Choosing the right foil for wing foiling can be a tricky and daunting prospect. As many will know McConks dabbles with foiling in the form of Go Fly wingsurfing wings and our electric hydrofoil board. Our wings are comparable to many other wings on the market and offer an easy introduction to the sport. They can be used for wing foiling or wing SUP where your board stays attached to the water. Whatever application you have in mind they’re lightweight, easy to use and a different way to make use of breezy days when your SUP paddle’s not cutting it.
McConks Go Fly – SUP/surf/foil/downwind wing
For those interested in foiling we published an article about the differences between high and low aspect foils a while back. It continues to be a popular article for those wanting to fly above water. You can read that article here.
Fast forward to now and the foilscape has changed and evolved further. Hydrofoil design – at least for wingfoiling – is very much heading down the high aspect route. In a nutshell, high aspect foils have a much wider span (relative to their overall size), a narrower chord (leading edge to tail edge) and a thinner profile. In terms of performance, they’re faster than low aspect, shovel like types, and deliver way more glide but can be a little trickier when getting to grips with. Low aspect foils still have their place. They’re a good choice, with slow progressive lift, for beginner wing foilers. Having dialled in those skills most riders switch to higher aspects though.
Stall speed – a key element when choosing your foil.
One of the biggest performance factors when choosing a new hydrofoil is stall speed. Yet this often gets overlooked. Stall speed refers to how slow a rider can move forwards and still lift. The lower the foil’s stall speed the earlier he/she will fly. You need to put in less effort and can wing foil in much lighter winds.
The problem with many high aspect foils is stall speeds aren’t quite as low as low aspect foils. But this is changing. There are some high aspect models that do a fine job of taking off early with low stall speeds. You’ve just got to hunt them out. You mightn’t get all out top speed but that said they’ll still be quick enough. And being high aspect ratio designs ensures they’ll also glide and pump efficiently.
As already mentioned foil design is definitely heading more down the high aspect route. Most brands, however, currently marketing their foils as such aren’t quite true high aspect ratio designs. More mid-aspect these offer a balance between the extreme ends of the spectrum.
Of course, you can certainly find the real sushi knife style of high aspect foils. But for wing foilers getting into the sport these should be avoided until you’re good and ready. You may never feel this kind of hydrofoil is for you though.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how wing foiling continues to evolve. From a product point of view it’d be a shame if things went too high performance. Which is always the risk. We saw this SUP a few years after its most recent inception. Too much stand up paddle boarding was pushed as a surf or race discipline. When for most it’s more about recreation.
Wing foiling may be more high performance than the majority of regular paddlers are looking for. Yet it has synergy (believe it or not) and there’ll always be some crossover. We just hope the layman (or woman) isn’t left in the dust of performance above all else evolution.
If you’re interested in more articles like this head across to our foiling guide page.