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  • Writer's pictureThe Launch Pad

Helping teach an ABK wingfoil clinic

Updated: May 11

I was excited that there was an ABK wingfoil clinic scheduled during our week long visit to Hatteras. Andy Brandt has been an inspirational instructor to my family including my sister, niece, nephew, wife, 3 kids and of course me over the years.

I’ve been following a bit of how he has been teaching the relatively new sport of wingfoiling on social media. But seeing him in person was awesome. Even better, he asked me to be a guest instructor as the clinic was oversubscribed (with Jennifer, Phillip, Brian, Stu and Claudio from our house plus Jeff from Texas exceeding his normal 5:1 student teacher ratio).

The weather co-operated perfectly. Not enough wind in the morning, so we did 2.5 hours of wing and foil theory in the shade near Hattteras Island Sail Shop. He gave a very nice long lesson with theory, his real world experience and of course humour. After safety and not losing the wing - mainly his goal for us in the session would be to STAY UPWIND!

We covered a lot of theory and then had a good look at the Duotone demo boards, foils and wings. Technical discussions ensued of course! Thanks to @Duotone Foiling for sponsoring Andy, ABK, and the Launch Pad Windsurf & Foil Academy!

We then spent some time doing wing handling skills on the beach. Make sure your leash is attached at all times! Sail flips always to the back of the board to keep you turning upwind!

After that we broke for lunch and reconvened for the on water part of the lesson just as the wind started building! I wish I‘d brought my GoPro to get some video on the water.

I was very excited to be a guest coach and walked out in the waist deep water with Andy as the students brought their gear out. Out on the water we covered the basics of the site (waist deep for miles) and got the students starting their sessions. Bryan was on a roll, working his way away upwind. We had to call him back after 45 minutes so he could actually hear some of our tips.

This was my GPS trail for the 3 hours. Amazingly warm for the 17th of April but I‘ll admit the 4/3 suit would have been better than the 3/2 millimeter wetsuit.

What kept me warm was being asked to demo a few moves. Then I tried Andy‘s TIP for JIBING. Point into the turn with your back hand while carving your jibe. WOW that really works. It makes you look where you are going, and you have a hand out to the side helping you balance. AMAZING tip. By the end of the session as the group was heading in Andy had me sitting on the foilboard winging in both directions. What fun!

My son Phillip was up on the foil for most of the 3 hours. He was having a blast. He even got two foiling jibes on what was his 4th day ever wingfoiling. Not switching feet really helped him and he slowly got better at riding topside. My wife Jennifer got up on the foil on her very last run. She liked the narrower 142l Fanatic Sky SUP WS board. Bryan, Stu and Claudio from our house all had sessions where they learned and improved dramatically. Things really clicked for Jeff from Texas in the second half of his session.

We debriefed off the water and took some final photos while asking a few more gear questions.

ABK windsurfing camps have always been great for our family to get better at windsurfing. Now with the advent of wind and wing foiling Andy is still teaching and inspiring us. I took a bunch of very technical notes that I will use with my students when teaching. I‘m excited for the next time I‘m able to be part of an ABK clinic.

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