“Do you have to foil? Can you use it on a SUP? Can you use it on a normal windsurfer? Can you use it on a skateboard?”
Kind of all of the above. You can definitely foil on it, and foiling makes the most sense in terms of how much power you can make with a four meter and how much resistance a foilboard makes. So, they really fit nicely together. But, it is a lot of fun on an SUP. If you have a big touring board you know how difficult it is and how it’s not much fun to paddle when it’s windy, even five or ten knots on a standup paddleboard isn’t much fun. With this, you can turn it into a lot of fun. So yes, it’s easy; just take your big board, and you go. You can go downwind, you can go upwind. Can you go upwind with it? Yeah, absolutely. Especially on a foil, you can fly upwind. But even on an SUP, you can go back and forth upwind no problem at all.
“Do you need a harness?”
You don’t need a harness. There’s so little resistance with this. Once you get going, it’s actually creating lift and this whole thing weighs absolutely nothing at all. That’s the beauty of having no boom, no hardware. It’s really light in the hands; I could sail for hours with no harness at all, easy on the hands, no harness lines. You’ve got handles, nice soft handles, all along the strut. So, you can handle it easy. There’s nothing to hit yourself on, nothing to ding your board with. And, it packs up into a little tiny backpack, which makes it very convenient.
“What happens if you let go of it?”
Well, it’s got a wrist leash that’s attached to the leading edge here. So if you let go of it, it’s not going anywhere. Just pull it back, and off you go.
“How big of board do you need?”
You need a big enough board really, unless you’re very, very good, you can actually get going on a non-floaty board. But, you want a floater. You want something you can climb up on, get to your knees, quickly stand up, and then use the wing to get you going. So, I’m on a 95 liter most of the time. I think most people will be on 95 to 135, or somewhere in that range if they’re on a foil board.
“How much wind do you need?”
To foil with this four meter, I need 12 knots of wind. So, enough wind to get going on Slalom gear and enough wind to go kiting, but not crazy strong wind. Enough that you’ve got a few white caps, and you can pump it onto a plane and go using a fairly big foil. If you’re going to use a kite foil, you’re going to need more wind. If you’re going to use a surf foil, like what I’m using – I’m using what we call our XL Foil at Naish. If you use a bigger foil, like a downwind foil, you can go in even lighter wind. So it depends how much wind, how big you are, how big a wing you are using. In terms of going on a stand-up paddle board, a couple of knots and you’re going. Five knots, and you’re already going faster than you can paddle. So, really light wind.
“How much wind do you want to go in?”
You don’t want to go in crazy strong winds, it’s not really designed for that, but you clearly can. Today is gusting to 25 knots, and I am still on the four meter. You don’t need to change sizes. You can just feather it, so you can use one wing for basically everything. You don’t need a two, a four and a five. Again, simplicity is the idea. So the board I’ve been riding is a 95 liter, SUP foil board. It’s designed for SUP down winders and SUP wave riding on a foil. I use foot straps, but you don’t have to use foot straps. So if you have a stand up paddle board or foil board, that’ll work absolutely perfectly. I recommend using a leash on the board and the wing just in case. Some people don’t think you need it, but you can definitely get yourself into situations where you want to be connected to both.
“Can I use it on the snow? Can I use it on my skateboard? Can I use it with ice skates?”
Sure. I mean again, hand-held wings have been around for decades. The first wing I tried like this was actually in 1981 in Kailua. And then of course there was the wind weapon, which was a similar rigid structure wing that was connected to the board, not a freeheld, inflated wing. But yeah, you could use this on a skateboard, you could use this on a snowboard, you could use it on skis. It’s probably not something you want to be dragging on the ground a lot because it is inflated. We do have Kevlar reinforcement patches on the leading edge on the wing tips for abrasion against the ground, against your board, etc. So if you’re really good, absolutely. But it wouldn’t take long dragging it along the street to probably destroy the leading edge, so it is water recommended I’d say.
“Do we need a window? Why is there no window in it?”
I find the vast majority of the time, you know where you’re going. If you want to see where you’re going, you just lift it up while you’re riding. You’re not riding it vertically like a sail windsurfing all the time. You’re changing it, having it over your head, having it sideways. If you want to see what’s down wind of you, you just lift it up and have a quick look.
“Can you water start it?”
No, you can’t really water start it; not like you can on a windsurfer or a kite. Basically you get up on your knees, and you sheet in on your board (you need a board you can float on), get up on one leg, and then you stand up and go. So you need a board that’s stable enough, or floaty enough, that you can at least get up on it. Then once the wing is creating lift, off you go. So, you can’t ride a full sinker. Bernd Roediger is out on a board right now that’s about 25 liters, but he’s Bernd you know, he starts sinking it and then lifts it up and gets it going. I’m sure people will be doing that but in the beginning, take something you can float on.