Windsurf foiling is the most exciting windsurfing development for decades. It solves the biggest problem windsurfing faces as a sport – light winds. There is nothing better than windsurfing in 25 knots, but how often does that happen in Auckland? Extending that question further, how often does that 25 knot day line up with your day off work? Yet you can grab a foil, use it on your existing board, with your existing rig and be flying as early as a guy on his 12m Formula sail. Not only that but foiling gives you a whole new sensation on the water.
What I learned from learning to foil.
(WSP Team – Jack Holliday)
1. Pick your conditions.
– Make it easy on yourself and find light to moderate wind with flat water. Getting going in really light wind takes some technique so for your first rides it’s better to be able to roll onto the plane without pumping.
2. Open out your Footstraps
-You don’t want to be jammed out on the rail with tight footstraps – open them up so you can get your feet all the way in and stand up over the board.
3. Harness Lines Forward
– Unlike normal windsurfing you want to sheet out to stay in control if the wind increases. Moving your harness lines forward gives you the option to sheet out faster. There is way less pressure on the sail when you’re foiling so you don’t need the harness line to take the all the weight of the sail. Moving your lines forward also helps you lean your body forward.
4. Lean Forward
– It’s counterintuitive but leaning forward stops you nosediving! Your first crashes will have one thing in common – you lean too far back, the foil comes out of the water and you come crashing back down to earth. You don’t have to be up on the foil the entire time when you start. Sail around using the foil like a fin and pop up on the foil as you get comfortable.
1. What board do I need?
-You can use any board with a deep tuttle box. Keep in mind that dedicated foil boards are 90-100cm wide, short and light. The closer you can get to those dimensions the better so old formula and big slalom boards are best. Smaller boards will work fine but you will sacrifice how early you can get foiling.
2. How much wind do you need?
-The pro’s can get up on the foil in 6 knots and foil through lulls of knots. They are pros though. Realistically you wouldn’t want the wind dropping too much below 8 knots in the lulls.
3. What sized sail do you need?
-You wouldn’t ever need anything bigger than 7.5m and you can go as small as you want. You do need more sail power if you want to really crank upwind or downwind. As for the style of sail, again you can use almost anything. The ideal sail would be a twin cam freeride sail but anything from a full on slalom sail to a wave sail will work.
4. What’s the difference between the RS:Flight Alloy and the RS:Flight Carbon F4?
-The RS:Flight F4 Carbon is a no compromise high performance foil. It actually isn’t that hard to use but it’s so fast it can be unnerving. It comes with a second high aspect wing for stronger wings which really extends its range and speed potential. The RS:Flight alloy is as stable and forgiving as foils come. In light winds its performance isn’t far behind the carbon and can achieve some impressive angles up and down wind. The performance gap will widen the windier it gets.