Get your kids into Wing Foiling
Kids and Wing foiling
One of the attractions of wing foiling to me is its relative safety compared to kitesurfing (my other passion!). When I was young my dad was a keen windsurfer and his passion rubbed off on me. He introduced me to windsurfing at the age of 9 years old. Windsurfing is a safe and accessible sport particularly at the beginner stage when you can teach your kids the basics on a hot summers day, in light winds and calm seas or on a lake.
I wanted to repeat the same with my 9 year old son but, since i stopped windsurfing 20 years ago as kitesurfing came on to the scene, I had to think carefully. I am still too worried about him starting off with kitesurfing. Yes he can take lessons and learn the safety precautions but at the end of the day, seeing a 9 year old attached to a kite on the beach or out to sea, and knowing how much power and risk that brings, I am just not motivated to encourage him at the moment. So my thoughts went back to starting him windsurfing as I had done back in the late 80's...
Last year I booked him onto a few windsurfing lessons and started to look at buying some old second hand windsurfing equipment to teach him on. But I was shocked at the price of 1980s or 1990's windsurfing equipment online. Some people were asking hundreds of pounds for a mouldy BIC beginners windsurfing board that had been sat in their garden un-used for more than 20 years! Then I remembered how big and cumbersome windsurfing equipment is and how little space I had left in the car on family trips! So my initial excitement soon faded.
As I became hooked on wing foiling in the summer of 2020, I then started looking into kids friendly wing surfing equipment. I quickly landed on the Ozone Wasp V1 3m wing. It is a good size for a 9 year old with a reasonable wing span and it's light weight. Plus it serves as a high wind wing for me when the wind is above 20 knots (bonus - I therefore had a good reason to tell my wife why i needed to buy a second wing!!).
I bought a kid's life jacket and helmet and I had the equipment I needed to start teaching my son. I started him straight away on the water on my 105L F-one Rocket wing board with only the mast installed (no hydrofoil), at a local shallow water spot. He managed to get up and going pretty quickly but drifted down wind fast and soon became frustrated.
The next attempt was on his skateboard in a local car park. That ended up with me shouting at him because he kept scraping the wing on the tarmac, so he was left feeling upset and frustrated. I then bought a secondhand landboard for about £50. That was a good move, now I could teach him on grass which meant less shouting from me and a more forgiving surface for him. The video below and pictures show him having fun during this session and actually managing to ride for quite some distance!
So what tips can I offer?
- Buy a small wing, don't expect your 9 year old to enjoy learning on your 5m wing
- start them on land first and invest in a landboard so they can get used to handling the wing without the extra complication of water
- teach them with others to keep them motivated.
My next plan is to get him out on the water on my 7'2 Rocket Air board which has side fins to prevent him going downwind. They come in stock this month, contact us to reserve yours now. Also contact us you wish to reserve a small wing when they arrive in stock.
I'll post updates on this blog and my youtube channel as my son progresses.