In the scorching summer weather, besides staying in air-conditioned places, many people are also drawn to the vast ocean to participate in various water sports and feel the natural sea breeze and cool seawater. When it comes to water sports, windsurfing has been a relatively unpopular choice compared to activities such as diving, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding over the past decade. Except for wakesurfing, the editor has hardly heard of any friends who want to try windsurfing or wing foiling. Why is windsurfing not as attractive to everyone?
One of the most common rumors (raised by both men and women) is the fear factor of windsurfing. The difficulty level looks high, and in reality, it requires a lot of balance, skill, and physical fitness. Compared to kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and diving, there is no shortcut to mastering windsurfing, which becomes a reason why many people hesitate to try it.
In 2018-2019, a similar water sport called “wing foiling” was introduced to Hong Kong. Wing foiling is a water sport that uses a wind wing and a hydrofoil board for surfing. The wind wing is not connected to the board, and the surfer needs to stand on the board with both feet fixed and control the inflatable wind wing with both hands to glide on the water surface with the help of wind power. This introduction has also sparked renewed interest from many Hong Kong people in windsurfing and surfing activities. Even former windsurfing athlete Chan Hei Man, after retiring, switched to the newly added wing foiling event in the 2nd World Beach Games this year!
Wing Foiling: When Will We “Fly on the Sea?”
To achieve success, it’s never something that can be done in just a few days. As a daring woman, the most important thing is to have the courage to constantly try new things and live a “trial and error” life. I turn my experiences into strengths and wisdom to equip myself. Although “wing foiling” is a water sport that takes a long time to practice before you can get the hang of it, once you get started, it can be addictive. You’ll start to want to go faster, jump higher, and even try some extreme aerial tricks! Then every holiday will be spent on the sea, and playing water sports doesn’t have to follow the mainstream. As long as you dare, you can do it!
If you feel trapped and restricted by your 9-to-5 job and that your life and interests seem stagnant, discovering a new hobby can definitely lift your spirits. Summer is the perfect time to learn “wing foiling” and prove your courage and ambition while increasing your dopamine levels and happiness.
“Ready to try a new water sport? Why not try the latest, coolest, and most niche one? Broaden your horizons and challenge yourself with these unique and exciting activities. Who knows, you may find your new favorite hobby!”Editor
Swiss wing foiling athlete Eva Wyss shared that “almost half of the wing foiling athletes in Switzerland are women. This water sport feels very light, like a butterfly dancing on the surface of the water.” Your job may make you feel like you’ve lost your freedom, but on the vast sea, you are the captain of your own ship!
The difference between windsurfing and wing foiling
Windsurfing and wing foiling are both water sports that utilize the wind’s power to move a board across the water. Although the principles are similar, the techniques and gameplay are quite different. Wing foiling is generally more flexible than windsurfing. For beginners, one noticeable difference is that the windsurfing rig is relatively heavy, while the inflatable wing used in wing foiling is much lighter. This makes it easier for beginners, especially women who may have weaker arm muscles, to learn and get started.
The concept of wing foiling was first developed by American aeronautical engineer Jim Drake and windsurfing enthusiast Ulrich Stanciu in 1981. They used windsurfing boards and a wing supported by a frame, with the wing connected to the board by a short mast.
Today’s popular wing foiling uses an inflatable wing as the power source. In addition to using a windsurfing board during the learning phase, users can also advance to using a hydrofoil board once they have mastered controlling the wing. Users typically stand on either a windsurfing or hydrofoil board, holding onto handles on the wing and using wind power to glide across the water’s surface.
Since the current wing and board setups for wing foiling and windsurfing are not physically connected, users need to effectively use their body to transfer the power generated by the wing through their trunk and onto the board beneath their feet, in addition to mastering control of the wing.
When using a hydrofoil board, users can generate lift by accelerating the wing and achieving an appropriate forward speed. The water wing installed on the bottom of the board accelerates through the fluid, producing lift and lifting the user and equipment off the water’s surface.
By properly adjusting weight distribution and maintaining a stable speed, the water wing will continue to glide through the fluid, generating lift and allowing users to experience the sensation of flying across the water’s surface.
Experience the excitement of flying over the sea with wing foiling
Wing foiling may be a relatively new water sport in Hong Kong, but there are already numerous professional courses and coaches available, such as the Hong Kong Kiteboarding School and the Blue Sky Sports Club, offering specialized wing foiling courses.
During the first 45 minutes of instruction, coaches explain the basic concepts of wing foiling, including utilizing beginner boards, operating the wing, and navigation theory. They also provide demonstrations of the assembly process on land and allow students to practice.
After this initial instruction, students spend 75 minutes experiencing the thrill of wing foiling on the water, soaring across the waves while taking in the stunning scenery of Lantau Island.
To learn more about the development and latest news of wing foiling in Hong Kong, you can follow the social media platforms of the non-profit organization “Hong Kong Wing Foil Association” established on May 1, 2021. We believe that you will be inspired to try it out and join us in pushing past limits and unlocking new achievements!
Photo Source：www.wingfoilworldtour.com 、IG@_zenobiazzz
Data Source：Windsurfing Association of Hong Kong, China、Ensis.surf、www.wingfoilworldtour.com、IG@wingfoiling.hk