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Wing skating – a McConks how to.

Wing skating is a thing – no, really it is! You may have seen our previous posts featuring James Dunstone and his first forays into one wheel Skatewheel riding. You may have also seen he was handed a McConks Go Fly wing in a bid to get a ‘real feel’ for wing foiling on water. But on land, as it were. We’ve published previous posts about wing skating – a natural evolution from land paddling. So for those curious, we thought we’d give you this basic how to guide.

Land paddling/long board skating.

There’s always been a little stigma attached to riding skateboards later in life. Yet it’s bona fide. Of course, there’s a risk of hitting the deck. And Terra Firma ain’t as forgiving as water we appreciate. So body armor up and use the right kit!

Land paddling is mostly about riding oversize skate decks like longboards. There are specific land paddling skate sleds available if you’re truly committed. And these are even better as they’re wide, forgiving and optimised. Land paddling isn’t about hitting the coping on skate ramps in skate parks – although it could be if you wanted it. Land paddling is more about cruising and backing up everything you do on water when SUPing. It’s a slightly different technique ‘paddling’ on land but still very comparable and good for general SUP fitness.

Basic rules of thumb for land paddling are to choose as smooth a surface as possible. Make sure the area you intend to ride is wide open and devoid of as many obstacles as possible. Your land paddle paddle should be cut to size based on your style and preference. Just like water SUPing too long a paddle will be bad for your body. Having sorted your gear it chocs away! Get some land paddle hours under your belt first before adding a wing.

Adding a wing to your skating experience.

Inflatable wings are super versatile piece of kit. Yes, the headline discipline of wingfoiling grabs all attention. But ‘wingin’ isn’t limited to just foiling alone. There’s plenty of evidence supporting wing skating online if you search it out. And for those who have access to snow or ice (mainly a winter thing we appreciate), it also works well when paired with skis, snowboards or ice skates – believe it or not!

Tools of the wing skate trade – a McConks Go Fly wing, land paddle board and mountain board.

For wing skating though it’s all about teaming your McConks Go Fly wing with a land paddle board or longboard skateboard. A wider sled is better so you can move and adjust your stance accordingly. Length isn’t so much of an issue but fee rolling wheels are. The more ‘spin’ your wheels have the better. So pay close attention to bearings and what wheels you’re using. A dedicated land paddle board, whilst not necessary, does come with oversized wheels that roll a lot easier on uneven ground. This will help massively. You could even try a mountain board as they can work well too.

Wing size (choice).

You don’t need a lot of wind to wing skate. Around 10 knots should get you going (you may have to push start to ‘unstick’ the board). But ideally, the wind needs to be steady. Wing size doesn’t need to be huge but rider weight will play its part. The heavier you are the ‘more wing’ you’ll need. 10-12 knots for a 90 kg rider will require a 6m for continued rolling. To start, however, a 5m would be best whilst you get used to handling the wing. any bigger and the tips will catch more often whereas once you have more experience it’s easier to keep the wing from catching.

The more wind you head out in the smaller you can go with your choice of wing size. That said keep in mind that breezier conditions mean more speed. And more speed means more likelihood of hitting the ground harder should you stack it!

An open space, without obstacles, is key for successful wing skating.

Wing skating location choice.

Where possible your chosen wing skating venue needs to be a wide open space that has smooth surfaces. The more space you have the cleaner and less gusty the wind. If you’re attempting to ride in a hemmed in location it just won’t happen as the wind won’t get in. It can be worth doing a recce of your local area prior to getting some wing skating action in the bag to determine what location’s best.

Also, be wary of obstacles and people. You don’t want a wing skating spot that has lots to avoid. It’ll be hazardous to them, you and the objects in question! Vehicles, for instance, are prime crash objects that really don’t gel well with wing skating antics…

Just do it (and bank the conditions to memory).

If you have a wing skating location in mind but aren’t sure whether it’ll work the best advice is to just get involved. You’ll only start to work out what conditions your list of spots are viable in by heading out for sessions. Each time you check a place out you’ll build up a bank of memory knowledge in terms of what works best and when.

Keep track of forecasts each time you score (and don’t). That way you’ll avoid skunkings (over time) more and more.

Wing skating safety.

As we’ve already mentioned stacking it whilst wing skating can hurt a lot more than water. This is why you’ll need to be tooled up with adequate protection. Pads are probably a good idea – at least to begin with. As is a lid.

Keeping clear of others and hard obstacles is also best practise. We appreciate this is just advice and everyone will do things their own way. If you do take a tumble don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Mixing things up.

We’ve talked about it often but adding a McConks one wheel Skatewheel to the mix is a way to experience the feel of foiling on land. Wing eSkating is a thing and a good practise tool for those who want to fly above water. The addition of e-power does up the ante in terms of things that can go wrong but with small steps it’s definitely an achievable element – as the video shows below.

Some of our riders swear by it, so maybe there’s method to the madness after all.

All in all, land paddling and wing skating are ways to enjoy the outdoors further. These disciplines could complement your existing paddling, or be a way to enjoy time riding boards when it’s too cold. Whatever your reasons for having a bash at wing skating we know you’ll find it fun. Take things steady, observe safety and enjoy the ride!

Check out the McConks gear used in this article via the links below.

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