Choosing Your First Wing Foiling Wing
Finding the right kit is imperative to a successful wing foiling discovery. You want to make sure the equipment is supporting you, not hindering you; without suitable gear, you’ll only make the learning process more difficult for yourself.
Unsurprisingly, the wing is a vital part of wing foiling. It is used to harness the wind’s power to propel you through the water and air. However, selecting the wrong wing early in your wing foiling discovery can cause a few problems.
The key things you need to consider when choosing your first wing are:
As with most wing foiling equipment, when starting out size is very important. Bigger isn’t better when it comes to choosing your wing. If it is too big, it is easier for the wing tips to dip into the water. However, if you go too small, you won’t be able to harness enough power to keep you going.
Making sure you are able to control the wing is a priority otherwise, you will make the learning process harder for yourself. It is important to start learning in fair wind conditions to ensure a smooth wing foiling discovery; we recommend aiming for around 15-20 knots. For someone under 70kg, the perfect starter wing size should be around 4 metres. If you are over 70kg, we would recommend sizing up to around 5 metres. As with most wing foiling equipment, once you are more comfortable in the water and controlling the wing, you can look at sizing up accordingly.
With a range of size options, our best discoverer-friendly wing would be the SCORE rigid handles. Each size has been specifically designed to provide both great power, for starts and upwind performance, and uncompromised manoeuvrability.
For the smaller rider or a grom, we would recommend our SPIN wing! The compact shape and relatively short wingspan (low aspect ratio) help to avoid touching the water with the wing tips.
Different grip types are becoming increasingly popular across the wing foiling world, with the current options being a boom or handles. Each handle type has its pros and cons, and it really comes down to personal preference when choosing your wing.
If you are transitioning from windsurfing, you may find a boom a more familiar option. A boom is a solid bar that runs directly down the central strut and gives you more flexibility as to where you hold the wing. The handling options are endless when using a boom, allowing you to grip the wing with a single hand but still keep control. They are great for a more ambitious discoverer or someone looking to level up their riding.
Our riders love the TOP SPIN boom-controlled wing from ENSIS. We developed it alongside our team rider Balz Muller, who called it “a powerful, easy-to-control dancing partner that catches you with its playfulness and spinnability”. He added, “I‘m super happy we could develop my dream wing.”
The downside to a boom grip wing is that it can make the wing heavier. Wing foiling can be demanding on the upper body, and if you are new to the sport or perhaps lack shoulder strength, handle grips might be a good solution for you. The majority of wings on the market use handles. These handles are positioned to provide comfort and performance.
Handles make the wing lighter, more compact, and easier to manoeuvre—all of which are ideal for a discoverer. Typically with a narrower design, riders often find that handles are a more comfortable grip over longer periods of time. However, static handles take away the ability to slide your hands through the boom, giving you more freedom of placement to control the wing’s power.
If you are looking for a wing with fabric handles, then our SPIN would be the best fit for you. With four different positioned handles, it provides a little more freedom for your grip positioning.
If you think you’d prefer solid handles, our SCORE rigid handles offer exactly what you need. They provide a firm and ergonomic grip for direct steering and extended sessions. Our team rider Michi Naf loves the SCORE rigid handles. He noted, “This SCORE keeps you going in light and strong winds and has an incredible forward lift. The new stiff frame and the rigid handles make you feel one with the wing and give you maximum performance.”
A wing with windows gives you increased visibility while riding, particularly if the wing is positioned within your sight line. As a discoverer getting used to being on the water and around other wing foilers, a wing with windows may help you avoid any accidents or collisions.
The windows are usually made of clear and flexible plastic that allows you to see through. However, the plastic windows can sometimes become a little blurry with the addition of water, so please do not become complacent when riding in busy areas. It is also worth noting that a wing with windows needs to be stored in a more delicate and particular way to avoid damaging them.
Our riders can’t get enough of our SCORE Limited Edition wing. Built with an X-PLY canopy, this wing is more durable and rigid than other wings, in addition to being mostly transparent. Good for the ambitious discoverer all the way up to expert riders, our team rider Joshua Pretorius noted, “The SCORE Limited Edition is fantastic to take into the surf. While flagging the wing and riding waves it is the most stable wing I’ve used. The X-PLY material is tough, giving me peace of mind that my wing is durable and can take a tumble.”
Wing foiling location
One of the best things about wing foiling is that you don’t need swell. In fact, you don’t even need the sea! As we can’t control the weather, making sure you have the right equipment for your surroundings will make your wing foiling discovery adventure considerably easier.
If you are an inland wing foiler and your regular spot is going to be on a lake, then you may not have the same wind conditions as those on the coast. In lower wind conditions, you will need a wing that easily harnesses any amount of wind to ensure you can get up and going. A larger wing will undoubtedly capture the wind easier, however, you need to make sure that you are still able to keep control. Look for a wing with a stiff frame and high canopy tension as these will help provide power in low winds without the need to get a larger wing.
Our riders are particularly fond of the SCORE rigid handles when it comes to calmer days on the water. Devin Hauser observed, “It’s just amazing how much power this wing develops and yet the handling is easy. The control is excellent, especially in manoeuvres. Smooth and comfortable to fly, the SCORE is perfect for a chill day on the water.”
The right wind conditions are imperative to a smooth wing foiling experience. A good wing strength for a wing foiling discoverer is around 15-20 knots (17mph – 23mph). If you are heading out on the sea then the ideal wind direction would be cross-shore, which blows parallel to the shoreline. Offshore winds can be a risk for a newbie, as it can be quite difficult to get back into shore if you’re riding into the wind. Likewise, onshore winds can be challenging as you’ll find yourself constantly being pushed into the shore.
We recently caught up with Joshua from South Africa who has recently started riding with ENSIS and is a great asset to the team. We asked Joshua what their favourite thing is about ENSIS wings:
What is your favourite ENSIS wing?
The SCORE Limited Edition.
Why is it your favourite?
For a start, it looks crazy on the water! It is super stiff and highly responsive, I like trying to push top speeds, jumping and being in the waves and it has been able to handle everything I’ve thrown at it. It is also really tough in the ocean.
What conditions do you usually ride in?
As strong as reasonably possible!
What is your favourite thing about being part of the ENSIS team?
Being around other crazy wing foiling enthusiasts all determined to push you and the sport further.
The ENSIS team are experts in all things wing foiling, with heaps of knowledge and practical experience to impart. If you are looking to start your wing foiling adventure, we would be more than happy to guide you on your way. We have retailers across the globe that stock a range of ENSIS products and are ready to bring wing foiling to your doorstep.
If you’d like to find out more about any of the products on our site or find an ENSIS retailer near you, please don’t hesitate to get in contact today!