Ride The Waves: A Beginner’s Guide To Wing Foiling

Ride the Waves Like a Pro in No Time

Hey, wave-chasers and thrill-seekers! Ready to add a new, exhilarating water sport to your repertoire? Say hello to wing foiling, the child of windsurfing, kiteboarding, and SUP (stand-up paddleboarding). It's the triple-threat sport that promises freedom, speed, and—let's face it—many Instagrammable moments.

In this no-fluff guide, I'm serving everything you need to know to get started. We're talking gear, technique, and a few must-know insider tips that will have you wing-foiling like a pro in no time.

The Call of the Wind and Waves

Imagine this: You're on a surfboard, but it's got a hydrofoil attached. You're holding an inflatable wing powered by the wind. Combine all these, and you've got wing foiling! The foil lifts you above the water, the wing helps you steer, and just like that—you're flying over the ocean. This sport combines elements of windsurfing, kiteboarding, and SUP into a unique adrenaline rush.

What's A Wing Foiling Wing?

A wing foiling wing, often called a "wing," is a critical component of the wing foiling setup. It serves as the hand-held sail that harnesses the power of the wind to propel you forward. Unlike traditional sails in windsurfing, which are attached to the board, this wing is entirely detached, providing a unique blend of flexibility and control.

What's it Made Of?

The wing is typically made from durable, lightweight materials like ripstop polyester or mylar. It has inflatable bladders that give it structure, making it easy to hold and control. Because it's inflatable, it's incredibly convenient to pack into a backpack, making it portable and easy to carry.

Design & Shape

The wing has a similar shape to an aeroplane wing or a bird's wing and is designed to catch the wind efficiently. It has handles or a boom across its leading edge or the centre strut, which you hold onto while riding. These handles or boom are what you grip to control the wing's angle and position, thereby managing your speed and direction.

Size Matters

Wings come in various sizes, measured in square meters (sqm). The size you'll need depends on multiple factors, like your skill level, body weight, and wind conditions. Beginners often start with a larger wing because it provides more power in lower wind conditions, making learning more accessible. You might opt for smaller wings that offer more agility and speed as you get more skilled.

Why It's Different

Its simplicity and freedom set the wing apart from sails in windsurfing or kites in kiteboarding. There are no lines, harnesses, or booms that tether you. You're free to move, switch directions, and even let go if necessary, making it much more straightforward and somewhat safer.

Essentially, the wing is your steering wheel, engine, and accelerator all rolled into one. Mastering its use is key to becoming a proficient wing foiler.

What About A Board?

Ah, the board—the very platform that turns your wing-foiling dreams into glide-filled reality. Picking the right board is crucial. Choose wisely, and you'll progress quickly; pick hastily, and you might end up struggling. So, what should you consider when buying your first wing foiling board? Let's dive in.


In the realm of wing foiling boards, volume is your friend—especially if you're a beginner. Volume is measured in litres and directly correlates with buoyancy. A higher volume board will be more stable and forgiving, making learning easier. If you're a beginner, aim for a board with enough volume to float your body weight plus gear easily, so look for a board with a volume of around 100-140 litres, depending on your weight and skill level.

Length and Width

The dimensions of the board also play a vital role. A longer and wider board offers more stability, which is invaluable when learning. As a beginner, a board with a length of around 6 to 7 feet and a width of at least 28 inches is a good starting point.

Foil Mount System

The board must have a foil mounting system, generally a built-in "track" where you attach your hydrofoil. Make sure the system is robust and offers room for adjustment, helping you find the sweet spot for your foil and affecting how easily the board lifts off the water.

Construction Material

Most boards are built with a foam core and a fibreglass or carbon composite shell. Carbon is lighter and more responsive but also more expensive. Fiberglass is more forgiving and often more durable, making it an excellent choice for beginners.


You should consider a multi-purpose board if you're into multiple water sports. Some boards are designed to be versatile enough for wing foiling, SUP, and even windsurfing, which could be a cost-effective way to explore different activities.


Good gear is an investment, but that doesn't mean you need to break the bank. Many brands offer entry-level boards that are budget-friendly. 

However, it's often worth investing in a quality board that you can grow into rather than out of.

And The Rest Of The Gear?

Great, you've got your wing and board sorted—awesome first steps! But before you dash off to the water, let's talk about the additional gear you'll need to make your wing-foiling experience safe, comfortable, and downright exhilarating. Trust me, you don't want to skip these.


Why You Need It: The hydrofoil allows you to 'fly' over water, lifting the board off the surface once you reach a certain speed. The hydrofoil is attached to the board's underside, consisting of a mast and wings (front and rear).

What to Look For: As a beginner, go for a foil with a longer mast (around 24-28 inches) for better stability. Larger wings also offer more lift at lower speeds.

Wetsuit or Rashguard

Why You Need It: A wetsuit might be necessary depending on your location and the water temperature. A rashguard can protect you from sunburn and skin irritation even in warmer climates.

What to Look For: Pick a wetsuit appropriate for the water temperature. A shorty wetsuit or a rashguard and board shorts might suffice if you're in tropical waters.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Why You Need It: Safety first! A personal flotation device is a must, especially for beginners. Falling is part of learning, and a PFD keeps you buoyant.

What to Look For: Opt for a PFD designed for water sports—it'll offer a snug fit without restricting movement. Make sure it's certified by relevant authorities.


Why You Need It: When you're learning, tumbles are inevitable. A helmet protects your noggin from accidental bumps against the board or foil.

What to Look For: Make sure the helmet is designed for water sports and offers a snug fit. Ventilation is a plus.

Safety Leash

Why You Need It: A leash keeps your board close in case you fall off, critical for safety, especially in deeper waters.

What to Look For: Go for a coiled leash to prevent drag. Ensure it's long enough to give you some room but not so long that it becomes a hazard.

Gloves and Booties (Optional)

Why You Might Need Them: Gloves can improve your grip on the wing, and booties provide better footing on the board. Both offer protection against cold.

What to Look For: Choose gloves and booties designed for water sports. Make sure they provide a good grip without compromising on comfort.


Why You Need It: Most wings are inflatable, so a good pump is essential.

What to Look For: Many wings come with their specific pump. If not, get a high-volume, low-pressure pump designed for inflatables.

So there you have it—a comprehensive list of the additional gear you'll need to start wing foiling. Each piece plays its part in making your ride safer, easier, and a lot more fun. Gear up right, and you'll be conquering the water in no time!

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