How to stay safe when wing foiling

How to stay safe when wing foiling

To ensure safety in wing foiling, always wear a helmet and impact vest, check local weather conditions, and practice self-rescue techniques.

Use the Right Equipment

Selecting the Right Board
One of the most important decisions you will make in wing foiling is what board to use, this will be based on a combination of your experience and body weight. A bigger board (around 120-150 liters) for the beginners because of higher volume provides more stability and easier balance. There is an evolution, as you can move to a smaller board (90-110 liters) when you are progressing. Smaller boards offer better maneuvering and speed. Tiaga recommend trying to get a board where the foil can be adjusted giving riders the ability to adapt lift and drag characteristics as their skills develop.
Wing Size Selection

Wing size affects handling ability and speed A wing of 4-6 metre squared is advised for most beginners as it offers enough power without being too much to handle. More experienced foilers ride with wings between 3 square meters for high winds or 7 square meters for low wind. Improved control and less fatigue with easy-grab handle wings

Safety Gear Essentials

This isn't negotiable, always ride with an Impact-vest and a helmet. Helmets protect your noggin from brain scrambles if you eat fans or land on a lip, while impact vests give you float and torso-protection. Pro Guide Tip: When the water gets cold, a wetsuit is great not only at keeping in the warmth, but it also provides some additional protection for cuts and scrapes. Proper safety gear is estimated to cut injuries from water sports by 70%.
Leash and Harness
A waist or wrist leash means your wing is always connected to you, necessary for safety and especially in rivers (currents) or open sea(vind). Additionally a harness helps with reducing arm fatigue over long sessions and distributing part of the weight into your core rather than just all in the arms. Make sure its leash comes with a release system to disconnect for the case of emergency.

Wear Proper Safety Gear

Helmet and Impact Vest
A helmet will save your precious little noggin from collision with the board, or anything hard that may found in the water. Choose a water-oriented helmet that is lightweight and has an adequate outlet for drainage and ventilation. Research has shown that, in water sports, wearing a helmet could cut the risk of serious head injuries by around 85%. You will usually wear an impact vest that should be tight but not too restrictive and give a bit of flotation as well as offer rather good protection for some blunt trauma against your torso. Impact vests are typically made of flexible panels that won't restrict movement, so you can freely move while wearing one and know that your maximum level of safety is met with minimal infringing on your comfort.

Appropriate Wetsuit

Not only will the proper wetsuit keep you warm, it adds an extra layer of barrier to protect against abrasions and stings. The rule of thumb is that the suit should be between 3mm for warmer waters and 5mm for colder climates. A good wetsuit will push the limits from a few minutes, to several hours before hypothermia sets in, and makes it possible to spend more time under water.
Footwear and Gloves

Rock cuts can be avoided by wearing water shoes (or boots) and also they give a better grip when riding the board as well. We wouldnt wear gloves every time unless it were bitter cold or to prevent blisters from handling the wing. Grip and moulded sole - water shoes should have a non-slip sole that are not bulky and allows you to easily feel the board underneath your feet.
Safety Accessories

Exercise care in deeper or rougher waters,use a personal flotation device (PFD)! Most impact vests do provide some amount of buoyancy, but a PFD is designed to keep you above water if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to swim. Get ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING when you attract the attention of a gadget or mobile, ie a whistle and a waterproof pouch for your phone or GPS which can be lifesaving in desperation. Everything that makes you easier to see by others, such as brightly colored gear or a safety flag, will lower the risk of a collision.

Check Weather and Water Conditions

Utilizing Weather Forecasts

Weather forecast Always check a local weather forecast before you go out wing foiling. Pay attention to the wind, as it is very important for a safe and ideal environment for this move. The best wind for beginners also has to be in large amounts - 8/15 knots would count as perfect. Try not to fly in winds more than 20 knots gusts as they could be quite challenging for you to maintain control and put yourself in a more vulnerable position of getting an ATC accident.

Understanding The Conditions Of Water

Consider water conditions in addition to wind Find out all about tides, look up currents and wave heights. Even seasoned riders can be overpowered by strong currents and big waves, so opt for spots more suitable to your skill set. Stay out of places with rip currents or that are affected by sudden jumps in wave height, from underwater coastlines features.

Technology Aids

Use technology to keep you informed about changes. Look for apps and websites such as Windfinder, iWindsurf or local marine weather services that can provide you with wind information and all sorts of conditions. Around the built-in tools, you will also find alerts that notify you immediately about quick weather changes avoiding risky situations.

Site Familiarity

If you are someplace new, be sure to scope the area out or talk to some local riders. You need to know what underwater rocks, reefs and boat traffic is doing in your neighbourhood so that you avoid a catasprophic event: Do not Get Hurt Or Die! In addition, Look for the stretch of beach from where you can be able to launch as well as land your drone in safely and have a path back to shore.

Maintain Situational Awareness

Constant Vigilance on the Water

When wing foiling, it's crucial to constantly scan your surroundings. Keep an eye out for other watercraft, swimmers, and obstacles such as buoys and floating debris. A good rule of thumb is to maintain a safety buffer, ideally staying at least 30 meters away from any potential hazards or other individuals to avoid collisions.

Understand Right of Way Rules

Learn water sport right of way rules For the most part, this means that upwind riders have right of way over downwind kiters. In addition, if a head-on is happening, both Apollo riders are to turn right. These are very basic rules which drastically minimise the risk of accidents.

Fellow Riders And Communication

Safety & Communication... Keying Each Other! Hand signals or vocally communicating with other riders is key, especially if you are crossing paths or changing direction. Being vocal can let others where you are moving, especially on the roads.

Use of Spotting Devices

Use a GPS or waterproof communication system if going to less populated places. These forms are tools that will help you maintain track and upon need signal for help. When you are in an area with a lot of boat traffic, be aware so other use bright colors on clothing or wing to be seen.

Practice Self-Rescue Techniques

Mastering the Board Retrieval

When you fall off your board the most important thing is to regrip your board andwing. Swim around using one wingtip, which serves as a floppy swim float.) When you can, go upwind to the board and use the wing to assist pulling you towards it. Making sure you can do this quickly will help you reduce the time it takes to retrieve which means less time spent in risk and danger if in open water.

Relaunching the Wing

The next step is to re-launch the wing once you are back on your board. If it has clapped then pop on the upwind wing tip handle to flip the wing over. When it has been placed, lift the wing up into the air once more using a method called a ‘waterstart. This requires orienting the wing 90 degrees to the storm and letting it fill with wind, as if you were flying a sail.

Using the Drift Method

Opt for paraglide, to get you back to the shore if in case you need it and save yourselfunate relaunch. Lie on your back on the board, reaching up and out with the wing aloft to catch the slack of wind, transforming yourself into a sort of makeshift sailboat. This could be a game-changer if you are worn out or the wind is too light for an average relaunch.

Emergency Signaling

If you are flying in remote locations, always take a whistle or waterproof safety beacon with you. Three loud blasts on a whistle or activating your beacon can alert vessels or shore based watchers who are in close proximity that you need help. These tools in a time of urgency could serve as a savior.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.