Wingsurfing - A wingsurf and wingfoil handbook

Photo: Marcel Berrevoets has wing foil Mark van der Burg and kite surfer Valérie van Seters in his sights.

Wingsurfing, wing boarding, wing foiling and winging are the different names for the latest windsport. It is a combination of windsurfing, kite surfing and foiling. As a beginner you will probably ask yourself what type of wingsurfboard, how long the mast and which wing you need. As an experienced wingfoiler you will take the following steps. That is why this explanation of wingsurfing and wingfoiling. With this explanation you will know at once how it works and what to look out for if you want to go wing surfing. In addition, it is a good reference book for the more experienced wing surfers.

About wingsurf and wingfoil spots. Looking for wingsurf spots or wingfoil spots. Check out what to look out for via our wing foil spot Netherlands page.

Wingsurfing and wing foiling is breaking through

It had been around for years but never really broke through. In 2020 the time had come. A number of kitesurf brands managed to make very good surf wings. Quite logical given the knowledge and available materials of the brands. At the moment, development is going very fast. Every month there are new brands that bring wingsurfing equipment to the market.

Wind sports are all the rage

In addition, wind sports are all the rage. Wingsurfing and wing foiling now also belong to the list of wind sports. It appeals to many boaters and is relatively easy to get started. Winter 2021 brought us a lot of snow and then good ice. Snowwing, snowwing surfing, ice winging and ice wing surfing then also took off enormously. With a wing and snowboard was still a thing. You need quite a bit of strength to get through the snow. You miss the buoyancy of the kite. With skates on and a wing in your hand you literally float over the ice. This has turned out to be sublime for many kiters. Of course you do not get the speed as with a kite. However, it is much less complex with a wing. No lines, no kite at a distance, etc. In addition, you can swing on land with a mountain board or a skateboard.

Ice winging with Marlie van der Ven. Also check out Ode to the wing
Ice-winging with Marlie van der Ven. also look at Ode to the wing.

Wing foiling is the sport

De Wing Foil World Tour was made official in 2020 as part of the Global Wingsports Association. Making wing foiling specific in the name also indicates that the sport continues under the name wing foiling. Previously and numerous names were used. The goal of the Wingfoil World Tour is to set up a professional world competition and show the world what wingfoil has to offer. 

Wingsurfing competitions - World Wing Foil Championship
Wingsurfing competitions - World Wing Foil Championship. Photo:

General explanation of wingsurfing

What is wingsurfing?

Wingsurfing is a relatively new water sport in which the wingsurfer stands on a surfboard and is pulled by a wing (sail). The surfer has the wing in his hands. This is therefore not attached to a surfboard, as is the case with windsurfing, for example. Wingsurfing can be described as a cross between wave surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing and foiling.

Wingsurfing is actually called wing foiling when a hydrofoil (hydrofoil) is used in combination with a specially developed wing foil board. Another active name is wingen.

Can you wing surf in the Netherlands?

Sure. You can do it anywhere and it is less complex than kite surfing. That way you don't have long lines to take into account. That is why you can quickly manage on smaller puddles and inland water. In addition, you do not need any help to inflate and lower a wing. You can do this all yourself. You cannot, however, wing foil everywhere. You need enough depth to make sure you don't get stuck on the bottom.

Wingsurfers Jennifer and Bart for the Brouwerdam. Photo: Marcel Berrevoets.

Where can you wing surf in the Netherlands?

Wing foiling is equated with windsurfing by the government. Wing foiling is therefore allowed on those waters, where windsurfing is also allowed. This means that in principle it is allowed everywhere except on busy waterways and canals. Read it if necessary inland waterway police regulations .

Do you want to go wingsurfing and wing foiling at sea or on lakes? Then specific rules apply. These are always indicated on the information board at the entrance to the beach or recreation area. At the seaside, also pay attention to the (beach) flags of the rescue brigade at the time itself. Make sure you know its meaning and follow the rules or.

Where can you wing surf in the Netherlands? Rules and tips for safety.
Service flags. More rules and tips on

Is wingsurfing difficult?

Wingsurfing looks perhaps the most like windsurfing. However, it is easier to learn. Precisely because it can be learned on different types of surfboards. For example, you can start wing surfing on an (inflatable) supboard. As soon as this goes well, you can switch to a specially developed wingboard or even a wingsurf foil board. Wingfoiling in the waves at sea is a completely different story. This is not easy to label and perhaps more difficult than kite surfing.

To take Wingsurf lessons or not?

I chose not to take wingsurf lessons when I started my adventure. My experience with kiting, kite surfing and a little bit of windsurfing was present and topical. In addition, I rented a set and went directly on the water at the rental center. The rental center also always kept an eye on things. That was nice. In addition, the short and concise explanations and tips from the people at the rental center have always helped me to understand some basic things. This prevents unnecessary experimentation and unsafe situations. It also accelerated my learning process. Furthermore, I always needed help to choose the right wingsurf set in the beginning.

To take Wingsurf lessons or not?
To take Wingsurf lessons or not?

If you have no experience with water and / or wind sports, then taking a wingsurf lesson is a must in our opinion. It's not something to try for yourself. Certainly not if you want to get out on the water directly with a foil under the board. A wingsurf course will also speed up your learning process enormously and is often offered via wingsurf shops en wingsurf lesson schools.

Is wingsurfing dangerous?

Wingsurfing is as dangerous as you make it yourself. If you choose weather conditions and wingsurfing equipment according to your skill level, it is not dangerous. It is also clear to us that wingsurfing is also a potentially dangerous and extreme sport. In stronger winds and rough seas, wingsurfing can be really cool. High jumps and tricks can also be done with it. The risks then naturally also increase. The use of a helmet is recommended at the very least. To start wingsurfing you must at least be able to swim. Furthermore, it is a very diverse water sport that can be practiced by a very diverse audience.

Unprecedented tricks during the GWA Wingfoil World Cup Leucate. Photo:
Unprecedented tricks during the GWA Wingfoil World Cup Leucate. Photo:

What Do You Need?

To wing surf you need wingsurf wing (sail) and a specially developed wingsurf board. A mast (fuselage) and a hydrofoil (hydrofoil) can be mounted on the wingsurf board. Wing surfing suddenly becomes wing foiling. With the help of the hydrofoil you can get completely out of the water and, as it were, wingfoil above the water. Starting with a surfboard or sup-board is of course also possible. In any case, you also need a board leash and wing leash. You also need a neoprene wetsuit and possibly neoprene shoes. As stated earlier, the use of a helmet is also recommended.

How much wind do you need?

Wingsurfing with a foil board is already possible with very little wind. For example, you can already wingsurf actively and with great pleasure from 8 knots (wind force 3). Depending on the skill level and what a wingsurfer or wingfoiler wants, it can be forced to over 30 knots (wind force 7). Wingsurfing is therefore a good alternative to water sports that require a lot of wind.

How do you dose the power?

You can keep a wing flat so that it actually lies on the wind and is powerless. As soon as you hold the wing down, the wind will enter the wing and it will start pulling. As soon as you wing surf, the power is partially lost due to your speed. By grasping the wing higher or lower, a wingsurfer or wingfoiler can dose the power.

Explanation of wingsurfing specifically

What size wing surfer do you need for which wind?

Wing surfer wings come in many shapes and sizes. Some brands offer 6 sizes of one specific wing. Common for an adult wingsurfer is a 5 m2. With stronger wind, a 3,5 m2 is common. Below we have a size chart wing surfer in combination with the weight of the wingsurfer and the wind. The wind is indicated in knots. You may also consult the conversion table for more insight into the wind.

Wing size table

WeightSize wing
7 meter6 meter5 meter4 meter3 meter2 meter
-65 kilos9-15 ct10-20 ct11-22 ct17-32 ct22-42 ct35+ ct
65-85 kilos9-17 ct10-22 ct12-27 ct19-37 ct27-47 ct40+ ct
+85 kilos11-19 ct13-25 ct15-32 ct21-44 ct27-57kt45+ ct
Table size of wing surfer in combination with the weight of the wing surfer and the wind in knots.

Size wingfoil

As written, the wing foil is the wing. If you are going to start with wing foiling, a wing foil that is as large as possible is nice. A large wing foil ensures that you are quickly lifted out of the water.

You choose a foil based on your weight, level and what you want to do with it.

What size foil rules of thumb

  • The heavier you are, the bigger your hydrofoil should be.
  • A large foil is an advantage because you get out of the water faster and easier.
  • A large foil can also be a disadvantage because it won't reach as high a speed as you might eventually want.
  • In addition, a large foil is less agile and playful than a small foil.
  • A small foil comes out of the water less quickly, but is more agile and faster.
  • For example, a 1600 cm² wing is suitable for advanced surf foilers up to 80 kg.

Wingfoil size table

Size wingfoilLevelWeight
2500 cm wingsBeginner / Lesson+85 kilos
2000 cm wingsBeginner / Lesson-70 to 85 kilos
1500 cm wingsTo experience
-1500 cm wingsAdvanced
Size of wingfoil in combination with the level and weight of the wingsurfer

Size mast wing foils

Just like with kite foiling, you can use different mast lengths with wing foils. The height mainly varies between 75 and 105 cm. A shorter mast is nice in the beginning, on flat water, inland water and in shallow water. A longer lift takes you higher out of the water and is nice with wilder water, at sea and deeper water.

Size wingsurf board

In the beginning, a large wingsurf board is especially nice. For example a 6'11 ”that we started with. A large wingfoil board with volume floats easily, is more stable and therefore you can start more easily. The volume also differs per board. A lot of volume is nice in the beginning. For example 140 liters volume. You can also easily stand on a large wingsurf board without falling off and so you can quickly make the first meters without noticing. A large board in combination with a large wing ensures that you are lifted out of the water as quickly as possible and that you can wing foil your first meters. This way you can focus on board control in advance and learn to surf the wing. This is a really fun challenge to learn.

Wing surf boards

Smaller board with less volume

Once you can wingfoil, you don't need that much volume anymore. A volume of the number of liters that is around your weight should then be fine. Advanced wingers even take to the water with a 4'8 ″ board.

Table size wingsurf board

Size boardLevelWeight
6'0″Beginner / Lesson+85 kilos
6'0″Beginner / Lesson-70 - 85 kilos
5'8″To experience+85 kilos
5'6″To experience-70 - 85 kilos
5'4″Advanced+85 kilos
5'0″Advanced-70 - 85 kilos
Table size wingsurfboard in combination with level and weight.

Inflatable board

Almost every wingsurf brand also has inflatable wingsurf boards in its range. The big advantage is of course the transport. An inflatable board can fit in a large sports bag in terms of size. In addition, an inflatable board can also take a beating. It is less likely to damage. However, the performance of an inflatable board almost never matches a hard board. That is not a problem for many wing surfers. However, you will hardly see any wing foilers that are very skilled and good at it with an inflatable board. An example of an inflatable board is that of Gong. See the picture below.

Gong Wing Surf inflatable wingsurf board
Example Gong Wing Surf inflatable wingsurf board. Photo:

Where can I buy a wing and wingboard?

Wing surfing has since become popular. That is why many kitesurf shops have added wings and wingboards to their range. View the kitesurf shops in your area.

Buying your second wing foil board

Once you have learned how to wing foil, cruise and jibe, it may be time for a second wing foil board. This increases your maneuverability a lot and makes wing foiling even more playful and fun. A good guideline to keep to for your second wing foil board is your own weight. For example: I weigh about 85 kilos. My second board could then be an 85 liter board.

Buy wingsurf set

Are you looking for a complete wingsurf set or wing foil set to start wingsurfing? Especially the purchase of a wing foil set as a starting wing surfer can be a challenge. That is not surprising, because as a rookie wing surfer or wing foiler you often do not know exactly what you are looking for. Moreover, you want to purchase a set that you can use for a while.

Buy wingsurf set. You can buy a complete wing foil set in the offer
Example of a wingsurf set.

You have several options to purchase a set. This explanation will help you with that.

In addition, our advice is to be advised in a shop. When buying material it differs a lot whether you already have experience with wind and / or water sports. If so, also how recent and intensive that experience is.

Buy options wing foil set

As a result, various options are usually offered or tailor-made so that your wingsurf or wing foil set fits well with what you want to do on the water and suits your skill level.

Offer wing surfer set

These wing surfer sets are often competitively priced as an offer. Enough inspiration to find. In addition, a call or visit to a shops so made. Finally, personal advice is often the best advice.

Learning wingsurfing, that's how it works

Do you want to become a wingsurfer or wingfoiler and also learn it? Then you probably wonder what to expect? Especially for this we record our learning process and share it with you. In it you can read how we started from day 1 and follow our progress. In addition, we also share what we have learned and noticed per experience. You can take advantage of that.

Learning wing surfing and wing foiling: it starts with wing surfing. View learning wing surfing or wing foiling.

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