The winter of 2019
marks the first year of the new sport of Wing Foiling. There’s plenty of names still begin thrown about; Wind Wing, Hand Wing, Foil Wing, Kite Hand Wing, Wing Surfer, Wing A Ding, Sunbrella and some that shouldn’t be repeated. But one thing is certain Maui Hawaii may be considered the epicenter of the new sport. With its predictable trade winds and nice climate, it's no wonder Maui has been the wind sports capital since windsurfing became mainstream in the ’80s.
Inflatable Wing Foiling prototypes began appearing in 2011 separately both Ken Winner and Tony Logosz began building prototypes of early wings but not until the evolution of the Foil did the current inflatable Wing become a useful source of power. Foiling is far more efficient once engaged and combining this with the wing became the perfect match.
The Foil came from the ‘Strapped Crew’ on Maui; Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Mark Angulo, Pete Cabrinha, Darrick Doerner, Brett Lickle, Rush Randle and Mike Waltze when they began towing each other into Jaws. Once the tools were there Kai Lenny popularized the foil. He showed us what could be done in only a way Kai could. In 2019 we've seen Kai, Titouan, Jeffery, and others show us where the wing could go.
There are several styles of winging I'm familiar with Freeride, Surf, and Downwind. Each has their skillset and reason to select a type of Wing.
Freeride Wing Foiling
This is the most common wing foiling without a set course. Foiling BAF, You may be doing more switch stance, toe side, jumps, and bumps..tricks
Surf Wing Foiling
This discipline is well suited for Wing foiling. Many people are familiar with SUP Foiling and here on Maui when the wind picks up you just exchange the paddle for the wing. You can ride a wave-powered up or use the wing to get you out to ride the wave depowered. Ozone and F-One work well at luffing the wing and you are riding the swell energy.
Downwind Wing Foiling
Another aspect of the Wing is Downwind, Downwing, whatever you want to call it. Many elite SUP Foilers do it with a paddle but the wing opens it up to a much larger group. Not without its challenges you need to organize a shuttle and be prepared for the event of equipment or rider malfunction. I’ve had my wing deflate 1/2 way down a Maliko run and holding the half-inflated bag of material is not ideal it is possible to still get on foil de-inflated, always go with a partner.
I’ll take you through some visuals of what people are riding and who they are.
©2019 Dan Taylor Destination360. Rider Alex Aguera of Go Foil. He riding a custom Aguera board, Go Foil GL, and Ozone WASP V1 4m wing.
©2019 Dan Taylor Destination360. Rider: Austin Kalama with Kalama Performance. He riding a Kalama board, Go Foil GL, and Ozone WASP V1 4m wing.
©2019 Dan Taylor Destination360. Rider: Sky Solbach . He’s riding a custom designed board, Foil probably Fanatic, Duotone 3 or 4m wing.
©2019 Dan Taylor Destination360. A flock of wings at Kanaha Beach in Maui. Known Riders: Karla Aguera, Austin Kalama .
How to Wing Foil / First time Wing Foiler —
begin with a few Youtube videos, Go to the beach and talk to people, or take a lesson. Lessons will get you up in no time if you are proficient at similar sports. Can you foil already? or SUP, kite, windsurf, snowboard. All this knowledge helps I’ve seen people start with only SUP learn to Foil and Wing in one summer. Others with multiple skills are up and winging in a couple of hours.
Looking for Wingfoil Lesson in Maui?
There's no better person or company to speak with than Alan Cadiz at HST. Expect to spend $200–300 on lessons and most people will be flying like a butterfly.