As Jesse shows in this video, being overly optimistic and overconfident is a common failure of experienced foilers and windsport enthusiasts when getting into wingfoiling. It leads to frustration, bad gear choices, and unnecessary difficulty in this new sport. I’ve heard countless similar stories from customers and pro riders alike. Slingshot pro rider and designer Brandon Scheid hated winging at first, but now he's hooked. That’s partially why it’s so exciting: everyone has to start at square one. Of course, some progress faster than others, but it’s always humbling those first few sessions. I encourage everyone to make realistic gear choices, celebrate the small progresses, and enjoy the process. If you can get over your ego, it’s a lot of fun learning.
Personally, I know I was completely overconfident. I had been kite and surf foiling for a number of years and I’d windsurfed with some success before so I was sure I’d be up and riding in a half hour. The first 2-3 sessions didn’t go well. I was on a much larger board and foil than I was accustomed to and my frustration compounded as I felt like I was failing at this new sport. Looking back, I think two things were slowing my learning curve.
First, I was expecting too much from the conditions. The wind was on the lighter side for learning and the downwind current only made that worse. Secondly, I was so frustrated I kept making the same mistakes rather than slowing down and evaluating what was going right and wrong. I could have taxied around with some success and learned a lot but I was trying so hard to get flying and riding that I was just getting exhausted rather than learning at a slow pace.
Once I slowed down and got the basics, I progressed with far more success. The first session I had enough wind for a new rider to get up and foil, I had immediate success, albeit with a bit of floundering on the unfamiliar large board and foil. Getting out on those less ideal days helped me get the foundation so once I got presented with the right conditions, I could succeed with ease.
I couldn’t imagine learning on the wrong gear. You’d have so many struggles and it’d be impossible to tell if you were doing something incorrect or if it’s just the gear’s effect on your experience. Second only to the wind, your gear will dictate your success in this sport. Feel free to reach out to us anytime via phone, online chat, email and we’d be glad to suggest the right gear for your personal situation. It’s not just about buying large, but buying large enough to progress and small enough to appreciate your gear for the long haul.