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Learning to trust letting go of back hand downwinding

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Created by dapara2004 A week ago, 14 Jan 2022
dapara2004
17 posts
14 Jan 2022 1:35AM
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I am finally getting opportunities to ride bigger swell downwind in strong gusty winter wind (25-35 knots average). In these conditions, the swell gets big enough on the bay here to tempt me to let go of the back hand and grab the leading edge handle, and to try to ride the swell. So far, I only feel comfortable in these conditions holding the wing overhead with both hands to depower, but am pretty sure it would feel better just luffing out the wing downwind off to the side. I am seeking advice on how to proceed to this way of riding so I can enjoy the swell more and feel like the strong gusts aren't getting the best of the situation. Balance goes when a gust catches me , so I am hopeful that fully depowering the wing from the front handle will make it easier to stay balanced over the foil. Is a bigger wing better for this even if upwind is slower? I have HA 925 and 1125 and the HS 1250 and 1550v2 from Armstrong to play with. Any advice would be helpful!

Velocicraptor
107 posts
14 Jan 2022 1:50AM
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As a first step, I recommend keeping the front hand on the front strut handle (move it back if you can) and let go of the back hand and try sailing it one handed that way ("half luffed"). You can leave a little power and stability in the wing this way and can easily go back to two handed, but it switches most of the power from the wing to the swell. One handed riding works pretty well for me when its gusty since the wing luffs out when it gets overpowered with a gust (no back handle pressure to overpower it). Some wings sail better than others half luffed, but you will figure it out with some trial and error.

After you figure out the half luffed riding, move on to the leading edge handle. Its really not difficult if you have enough power from the waves. The hardest part is the timing of getting back from the leading edge handles to the strut handles before you stall or fall off the wave.

Not sure I would say a bigger foil wing is better than a smaller foil wing for what you are trying to do. Just match the foil to the conditions. Too much lift will make it more difficult to ride, but too little lift will make timing of switching between strut and leading edge handles less forgiving.

Just my $0.02.

juandesooka
474 posts
14 Jan 2022 4:14AM
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Main advice: just do it! You will quickly realize this is 99% of what wing foiling is actually about, getting enough speed in swells that you don't need the wing any more -- it's a personal jetski for towing into waves.

Agree with suggestion above, as a partway step you can hold the wing with just front strap, almost like it's a kite with some gentle downwind pull. I do that or still the two hands above head in some situations, light or gusty wind, waves not quite right, etc., as you can very quickly get back to powered riding with no fuss.

You may find in switching to front handle that you miss the grab sometimes and the wing drops away. This may eventually lead to you coming off foil -- or you may find that you start being able to rescue it, reel it in by the leash and keep going.

I don't know the Arm foils that well....buddy loves the 25 series though. Use whichever helps you stay gliding in the swells for longer.

eppo
WA, 8721 posts
14 Jan 2022 6:55AM
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maybe just do an easy flat water or even tack upwind a bit. Get some speed by heading slightly downwind - grab flag handle quickly - flag only momentarily - then get back into normal riding position. Get used to the biomechanics involved.
also it helps as you flag start a slight pump up. It can help done the track as pumping a little if you come of a swell gives you that extra time to grab the wing into normal riding position again.

When ready for DW swell. best to flag as early as possible. As you turn onto/into swell (with speed) as your body turns grab handle.

keep wrist relaxed - let wing drop a little. No need to hold it up high.
remember like surfing best to ride the swell side on to avoid steep drops which can ventilate the back tail. Ride side on then turn back onto the swell as it moves through, rinse and repeat.


then add in pumping ..


oh use your HS wings to prac this - more stall speed room for error than the HA.

dapara2004
17 posts
14 Jan 2022 12:38PM
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Great pointers. Thank you! I am hoping for wind soon so I can try out a few of the hints. I ride the Cabrinha CrosswingX2 which has mini-booms, but no angled struts to the leading edge (like, for example, the A-wing has). so I will probably just have to go for it, maybe with the above head kite method, if I understand that correctly. I will work on the side on downwind swell direction, too, so I don't breach or overtake the swell.

Ju_foil
NSW, 50 posts
14 Jan 2022 5:16PM
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Select to expand quote
dapara2004 said..
I am finally getting opportunities to ride bigger swell downwind in strong gusty winter wind (25-35 knots average). In these conditions, the swell gets big enough on the bay here to tempt me to let go of the back hand and grab the leading edge handle, and to try to ride the swell. So far, I only feel comfortable in these conditions holding the wing overhead with both hands to depower, but am pretty sure it would feel better just luffing out the wing downwind off to the side. I am seeking advice on how to proceed to this way of riding so I can enjoy the swell more and feel like the strong gusts aren't getting the best of the situation. Balance goes when a gust catches me , so I am hopeful that fully depowering the wing from the front handle will make it easier to stay balanced over the foil. Is a bigger wing better for this even if upwind is slower? I have HA 925 and 1125 and the HS 1250 and 1550v2 from Armstrong to play with. Any advice would be helpful!


When you say riding bigger swells do you mean wind chop? Just because you say it's only big enough into ride in high winds I'm assuming you are not riding what most on here call 'swell' such as a ten second period wave, maybe more like a 3-5 second period ?

I love these conditions, my advice is match your foil size/speed to wave speed those HA foils are
pretty fast, and if my assumptions are correct try the 1550, keep yourself right up the top 1/3 of the wave and you can hang there all day flagged out no worries, if you ride down the face, then turn back up to ride the next one behind, so much fun!

dapara2004
17 posts
14 Jan 2022 2:31PM
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Select to expand quote
Ju_foil said..

dapara2004 said..
I am finally getting opportunities to ride bigger swell downwind in strong gusty winter wind (25-35 knots average). In these conditions, the swell gets big enough on the bay here to tempt me to let go of the back hand and grab the leading edge handle, and to try to ride the swell. So far, I only feel comfortable in these conditions holding the wing overhead with both hands to depower, but am pretty sure it would feel better just luffing out the wing downwind off to the side. I am seeking advice on how to proceed to this way of riding so I can enjoy the swell more and feel like the strong gusts aren't getting the best of the situation. Balance goes when a gust catches me , so I am hopeful that fully depowering the wing from the front handle will make it easier to stay balanced over the foil. Is a bigger wing better for this even if upwind is slower? I have HA 925 and 1125 and the HS 1250 and 1550v2 from Armstrong to play with. Any advice would be helpful!



When you say riding bigger swells do you mean wind chop? Just because you say it's only big enough into ride in high winds I'm assuming you are not riding what most on here call 'swell' such as a ten second period wave, maybe more like a 3-5 second period ?

I love these conditions, my advice is match your foil size/speed to wave speed those HA foils are
pretty fast, and if my assumptions are correct try the 1550, keep yourself right up the top 1/3 of the wave and you can hang there all day flagged out no worries, if you ride down the face, then turn back up to ride the next one behind, so much fun!


Wind chop all the way here. Probably a 3 second period when they are in the 1 to q.5 m amplitude. I bet I am outrunning the chop on my 925 for sure and perhaps on the 1125. I will size down on the handheld wing and try the 1550 like you suggest. That does sound like a lot of fun. When I hear someone say they are bored of the novelty of being foil (not at all often) I think it might be that they aren't catching these chop waves . I can already tell that if I can get that dialed in, the whole wingfoil thing will open up for me and be so much more fun.

spartacus
NSW, 109 posts
14 Jan 2022 6:06PM
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You will enjoy the 1550 on that wind chop. I find the HA wings a bit too fast for close period lake wind chop.
HA are Great for Ocean swell.
What Wind Wing are you using?
I've got a wing with handles & one with a boom. I definately find it easily to ride one handed DW with a boom. You can throw the wing around & just catch it. If you need a bit of instant power to crest a swell you can just give a one hand pump to keep you on the runner. But I'm sure the handles would do the same, whatever you are used to or want to spend the time on.

PeterP
724 posts
14 Jan 2022 10:19PM
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The main challenge to surfing/downwinding flagged out using the LE handle, is the transition of letting go with back hand, to getting onto the front handle. That initial sense of "I have nothing to lean against" can be un-nerving but it's easy to practice when doing standard jibes in flat water.

Once you are on the LE handle your natural body position is now much better as there is a reason you never see anyone surfing or skateboarding with their hands over their head. Holding onto both strut handles forces your arms over your head and makes surfing a bump much more difficult.

airsail
QLD, 815 posts
15 Jan 2022 4:20AM
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Select to expand quote
spartacus said..
You will enjoy the 1550 on that wind chop. I find the HA wings a bit too fast for close period lake wind chop.
HA are Great for Ocean swell.
What Wind Wing are you using?
I've got a wing with handles & one with a boom. I definately find it easily to ride one handed DW with a boom. You can throw the wing around & just catch it. If you need a bit of instant power to crest a swell you can just give a one hand pump to keep you on the runner. But I'm sure the handles would do the same, whatever you are used to or want to spend the time on.


Got to agree that the boom has advantages in wind chop. Even when held with one hand, you can give your wrist a twist, adding a slight bit of power to get through a flat section. Handles just twist and this function isn't available.

MidAtlanticFoil
307 posts
Saturday , 15 Jan 2022 9:19AM
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Great advice above. I would add that practicing on the shore before going out will be helpful. Go from powered up to holding LE and back like 50 times in a row. You want this to be second nature so you can go back to powered riding as soon as you feel you are loosing speed or balance.
could practice on a skateboard as well.



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"Learning to trust letting go of back hand downwinding" started by dapara2004