How good are the upwind capabilities of the Wing Foil?
Surprisingly good. Early protos, the ones with no boom, no battens, flat profile, flexy leading edge, sucked for going upwind. But, we worked through all those issues and in the end are quite pleased with our upwind ability. We go upwind better than a lot of windsurfers and kiters and generally out-perform most sailboats.
What features would you point to?
- We like the dihedral, the upsweep, in the wings. This contributes a lot to stability.
- There’s back-sweep in the leading edge -- not too much, not too little -- which also contributes to stability. Having too little sweep would force the riders hands too far forward on the boom, and having too much would force the rider’s hands to an awkward position too far back on the boom. We think we have found a good balance.
- The big leading edge diameter -- so big it looks freakishly big -- is really key to power and performance.
- Windows, of course. No-brainer there. Essential to catch swell and be safe cruising in traffic.
- Boom -- too many performance advantages to list here.
How does the Foil Wing compare to kitesurfing or windsurfing?
First, let’s be clear: Nothing replaces windsurfing or kitesurfing or prone surf foiling or SUP surf foiling or downwind paddle foiling. These are all awesome sports and they all have their particular advantages and appeal.
That said, the Foil Wing has its own particular advantages. To name two, it’s light and simple. A Foil Wing weights 2 or 3kg, max. Pump and go. No lines. No need for a huge sandy beach. No need for a big, heavy, expensive sail. No need for footstraps or harnesses or harness lines.
To name another, it’s great for going straight downwind in swell. With a windsurf rig you have to swing the boom from side to side when carving heel-side to toe-side and back. This is not as easy, smooth, clean, intuitive and fun as effortlessly handling the Foil Wing through a similar maneuver. Some might say you can just go clew-first part of the time with the windsurf rig, but, really? No. We’re trying to have fun here.
And if you want to go downwind down-swell with a kite, you have to be thinking about the kite location all the time. Kiters who go down-the-line on a foil on a light-wind day constantly have to worry about line tension. Not so with the Foil Wing. It’s just so easy to put the Foil Wing exactly where you need it.
Who does the Foil Wing appeal to?
If you already own a SUP foil setup, the Foil Wing is perfect for you. You can surf on the glassy-wave days, and ride the Foil Wing on the windy days. If you’re into downwind foiling, you can ditch the paddle do it the easy way.
If you’re looking for an accessible, safe, thrilling, low-impact way to enjoy the water and nature, the Foil Wing could work for you. Foiling take-off speed is 6 to 8 knots. Cruising speed can easily be just 10 to 12 knots. At these speeds, crashing is little different from just falling in the water.
And if you’re looking for some kind of crazy, hair-ball adventure on the big days, the Foil Wing works for that too. Nothing quite compares with Foil Wing flying over massive seas in nuclear winds.