What to Expect from a Wing Foiling Lesson

Instructor giving lesson on wing foiling
Man on beach with wing foil board, wing and foil.

If you want to learn to wing foil but don’t know where to begin, then signing up for a wing foiling lesson would be a great first step. While wing foiling is incredibly fun, there are aspects of the sport that you need to grasp in order to start riding confidently. This is why ENSIS have partnered with wing foiling schools internationally, bringing the joy of the sport to every corner of the world. 

Although accessible, wing foiling is unlikely to be mastered in a day (unless you’re a water sports veteran!), and a reputable instructor is a great starting point to fast-track your base knowledge and safety awareness.

Taking a lesson as a wing foiling discoverer involves a comprehensive introduction to the equipment, techniques, and safety. The goal is to make you feel confident on the water by giving you plenty of knowledge in assessing weather conditions, the safety of your equipment, and knowing the best techniques to get your foiling journey underway.

Land-based Wing Foil Introduction

Before heading out onto the water, you’ll spend some time on land to get comfortable with the wing and practise the basic skills in a controlled environment, beginning with an explanation of all the equipment you will be using. This step is crucial for building confidence and ensuring you have a solid foundation before you face the additional challenge of balancing on the water.

woman on beach helping child with wing foiling wing


  • The Wing: 

You’ll learn about the different parts of the wing, including the leading edge, strut, handles and leash. The instructor will demonstrate how to inflate the wing properly and how to hold it to harness the wind. You’ll also be shown how to depower the wing by adjusting your grip and position.

  • The Foil and Board: 

You’ll become familiar with the board itself, and the all-important foil underneath. The instructor will explain how the foil works, passing through the water to create lift and allowing the board to rise above the water’s surface. 

Many schools will teach the first session without a foil on a large board designed for stability and fitted with a daggerboard, which prevents you from being blown too far downwind. If you have a strong background in water sports, the school may choose a spacious, buoyant beginner wing foiling board, complete with a discoverer-friendly foil like the Pacer that offers controllable lift at lower speeds. These boards offer fantastic stability, allowing you to concentrate on mastering wing control first.

Check out our ideal board for first steps.

  • Safety Gear: 

Safety is paramount, so you’ll be equipped with a helmet and a buoyancy aid and your instructor will explain the importance of each piece of gear and ensure it fits you properly. You’ll also learn about the leashes that connect you to the board and wing, which are crucial for staying attached to your equipment when you fall off.

You’ll get a step-by-step guide on setting up your equipment before heading out. This includes inflating the wing, attaching the foil, and safely carrying your equipment to the water’s edge. Proper setup and care extend the life of your equipment and create a safer wing foiling experience on the water.

Wind Conditions and Environment: 

Understanding the wind and your surroundings is key to safe and effective wing foiling. Your instructor will discuss how to read wind direction and speed and how to identify safe areas for launching and riding. They’ll also cover potential hazards, such as obstacles and other water users, and how to avoid them.

Instructor on the beach giving a wing foiling tutorial

Handling the Wing: 

You’ll start by learning how to hold and manoeuvre the wing properly. The instructor will show you the correct way to grip the handles and position the wing relative to the wind. You’ll practise moving the wing through different positions, such as neutral (where the wing has minimal power) and powered (where the wing is catching the wind and generating force). This practice helps you understand how to control the wing’s power and direction.

  • Generating Power:

Next, you’ll learn how to generate power with the wing by positioning it in the wind effectively. The instructor will demonstrate how to angle the wing to maximise lift and propulsion, as well as how to adjust your stance and grip to control the amount of power you’re harnessing. You’ll get a feel for how small adjustments can significantly affect your control and speed.

  • Steering and Turning:

You’ll practise steering with the wing to change direction. The instructor will guide you on how to shift your weight and angle the wing to initiate turns. You’ll practise moving the wing from one side of your body to the other and understand how these movements translate to changing direction, once you’re on the water.

  • Neutral Position and Safety: 

Learning how to place the wing in a neutral position is essential for safety and control. The instructor will teach you how to quickly and effectively depower the wing by angling it into a neutral position. This skill is crucial for managing strong gusts of wind and for taking breaks without losing control.

  • Flipping the Wing: 

You’ll also practise flipping the wing over, a necessary skill for when the wing lands upside down on the water. The instructor will show you the proper technique to flip the wing without losing control or getting your leashes tangled.

Take a look at some of our best-selling wings here.

Simulating Water Conditions:

To prepare you for the water, you’ll simulate getting on the board while still on land. This includes positioning yourself on the board, standing up from a kneeling position, and balancing while holding the wing. The instructor might also use a balance board or other equipment to mimic the instability of being on the water.

While you might be desperate to get started, this ground training session is designed to make you feel comfortable with the wing and the basic movements required for wing foiling. By practising on land first, you’ll be better prepared to make your first on-water experience more enjoyable and less daunting.

Getting on the water

Two people entering the sea through waves, carrying their wing foiling gear

Basic Techniques:

Once you’re comfortable handling the wing on land, it’s time to transition to the water. You’ll often find instructors won’t use the foil until you are a little more confident and comfortable on the board, so while transitioning to being on the water, you can focus on your balance and positioning rather than worrying about the foil. A great board for discoverers who have progressed in their journey is the Ensis ROCK’N’ROLL, engineered for maximum control and manoeuvrability. 

Mounting the Board: 

Once you’re in the water, you’ll start by mounting the board and adopting a kneeling position. The instructor will demonstrate the correct technique to get onto the board without it tipping over, focusing on stability. Once steady and knelt on the board, they’ll show you how to raise the wing and engage it to start generating forward movement.

Beginner attempting to stand up on wing foiling board

Standing Up:

After you’re comfortable kneeling on the board, it’s time to try standing. This step is crucial and might take some practice. Your instructor will teach you how to use the wing for support as you stand up, shifting your weight gradually to maintain balance. 

They’ll emphasise the importance of keeping your knees slightly bent and your core engaged for stability. With both feet on the board and the wing in your hands, you can focus on using the wing to generate forward movement. Your instructor will guide you on the proper stance, including foot placement, body posture, and weight distribution. You’ll learn how to use the wing not only for propulsion but also as a balancing tool, adjusting it to help stabilise yourself on the board.

Controlling the Wing: 

Now that you’re standing and balanced, you can try basic wing control on the water. Practise moving the wing to steer and control your direction, making small adjustments to understand how the wing and board respond to your inputs. The instructor will cover wind principles and how to position the wing and your body to move in the desired direction. You’ll make small movements with the wing and shift your weight to navigate both upwind (towards the wind) and downwind (with the wind).

As you learn, the board has the tendency to drift downwind, which can result in the ‘walk of shame’! This is where the wingfoiler drifts away from their starting point and, inevitably, will need to carry their equipment back upwind to where they began on the beach. A key part of the discoverer’s progression is learning the knack of staying upwind, to avoid the lengthy walk. As you gain confidence, the focus will shift from maintaining balance and controlling the wing to staying upwind.

Next steps

If you progress quickly and conditions are favourable, you may get a brief introduction to using the foil. This involves learning how to shift your weight and control the board to lift out of the water and take your first flight. Some schools might run the foiling tuition towed behind a boat, isolating the two core skills of creating drive with the wing and creating lift with the foil, while other schools may choose to incorporate both together.

At the end of the wing foiling lesson, the instructor will provide feedback on your performance, highlighting areas for improvement and things you did well. You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions and discuss the next steps in your wing foiling journey. It is important to remember that even the professionals started somewhere, and it is rare that you’ll be up and riding seamlessly in one lesson. However, within a few sessions, you should find yourself making short flights and comfortably handling the wing. 

At ENSIS, we are committed to bringing wing foiling to everyone. Since we started, we have been working with wing foiling schools across the globe. Our schools are manned by skilled professional instructors who are ready to support and tutor all levels of wingfoilers, along with providing the required equipment for those who need it. Spanning six continents, there is a school for everyone; take a look at our school finder to find one near you. Our team is always ready to support you with any questions you may have. 

Silhouette of person standing on wing foiling board holding their wing

Contact Ensis at any time to find the best school for you.