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What’s wingin’ got to do with stand up paddle boarding?

It’s a good question, particularly as SUP brands/businesses, media outlets and associated peoples jump on the wingsurfing band wagon… To the layman holding a ‘sail thingy’ and using it to harness the power of the wind couldn’t be further away from stand up paddling if they tried. Yet hang tight, there’s synergy and complimentary patterns if you look.

Scan any social media feed or website and you’ll no doubt find tips, opinion and comment relating to SUPing in breeze. We’ll not lie; unless you’re doing a downwinder or actively looking for a bit of breeze to ramp up the lumps you can ride on your SUP gusty conditions (even light gusty conditions) can be a pain for SUPing. Paddling into a headwind with chop and flotsam also causing issues isn’t most paddler’s idea of fun. It’s actually pretty hard work and in the severest cases will catch newbie SUPers out and potentially turn into a safety concern (especially if the wind goes offshore and you’re trying to get back to shore).

Flip things on their head and grab a wing, however, and things start to look a bit more fun. And we’re not talking about wingin’ with a hydrofoil either. As long as there’s enough of a blow (anything 12 knots plus) you can have some fun. So in essence if you see a wing as a direct replacement for your paddle, but still to be used with your standard SUP, then it may all start and make sense.

Wings are easy to use. Being full of air with no hard bits makes them simple to throw about and play with. You don’t even need to be an experienced sailor. Wings aren’t as susceptible to inaccurate sheeting angles (how you hold it according to which direction the wind’s coming from). And with them not sinking below the water’s surface – like a windsurfing rig would do for instance) – wings aren’t as much effort. Plus, should it all go south then simply pack the wing down and paddle back to shore. You can even have your SUP paddle on board should you require an assist back to the beach.

As skills improve you can start and head out in stronger blows, the same size wing you purchased originally not needing an upgrade for a quite a while. All sizes of wing have massive wind ranges so it’s perfectly feasible to make do with a one wing quiver. OF course, if you get proper into winging then maybe you’ll added a size to further increase this range. But you don’t need to…

No previous experience but easy winging for Oli.

We’ll not lie: there’s an element of learning how to keep your board on track, steering upwind and not heading off downwind at first. Anti-drift products do exist so you could perhaps get something like this to help initially. But quickly you’ll learn the art. And don’t forget wings are super versatile with them being applicable to skimboard, skateboard, snowboard/ski and ice skate use. There are lots of possibilities.

So as you can see it’s no wonder SUP companies are all over the wing thing (including to McConks). Wings are another enhancement of your watery life. They mightn’t be for everyone but if you’re open to something new then a wing might just tick the box when it’s less than ideal for SUP.

Check out these other wing related article for even more inspiration –

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