After several revolutions in the world of board sports and equipment in general, the foil is now arriving on the practice wing foil.
It is now one of the most accessible ways to try foiling. However, it is always difficult to choose the right wing foil package for you. Between the different front wing surfaces, the stabilizers or the board bedding, you can quickly get lost. Through this article and the more detailed webinar that you will find at the end, we guide you to select your wing foil pack according to your practice, desire and level!
Today, in the wing foil range and whatever the brand, we can often find two distinct programs, namely the high aspect ratio wings(Flyer range at AFS) and the carving/wave wings(Carver range at AFS). These two programs are completely different in feel and in the way they navigate. It would be a mistake to think that one is better than another.
A round wing, such as a Carver, will cause the foil to pivot on its axis. Naturally, these are wings that want to go one way or the other. To compensate for this lack of support that we might have compared to a straighter wing, we have a significant chord. This is a wing where you can afford to be much less dynamic, to pounce less. This is one of the advantages of starting out.
A high aspect ratio wing will have less chord. It is a wing that needs to express itself in high revs, and therefore at high speeds. The support is more forward on the foil. This is also interesting for everything that is dynamic and therefore pumping.
For a beginner, choosing his wing foil pack, we will rather advise to play the card of the tolerance and the versatility of a carver which will really help, tolerate, and support the rider.
The important thing to equip yourself with a wing foil is above all the level. When you are a beginner you should not hesitate to put some surface in front wing size. This will bring stability and low speed flight.
The key to success for a beginner is to fly as fast as possible and therefore at low speed.
We often get the question, “I have an f-one gravity in 1700 is it equivalent to your AFS Carver 1700.” The answer is no. Indeed, there are several parameters that come into play to measure the lift. There is of course the surface of the wing but also the thickness of the profile. A wing that is going to be very thick and rather round at the front will be more powerful than a thin wing. Moreover, the weight is an important parameter, the lighter it is the faster it takes off.
The richness of the foil is the possibility of adjusting several parameters and factors that can really modify the behavior of a foil. The stabilizer is one of them.
A large stabilizer at the rear will provide lift. That is, it will really help you get started. It will also provide lateral stability thanks to its span.
The more we reduce the size of the stabilizer, the less drag we will have, and therefore the more lightness, speed and especially manoeuvrability we will have.
A stabilizer that will be less wide at the back will facilitate the pivot, the carving. Be careful when choosing a wing foil pack, especially when you are a beginner, not to go too low on the stabilizer surface. Indeed, this can certainly bring dynamism but also instability when you start.
Today, in our range, we advocate 3 sizes: 72 cm, 82 cm and 92 cm.
A 92 cm mast will be fine in heavy seas as well as at high speeds like windsurfing. Indeed, the height allows to delay the moment when the board will touch the water or the moment when the foil will leave the water. The length of the mast is a kind of damper.
On the other hand, the 72 cm mast leaves less room for manoeuvre but is essential for someone who is going to play in the waves. The waves, at some point, end where there is no water. These gained centimeters allow to avoid rubbing against sandbanks or rocks…
The 82 cm mast is a good compromise between the advantages and disadvantages of the other two lengths.
Before choosing, it is important to ask yourself what you want to do and on which spot you will practice.
Today we can find different designs of wings like on foils. A slender wing will be more stable while a compact wing with a lot of boom will be much more maneuverable.
The first generation of wings were rather slender compared to what is done now. A 5m, a year ago, really came in contact with the water, overflowed the board when we flew. That’s why all brands have moved towards more compact shapes now.
Absolute priority to a big foil wing! There is one key factor for going on the schedule, and that is weight. The big wing is going to be heavier so in the end, won’t help
to take off early. On the other hand this wing, once in the air, will generate more power. It will take more wind and, therefore, it will allow a big guy to go faster.
So the question to ask is: do I want to take off fast and fly, have fun at low speed? Or do I want performance? If I want to go fast in very little wind, I can load up with canvas but in transitions it will be bulky and heavy.
However, if we don’t have enough speed to stay airborne, and a large wing area, it will fall apart faster. With a large wing, the tips will start to come into contact with the water, and thus create imbalances.
Today, we can see some brands that make wings with transparent windows. The biggest risk is the ageing of the PVC that is used. Folds age poorly, especially when the temperature changes. This PVC tends to crack and then open. However, a window can clearly be an advantage from a visibility point of view.
Without a window, it’s a style of sailing, you have to get used to lifting your wing, looking before you turn.
When you are a beginner, a bigger wing like a 5m2, is a definite advantage because it will be more “quiet” than a 3 or 4mé. A 5m2 offers real support, and more weight when inflated with the wind which really stabilizes the sailing. It allows you to concentrate on your support. A 4 m2 boat will require more wind, often implying a rougher water, so not always ideal when learning.
The length of the shape will soften the foil. It’s a bigger lever arm and therefore helps with stability. A longer board will slide better in archimedean than a short one. It will be a real assistance to the takeoff.
On a short board, the lack of lift and glide, you have to compensate with a little more wind and a bigger kite to generate a lot of power to be able to take off. On a very short board, the archimedian glide will push more water. The board has less ability to slide as a longer board can have. You need to be able to have the power to immediately get up on the foil and take off.
The bigger the board is, the more it will float. We often advise to choose a wing foil pack, a board that is +25/30 liters compared to its own weight. So a 70 kg rider can choose a 95 litre board. This will bring stability, and a very quick start to the schedule.
A board when it starts, it is placed on the water. In terms of shape, the flat will immediately transmit the best support. However, the dish when it slips, will stick to the water. That’s why the more a board glides, the faster it goes, the more concaves are worked. A simple concave will lay the board like on a catamaran. The two rails of the board are placed on the water. The concave will thus stabilize the board enormously when it stops and glides. A big concave is very stable, but the sensations can be aseptic since it dampens and sticks a little to the water. We then work on double concaves. They will re-tension the scoop on two different lines that allow the float to accelerate.
On our Fly wing foil board range, we are flat on the back at the foil level to take off quickly. On the front we have a double concave.
So once the board is in the air, if it ever touches the water again, the double concave will make the board accelerate so that it doesn’t stick to the water
What are the weather conditions for wing foil sailing? Before sailing, it is important to check the weather conditions and observe the spot. We will