AFS FOIL INFO
We provide you with all our secrets and tips for Wing Foiling in this comprehensive and detailed guide! Learn how to start wing foiling, choose the right equipment, select the ideal spot, warm up, and master all your maneuvers. Discover our tricks and explanatory videos that will answer absolutely all your questions.
What size wing?
The choice of wing size for wing surfing will mainly depend on the range of wind conditions you are aiming for. In a wind range of 10 to 20 knots, for a weight range of 70-85kg, we recommend a 5m wing. For a weight below 70kg, a 4m wing is preferable, and for a weight above 85kg, a 6m wing is more suitable. Keep in mind that it is better to increase the surface area of the front wing of the foil rather than increasing the size of your sail for lightwind conditions, for example.
What size for the board?
The larger the foil board, the more it floats. It is often advised, when choosing a wing foiling setup, to go for a board that has +25/30 liters more volume than your own weight. For example, a rider weighing 70 kg could choose a board of 95 liters. This provides stability and allows for a quick planing start. Note that you can still use a beginner board for SUP foiling, but using a board that is too small will only hinder your progress. It’s important to be comfortable when learning this new discipline!
The 5 advantages of riding with a carbon foil
One of the primary advantages of carbon is its stiffness. It provides a particular feeling and sensations that may not be experienced with other materials. For comparison, a carbon hydrofoil with the same rigidity as an aluminum one will be thinner, with way more glide.
Long or short fuselage, which one to choose?
A longer fuselage provides stability and slightly more power with the same stabilizer. It is recommended for beginners, individuals who are less confident in their balance, those who need early takeoff, and those who have a longer and heavier board exceeding 6 feet. The long fuselage will offer them more power and stability. It is also the ideal fuselage for those who want to go fast on flat water with small fins, as it allows for better control.
A shorter fuselage brings the front wing closer to the stabilizer, providing increased maneuverability. It is recommended for experienced riders using lightweight surf boards or paddle boards. The short fuselage adds dynamism to pumping and maneuverability. It is particularly suitable for those who enjoy the surfing sensation and is recommended for wave riding.
Do all brands have the same wing surface and lift?
Many of you wonder about the equivalence of wings from one brand to another. For example, is a 1300cm² wing from one manufacturer the same as a 1300cm² wing from another manufacturer? Well, no. The lift in wing foiling depends on several characteristics.
What is the one pump system and what is its purpose?
During the inflation of the wing
Often located between the central strut and the leading edge, the one pump system allows you to inflate both struts at the same time. You’ll save time when inflating your sail before heading out on the water.
Once your wing is properly inflated, don’t forget to close the one pump valve to maintain inflation in one strut in case the other one gets punctured during your session.
During the deflation of the wing
When you deflate the sail, you can block the airflow. The check valve system allows you to cut off the air circulation between the central strut and the leading edge (similar to after inflation). When you are packing up your equipment, you can first deflate the leading edge, roll up the wingtip panels one by one, and keep the central strut inflated to optimize storage.
How to choose your wing foil mast?
In terms of material, as you may already know, there are two main types of materials used for constructing hydrofoil masts: aluminum and carbon. A question we often receive is: “Which mast should I choose?“
In any case, our masts are manufactured in France using carbon sourced from Europe.
Straps or strapless in wing foiling?
Strapless: The Freedom
The strapless practice evokes absolute freedom, freedom of movement. Indeed, there are no foot straps, the deck is clear, making it easier to move around and perform transitions.
We often recommend beginners to start strapless to find their optimal position.
Straps: An Asset for Maneuvering
What is interesting about foot straps is that once you have mastered the practice and your board, you can position them ideally to ensure that you are always in the best spot. The straps allow you to start jumping and also provide better dynamism during pumping.
What is aspect ratio?
Aspect ratio is a coefficient that characterizes the elongation of a front wing. It is calculated by dividing the square of the length by its surface area. We delve into the details of what aspect ratio is and the influence it has on your choice of wing foiling equipment in this article.
How to protect your wing foiling equipment?
Should you rinse your hydrofoil?
To maintain your AFS foil, it’s very simple. We have always used full carbon construction. Full carbon means there is no corrosion or oxidation, as can be found in hybrid carbon/aluminum products. There is no real need to rinse the foil or use Tefgel. Simply rinsing it with clean water to remove impurities created by hydrocarbons or algae is sufficient.
Should you disassemble your foil?
Again, it is perfectly fine to leave your gear fully assembled. The only thing to check, especially when the foil is new, is the tightness of the screws. Always check during your first sessions!
Storing your AFS Foil
You can store it fully assembled on your board. For this purpose, we have designed new AFS foil board covers that allow you to store the foil and board together. We also have covers available for individual components.
Why use a waist leash in wing foiling?
The waist leash reduces drag in the water. It also allows the option of attaching a harness hook in wing foiling, providing more freedom of movement and navigation. A harness also provides a form of assistance, particularly during long freeride sessions. It stabilizes the wing, resulting in better upwind performance (less energy loss).
What type of harness?
There are several types of harnesses available. The waist harness used in kitesurfing or windsurfing with a metal buckle or a strap that rests on the lower back, with a 3D-printed buckle. Considering that the traction in wing foiling is not as strong as in kitesurfing or windsurfing, and the buckles are not on a rigid wishbone, we recommend smaller, specialized wing harnesses that are also more affordable. Additionally, due to frequent falls in wing foiling, 3D-printed buckles are less likely to damage the board when you remount.
How to adjust your foil in a US dual rail system?
Adjustment to the front or back of the rail for wing foiling?
The more forward the mast is, the more power it will provide. A larger rider will compensate by moving their foil forward in the boxes.
In low wind conditions, underpowered situations, soft waves, or low speed, you can move the foil forward to increase lift. If the set up is too pitchy and requires excessive pressure on the front leg (lighter rider, high speed, stronger wind), then you should move the foil back in the boxes to gain control and reduce its power.
Playing with shims
It is also possible to play with the dynamic behavior of your foil. We can make the foil more powerful by using a shim to kick up the stabilizer and compensate by moving the top plate back to control it. This can provide pumping or energy in jumps! A foil that is more forward will offer a lot of maneuverability. Combined with a stabilizer kick, it optimizes responsiveness at low speeds.
In foiling, the game of adjustments is almost endless. It’s about finding the right one that suits each person and the conditions of the day. There is no single setting!
Preparing your wing: unroll, secure, and inflate
01. Take out the wing from the bag
Make sure to fully open the wing bag to avoid pulling on the wing and getting it stuck in the zipper.
02. Unroll the sail
Place your wing on the ground and unroll it: start with the central strut, then unroll each wingtip one by one. Make sure each part is laid out flat.
03. Secure the sail leash under the pump
Once the wing is unrolled, even a gust of wind can cause it to fly away and potentially damage it. To prevent this, take the wing leash and secure it under the pump before inflating.
04. Connect the pump to the sail
Take the nozzle of your pump and insert it into the dedicated valve on the leading edge bladder. For added security, if your pump has a leash, you can attach it to the wing handle.
05. Inflate the bladders
To effectively inflate the sail, give a few pumps to shape it (do not fully inflate right away). To properly position the sleeves, lightly tap the struts, allowing them to inflate properly. Then, finish inflating until reaching 6-7 PSI.
06. Disconnect the pump
After fully inflating the sail, you can disconnect the pump and close the valve.
How to carry my wing foiling equipement?
If your wing board has a handle, use it! Foil facing outward (ideally and depending on the handle’s location), grab the board on one side and your wing on the other. Let the wing fly downwind while holding it firmly to prevent it from hitting the foil and risking tearing! Read our complete article to carry your wing foiling equipment more efficiently.
What weather conditions are suitable for wing foiling?
A beginner will prefer conditions with headwind, also known as onshore wind. Indeed, by drifting, the rider will naturally return towards the shore.
Offshore wind conditions are more suitable for experienced riders who know how to sail upwind. In fact, offshore wind will take you further offshore, making it much more challenging to return to the shore.
At the beginning of your navigation, for beginners, it is recommended to prioritize shorter runs. This allows you to adjust your equipment, anticipate drift, and analyze your positioning. If you are able to maintain control on a short run or reach, it means that if you go further, you should be able to sail upwind. So, to avoid surprises, it’s important to start with shorter runs.
The wind strength can be observed on the water by the formation of small ripples or foam. When you start to see small ripples, it indicates approximately 10 knots of wind (18 km/h). Of course, the more ripples you observe, the stronger the wind. Ideally, you should start with a minimum of 12-14 knots, which allows you to balance with the power generated in the wing.
How to warm up and stretch? Advice from Alban
Do not pull or seek pain during stretching or warm-up exercises. If you feel any pain, stop the exercises and consult a doctor or Alban (physiotherapist)!
Remember to breathe properly during the stretching. Inhale slowly during the movement and exhale while releasing.
Stay hydrated! Hydration should be maintained throughout the day, but after the session, the body may have sweated and become slightly dehydrated. So, remember to bring water for before and after the session.
Take your time during stretching exercises and when releasing, reverse the movement in a gradual manner.
How to maintain your wing?
Inflate your wing for better drying
Ideally, after your session, to dry your sail, we recommend leaving it inflated. If, for various reasons, you cannot do so, avoid hanging it by the handle. When the wing is deflated, if you leave it hanging by the handle for too long, the deflated central bladder may twist upon itself and cause some complications when inflating the wing again.
What should I do if I have a hernia?
If you inflate your wing with maximum pressure all at once, it can create a fold or hernia that may burst. To prevent this, when you reinflate, before applying maximum pressure, take care to ensure that the struts are properly aligned.
So when you inflate, start by applying a little pressure to shape the wing. Then, before increasing the pressure, gently tap the struts to ensure they are properly aligned within their sleeves. Only at that point should you apply the appropriate pressure.
At AFS, we recommend 6 PSI on the struts, but in reality, we have allowed some margin, and the ideal inflation is at 7 PSI.
To store your wing
Last step, storing the sailin its bag. It’s simple, unscrew the valve and let the air out. Then roll one ear, then the other, all the way to the central strut.
By doing this, you take care to keep your central strut in place in its sleeve. Depending on the size of the wing, you will make 2 or 3 folds before storing it in its bag.
Finding an AFS wing foiling repair specialist
With over 13 years of regular practice in kitesurfing, including 8 years in kitefoiling, Damien Sorlin, three-time world champion in parachuting (2006, 2008, and 2010), has established himself as a prominent repair specialist for anything related to spinnaker fabric. His expertise and mastery in the field of parachute equipment repair and maintenance naturally led him to apply his knowledge to kitesurfing and wing foiling equipment as well. The workshop is located in the Hautes Alpes region, but shipping is possible.
Despite the equipment becoming increasingly high-performance, the unbreakable sail is far from being invented, and accidents can happen quickly. Sometimes times are tough, and it’s not uncommon for our attempts at feats to end in catastrophe: an unfortunate encounter with a shorebreak, a kite colliding with a palm tree or an inconveniently placed rock… Numerous all-too-common events that can turn what was supposed to be a perfect day out into an unfortunate “I’ve damaged my sail!” moment. The goal of this sail repair specialist is to offer you a comprehensive and fast service to ensure that your equipment lasts as long as possible. From preventive repairs on minor damage to salvaging a sail cut in half, Fabien repairs it all! The workshop is located in Finistère, but shipping is possible.
Specializing in the manufacturing of some of the strongest Kitesurf and Wingsurf bladders on the market.
Starts and first runs in wing foiling
Moving away from the shore
To move away from the shore, we recommend attaching your board and wing leashes before entering the water. Then, flip the board over the water to position the hydrofoil facing the sky. Use it to push yourself forward and away from the shore while keeping your wing away to prevent it from getting caught in the front wing or stabilizer.
Once the water reaches your waist, you can flip the board and kneel on it. The ease of standing up will depend on your board. The larger it is, the more stable it will be. On a board with over 100 liters of volume, you can stand up directly and proceed forward calmly, similar to stand-up paddleboarding.
If the board has less volume, start on your knees. Make sure to keep the wing high above your head to prevent it from dragging in the water. As soon as you see a gust coming or feel the traction, press the wing onto the water and give it a push to lift your front leg followed by the back leg.
Once you are standing up, you need to control the wing. To keep the wing elevated, remember to keep your front hand above the rear hand. The wing is curved and is ready to pivot on its axis. If you lower your hand, it will turn downwards and throw you off balance.
If you feel like you are gaining too much speed and/or losing balance, release the rear hand while keeping the front hand high.
To turn, if you are not fully flying, use the leading edge. Move your hands: the rear hand takes the place of the front hand, and the front hand rests on the leading edge of the board. At that moment, push the wing backward to rotate the board and regain control of your wing, aligning it with the wind.
Learning wingfoiling without a foil?
To familiarize yourself with this new discipline, it is entirely possible to use your board, but using a different support such as a windsurfing board or an inflatable stand-up paddleboard allows you to practice handling the wing without the foil. The advantage of an inflatable paddleboard is that it is more resistant to impacts, even though it may drift slightly more. Ideally, a rigid stand-up paddleboard provides both glide and ease. Don’t hesitate to watch all our tutorial videos at the end of this post, as mimicking the movements is an excellent way to progress!
For those who live in the mountains, you can also take your wing out on skis or a snowboard to experience the sensations on the snow or to prepare for the summer season!
How to approach takeoff in wing foiling?
Gaining speed in displacement mode
To take off, speed is essential. If you’re not moving or moving at a very low speed, the foil won’t generate lift and you won’t be able to fly. Find the windy areas and control your wing to gain speed! Don’t hesitate to use a small surfboard if you have good balance.
Lifting the Foil
Once you have gained enough speed, you will feel a pitching sensation on the front of the board. Indeed, the foil will want to lift and rise towards the surface. Therefore, you will need to let it rise and find the right moment to shift your weight towards the front of the board to lower the nose and lift the tail. At that moment, you will generate lift and be able to fly.
Once you have grasped the sensation, you can perform “touch and go” to practice. This means you will take off, touch the water with the board, and then take off again, and so on.
When you are in control, you will need to find the right position to stabilize the board while flying.
How to switch your feet in wing foiling?
You can switch your feet either before or after the maneuver. It’s a matter of personal preference and can depend on your comfort in goofy or regular stance. To switch your feet before or after the maneuver, you should first lift the wing to ensure good visibility and check that no one is behind you. Safety first! Then, you need to anticipate that when changing feet, the board will tend to touch down on the water. So, you’ll want to give a little pumping motion just before switching to make the board lift off again and be higher on the water. The foot switch can be done one foot after the other or, if you’re comfortable, by performing a jump. At that moment, the back foot will take the place of the front foot. In terms of the flight path, the board will want to touch down again at the end of the foot switch. Therefore, you’ll need to quickly relaunch to regain a more stable flight and complete the maneuver. Use your gaze to try to lock your position. Look at a point in the distance and avoid looking at your feet!
To take off on a foil, speed is essential. If you’re not moving or moving at a very low speed, the foil won’t generate lift and you won’t be able to fly. Find windy areas and control your wing to gain speed! Don’t hesitate to use a small surfboard if you have good balance.
Pitching up the foil
How to pump in wing foiling?
The pumping technique depends on the equipment.
The pumping technique will differ depending on the equipment used. Indeed, if you are using a large foil with a long fuselage, pumping will focus more on inertia with a lower frequency. On the other hand, if you are using small wings and a short fuselage or a surf-oriented board, you will need to maintain a certain cadence and frequency.
Once you have grasped the sensation, you can practice “touch and go” exercises. This means you will take off, touch down, and take off again, repeating the process.
The detailed movement of pumping
With pumping, it is important to ensure that the flow and glide are optimized. Therefore, it is better to execute the movement correctly, even if it means going slower, rather than seeking speed through poor pumping.
Try to be light, let the foil board rise and descend, it will accelerate naturally. You need to lighten up and let it accelerate. So, give a push on the back leg to raise the board and shift your weight onto the front leg to provide lift to the foil and either take off or maintain flight.
As you have understood, the technique depends on the equipment and your fitness level. Practice is necessary to achieve it, but to stay in shape and perform well in wing foiling, engage in physical activities!
How to perform a jibe in wing foiling?
The jibe in wing foiling step by step
1- Secure the maneuver by lifting your wing or looking through the window to see if there is enough space to jibe.
2- Reduce your speed to avoid approaching the jibe too quickly.
3- Initiate an inward edge towards the inside of the turn, with the wing held high.
4- As you start heading downwind, release the tension in the wing.
5- When you reach the upwind direction, it’s time to switch the wing to the other side. Swap your hands on the handle while maintaining your edge, to retrim the wing and resume your course. It’s important to always lean into the turn to maintain a consistent edge.
At what moment should you change the position of your feet during the jibe in wing foiling?
Just like the tack, changing the position of your feet depends on the feeling. You can do it before the maneuver or after.
How to do a tack in wing surfing?
To perform a tack, it is important to maintain good lift by trying to head upwind. You should position your wing high and initiate a turn heading away from the wind.
To maintain lift, it can be helpful to add some pumping by pressing on the back foot as you begin the tack.
The movement of the wing is crucial. You need to send the wing over your head at the right moment, completely to the other side. Once facing the wind, you should maintain the curve.
Of course, don’t forget to focus on your foot pressure to continue closing your turn and retrieve the wing on the other side to relaunch. The key is to maintain your edge (curve) to avoid the risk of turning back in the other direction. To prevent this, you should lean slightly into your turn.