A Windsurfer starts Wingfoiling
I am passionated Freestyle Windsurfer – you know that. But this year I found a new passion Wingsurfing. What I like about Winging? Jumps and Freestyle with almost no Wind – I could not even get planing with my big Freestyle Gear. Now I wanna take you on a journey from my first contact with a wing to my first jumped 360.
I still believe that learning Winging as a Windsurfer is easier as as a Kitesurfer. Before I touched a Wingboard for the first time this spring, I made quite some experience with Windsurf-Foiling the last two seasons. But back to the start. My dayjob is being a videographer (www.visionstorm.net), why I tell you this? Because this was exactly my motivation to get started. LastWinter I was shooting an ION-Commercial with my friend Stefan Spiessberger on Traunlake.. He pulled of the craziest freestyle tricks with his Wingfoil in light winds and the windsurfers were not even planing. I was pretty impressed. But you know the delivery situation due to covid. The winter arrived hard and my ACL did not help either – but only two Lockdowns later I finally stood with my own Wingequipment on the beach in Podersdorf.
The First Wingsession
My friend Bertl (from Surfshop Upsidedown now teaching his passion at Wing2Fly) showed me quick how to handle a wing on land and we hit the water. To be honest I did not want to take part in a proper course, but it was super nice to have someone with me to coach me a bit. So I kneed on my board -as Bertl showed me on the beach), and the rest was pretty intuitive. My Windsurffoiling helped me a lot I think. As I was already foiling after 5m (Metres! not Minutes). But to say the truth I had no control haha and could hardly go downwind as I was so powered up. After my first session I could foil savely had control but jibing was quite difficult, altough for a Windsurfer its quite intuitive – especially when you understood you need to keep the board straight as on a Windsurf-Foil.
The Second and Third Wingsession
When I hit the water for the second time – just a few days after, I already foiled through my first jibes. Then I tried to tack the first time! I straight lost my board (haha). Pro Tipp: Use a leash in the beginning. Ok not real talk. After the the 3rd session or during the 3rd session (with no straps) I was already quite bored, I thought maybe Wingfoiling is not the right thing for me. I mean also on the Windsurfkit I hate going straight, waiting doing more or less freeride… I could already do Jibes both ways, normal and swich, and tacking on one side.
The Gamechanger in Wingsurfing
I told this to Stefan Spiessberger. He said: „Go for Straps, go for Tricks, I had the same feeling in the beginning!“ I did. I mounted straps and went on the water in Neusiedl with a light Southwind. That day I started jumping. I never thoguht that would be so much fun! I jumped and jumped. I was on the water 6h that day, I just could not stop. I started to do Swich 180 and tried 360 and I was really hooked from that moment on. What I like about the straps beside jumping, you have much more control over the board and you never loose the board without leash – just if you kick it to the lee-side – just don’t do that! 😉
The next Chapter in my Wingfoiling
Now you will ask yourself – Whats next?
After starting jumping, you realize Winging with a bit more pressure in the Wing is fun too. More power in the Wing, the higher you can go. To be honest with the support of Surfshop Upsidedown and Fanatic Austria I could always try smaller foils. I started with a 2000 Surf Front Wing which has almost no take of Speed, after the first session I swiched to the 2000 High Aspect which is already a lot faster and looking back I would say thats a really good Frontwing to get started and even do some big jumps in lightwind! With more speed tacking and jibing is easier! After that I changed to a 1500 High Ascpect Frontwing which I am riding now almost all the time! (Update 2022: I am now riding a 1250 High Aspect as a biggest Frontwing and a Aero Carve 900 as a Highwind Wing)
After I had control in straight jumps, and riding swich for a Freestyle Windsurfer is almost the most normal thing on the plang I decided to try swich 180 first. I also tried 360 quickly, but that was diffictult on the first tries. A few sessions later (2-3) I landed the first ones. The bigger you go the harder it gets to control it!
A question I got often asked: With what kit I started. I started with a 5m Duotone Echo and quickly upgraded to the Slick (Update 2022: I am riding a Slick SLS now). The Board was a Fanatic Sky Wing with 95l
And the those whole Journey took of! Winging under the bridge, riding a smaller board, using smaller wings, using smaller foilwings and pushing my self to go bigger…