This year we witnessed the advent of an entirely new watersport that combines three existing windsports into a single hybrid activity that has become known as wingsurfing. The new equipment takes the inflatable concept from kiting, the boom/sail concept from windsurfing and large/low aspect foils from surf foiling and mashes them all together to create a completely different, yet familiar wind-propelled feeling.
Why bother? Isn’t that regressing back towards windsurfing? Could it be just a fad? All great questions that we here at Tkb have been asking ourselves. Looking back over the last couple of months of wing-mania, the answer for us is a resounding yes; it is a fad, it is a regression towards windsurfing and despite this, yes, you should bother! In all honesty, it may be a trend, but only in the sense that the early obsession and fiendish appetite for progression in wingsurfing can’t possibly be infinitely sustainable (do you remember the feeling of addiction during your first three kitesurfing years?).
Wingsurfing will not replace your kites (maybe it will at first), but what we have come to know is that there is a condition envelope for wingsurfing that tends to be a bit narrower than kitesurfing. I would bet my bottom dollar that wingsurfing will earn a long-standing place amidst your kite quiver. Smaller waves, shorter interval wind swell and stronger winds are ideal. We’ve pushed smaller boards in high wind and with summer’s tapering winds, explored lower thresholds with the larger wings and bigger foils and boards.
While you might see some freestyle experimentation on Instagram, my personal hunch is that the wing’s true application is carving down rolling swells, gliding down slopes and across troughs for an endless game of glide state. The wing likes to hover while you surf the line you want to surf—that is the draw that will keep your Pavlovian responses sprung for that next session.
With much of the development of these products happening last winter, in the following pages, we are looking at products that represent version 1.0. Yes, there will undoubtedly be improvements in the future, but from Tkb staff’s experience, the gear we have now is quite capable of inducing euphoric levels of fun and addiction. If you’ve got an inkling of interest, I don’t recommend hanging out on the sidelines to wait and see how it pans out. That would be shooting yourself in the foot. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is an often overused cliché trending in actionsports social media these days. I assure you, for those sitting this round out, there’s no FO, just MO.
Based on personal experience, the only proper course of action is to join the party, early and hard. Start by studying this guide, then beg/borrow/buy/steal yourself a wing, and get yourself into the glide game.
Tkb Editor in Chief