Will it Float? A Beginner's Perspective on Wing Foil Board Size

Will it Float? A Beginner's Perspective on Wing Foil Board Size

How Many Liters of Volume Will Float Me?

One question on every new winger’s mind is how many liters do I need in my wing board? Will it float me? Can I get away with a smaller size? Can I get one board to learn on that is small enough that I will never want to upgrade?

105L Wing Foil Boards and Up

I’m an 185lb rider (add 5-10lbs with neoprene) that rides exclusively in freshwater. At 185lbs, what I have found is that a 120 liter board is buoyant enough to be very stable and easy to start on. Much larger than that and the board actually starts to become more difficult to control at my weight, both on the water and up on foil. Stepping down from the 120 liter board to the 105 liter size, the board is still very buoyant and floats me well but starts to become much less stable, especially while trying to get started. Once up and riding, the 105 liter board becomes easier to handle and turn in my transitions, but as a new rider the decreased stability can become a bit too much to handle in choppy waters.

95L Wing Foil Boards

At 95 liters I can still stand on the board to start, but being much less buoyant standing becomes very difficult and almost impossible if the water is not flat. Once on foil, there is a far greater handling compared to all board sizes mentioned previously. You start to get into the board size range that makes pumping a foil doable. By comparison, transitions become effortless. However, taking off from the water is a struggle until you are able to effectively pump the wing or are riding very overpowered. I would say starting at this size would put you around 5-10 hours behind the learning curve if you are riding in average wind conditions.

85L Wing Foil Boards

Moving down another 10L to the 85 liter size and we have a board that is almost impossible to stand on while slogging through the water. Once on foil, the performance benefits are slightly better than that of a 95 liter board. Easier transitions, wave riding becomes a bit easier, and you are finally on a board size that you feel comfortable pumping. Overall, I would consider the 85 liter size the start of the performance boards at my weight. I would not hop on an 85 liter board until you have nailed transitions and can pump up onto foil with just a few wing pumps and you have flat water.

75L Wing Foil Boards

At 75 liters I would consider this a true performance size board. It starts to submerge under my 185lb frame and I need to start it on my knees until the point where the board is starting to plane or just about to plane out. While kneeling on the board it is very unstable and difficult to balance on even in flat water. While up on foil the boards handling is truly superior to any of the larger sizes. Carving, pumping and transitions start to feel more natural again for anyone who has previous foil experience.

Board Volume Vs. Your Time

Quite possibly one of the biggest factors people don’t talk about when getting sized up for a board is how many hours they have to learn the sport. If you are going out and riding every day the wind is blowing and can get out 5 times in a week, then adding 5 hours to your learning curve is just a week’s worth of progression. However, if you just ride on the weekends and its not windy every single weekend you have a free day then 5 hours of learning could mean your entire summer.

So, what size is the best size to start with? That depends on a lot of factors. Weight, wind conditions, water conditions, previous experience, physical ability…In general, most people in the 185lb category should be starting with something in the 105-120 liter range. Anything smaller than that and you are tacking on quite a bit of time to the learning curve. Anything larger than that and you are getting a board that you will quickly outgrow. Consider all factors when choosing your board size and, as always, consult the experts at MACkite if you need help making that decision. We have an obscene amount of learning experience amongst all the staff at the shop.

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22nd Mar 2022 Ryan Hooker

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