How to choose the right equipment as a wing foiling discoverer?
Table of Contents
So, you’ve heard about wing foiling and you want to give it a try? We don’t blame you. But, if you need help figuring out where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Wing foiling (sometimes known as wing surfing) adds another dimension to wind-based watersports, by blurring the lines between windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you’re lacking swell and the air is still, wing foiling lets you still get out on the water and have some fun. So it’s absolutely no surprise that it’s taken the water sports community by storm.
However, we totally understand it can be daunting to take up a new sport. Working out where to begin and finding the right equipment and setup can be overwhelming with such a busy market. This is why our team at ENSIS are here to help you choose the right wing foiling equipment to get you out on the water in no time. Thankfully, a classic wing foiling rig is relatively simple and lightweight, so there is no fear of tangled strings and carrying tons of gear.
To get started, your required equipment comprises of four main items; a board, a wing, a foil, and your safety gear.
For those right at the beginning of their wing foiling adventure, volume is your friend. A board with a higher volume will be more buoyant than one with a lower volume, making it easier to stay upright and balanced. This allows you to direct your focus and energy to the other aspects of wing foiling, such as learning to control the wing, rather than just trying to stay on the board. A general rule of thumb when discovering wing foiling is to aim for a board around 30 – 40 litres of volume above the rider’s weight. For example, an 80kg rider would look for a board around 110-120L.
When it comes to choosing the correct board you may need to take into consideration which type: inflatable or hard? An inflatable board will by its very nature be a lot lighter and more portable while not sacrificing durability. A hard board will offer more rigidity and can handle rougher water conditions, is easier to repair if damaged, and will get you in the water quicker as there is no need to inflate your board. It is also important to remember that you will require a board leash which is not usually included when buying a board but nonetheless is a necessary purchase.
If you’re looking for a board with lots of buoyancy and a high volume, we recommend looking at our bigger sized ROCK’N’ROLL and ROCK’N’ROLL AIR boards. ENSIS wing foil boards are known for their stability. Thanks to the unique concave outline used on all ENSIS boards, ultimate stability and easy take offs are guaranteed.
As you develop your skills and balance, you will be able to progress to a smaller more manoeuvrable board. For those who are a little more experienced in water sports, perhaps a keen surfer or kitesurfer, you may be able to start on a smaller board as you’re already used to finding your balance on the water.
ENSIS recommends:If you’re more experienced on the water and looking for a more advanced wing foiling board, we recommend looking at the smaller sizes of our ENSIS ROCK’N’ROLL wing foil boards.
Unsurprisingly, the wings are an essential part of wing foiling, providing forward speed and lift. So, making sure you have the right set of wings is vital to discovering wing foiling. In the beginning, you may find it easier to work with a little more power to ensure steady propulsion. A larger wing will harness more windpower, allowing you to head out in calmer conditions but still get moving. Like the board, the size of the required wing also varies depending on the weight of the rider. The heavier the rider, the bigger the wing as they will need more power to get moving.
Similarly to obtaining a board, you will also have to consider a wing leash so that you don’t lose your wing or let it fly out of control. Fortunately, wing leashes are usually included so that you can enjoy the thrill of wing foiling safely.
ENSIS wings are all designed for easy transport and storage. In order to do this we have made sure all of our wings are inflatable and therefore lightweight. To enjoy the benefits of an ENSIS wing you will need a specific wing pump to ensure your wing is inflated to full capacity, providing optimal performance. Wing pumps are sold separately from the wings themselves but if you are unsure as to what the best option is for you, then please do not hesitate to contact us and an ENSIS team member will be happy to guide you.
If you’re looking for a wing, that is discoverer friendly, we recommend looking at our SCORE rigid handles wing. The ENSIS SCORE with rigid handles impresses with its easy handling and direct power. The perfect combination of stability, power and forward drive will get you flying before you know it.
Another consideration when looking for your first wing is your preferred grip. Some wings are built with a boom grip, while others are built with soft or rigid handles. If you’re experienced in windsurfing you may choose a boom as it feels familiar, however, it can cause the wing to be heavier. If you’re still a little unstable on the water, soft or rigid handles could be a safer option as they are less likely to hurt you if you wipe out.
If you would prefer to wingfoil with a wing built with a boom, then we recommend looking at our TOP SPIN wing. This high performance, ultimate responsive, compact wing is for all ambititous wing surfers aiming to spend their water time freeriding, freestyling and wave riding.
When trying to find the right foil, you’ll quickly find yourself swamped with different designs. The market is full of a range of different spans, surface areas, aspect ratios, winglets and stabilisers; each designed to produce a different performance. What you need to know is; foils are made up of three main components; the mast, the fuselage, and the wings (not to be confused with the wings mentioned above). You’ll often find that all the parts will be sold together, but are interchangeable with different sizes; allowing you to upgrade your foil as your foiling abilities progress.
When looking for your first foil, a taller mast is a good starting point. This gives you good height and keeps you from breaching the water. You will also want to look for a foil that doesn’t require loads of speed to get lift; allowing you to start foiling at a slower speed until you’re more confident. Try looking for a foil with a lower-end speed of around 10-12 km to get you started.
Although all our foils are good for the ambitious discoverer, if you’re just starting without watersports experience we recommend taking a look at our PACER Wing Foil range to get you out and foiling in no time. The ENSIS PACER offers the perfect combination of ease to ride and high performance. It gives a great passive lift and is an ideal blend of speed, control and stability.
For the more ambitious discoverer, or those who are looking for a little more playfulness and control in high speed; we recommend looking at our INFINITY Wing Foil range. The INFINITY offers the perfect mix of playfulness and control in all wind conditions to push your limits. You will end your session with a big smile on your face.
As with any sport, the safety of riders is imperative. Compared to other water-based sports, wing foiling comes with fewer safety concerns. There are no lines to worry about, like with kitesurfing; and you don’t have to find a decent swell to have fun, like surfing. However, although wing foiling is a relatively safe sport, it doesn’t come without its risks. This is why we recommend at least wearing a helmet while out on the water. This is something we are very passionate about and you’ll notice that even our professional team riders, who are at the top of their game, wear helmets.
When choosing the right helmet for you, it is worth considering the conditions you will be out in. For example, if you’ll be wing foiling in a sunny place, you may want to consider a helmet with a visor to help reduce glare. Likewise, if you’re going to be somewhere that is a little more choppy and windy, looking for a helmet with ear protection can make your experience much more enjoyable.
All of our helmets are designed to the highest safety standards, while not compromising on style. Our super lightweight designs are built with high-impact-resistant materials to ensure your safety in even the hardest wipe outs.
If you’re looking for a helmet with shock-absorbing technology, and a visor for those sunnier days, we recommend looking at our BALZ PRO Helmet; which also comes in a BALZ JUNIOR model so you can get the groms wing foiling with you.
If you’re looking for an ultra-lightweight helmet, with water-wicking technology and removable ear protection, then look no further than our DOUBLE SHELL Helmet.
Additional safety gear that you can find on the market are things such as foiling-specific impact vests; which add additional padding should you collide with the foil or board in the water, a leash for both your board and your wing; to stop them from getting swept away when you wipe out, and a wetsuit and boots; not only to keep you warm but to add another layer of padding should you collide with anything. We do recommend that you look at purchasing all that we have mentioned above, your safety is the most important thing, of course alongside having fun.
We may be a little biased, but we truly believe that wing foiling is one of the most exciting and exhilarating sports to date. However, we totally understand that starting out can be a little daunting.
Ensis equipment is built to last, with performance and safety at the forefront of all our designs. But, if we still haven’t persuaded you that it’s worth taking the plunge, take a look at what our team rider Michael Näf has to say about their journey with ENSIS and their set-up recommendations:
- Where do you usually ride, what are the conditions like?
Mostly I am wing foiling in Switzerland surrounded by mountains. During the summer we often have light thermal wind. In wintertime, the Föhn or Westwind can pick up to 6-8 ft and can transform the water into surfy conditions.
- How did you start wing foiling? What got you into the sport?
Before wing foiling went through the roof, I was windsurf foiling. That’s how I got to know foiling and was thrilled to find that I could have a lot of fun with very little wind. When I saw the very first wing on the water, I imagined the unlimited manoeuvres that can be done. The decision was made, I just had to learn this new sport. Every day there was and still is a new challenge learning new manoeuvres and tricks which makes this sport so incredible.
- What is your favourite gear setup for a wing foil beginner and discoverer?
A great board to discover wing foiling is the ENSIS TWIST 145 litre, the PACER 2000 foil and a long fuselage. For the wing, I recommend the ENSIS SCORE with soft handles which has a lot of power to get you going in light wind. With this setup, you will fly immediately and you will be infected by this sport.
For ambitious discoverers, I recommend the ENSIS ROCK’N’ROLL with a volume of 10 to 20 litres more than your own body weight. The ideal foil would be the ENSIS INFINITY foil 1100 or 1400 depending on the rider’s weight. Considering the right wing – if you are searching for a wing that is easy to handle and agile, then I recommend the ENSIS SPIN. If you are searching for a wing that is easy to handle and direct power, I recommend the ENSIS SCORE rigid handles.
- What do you love most about ENSIS gear? What is your personal favourite set-up?
ENSIS Wings fit perfectly to my style because I can use them for freestyling in light and strong wind as well as for surfing in wave conditions. For me, no other wing has such a direct response, easy manoeuvrability and balanced shape as the ENSIS wing range.
My favourite set-up is the ENSIS ROCK’N’ROLL 47l with the ENSIS INFINITY 880 foil and the purple 3.6 ENSIS TOP SPIN.