The RYA tell us how to learn to fly on windfoils.
Words RYA // Photos Paul Wyeth
Over the past few years foiling has become one of the most exciting innovations in watersports, and it’s had a particular impact in the world of windsurfing, where the new discipline of windfoiling has been rapidly gaining in popularity for some time. As with any discipline there was initially some controversy around this new way to enjoy speeding over the water, but those who were unsure were soon won over, as almost everyone who tries their hand at windfoiling is soon hooked on the speed and grace that can be achieved, even in low wind speeds.
Foiling allows windsurfers to sail above the water on a thin foil, which helps adrenaline lovers to go faster than ever before as it cuts down on drag and increases performance. It’s surprisingly easy to pick up, with most established windfoilers saying that, starting as competent windsurfers, it only took them a couple of hours to get flying, although it obviously takes a few more sessions to be relaxed and confident in flight. At the RYA, we pride ourselves on providing industry gold-standard training in a variety of watersports, and foiling is no exception. We’ve added a range of new courses to our ‘Windsurfing Scheme’ to help everyone, no matter their skill level and prior knowledge, enjoy the exhilaration of windfoiling.
The RYA provides three different levels of foiling courses, beginning with the ‘First Flights’ course. This is an entry level 2–4 hour taster session, designed for those who have at least an ‘RYA Intermediate Windsurfing’ certificate and are comfortable blasting in both straps, but are complete foiling novices. This course provides a simple introduction to foiling and sees the student take their first flights, as well as providing them with basic foiling knowledge. After that, keen foiling students can take the ‘Sustained Flights’ course, which is a longer and more in-depth look at the concept, 16 hours long, and can be taken over two days or the equivalent number of sessions. This course builds on the techniques and theory required to maintain and sustain windfoiling effectively, and by the end of it students should be confident maintaining and sustaining flight.
Finally there is the ‘Performance Flights’ course, which is the same length as the ‘Sustained Flights’ course, but is for those who are foiling at a more advanced level. It aims to advance the foiling skills and techniques of students, while also looking at teaching increased control and building sailing confidence for foiling transitions. These courses are available at RYA recognised training centres all over the UK, with a couple of our European centres also offering them.
Complementing these new additions to the ‘Windsurfing Scheme’, the RYA is launching a new publication: ‘G110 Foiling Fundamentals’. The new book is designed to be read alongside our ‘First Flights’ and ‘Sustained Flights’ courses, and is the first to cover foiling both for dinghy sailors and windsurfers, as opposed to focussing only on dinghy foiling. It features clear illustrations, an easy to follow layout, and authoritative text based on the RYA’s world-renowned training scheme.
This book is a short guide which is designed to be a helpful resource for windsurfers just getting acquainted with foiling through the RYA’s ‘First Flights’ and ‘Sustained Flights’ courses, and it’s an entry level foiling book to get someone who is already a competent windsurfer up and foiling. It’s not an advanced book for reading alongside our ‘Performance Flights’ course or a complete how-to that would be useful for going from complete windsurfing novice to successful foiler, but it will provide a useful all-purpose guide to get someone who is already confident on the water started in the world of foiling. RYA Foiling Fundamentals has been put together by three separate contributors, two of whom are windsurfing specialists, and this ensures that it covers a wide range of subjects accurately and concisely, and while a big part of the book looks at manoeuvres, it also contains guidance on rigging, background knowledge on foiling and important safety advice. So, if you want to get started in the exhilarating world of windfoiling, RYA Foiling Fundamentals is definitely the book you need to get you up and flying.
As more and more trusted brands dip their toe into the foiling market, and the range of available equipment gets better and better, there has never been a better time to find your nearest RYA recognised training centre and give one of our ‘First Flights’ taster sessions a go.