Wow what a year 2020 has been.. good times, bad times and wang times!
We appreciate the season didn’t have the best of starts with coronavirus taking off, lockdown kicking in and manufacturing falling behind. However, what this did invoke was an increased need to escape the makeshift dining table ‘home office’ and the endless sanitising of our dried out flaky-skinned mitts to appreciate what we did have – sunshine, wind and waves.. British style!
From wang to wing
Wing surfing sneaked into the UK only last year and never intended, nor was expected, to make such a big impression! Providing those of us living along the Kent coastline with ample more opportunities to get out riding in a wider range of conditions, we instantly fell in love with its grace and flexibility.
What started as “wanging” (colloquially referred to in our social circles!) has now thankfully been identified as wing surfing and wing foiling. And has since been further sub-divided into multiple disciplines such as all-round, downwind, high aspect, carving and high performance to name a few, with the list growing! Clearly reflecting the incredible innovation from all the brands and the accelerated growth of the sport.
Of course, with a growing sport comes the need to peacock our newfound skills, test all the new shiny kit and benchmark ourselves across fellow peers, thus ensues… the competitions. There’s been a few comps running this season (and still going) which have all helped hype up the sport and has massively driven up the game for everyone. This is fantastic to watch and has us totally inspired to what is possible with a wing and foil. *Leaves to find footstraps*
Read our blog on Wing Foil Comps in 2020
Rise of the newbs
Since opening our wing surf school earlier this year, we’ve welcomed people from all over the UK keen for a new challenge. And it’s not only attracting the good old faithful veterans crossing over from other watersports disciplines. We’ve seen a rise in people with no watersports backgrounds, of all ages, genders and social groups who are eager to learn. The attraction doesn’t stop there, wing foiling is particularly suited to many of the shores and conditions around England, achievable in a wide wind window of 8-40+ knots, making it a much more regular sport than other disciplines which rely on more (or less) wind.
Top of the class
Another massive milestone this year was the first ever Wing Surf Instructor course run by the BKSA and BSUPA (in collaboration with RYA). We were honoured to be part of the two day course in September down at the OTC in Portland and were also invited to the Demo day which meant we could get our hands on a variety of wings, boards and foils. Testing loads of equipment back to back gave us a real insight into what features worked well and how different brands compared.
Ok let’s talk about the innovation
This has been an incredible journey of design and the best bit is that we’re still at the start of it! If you blink you’ll miss a whole iteration. Blink again and it will have been replaced by something faster and much sexier.
On wings we’ve seen windows come and go, and come again, Y handles (you either love ‘em or hate ‘em), tension tweaks unseen by the naked eye yet completely changing how a wing flies. They’ve got stiffer, lighter, more colourful and playful. We definitely got our favourites but shhh that would be telling!
The foils have gone higher aspect with a choice of more surf-oriented rides. In fact, choice is the absolute point here, 2020 has given us so many options for foil set ups we have literally reverted back into small children at Christmas. Micro adjustments in sizes of front wings, stabilizers, fuselages and masts means we can create hydrofoils for any number of riding styles, abilities and conditions. Happy days!
And not forgetting the boards… and yes, size does matter! Boards are getting smaller and the pumping more vigorous. The shape, the length, the volume has all come a long way this year, as well as advances in construction, creating the ultimate balance of strength vs weight.
And next year?
With everything that’s happened this year it’s hard to imagine the same momentum continuing through next year but that’s exactly what we are predicting. We are still at the beginning of this sport and we’re totally hyped about what new innovations and opportunities are coming in 2021.. #wangtastic!