Wingsurfing is a very new sport in the UK and the cost of the equipment can easily run into four figures if you purchase everything as new. Second hand equipment does become available, but the equipment does seem to hold its value fairly well.
A good way to learn about traction windsports is through powerkiting. There are many training centre around the country which will offer tuition on kiting with a mountainboard, from here you can move on to Wingsurfing.
If you already have the kit or are about to purchase it and are new to the sport, the guide below may help to point out some of the key things to do in the early stages.
A kitewing is a very strong and powerful piece of equipment. Handled correctly it is very natural to use and highly responsive but the wind is also exceptionally powerful and can quickly turn your kitewing into an object which will slam you to the ground. Understanding how to handle the wing is the single most important thing to learn, and will take a bit of time and perseverance. If you have windsurfed in the past the learning curve will be easier.
The following three bullet points are MUST HAVES before starting to use the Kitewing. If you loose control of the wing you may well need one or all of these items.
- Insurance (Sportscover Direct : Select Sportsguard and enter Kitewing as your sport.)
- Safety leash
- Crash helmetIf you forget everything else it doesn’t really matter, if you forget any of the above, one day it will.
Insurance can be obtained by clicking on the link above. This isn’t about insuring you for braking your leg or ripping your wing (that’ll be your fault), this is about third party cover in case you hit someone else. You need a minimum of two million pounds third party liability insurance. This will cost you approximately £40 per year.
Worryingly, the Kitewing is not supplied with a safety leash. You will need to buy one and you will need one designed specifically for a Kitewing. These are twice as long as other leashes to prevent the wing from recoiling into your face when (not if) you let go.
I now wear a crash helmet all the time for two reasons. Obviously to protect my head if I fall, but much more often to prevent my head from being hit by the metal boom. When launching and turning in gusty conditions, the wing will often be banged into your head, sometimes with quite a bit of force.
OK so that is the Health and Safety bit out of the way the paragraphs below should help you progress quickly through the learning curve.
Assembling the Kitewing
Take a look at the guide on this site to help you through the stages of setting up your kitewing.
You will find it of enormous benefit if you take the time to practice assembling your wing in non windy conditions before you set your self loose in the wind. There are some techniques which will help you assemble the wing quickly and these are much easier to master if you are not fighting against the conditions.
Handling the Kitewing
Before taking your kitewing out in earnest it is essential that you practice handling the wing in light wind. You need to be able to launch the wing over your head in both directions, if you can’t perfect it in light breeze, you will never manage it in usable wind.
You will also need to learn how to return the kitewing to a neutral position.
It really is worth spending the time to practice these exercises. If you don’t, you may end up hurting yourself and loosing faith in your new toy.
To launch the wing above your head you must start with the wing lying boom upwards on the ground and with your back to the wind. Hold the boom at the nose with one hand and hold a Y tube approximately halfway up with the other. Straighten your back so that the wing is off the ground and being held at about waist level.