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  • Writer's pictureThe Launch Pad

Bucket list item: Foiling? YES!

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Adam found the LPWA website and contacted me a few weeks ago. He had set a goal to learn to wingfoil and I was excited to help him achieve it. We had set the date and I was hoping the conditions would be right to help him learn to first foil and then use the wing. That meant flat water and good sideshore wind. Hard to find that combination in the summer in Collingwood.

Luckily his parents have a great place right on the water. When I arrived at noon Adam was already in his shorty wetsuit eager to go! We decided against launching the Seadoo in Thornbury and rather try foiling behind their zodiac with 9.9hp motor. But first, a bit of on land foil training. I had Adam try my foil training board which he enjoyed. (His brother-in-law also wanted a try!) The on land simulator really helps to cement the concept that it is just your hips moving for and aft a little bit that moves the nose of the board down and up. We did the waiver paperwork and chatted with his family. Lastly we created a tow handle out of some floating rope and Adam's gym handle.

We took the foilboard out to the beach and launched the zodiac. I had the Fanatic Stingray 140 with the 99cm Slingshot foil underneath which is my favoured beginner equipment. I tried the setup first and we made a few adjustments to the boat and confirmed it worked. Now it was Adam's turn. I started slowly and he stayed out to the side of the wake in the flat water. Soon enough, he was up on the foil. Amazingly his very first run was around a minute long. Eventually he got up pretty high but didn't even overfoil. He just freaked out about how high he was and headed back down eventually pearling the nose of the board.

We had a good debrief on the water and his runs two and three were much longer. He had conquered the FOIL in under an hour. His snow sports and past windsurfing skills really helped but I was amazed at his ability and determination. And check out those smiles!

We decided to head in, grab a sandwich and check out the WING half of wing foiling. We pumped up the 6m Duotone Echo wing with the boom and contrasted that with the 4m Duotone Unit wing with handles. I explained leashes and safety. We went over how to use and flip the wing out on their swim platform. For a few minutes I really thought the wind was shifting to SE which would have been great. It remained pretty much offshore so I followed him in the boat. (Sadly my camera had died so I didn't get many good photos.) It was definitely challenging in the light offshore wind. Adam realized that there two parts to wing foiling. He conquered the foiling. Next time we get the winging!

Items for me to think about for teaching future foilers: Rather than just talk about controlling pitch roll and yaw (PRY) with your ankles, show how the foil works by pushing the board in waist deep water. Also, prepare the student for what overfoiling feels like, by imagining hopping off a 60 cm ledge and bending knees to absorb the landing when the board hits the water.

I think that with his windsurfing experience from years ago, Adam might actually do well with a windfoiling board first - something like the Fanatic Stingray 140 he learned to foil on. That board is even ok to sail back upwind on if the wind drops. With a 5m windsurf sail, he should be able to learn to windfoil on that. And it can also be used for winging. If he buys a wing instead, I'd recommend that to learn the wing, since he skis, some wing skiing this coming winter time would help too. He has lots of adventures ahead if he wants to put those goals on his bucket list!

Postscript: thanks Adam for the shoutout on LinkedIn!

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