Downwind is a nautical practice that consists of riding along the waves, winds and currents, using a board, canoe, Hawaiian canoe, sea kayak, wave-ski or prone board. The practice of downwind is very old and has recently been modernised with the use of foils and wings.
Swell is present in all oceans, and can be exploited to ride further away from the shore taking routes that offer a different view of the coast. It is a way to explore places and generate sensations that are difficult to find in other activities. It offers unlimited possibilities and provides a level of satisfaction that exceeds the average.
Bruno André is recognised for his early, pioneering work in this field. First achieving and then developing the practice of foiling in surf, Bruno opened the way to the exploration of the swell on a foil.
Kai Lenny was then one of the first to explore downwind SUP foiling, paddling and foiling routes away from the coast for extended periods. His work has been admired by many and has opened up new possibilities for harnessing the natural energy of the swell.
The first downwind experiments on foil took place in 2017, and the practice has rapidly evolved since then. The wing has now allowed many people to downwind, and it has also allowed those winging to transition to SUP foiling. The use of simple hand paddles is now a growing, accessible alternative.
The take-off is one of the most difficult aspects of downwind foiling. It is necessary to develop the speed required to foil which then enables the rider to efficiently lock into the energy of the swell and wind. Once foiling, however, the fun is endless. Riders can get away from the World and explore routes and watery terrain that offer a totally different and adventurous view.
Downwind has many advantages over other water sports. You are not crowded by others and you can go as far as you are safe and physically able to. Downwind also offers an unlimited source of fun, as you are free to navigate in the wilderness without being tied to a specific spot. Finally, the adventure, excitement and the feeling of freedom are accentuated by the distance from the coast.