The 10 mistakes when starting out in Wing Foil

Starting Wing Foil is accessible to all but requires a minimum of practice and learning to evolve effectively. If you are new to the practice, the WingFoil consists of sailing on the water, standing on a board and a foil, with a wing held with two hands. The WingFoil will allow you to move with freedom thanks to the energy of the wind and the swell. Beginning this sport allows you to experience new sensations on any type of water with simple and easy to set up equipment. In order not to lose time in your progress, SROKA Company informs you of the 10 mistakes not to make when starting out in Wing-Foil. If you wish to start Wing Foil, you can also find all our advice in our article “How to start Wing Foil”.

10 mistakes not to make when starting out in Wing Foil

Mistake 1: Unsuitable equipment

Starting WingFoiling with old equipment or a foil that was used for another activity will not allow you to progress with ease. Equipment is evolving very quickly, and companies are innovating every year to offer more and more comfortable and efficient products.

To start with, a large front fin area will give you stability and lift. Your foil will be a little slower but the advantage is that you can fly in light wind conditions. Beginners will prefer the Medium Aspect or Low Aspect models with a fast start in light winds. However, if you are looking for a fin that is easy to use, yet has good performance, we recommend the Medium Aspect. This evolutionary model will be able to follow you throughout your progression, without forcing you to change equipment. Our 1750 (XL) SROKA front foil wing is the ideal weapon to get you started in Wing Foil and get you off the ground immediately.

The size of the mast is also important. A relatively short mast (60-70cm) will be easier to balance, while more experienced WindFoil or SurfFoil sailors may prefer a longer mast (70-80cm). However, a mast that is too short will very quickly be limiting, so we advise you to start with a mast of 80 cm.

As far as the board is concerned, you should know that there are boards on the market that are 100% dedicated to the practice of Wing-Foil. We advise you to start with a board that has volume, so that you can stand up quickly and be more comfortable when you hold the Wing. Models with a generous volume such as our inflatable SROKA AIR foil board (in 6’4 or 6′) or our SKY RIDER (6’3) will guarantee you the best stability.

Wing wings may have some differences depending on the brand. Nevertheless, they are developed to be more or less light, manageable and efficient. The surface is very important. A small wing will be easy to handle, but will require some technique. The 4m or 5m wings offer the best compromise between manoeuvrability and power for beginners and advanced riders. We have reduced the weight of the Wing by placing only the essential handles, with a lightweight but reinforced construction in the key areas. We have also removed the windows. These aspects maximize performance, as well as sailing pleasure.

Remember that a very light wing is a fragile wing, because there are fewer seams and less reinforcement. So don’t go for lightness at all costs, it’s not the 300g saved that will make a big difference in performance. On the other hand, it will give you a product that is more durable over time.

As you can see, it is essential to choose your equipment correctly. Today, foils are modular and you can choose each element according to your needs. A perfectly adapted equipment will allow you to evolve while taking pleasure during your sessions. We advise you to get information from professionals or experienced practitioners.

Mistake 2: Choosing the wrong spot to get into the water or getting into the water incorrectly

Keep his instructions in mind:

  • Do not leave in an onshore wind
  • Do not go to a crowded beach
  • Do not start on water that is not deep enough (because the foil will touch the bottom)
  • Don’t go into the waves when you don’t have the level
  • On the beach, do not position the wing upwind of the foil as it may fly off the foil and tear.
  • Do not scrape or drop your equipment on rocks or the beach (risk of abrasion)

Mistake 3: Not paying attention to the positioning of your wing

First of all, never forget your leash or you will lose your kite. In addition, do not never inflate your wing to the wind of the foil as this could tear it, and do not over-inflate it as this could cause it to explode (follow the supplier’s instructions).

To progress, it is imperative to position your hands correctly on the wing. To do this, be sure to keep a height differential between the front (higher) and back (lower) hands, while giving the wing angle. Don’t try to force your wing to move, use the wind to help you tilt it or handle it more easily. When sailing, your front hand controls the positioning of the wing and the back hand generates power. If you have too much power, position the wing overhead to reduce the power (without pulling too hard on the back hand).

For our Wing SROKA wings, we have chosen to keep only what is necessary at hand with regard to the positioning of our handles. No superfluous items, these are placed in carefully considered locations. This makes it easy to get the hang of it, and makes your Wing all the more accessible and manageable.

Mistake 4: Wanting to take off too fast, without speed

A foil is an underwater plane, so to create lift you need to gain speed. The beginner tends to want to get out of the water too quickly without having enough speed. As a result, the foil does not have enough lift and stalls, resulting in a high risk of falling.

Here are two ways to take off:

  1. Like an A380 airbus, the foil will take a horizontal speed and slide. This horizontal speed will generate lift and raise the foil. This requires the least amount of abruptness possible on the supports so as not to disrupt the speed.
  2. Just like on an aircraft carrier, get as much speed as you can, and pitch up the foil by pressing on the tail. However, this technique is not suitable for beginners.

Mistake 5: Not pummeling

To gain power when sailing, it is not enough to stand on your board with your wing in your hands. Knowing how to foil dive will allow you to take off soonerIt is a great way to give power to your wing, and to evolve in Wing Foil while accelerating quickly.

Pumping is a combination of two movements: pumping on the wing and pumping on the board. To begin, start by pummeling the wing to get a little more speed and take off. In a second step, try to synchronize this pumping wing with the pumping of the board. The latter consists of a succession of lightening and pressing (alternating on the feet), combined with a sequence of deferred flexion and extension of the front and back leg,like a skateboard ollie!

The positioning of the feet is fundamental. Feel free to use front straps to help you if needed. The back foot should be just behind the mast (this will help you get the board out of the water), the distance between the feet should be approximately equal to the distance between the shoulders. You push hard on the back foot, lightening the weight on the front foot (bending the leg). When the board starts to come out of the water, press down on the front foot and push forward with the front foot to level the board and propel it forward. In this order: bend and extend the front knee. Pushforward with the front leg, in order to propel the foil forward and accelerate it with a weight transfer (forward). (Beginners tend to only press towards the feet).

The hardest part will be the synchronization of the pumping between the board and the wing. It is this coordination that will make the pumping successful. This technique will allow you to mechanically produce the energy needed for take-off. First of all, choose the right timing. The more speed you have, the easier the movement will be. Look away and engage your body forward.

Beginner’s mistake: performing a sequence of squats and extensions. Pumping is not just about pressing your legs against the board. It is necessary to push forward to create a forward inertia to “create” speed with your foil. Moreover, it is the good coordination between pressing and pushing forward with your legs that will allow you to be effective.

If you want to know the pumping technique in more detail, we refer you to our article on how to pump efficiently in foil.

Mistake 6: Bending over backwards

You must be at one with your foil. If your body leans forward, your centre of gravity also shifts forward. As a result, the force exerted on your foil will be out of alignment and will cause a certain imbalance. The foil and your body should therefore be an I and not an inverted L. Stay as straight as possible, bend your legs if you need to, but don’t lean your torso forward.

When sailing with the Wing in your hands, be careful not to bend too much. You should not be bent in half, but rather stand upright, slightly bent over your legs to keep your centre of gravity as high as possible above the foil. Standing up straight will give you more balance and prevent the wing from hitting the water. A wrong position could cause you to fall (unbalance).

Mistake 7: Sailing with a tangled leash

If you fall and get your leash tangled, untangle it well before setting off again. This will preserve your equipment and prevent you from hurting yourself.

Mistake 8: Losing balance in Downwind

Downwind sailing is about going with the wind, i.e. downwind. It can happen that when sailing, especially when going downwind, your board turns and goes downwind. The power in the wing will then decrease. Indeed, you can lose power in Downwind if you have no opposing force in the Wing (in a different direction) to balance you.

Pay attention to your supports, to be well centered on the board to be balanced. Stay upright on the board. The back foot should be very close to the mast while the front foot should be about the same distance apart. If you are too far in front of your mast, the board will nose dive, but if you are too far behind, you will climb too much.

The risk is that your board will spin around and you will lose control, but you will still be sailing at a high speed due to the downwind. Therefore, when riding a downwind, put a little pressure on your back leg to stabilize the board Keep in mind that the plate of the board should be as close to horizontal as possible. Do not hesitate to use your free hand to balance yourself if necessary.

If you want to regain speed with the wind in the wing, reposition the wing overhead and then grab both handles to gradually regain power. Press on the heels to steer perpendicular to the wind and then upwind. These two paces are the directions that will stabilise you in terms of balance.

Mistake 9: Not following safety instructions

For your own safety and that of others, it is essential to know the basic rules. A fall in a foil can be very painful, especially if you hit the foil. Wearing a helmet and an impact waistcoat is therefore highly recommended, especially for beginners who have never practiced foiling. Wearing a kite leash and a board leash is highly recommended in order not to lose your equipment and especially your wing in the wind. Check your equipment every time before you go in the water. You have a plane flying underwater so check and tighten your screws if necessary.

Start on flat water, sheltered from the swell. The ideal is Start on a beach that is a little closed, with a Side Shore or On Shore wind. This way, you won’t have any problems getting back to the shore. Also remember to choose areas with little traffic (no bathers nearby). As you progress, you will be moving more and more upwind and downwind, sometimes with a loss of visibility (with the Wing). Make sure there is no one downwind of you when you start sailing (to do this, pull the wing up over your head to see the water).

Mistake 10: Wanting to go too fast

To progress, patience and perseverance will be your best allies. Take your time, stay relaxed, practice and practice again! And above all, don’t rush, don’t skip steps. You have to be patient. Don’t try to jump if you don’t have good control of your WingFoil. You could injure yourself and damage your equipment.

Pay attention to the depth of the spot when arriving near your starting point. Sometimes we tend to forget that we have a foil, and we come to hit the beach or the seawall. This can propel you forward and damage your equipment (Foil or board).

The dream is to go sailing in the waves, but if you’re not 100% sure you’ve mastered everything, it’s better to be patient, instead of being crushed by a big wave.