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McConks windSUP/windsurf/wing surf/wing foil guide #7 – the truth about wings; power, power, power!

When wings exploded onto the scene (proper) in 2019 there was a lot of chat surrounding the size riders would need – specifically a 4m – and how this would be enough to harness most wind strengths whether in foil mode or non-foil mode). Anyone with experience of windsports, such as kitesurfing or windsurfing (particularly those from the real world), were sceptical. If it’s blowing 18-20knts, which was quoted by some companies as the wind band 4m wings started working in properly, then average weight windsurfers, for instance, would be looking to rig at least 6m sails. And an air filled product, such as a wing, isn’t going to be as efficient as a windsurfing sail due to it bending and contorting. A sail’s rigid mast, pre-cut shape and battens all combine to make a sail react with superior aerodynamic properties.

And so it comes to pass…With the start of 2020’s summer season (COVID aside) most brands touting 4m wings as the one product you need in your life have altered their message slightly and launched multiple sizes from around 3m with some companies offering up to 8m.

Having had extensive experience of wingsurfing McConks, and those who’ve helped by supplying feedback during the Go Fly prototyping process, all concur that wing sizes are more or less comparable to windsurfing sail sizes vs the given wind strength. For instance, if it’s 6m windsurfing weather then you’ll most likely be needing a 6m wing.

Of course, rider skill will play a part to certain degrees. An experienced wing foiler, who has the necessary pumping technique (pumping being the up and down motion of pulling in and letting out the wing as gusts hit, as well as being able to pump the foil) may be able to drop to a 5m in the same wind strength and possibly less over time. Lighter weight riders will likely be using smaller again. But it’s all relative; wings need power!

The more power you have the easier wing surfing/foiling is – certainly when starting out and progressing. Having your power source not connected to the board, whilst one of the benefits of winging (freedom of movement is a nice feeling), there’s nothing other than the wind to support riders whilst being propelled along. In light airs you don’t have as much support so winging becomes very much a balancing act. Add gusty breeze and choppy waters to the mix and the whole thing can be a chore.

McConks currently supplies the Go Fly 5m wing. It has a decent wind range with a 20 ish knot starting point for 85-90kg riders using a floaty wing foil board and large winged foil. Its upper range reaches around 30 knots so there’s plenty of stronger wind performance built in. The next few weeks will see a 6m Go Fly wing arrive which we’ll be testing. This should lower the bottom end wind range as well as making for more efficient and early foiling flights. Stay tuned on this as – we’ll report findings when we can.

Wings are certainly entertaining and do open up a whole world of additional conditions for getting wet. You just have to be realistic about your wants/needs when it comes to winging and act accordingly. If you have any questions about McConks’ Go Fly 5m, or 1.5m kiddy version, then let us know.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of McConks’ Ultimate Guide to windSUP/windsurf/wing surf/wing foil here

https://mcconks.com/inflatable-stand-up-paddle-board-knowledge-hub/mcconks-windsup-windsurf-wing-surf-wing-foil-ultimate-guide/

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McConks windSUP/windsurf/wing surf/wing foil guide #5 – wings on land, surf skate style: an introduction.

For some, in tandem with on water stand up paddle boarding, comes land paddling. The act of riding (usually) a longboard style skateboard with a ‘stick’ in hand is indeed part of the same sport. Much like your usual floating SUP shenanigans, land paddling uses the ‘paddle’ and ‘stroke’ to propel riders forward. It’s a good method for cross-training and keeping that stand up paddling muscle memory tuned up during off water periods.

The addition of hydrofoils and wings has seen SUP – an already super versatile activity – become even more so. Now flying through the air, above the water, is an evolution of ‘connected to water SUP’ that a good many already do and lots more are starting to get involved with.

Just as land paddling was an extension of floating stand up so wing surf skating is an extension of wing foiling. Wings have truly added an additional element to SUP which when coupled with the right board and applicable weather conditions will see much fun to be had away from the water. It’s also a great way to familiarise yourself with the wing itself and how your new windy engine needs to be manoeuvred when you eventually take it to the water. Hand placements can all be practised in this way giving a head start. It doesn’t stop there either. Pair your McConks Go Fly 5m wing with a skimboard, snowboard, skis or even ice skates, if you have ready access to these types of riding arena, and you’re covered for all eventualities weather wise.

It should be noted that wing skating isn’t quite the same as winging on water – this much should be obvious. First of all, you’re riding on Terra Firma which is hard. Should you bail there’s packed tarmac to land on that’s going to hurt a little more than splashing into water. Also, whilst your McConks wing surfing wing is robust and tough, asphalt scuffs can do damage so you’d be better, at least during first time runs, to aim for grassy areas which won’t ding as much should you drop your Go Fly wing.

If you’re keen to try a bit of wing skating then most forms of skateboard are applicable. That said a longer skateboard or specific land paddle sled, that’s a little wider , will yield best results. If you want to take things further maybe consider a mountain/all terrain board. Their bigger wheels are better for rougher ground. Although they’re usually heavier than skateboard decks so will require more power/wind in your wing to get them moving.

For those who become adept at wing skating the door’s wide open. Jumps/boosts and carving tricks are all possible. Wing surfing/wing foiling on water has barely had its surface scratched with wing skating on land even more so. Who knows what can be achieved in time…

Top tips for wing skating

  • Use a longboard skateboard or land paddle specific board for better stability.
  • Choose a grassy area with less rough/hard ground for your first runs.
  • Avoid downhills.
  • Wear a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and other protection.
  • Wear appropriate footwear – land paddling and wing skating shouldn’t be done in your flip flops!
  • Stay away from others, go somewhere quiet – most people won’t appreciate what you’re doing and may even be alarmed.
  • Avoid fixed objects like trees, lampposts, stumps and similar.
  • Don’t drag your wing across rough surfaces as you’re likely to cause damage to your Go Fly.
  • Practise with just the wing first, getting some understanding of how to power up, depower and manoeuvre the Go Fly.
  • Make sure you wear your wing‘s wrist leash!