Welcome to Winging
Congratulations on taking the plunge, and welcome to winging! We’re super excited to help you rock this new sport, and we’ve created this basic guide to start the process.
One of the best ways to get started is Wing Surfing. This will use an inflatable hand wing to propel you along the water on a stand-up paddleboard or windsurf board. You can turn any board into a wing surfing rig with a Slingshot SUPwinder or opt for a wing surfing board with an already integrated fin keel.
Inflatable wings come in all shapes and sizes, with windows or no windows, handles, or mini-booms. Make sure to follow MACkite Knowledge Center, where we explore those differences in greater depth. However, if you’re reading this, you’ve likely already made a decision, and you’re itching to get started.
*Many wings come with a wrist leash, but not all. We recommend inflating your wing at home before taking it out on the water. This allows you to ensure you have the proper pump fitting, attach your leash, and get a sense of how it handles in your hands.
As a new rider, it’s important to have the right size board for stability and plane ability. Most riders will be best served by a board with roughly their weight in kilograms plus 15-20L (lbs/2.2=KG). Riders with copious amounts of prerequisite experience will find they are best suited by a board at least their weight in kilograms, ideally, +10L for most models. Winds of 15-22kn without the perils of huge chop, waves, currents, and massive gusts are best for learning the sport of wingfoiling.
For your first wing foiling foil, you’ll want to size it appropriately to ride in moderate winds, at slower board speeds, and provide adequate stability. That allows for the easiest learning experience and will become your “lightwind foil” as you progress. Wind speed, water conditions, and weight affect what foil you should ride.
A Wings Aspect Ratio is another key part of your winging experience.
- Beginner Friendly - Low Aspect Ratio (AR) Wings: Large thick wings from front to back with a smaller wing span provide more lift at slower speeds, remain on foil at slower speeds, and are easier to carve.
- Beginner/Intermediate/Advance - Mid-Aspect Ratio Wings: Mid-thick wings from front to back with a longer wing span provide a faster yet stable foil with less drag than a low-aspect foil.
- Advanced -High Aspect Ratio Wings: Thinner wings from front to back with the largest wing span provide increased glide and top-end speed.
- URL to Aspect Ratio Guidelines
Another consideration in choosing a foil should be its modularity and availability of quality upgrades as you progress. This will save money and frustration in the long run. Ideally, your foil will at least have options for smaller, faster wings as you progress to advanced riding and higher winds. Compatible options for stabilizers, fuselages, and carbon masts are also a bonus but less critical.
Mast size is another important factor in choosing your first wing foil. Water depth, wingspan, board width, riding speed, and riding style come into play with mast height. The shortest recommended mast would be 70cm. Most riders are best suited with 75-85cm masts with their first foil. 75-85cm mast provides enough margin for error in flight height, room to turn without breaching/touching down, and is still short enough to recover on the board after a breach at slow speeds.
Footstraps, harness line and harness, foil covers (included in some foil packages), and board bag (not included with any board purchases unless specifically noted).
Footstraps are NOT suggested for new riders. Straps present an additional risk to your body by locking you to the board, and new riders need to have a clear deck to move their feet as they progress. We do not suggest riding straps on boards over 90L since they have a lot of torque and can cause more serious injury. Once you are ready to ride smaller boards, footstraps can provide you with a little more leverage over wider foils and the ability to jump.
Harnesses and Harness Lines are NOT for beginner riders, but once you’re comfortable riding long distances, a harness and harness line can give you a more ergonomic ride, less fatigue, better upwind, and the ability to ride with more power in your wing.
Whether you are a world traveler or a local weekend warrior, a good bag can help save you the frustration of premature wear and unnecessary repairs.
- Day bags are light, packable, and padded for minor scratches and impacts while providing protection from overheating.
- Travel bags have robust materials, carry more gear, may have wheels to make it easy to pull long distances, and additional padding for airlines, trains, and shipping.
We suggest sizing your travel bag 5-7” inches long and 3-4” inches wider than your largest board to allow for additional padding.
That should cover the basics! Make sure to visit MACkite Knowledge Center for additional resources on getting started and progressing.
We recommend adding a flotation vest, helmet, and proper wing clothing (rashguard, wetsuit) to keep you safe on the water.
Let us know if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you on the water.