Forums > Windsurfing Foiling

How long to learn to foil.

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Created by Imax1 3 months ago, 5 Feb 2019
Imax1
VIC, 1870 posts
5 Feb 2019 6:26PM
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On average how many sessions does it take to get basic controll foiling.
For a average competent sailor.

Boston!
NSW, 59 posts
5 Feb 2019 8:16PM
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As an average, competent sailor myself it took me about three to four sessions to be getting some nice 1-2 minute flights. My initial sessions were quite short as all the crashing and uphauling is super exhausting and my body position was not very efficient when flying . Good 12kt conditions help but I'm still finding new ways to crash after around a dozen sessions in total.

WhiteofHeart
106 posts
5 Feb 2019 6:13PM
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4 sessions and flying in light / normal conditions will start feeling more natural, given you are using the correct gear for your level. (Stable foil and tuned right to match your board) friends riding mismatched gear are still learning to attain steady airtime months in. However, with properly tuned gear and adequate gear for your level (stable foil / big wings / correct balance to match your board!!) you could be doing foiling jibes as soon as 5 months in if you sail regularly. (For me at least, sailing on average 2 times a week) before I started foiling 2 years ago I had been regularly windsurfing for 2 years. Doing planing laydownjibes / duckjibes, chophops, occasional speedloop if the chop was high enough.

It helps to be a freestyler. The foiling stance is really similar to the stance required on a freestyleboard with a 16-18cm fin, to be honest i have been getting more upwind and speed out of my freestyleboard since I started foiling. Doesn't go up for slalom which is actually quite the opposite hahah.

in light winds around 10-12 kts foiling really isn't that hard at all and will even feel quite stable after 4 sessions. Right now I ride the foil more serenely than the normal windsurfgear, both hands off for 10 sec at the time etc. Way less brought offbalance by gusts and chop.

Paducah
344 posts
6 Feb 2019 2:42AM
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A couple of things to think about. First, WhiteofHeart alluded to a tuned kit - if at all possible, get someone who foils to ride your gear and help you get it balanced out. The process will take much longer if you are fighting things that are out of place. You'll have enough on your mind without trying to figure out if the mast base is in the proper place and all the other little nuances.

Two, as said above, a handful of sessions will get you out of the water and, for brief periods, enjoying the silence. What comes next is the fun part: you will suck. But, that's a good thing. For many of us who have been windsurfing for years, we've gotten complacent. It's a lot of fun climbing the learning curve and you'll be doing it on the nicest of days - those 10-15 or 12-18 days when most windsurfers are going back and forth like they are in the morning commute. You'll be exhilarated, excited, get your butt kicked a few times and then you'll want to do it some more. You'll start craving those lighter days so you can glide along when all your friends are complaining. You'll look around, see almost no whitecaps, and think: on normal gear I wouldn't even be out here but this is a blast. Each time you'll get better and gain some confidence. And, when you get back on a regular board, you'll be better on that, too.

Almost to a one, the only regret foilers have is not starting sooner.

Imax1
VIC, 1870 posts
6 Feb 2019 10:40AM
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I am not using normal or tuned gear. In fact its unusual , a Slingshot hover foil on race board with extended fuselage , 85cm mast.
The only thing i can compare to is how many favorable sessions it usually takes to get basic control. That way id get an idea if what im doing is doable . So far ive had two sessions in gusty swirly 5 to 12kts sessions on a freshwater lake. Very short puffs of wind over 10kts.
I can get decent runs with the board out of the water and just the tail skipping on the water. However when properly flying the runs are only 10 mtres or so and i crash every which way . I even saved a couple of breaches . Because of the crap wind a dozen or so attempts . Does this sound like normal progression ?

Peter Hands
VIC, 59 posts
6 Feb 2019 11:00AM
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My 2 cents worth ...
Windsurf foiling is not that hard! maybe 3-6 sessions to get past panic catapults and really develop some control
Definitely read all the online resources first, get a lesson and tow session, then try to start on low speed/early flying setup as managing the speed is a real challenge initially

IndecentExposur
76 posts
6 Feb 2019 8:11AM
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I wasn't a great windsurfer to begin with, but I was foiling in about 4-5 sessions to get sustained flights. If you watch the Sam Ross videos, they are pretty much spot on.

To to make things easier, you need a longer fuse and larger wings.

WhiteofHeart
106 posts
6 Feb 2019 3:55PM
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Imax1 said..
I am not using normal or tuned gear. In fact its unusual , a Slingshot hover foil on race board with extended fuselage , 85cm mast.
The only thing i can compare to is how many favorable sessions it usually takes to get basic control. That way id get an idea if what im doing is doable . So far ive had two sessions in gusty swirly 5 to 12kts sessions on a freshwater lake. Very short puffs of wind over 10kts.
I can get decent runs with the board out of the water and just the tail skipping on the water. However when properly flying the runs are only 10 mtres or so and i crash every which way . I even saved a couple of breaches . Because of the crap wind a dozen or so attempts . Does this sound like normal progression ?


Hoeverglide on a raceboard? Pr do you mean formula / slalom? The latter cases are fine, a 3.80m raceboard would be really tough I think.

the tail skipping might have to do with too inconsistent winds for your level, but if you keep sailing with the tail skipping in the water also in more constant winds you have the power too far under the backfoot. This also decreases stability once in the air because you are somewhat behind the power instead of on top of it. Possible solutions: boom up, mastfoot back, footstraps back, more tilt on the stabiliser ro, with your hoverglide, I believe you can flip the fuselage to put the front wing further forward.

a well tuned setup starts flying out of its own as soon as you step into the front strap if you have some speed, and shouldn't at all feel hard to get into the air because the foil would do the work for you. The stance should kinda feel like you're just standing on the beach holding your sail upright. (At least to begin, later you might want to put the power even further forward for added performance & control in both light and hard gusty winds when you have adopted the adequate foiling stance properly)

Imax1
VIC, 1870 posts
6 Feb 2019 7:26PM
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WhiteofHeart said..

Imax1 said..
I am not using normal or tuned gear. In fact its unusual , a Slingshot hover foil on race board with extended fuselage , 85cm mast.
The only thing i can compare to is how many favorable sessions it usually takes to get basic control. That way id get an idea if what im doing is doable . So far ive had two sessions in gusty swirly 5 to 12kts sessions on a freshwater lake. Very short puffs of wind over 10kts.
I can get decent runs with the board out of the water and just the tail skipping on the water. However when properly flying the runs are only 10 mtres or so and i crash every which way . I even saved a couple of breaches . Because of the crap wind a dozen or so attempts . Does this sound like normal progression ?



Hoeverglide on a raceboard? Pr do you mean formula / slalom? The latter cases are fine, a 3.80m raceboard would be really tough I think.

the tail skipping might have to do with too inconsistent winds for your level, but if you keep sailing with the tail skipping in the water also in more constant winds you have the power too far under the backfoot. This also decreases stability once in the air because you are somewhat behind the power instead of on top of it. Possible solutions: boom up, mastfoot back, footstraps back, more tilt on the stabiliser ro, with your hoverglide, I believe you can flip the fuselage to put the front wing further forward.

a well tuned setup starts flying out of its own as soon as you step into the front strap if you have some speed, and shouldn't at all feel hard to get into the air because the foil would do the work for you. The stance should kinda feel like you're just standing on the beach holding your sail upright. (At least to begin, later you might want to put the power even further forward for added performance & control in both light and hard gusty winds when you have adopted the adequate foiling stance properly)


I mean a raceboard , Mistral One Design.
I know it's not normal. So I'm inventing my tuning going in blind.
The tail skipping is because it's so long and the foil is more central.
Thats why I wanted to know how long it usually takes. I never foiled before .
From above I'm getting the idea it takes a few sessions in good wind to get past crashing and have some controll.
If I can get some controll in half a dozen sessions I know it works , if I can't it's probably a bad idea.
Then I'll put it on a Formula or wide freeride , I have both.
I think I'm winning but I've only tried in gusty light wind.
I posted pics on how I made it in windsurfing general section. " Foil to raceboard marriage ".
Its an experiment

jamesf
NSW, 881 posts
6 Feb 2019 9:29PM
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Your experiment looks like fun and some nice handiwork. However, I reckon it would be easier learning to foil on your wider formula board first then transferring to the narrower race board once you've got the hang of it. Good luck, it's worth it.

Paducah
344 posts
6 Feb 2019 10:07PM
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I'm with James - get your first rides on something that's already dialed and user friendly. I think what you are trying to do is neat but you are almost skipping a step which means it's going to be harder to suss out how good you executed your idea. It's like coming up with a great new idea for ski jump skis but you don't know how to ski so you have to figure out the skiing thing while going down the ramp. Of course, I exaggerate. I'm sure it will work out either way but one of them will save you weeks if not months.

You've done something really clever and it would be a shame not to give it its proper due. Good luck!

martyj4
198 posts
7 Feb 2019 4:04AM
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IMax1, I think the true test of how you are progressing is to try in consistent 10-12 knots of wind. Gusty wind is often difficult, especially if the lower end of the wind spectrum won't allow you to fly (5 knots is out of many foilers range unless you have a BIG foil and BIG sail). And on a Raceboard? Wow, that's impressive.
It took me 2 sessions of playing around with mast (foil) position, rear foil angle, mast (rig) position in mast track and body positions to even start to know what I should be doing. Hang in there.

Faff
VIC, 658 posts
20 Feb 2019 9:51PM
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I reckon it's no different to learning windsurfing - being somewhat overpowered and small rigs make you progress faster. (Disclosure: I have 5 sessions under my belt).
I got my first sustained flight on my first outing in 12 knots with a 7.0 on my friend's board. It was stupidly hard work. Second time around - I was overpowered in 15-17 knots with a 5.0 on my own gear. 15-18 knots and 4.8 is what I've been doing since then. I'm getting better and better feel for board trim and level flight. I think it would've taken me way longer to progress to this modest level going out in lighter winds, getting knackered uphauling and pumping. But YMMV, as they say.

remery
WA, 366 posts
20 Feb 2019 8:59PM
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I've been out about 10 times on a Naish Hover 122 with 700 mm foil and 5.4 NP Search sail. I had plenyt of out of control flights on the first go in 15 knots. The first few times I was mentally and physically exhausted so was only going about for an hour with lots of rests. Now I can finally relax and let the gear glide. I made a big leap once I stopped sheeting in and trying to control the foil with the sail, now as soon as I get up I let the sail out and concentrate on weight movement. I still over correct a lot but have had runs of a kilometre or so and max speed of just over 20 knots. I shortened my harness lines heaps by setting them way apart and that felt better yesterday. I've attempted a few foiling gybes but the board slips out from under me most of the time. I managed a gybe at reasonable speed yesterday but I wouldn't call it a foiling gybe because the board touched down a few times. At 61 years and 90 kg I reckon I should have got a bigger board.

azymuth
WA, 609 posts
20 Feb 2019 10:38PM
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remery said..
. At 61 years and 90 kg I reckon I should have got a bigger board.



Rob - why do you think you need a bigger board?

remery
WA, 366 posts
20 Feb 2019 10:56PM
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azymuth said..

remery said..
. At 61 years and 90 kg I reckon I should have got a bigger board.




Rob - why do you think you need a bigger board?


It's hard work rope starting and getting it to fly in 12 knots. Maybe it's time I tried the 6.5 NCX, although I'm thinking rope starting would be even harder.

segler
86 posts
21 Feb 2019 2:00AM
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If your gear is balanced (front wing 50% between front and back foot) and you start with your mast track about 44 inches in front of the leading edge of the foil mast, and you use a 6.4 sail in 12-15 kts of wind, and you use a floaty 135 liter fairly wide board, you will be able to learn well with about 8 sessions.

If your fuselage is about 90 cm, the pitch is more stable than with a shorter fuse. That matters a lot when you are learning. By far the biggest issue is pitch control. Problem is, most windfoils have only a single length of fuselage, and it runs 75 - 80 cm.

Another thing that helps is to use a really big front wing if you have the option. 1000 - 1200 cm2 makes for good flying at slower and less frightening speeds. For my AFS-2 gear, foiling with a 1120 cm2 front wing is MUCH easier (and still plenty fast) than with my 779 cm2 front wing. Those huge Infinity wings from Slingshot are a huge difference maker for many of my buds in Seattle.

It took me about 60 sessions before I could foil confidently all the way across the Columbia River without touching down or foiling out. But then my gear was far from balanced when I first started out and had to learn how to balance it on my own.

I am doing OK now, but I still foil without using the harness lines or back footstraps. I can now do this all day without getting exhausted because the upright stance and small sail (for the wind) makes for a light load on the arms and feet.

Yes, you definitely DO want to use the front footstrap, even in the very beginning. It locates your foot to the balance point of the front wing.

Paducah
344 posts
21 Feb 2019 4:59AM
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segler said..
If your gear is balanced (front wing 50% between front and back foot) and you start with your mast track about 44 inches in front of the leading edge of the foil mast, and you use a 6.4 sail in 12-15 kts of wind, and you use a floaty 135 liter fairly wide board, you will be able to learn well with about 8 sessions.

If your fuselage is about 90 cm, the pitch is more stable than with a shorter fuse. That matters a lot when you are learning. By far the biggest issue is pitch control. Problem is, most windfoils have only a single length of fuselage, and it runs 75 - 80 cm.

Another thing that helps is to use a really big front wing if you have the option. 1000 - 1200 cm2 makes for good flying at slower and less frightening speeds. For my AFS-2 gear, foiling with a 1120 cm2 front wing is MUCH easier (and still plenty fast) than with my 779 cm2 front wing. Those huge Infinity wings from Slingshot are a huge difference maker for many of my buds in Seattle.


Big wings are a two edged sword depending on the rider weight and design of the wing. Some big surf-style wings like the Slingshot are fine for starting out as they are draggy enough that powered up they won't go too fast for a beginner. Smaller beginners can stick with an 800 fine and not deal with the power problems a bigger wing creates.

WhiteofHeart
106 posts
21 Feb 2019 5:00AM
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I disagree with a lot of things being said in this thread right now. It took me about 5 sessions unill steady flight without touching down unwanted toor regularly or making any funny crashes.

starting in light wind is in my opinion the best, for you will learn to feel the trim, which in foiling is of way bigger importance than in regular windsurfing. Most people who start overpowered do all kinds of funny things like put the mastfoot all the way forward, go for power 50/50 distributed over both legs or even backleg heavy. They start saying things like "starting to control the board with my legs, but am still overcompensating" (no offence intended). They sail around with the toilet stance and the boom at chestheight, never really getting the kit to do the work for them.

first, to debunk some myths:
- mastfoot all the way forward: people tend to do this because the pro's do, but the pro's actually have a very good reason for this, namely that their foils are way more powerful than anything a regular windfoiler would sail on, with the front wing situated at least 5cm further forward than most, while having their straps way back. Putting the mastfoot further forward allows for controling gusts when using the more advanced techniques explained below, but requires a well tuned kit, powerful foil and sail, wide board, above all, loads of sailpower. When you are not hanging down from the rig having your mastfoot forward will only impair your early planing, manouvrebility etcetc.
- power evenly distributed over the legs might sound like a good idea, but will decrease control for in a gust or when speeding up or slowing down the point of balance shifts, making you kind of trying to balance a board on a ledge which keeps moving forward and backward beneath you. Now the answer to that is to either have the power further forward or back (seen as what the pro's use you may guess, but I will explain), having the power under the backfoot will result in a sticky board, in gusts your board will land uncontrolably, upwind potential is limited, early planing is limited. It seems that front foot power is the answer, for it opens up jibing, early planing, upwind sailing, control in gusts, etc. Etc.
- controling the board with the legs: lets just say people are actively trying to do this, and it results in a dolphin effect. It like standing in a really narrow rowing boat, the more moves you make to compensate, the harder the boat will wobble, same goes for foiling. Ofcourse it is hard to do something else (especially since you have no idea what you are doing as a beginner, which is completely understandable and normal), so instead I'd recommend going out in lighter winds, for it allows for just less movements having to be made. Keeping the board balanced is mostly done by shifting weight forward and backward (I do this with both legs straight, only bending the frontleg when going really fast or when so much overpowered I cant keep my sail closed), shifting the front hand forward and back will lower or heighten flightheight respectively, and the position of the backhand has to be placed in accorance with backhand preassure in the sail, for a lot of power on your backhand will result in a lot of power on the back foot = rising board, and vice versa ofcourse. It is not done by bending your knees into the toiletposition like some people like to do when windsurfing in choppy waters, or wobbling your knees all about..
- Boom at chestheight (or even lower): has to do with the power/balance point thing mentioned at first, but having your boom at chestheight kills the power from your foil, meaning you will be sticking to the water, and in gusts your sailpower response will be slower, meaning your board will do more funny things (like go all over the place). High boom is the answer for foiling, at the boomhead eyeheight or higher.


starting in lighter winds will help you setup foilkit the way it is supposed to, mainly because otherwise it will not fly. Go out in (too) little wind, boom at eyeheight or higher, footstraps all the way back, mastfoot back (unless you are using a PWA foil), stab set to more power (more rake). It will take a few sessions to adjust to the powerful feeling beneath your legs, but after getting used to it it is a bliss and will help control in every windstrength. When your kit is setup correctly IT WILL FLY OUT OF ITS OWN IN A STABLE MANNER, requiring no effort whatsoever.
Ofcourse you could also sail in more wind with an adequately small sail. Say 7.0 for 8-12 knots, 6.0 for 10-14 knots, 5.0 for 12-16 knots, 4.0 in 16-20 knots for an 80kg sailor with a regular +/-900sqcm wing.

Today I was out with 8.6, formulaboard, racefoil with 1000sqcm frontwing, all set to maximumpower in 16 knots, while at 6 knots this trim gives me enough power to fly. When racing the foils, control is attained by staying completely stiff on both legs, staying sheeted in and hanging weight in the harness to keep the nose down through the mastfoot, providing maximum power efficiency + control. On the small kit however I'm upright and just sheet out in gusts, and move my backfoot out of the backstrap on reach or downwind courses when overpowered.

i have to say that as foiling is still a young sport everyone is still learning, I have been doing (at the least) twice a week 6-8 hour sessions for 2 years now, but don't dare say I am all knowing or everything I say is true. At the moment this is where I stand with my current state of knowledge.

azymuth
WA, 609 posts
21 Feb 2019 8:06AM
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remery said..






azymuth said..







remery said..
. At 61 years and 90 kg I reckon I should have got a bigger board.










Rob - why do you think you need a bigger board?








It's hard work rope starting and getting it to fly in 12 knots. Maybe it's time I tried the 6.5 NCX, although I'm thinking rope starting would be even harder.







Rob - I suggest more TOW with your 5.4 sail in 12-18 knots, which means you can water-start.

After a few more sessions you'll probably find getting going and maintaining flight in lighter winds a lot easier, as technique/muscle memory notches up - so you won't need to uphaul much.

If you ultimately want to ride swells/freeride which is what the Naish is optimized for, you'll be glad your board isn't bigger.
I reckon freeride foiling is most fun in 18-25 knots as the foil can do crazy turns and fly downwind - with a tiny sail

I love my 105L - I would only use a bigger board if the wind was 8-12 and I was desperate to get some airtime - which is coming up in April, May I guess.

remery
WA, 366 posts
21 Feb 2019 10:05AM
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OK, you got me, what's TOW?

I've always windsurfed with straight legs and wondered if this is causing my over-correction because my ankles are doing most of the work. I've noticed I over-correct more on starboard tack when my weaker left leg is at the back. This is the only photo of have foiling a couple of days ago.


Faff
VIC, 658 posts
21 Feb 2019 1:46PM
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"Time On Water".

remery
WA, 366 posts
21 Feb 2019 10:48AM
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DOH

azymuth
WA, 609 posts
21 Feb 2019 11:16AM
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remery said..
OK, you got me, what's TOW?

I've always windsurfed with straight legs and wondered if this is causing my over-correction because my ankles are doing most of the work. I've noticed I over-correct more on starboard tack when my weaker left leg is at the back. This is the only photo of have foiling a couple of days ago.



Your stance looks fine - don't overthink it.
A couple more sessions and it'll click - your body will adapt and you'll be more relaxed

hardpole
WA, 485 posts
21 Feb 2019 5:18PM
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Is a 105 foil board too small to learn on ?

Or to put it the other way would something like a 115 or larger be too large in normal sea breezes.

Thinking something like the slingshot wizards.

remery
WA, 366 posts
21 Feb 2019 8:48PM
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hardpole said..
Is a 105 foil board too small to learn on ?

Or to put it the other way would something like a 115 or larger be too large in normal sea breezes.

Thinking something like the slingshot wizards.



I reckon it depends on your weight. If you are 90 kg and putting around at 10 knots, its all good, but if the wind drops below 10 knots and you fall in then have to water start or rope start on a 105, its going to be tough.

Paducah
344 posts
21 Feb 2019 10:14PM
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hardpole said..
Is a 105 foil board too small to learn on ?

Or to put it the other way would something like a 115 or larger be too large in normal sea breezes.

Thinking something like the slingshot wizards.


How big are you? What are your normal sea breezes?

Most foilboards are 125-150. imho, there are smaller ones but transitions and getting started will be more of a pain on something smaller. It's nice when you are starting out to have something that you can actually stand on especially in light wind lulls.

segler
86 posts
22 Feb 2019 12:48AM
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There is TOW (time on water) and TOF (time on foil).

hardpole
WA, 485 posts
22 Feb 2019 11:00AM
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Paducah said..

hardpole said..
Is a 105 foil board too small to learn on ?

Or to put it the other way would something like a 115 or larger be too large in normal sea breezes.

Thinking something like the slingshot wizards.



How big are you? What are your normal sea breezes?

Most foilboards are 125-150. imho, there are smaller ones but transitions and getting started will be more of a pain on something smaller. It's nice when you are starting out to have something that you can actually stand on especially in light wind lulls.


Sorry should have put more info, 82Kg, sailing in Perth so I guess normal seabreezes are 15-20 but guessing I would be learning in the river so a bit less. sounding like more volume is a good idea. I suppose I was wondering once you are up on the foil is the board size very important? I was uphauling a 123 isonic but havent tried it on anything smaller for a long time.

KDog
41 posts
22 Feb 2019 12:59PM
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I have a 125 slingshot wizard and have not uphauled a board in 25+ years. Today it was 9deg. c and i was wearing full 5-4 suit water temp was dam cold, sail 5.0 simmer blacktip,really surprised myself with how many times I pulled it off but would I rather waterstart oh yea!
Full disclosure my third time foiling my weight 85kg? could I uphaul the 105 probally not ,to much work for someone my age.

remery
WA, 366 posts
22 Feb 2019 1:05PM
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I haven't tacked a board in 30 years and at 90 kg "gybing" a 122 L board in 10 knots sure is wobbly. The good news is that I get better and learn something new every time I go out.



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Forums > Windsurfing Foiling


"How long to learn to foil." started by Imax1