsurfer – Another very popular wing and has been a huge focus for Naish as a brand. With handles along the length of the centre strut, hand placement is simple and easy to use. The handling is super lightweight and due this, it floats very well in the wind when depowered. Includes wing, pump and wrist leash.
Naish Wing-Surfer S25 Foil Wing 2020 – Blue/Orange
Slingshot Slingwing V2 – After making huge improvements from the V1, Slingshot have created an awesome ultralight weight wing – Perfect for small board waterstarts and for first timers due to its very lightweight feel.
Slingshot SlingWing V2 2020 – Green
RRD Wind Wing – A great feel, again light in the hands. With a black stealthy look to it, it looks awesome on the water! RRD providing another great wing option for foiling on your paddleboard.
For reference we have tried and used all these wings in the following sizes…Duotone Echo 4m/5m/7m | Naish Wingsurfer 5.3m | Slingshot Slingwing 5.4m | RRD Wind Wing 4m/5m
Fanatic Sky Wing – Awesome boards with a range of sizes from 48Litres through to 130L in sizes 4’8/5’0/5’4/5’8/6’0. A dedicated wing foiling board from Fanatic.
Fanatic Sky Wing Foiling Board
Fanatic Sky SUP – Another great option with a little more board length, which can be helpful to learn on – sizes 6’3 (106L) / 6’7 (125L) / 6’11 (143L). We have used the 6’11 and recommend that and the 6’7 as a really good crossover for both wing and SUP foiling.
Fanatic Sky SUP Foil SUP/Wing Foil Board 2021
Naish Hover – 40L through to 140L – a popular board that has an option for all size and ability riders! Tom has been riding the 60L Hover – feel free to get in touch to get our thoughts.
Starboard Wingboard – New release from Starboard in two constructions. Sub £1000 they have the Wingboard Lite Tech range which is a great option as a first board coming in a range of sizes from 69 to 140 Litres – again suiting all riders. We have been very impressed by the pricepoint, making it really accessible for new riders. These become available around February/March 2021.
RRD Pocket Rocket – One of the best cross over boards on the market for windsurf, wing and SUP! Would highly recommend if you’re coming from a windsurfing background as it allows you to use it for both wing and windsurf – meaning you can get tonnes of use out the the board. The 2021 boards comes in both 120L and 140L.
RRD Pocket Rocket Y26 Windsurf/SUP/Wing E-Tech Foiling Board
RRD Beluga – This dedicated wing board comes in two sizes, 75L and 105L. A good second or third board upgrade once you have got into winging, or a good option for light riders or for experienced kite or wind foilers.
Fanatic Low Aspect 1500 or 2000 Aero Foil – Depending on your weight and wind range, will determine whether you need 1500 or 2000 front wing. This is a great set up as an allrounder that can be used by beginners through to expert foilers. We are currently using the 2000 and we are impressed with its early foiling ability and manoeuvrability. Set on a 90cm or 75cm mast with either an 80cm fuselage (more stable) or a 64cm fuselage (better for pumping and manoeuvrability).
Fanatic Aero Surf/SUP/Wing Foil 2000 Long Fuselage 2020
Fanatic High Aspect 1250/1500/1750 – Larger wings giving early lift and significantly faster speeds than the low aspects.
Fanatic Aero High Aspect 1750 Wing Foil
Naish Jet 1250/1650/2000/2450 Foils – Great choice if you want a compromise between a low aspect and high aspect foil choice. Early lift in the bigger sizes, they feel super turny and quick for their given size.
Naish Jet 2000 Complete Wing/SUP Foil
RRD Universal Foil 1500 – Great allrounder perfect for windsurfing and wing foiling!
RRD Universal KSH Alu SUP/Wing Foil Set
If you would like more information or advice regarding what equipment is right for you, please contact us by phone, email or in-store.
Words by Tom Peek | Design by Sam Peek