How to do a downwind in wing foil ?

It is a practice which consists in surfing the swell with the wind in the back. It asks to be on its edge, to shoot and to let itself slide with the wind. But before venturing into a downwind, it is necessary to master the practice and to be well prepared to avoid bad surprises. Feel free to consult our complete guide to learn wing foil .


Personal equipment for downwind

The first thing to do when you go on a long distance downwind is to tell your family and friends where you are going, when and where you are going. Don’t hesitate to notify the CROSS (Centre régional opérationnel de surveillance et de sauvetage).

In terms of equipment, we will present you with the ideal and highly recommended equipment.

  • VHF. It is a high frequency marine radio that will allow you to communicate with the coast or with other people on the water.
  • The Secumar type belt. It is a belt that contains a life jacket that works with a CO2 cartridge and a distress flare.
  • Fluorescent lycra. It allows you to be seen by the coast, by the friends who sail with you and by the boats around.
  • The impact vest. Indispensable, it is put under the lycra and in case of bad handling and fall, it will absorb the shock.
  • The helmet. He is also indispensable, no need to explain why!

Of course, all this equipment is imposing but important for your safety. Not to be overlooked!


The navigation equipment

Then the material to choose on a long downwind is important. Choose a material that carries, glides well and is quite nervous at the pumping level. Downwind is all about relaunching, connecting bumps, so you need the right equipment. Choose well and remember to check everything before you start: board, foil, wing!


How to sail a downwind wing foil ?

Reading the water in downwind

When you go surfing, you’ll be able to carve and look for acceleration. But to do this, reading the water is very important: you have to spot the orientation, the hollow zones, the gliding zones, the recovery zones.

As soon as the swell softens, it will be necessary to pump and engage efficiently. To do this, you have to link up, stay flat and concentrate on the glide in order to optimize the dynamism of the foil.

To launch on a bump, you need to have good speed and then it’s a matter of timing to get on the slope and release your wing downwind.

Equipment for surfing the swell and overcoming bumps

Then, how to cross a bump? Either you have a fine enough wing that allows you to accelerate, to go faster than the swell and in this case you will be able to overtake and catch the bump to go back down in front. Or you have a wing with a slightly thicker profile, like the Flyer, allowing you to play on the bump.


How to manage your equipment during the downwind in wing foil ?

Managing the wing

When you launch on the bump, be careful not to be too attached to the wing, otherwise you may suffer some imbalance during the transition to freefly (leeward wing).

Focus on your support, on the foil. Don’t hang on to the sail but hold it. This is the key to being in a strong position on your foil.

If the wind is strong, you can freefly and use the neutral handle to let the sail float downwind.

On the other hand, in lighter winds, you can use the first handle of the kite by keeping it high, above your head. Thus, it will serve as a boost by lightening your weight through its wind grip in light airs.

Mastering your board

Once you have started downwind, the important thing is to optimize the lift and glide of the foil by keeping the trim high and flat. Pumping well and analyzing the water surface in order to steer and place the foil.