Malaʻe McElheny

Malaʻe McElheny



Malaʻe McElheny


North Shore, Oahu: Mokuleia, Backyards, and Hukilau


USA / Hawaii



When and where did you start Wing Foiling? I was so lucky Alan Cadiz of HST Windsurf and Kitesurf School on Maui taught me to wing in 2019 when I was eleven years old. We had seen Instagram posts of the Duotone wing and it was like "I have got to try that!" It seemed like the wing would add such an awesome experience for the foil and it definitely has.

When I was only 9 years old John Amundson had taught me to foil and let me borrow my first foil. John also let me borrow his brand-new Duotone Foil Wing right after I had a lesson with Alan in 2019. I believe it was one of the first Foil Wings Duotone had made - so it was super generous and trusting of John!

Near the end of 2019 I was lucky enough to get my own Duotone winging gear and I was able to meet Till Eberle, Ken Winner, Sky Solbach, Jaime Herraiz, Max Pajank and others from the Duotone team on Maui. That was really motivating and inspiring to see how everyone worked together to push the wings and the new sport forward.

What’s your watersports history – from which side did you enter Winging? I started surfing, skateboarding, SUP, and foiling when I was very young. I had also started kiteboarding just before getting a lesson on the wing. I learned to kiteboard from Josh Seymour of Hawaiian Watersports on Oahu. Any kind of wind sport experience or even tow foiling (or wake boarding) can really help with the process of learning to transfer power from the arms to the board.

I feel like the timing was really great for me to get into winging because I had just started to do airs foil surfing and so I had built some experience using straps. By learning to kite around that same time I was also beginning to understand more about the wind. Lastly, on a trip to Maui Alex Aguera had spent a lot of time with me towing me behind him on a foil board and on a surfboard set up. I feel the kiting and towing experiences really set me up for success with the wing.

My dad and grandfather both come from a windsurfing and kiting background.  My grandfather Larry was a designer and shaper for Fanatic in the 1980s as well as a hang-glider and paraglider!

Both of my parents and my grandpas had helped me learn to surf with them before I was even really swimming.  The two great foilers, Matt and Heimana Reynolds, helped me learn to skateboard at Proper Ride Shop and skating is also super helpful for getting into foiling. Matt and Heimana always reminded everyone to be grateful to those who help and support us and that is something to remember for sure. Of course, they also inspired me to always go for it!

What do you love about Wing Foiling? I really like flying and flipping and spending time on the water with my friends.

What’s your favourite conditions? My favorite conditions are when it is windy enough for a 3.5m or smaller wing.  I also like it when the waves are overhead.

What’s your top advice for a beginner? I think it is important to spend time working on wing handling on land.  Also, I believe beginners should spend time using the wing on a large board like a SUP board (without a foil) to get used to how the wing acts on the water and to build skills like going upwind. My advice for wingers is to choose safe locations, to use the buddy system, and to have appropriate safety equipment such as leashes, helmets, and impact vests. We always tell people let the wing fly - it wants to fly. Have fun!

Boom or handles? All of the Duotone wings are sick. The D/Lab technology is awesome. I really like the boom on the new Slick SLS for sure and I also love the convenience of the handles on the Unit. I feel fortunate to be able to use both for whatever is best suited for the conditions!



Malaʻe McElheny


Malaʻe McElheny