Which technique for downwind in wing foil ?
The downwind is a practice which consists in surfing the swell with the wind in the back. She asks to be on her side, to shoot down and let herself slide with the wind. But before venturing into a downwind, it is necessary to master the practice and to prepare well to avoid bad surprises.
How to prepare your downwind in wing foil ?
The first thing to do when you go on a long distance downwind is to tell your family and friends where you are going, at what time and where you are going. Do not hesitate to inform the CROSS (Regional Rescue and Surveillance Centre).
In terms of equipment, we will present you with the ideal and highly recommended equipment.
- VHF. It is a high frequency marine radio that will allow you to communicate with the shore or with other people on the water.
- The Secumar type belt. It is a belt that contains a life jacket that works with a CO2 cartridge and a distress flare.
- Fluorescent lycra. It allows you to be seen by the coast, by the friends who sail with you and by the boats around.
- The impact vest. Essential, it is put under the lycra and in case of bad handling and fall, it will absorb the shock.
- The helmet. He is also indispensable, no need to explain why!
All of this equipment is imposing but important for your safety. Not to be overlooked!
The navigation equipment
Then the material to choose on a long downwind is important. Choose a material that carries, that slides well and that is nervous enough for pumping. Downwind is all about relaunching, connecting bumps, so you need the right equipment. Choose well and remember to check everything before you start: board, foil, wing!
How to sail downwind?
How to read the water in downwind ?
When you go surfing, you’ll be able to carve and look for acceleration. But for that, reading the water is very important: you have to spot the orientation, the hollow zones, the gliding zones, the revival zones.
As soon as the swell softens, it will be necessary to pump and engage efficiently. To do this, you have to keep the boat flat and concentrate on the glide in order to optimize the dynamic of the foil.
To launch on a bump, you need to have good speed and then it’s a question of timing to get on the slope and release your wing downwind.
Equipment for surfing the swell and overcoming bumps
Then, how to cross a bump? Either you have a good performing kite that allows you to accelerate, to go faster than the swell and in this case you will be able to overtake and catch the bump to go back down in front. Or you have a wing with a slightly thicker profile, like the Flyer, allowing you to play on the bump.
How to manage your equipment during a downwind in wing foil ?
Managing the wing
When you launch on the bump, be careful not to be too attached to the wing, otherwise you may suffer some imbalance during the transition to freefly (leeward wing).
Concentrate on your support, on the foil. Don’t hang on to the sail but hold her. This is the key to being in a strong position on your foil.
If the wind is strong, you can freefly and use the neutral handle to let the sail float downwind.
On the other hand, in lighter winds, you can use the first handle of the kite by keeping it high, above your head. Thus, it will serve as a boost by lightening your weight through its windage in light airs.
How to control your board in downwind ?
Once you have started downwind, the important thing is to optimize the lift and glide of the foil by keeping the trim high and flat. Pumping and analyzing the water to get the best direction and the best position for the foil.