…and usually asked in the same breath: Is wingfoiling hard to learn? These are the two most common beginner questions but also the two questions which spurred a few pretty heated debates over time due to completely opposite points of view. But why are there such opposite views in the first place?
We at WingfoilGearFinder.com rely on facts and science to help you find the gear which fits You, so it was only logical for us to try finding the answers in an objective and factual manner. Thus we ran the first ever survey asking those questions from February 6th 2023 until February 22nd 2023 aiming to learn from those who have done it already. We had an amazing response from 180 wingers across the globe so read on to find out what they had to say. If you are one of those amazing 180 people who took the time to participate in the survey we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face.
About the survey
Although many sports provide great prerequisites for wingfoiling we drew the line at board based watersports to make the survey easily digestible to respondents. Namely we focused on following watersports: SUP, SUP Foiling, Surfing, Surf/Prone/Wave Foiling, Kiteboarding, Kite Foiling, Windsurfing, Windsurf foiling, Wakeboarding, Wake Foiling, Dock/Pump Foiling, E-Foiling.
Our 180 respondents have combined 25803 hours of wingfoiling, lowest being 1 hour and longest 1200 hours. We haven’t opted for medians thus all responses have been taken into account, but we avoided conclusions in areas where samples were small.
40% of respondents have more than 100 hours of wingfoiling experience.
We are a bunch of middle age watersports aficionados where 75% of us are older than 40, and 91% of us came to wingfoiling from other watersports.
Previous watersports experience
We are experienced and fit watersports junkies.
- 91% of respondents have at least intermediate experience in one watersport, and 54% of them are advanced riders
- 25% of all respondents are advanced riders of at least TWO watersports.
- Only Windsurf Foiling and Kite Foiling had samples that could be considered borderline acceptable, all other foiling disciplines had too small samples to evaluate.
- SUP and Wakeboard riders were in 95% cases practicing at least one other watersport. In majority of the cases they were intermediate or advanced Surfers, Windsurfers or Kiteboarders thus we have focused on results of those 3 sports.
- 88% are Fit and doing sports at least two times per week
Current level of wingfoiling
79% of respondents are at least consistently foiling while 12% are at the stage of short flights, and 9% are taxiing on board.
With basics cleared we are finally able to take a good look at questions of our interest.
Is wingfoiling hard to learn?
- 53% of riders found Wingfoiling hard to learn.
- 73% of all riders with Beginner watersports experience found it hard
- 65% of all riders with Intermediate watersports experience found it hard.
- 40% of all riders with Advanced watersports experience found it hard.
Generally riders below 30 find it easy to learn. Half of those in the age bracket 31-50 find it easy while the other half obviously find it hard. As we age we find it harder to learn:
- 58% in the age bracket of 51-60,
- 71% in the age bracket of 61-70,
- 88% in the age bracket of 71-80
Home spot water conditions make a huge difference when learning to wingfoil. According to our respondents it is a lot easier to learn in flat water compared to choppy waters. Only 44% of those learning in flat water found it hard compared to 60% of those learning in choppy water.
How hard will it be for me to learn wingfoiling?
This handy chart might help you manage your wingfoil learning expectations based on your previous watersports experience. It shows how many respondents found it hard to learn compared to their previous watersports experience.
- those with previous foiling experience generally find it easy to learn wingfoiling
- advanced surfers, kiteboarders and windsurfers also generally find it easy to learn wingfoiling.
- Surfers generally find it easier to learn than windsurfers and kiteboarders
- If you are a beginner or intermediate rider, manage your expectations because a large chunk of respondents with similar experience found it hard to learn.
If you are looking to get into wingfoiling without previous watersports experience it might be beneficial to manage your expectations by assuming that you will find it HARD to learn.
We find the line from this Damien LeRoy video to best describe the wingfoiling learning curve:
It’s hard until it’s easy.Is wing foiling HARD or EASY?
How long does it take to start consistently foiling?
72% of our wingers took less than 50 hours to start consistently foiling, but take note that the majority of them are at least Intermediate riders of one or more other watersports.
- 42% of respondents took 1 – 10 hours but note that 75% of them had advanced experience in at least one watersport
- 19% of respondents took 11 – 25 hours but 94% had at least Intermediate experience in at least one watersport, on top of it 51% had Advanced experience in another watersport
- 11% of respondents took 26 – 50 hours but 85% had at least Intermediate experience in at least one watersport.
- 5% of respondents took 51 – 100 hours, and some took even more than 150 hours, all of them are older than 41 and 66% of them are older than 51.
How long does it take to start consistently jibing?
Only 46% of our respondents are consistently jibing. It is important to note that 95% of them have at least intermediate experience in another watersport, and 41% are advanced riders of two watersports! We can conclude that previous experience is a major factor in mastering the jibe.
- 25% of them took 1 – 10 hours to start consistently jibing (i.e. 11% from the total sample)
- 22% of them took 11 – 25 hours to start consistently jibing (i.e. 10% from the total sample)
- 28% of them took 26 – 50 hours to start consistently jibing (i.e. 13% from the total sample)
- 20% of them took 51 – 100 hours to start consistently jibing (i.e. 9% from the total sample)
- 5% of them took 101 – 150 hours to start consistently jibing (i.e. 2% from the total sample)
75% of those jibing learned it in less than 50 hours but note that more than 50% of Surfers and Windsurfers in that category were at least intermediate riders of other two sports, while for Kiteboarders that number was even higher i.e. around 70%.
Only 26% of respondents took wingfoiling lessons. We assume that is because the majority of respondents are already intermediate to advanced watermen and water women who believe that they can learn it on their own. This groups’ experience breakdown and learning curve is consistent with the overall results presented above.
Previous watersports experience, age, fitness level, local sport conditions all play a role in wingfoiling learning curve.
Major factor for progress is time spent in the water. Being able to hit the water consistently a few times per week compared to catching a day every other week makes a huge difference.
Those older than 50 will generally find it harder to master while those below 30 will find it easier. For those between 30 and 50 results are split 50% finding it hard, and 50% finding it easy.
Calm, flat water spot will make it easier to learn.
Majority of watersports novices and those with previous beginner watersports experience will find it hard to master, and should expect it to last up to 100 hours depending on their age and fitness level. But keep in mind that a portion of this group will also make it in less than 25 hours.
Majority of those having intermediate watersports experience in Windsurfing, Surfing or Kiteboarding found it hard to learn but were able to foil in less than 50 hours, with 46% making it in less than 25 hours.
Those having advanced watersports experience, or having at least intermediate experience in two or more watersports, as well as those having foiling experience will generally find it easy to master and majority should be jibing in up to 25 hours with almost 60% foiling in less than 10 hours.
If you’re already an advanced foiler or have advanced experience in similar water sports like surfing or windsurfing, then you might be able to start riding within a week or two.
But for the vast majority of watersports novices reading this, the answer is a big fat – NO.
It looks so effortless seeing people doing it, and that’s how we all get hooked. The truth is that learning to wing is hard, and it will take you rather months or seasons than weeks to master. Apart from time, your overall fitness level will play a big role here. Very fit, athletic, generally sporty and very fast learners will obviously progress faster than couch potatoes that many of us are. But don’t be disheartened because we have seen so many couch potatoes beating athletic kinds through dedication, perseverance, and time spent in the water – yeah, basically stubbornness.
Learning to wing may knock your ego down a peg or two, but for those who persevere reward heavily outweighs those blows. So take it slow, have fun, and before you know it, you’ll be the one gliding effortlessly on the beach and turning heads.
If you’d like to access the responses data please get in touch via our Contact form.
Survey results listed in this post are free to use and share under following conditions:
- Send us the link to the article or blog where it was used via our Contact form.
- Add following attribution to your article:
Survey: How long does it take to learn wingfoiling? survey was created and run by WingfoilGearFinder.com between February 6th and February 22nd 2023. Wingfoil Gear Finder – Find the gear that fits You in less than a minute.
Just for fun… or much more?
We have found some real gems in answers to the question: If you were to start learning it all over again, knowing what you know today, what would you recommend to your younger self?
We also know that the same advice might be perceived differently by different people, so we are sharing ALL the answers, in no particular order and unredacted, ready to amuse you in all their glory!
|Maybe a bit smaller first board but I do like to take a bit harder path now and then.|
|Try to find moderate stable wind with at least 15 to 20 knots. Do not buy inflatable wingfoil board.|
|Nothing. I’ll do it the same.|
|Flat water and 20+ wind|
|Correct beginner setup|
|Flat water, 20 knots|
|Just choose the right conditions|
|Make wakeboard foiling|
|Start with Gong gear, watch all the YouTube videos you can find (like I did and have never felt clueless/helpless)|
|Big boards are great but need speed and power to release on to foil. Get a BIG wing to start with, you need more speed than you think.|
|Big Gear 😉 as i had; 85kg; 2200cm2 Foil, 6m2 F-One-CWC; 105l Board|
|get a lesson as spent a lot of time wondering if it was set up badly or I was just doing something wrong. Being heavy don’t listen to what light people say it has no relevance to heavy people!!! Being powered make everything easier!!|
|More wind and better water, dams etc|
|Take big board|
|buy 8m from the get go – big gear|
|Start learning younger|
|Do the same thing over|
|Too early to say. I’ve had 2 sessions and not gotten to foil yet. Maybe take lessons?|
|Start saving money|
|spend the money and get good gear for beginning|
|The jibes are easy if you focus more on the board and not on the wing. Windsurfing mistake|
|Take at least two lessons- four hours spent there saves 40 hours of trial and error|
|Head down wind a little to gather speed.Luff off the wing as soon as you get up on foil to prevent too much speed.Head up wind as you get on foilLOOK AHEAD, not down at the water. Speed is scary at this level!|
|Smaller board earlier|
|Get the right size wing to start with|
|Bigger wing to catch more wind|
|Break it down into individual skills. Foil behind a boat, wing on beach and sup before putting the 2 together.|
|Put in more time|
|Take a lesson|
|Bigger board, better wing, better foil|
|Get a hard board. Not an inflatable one|
|Get the biggest kit possible|
|3-5 Lessons, waist harness for board|
|you need wind to learn|
|Stay on bigger board longer|
|Start earlier. Get a bigger foil.|
|If you’re a windsurfer, learn to windfoil first.In any case at least 15 knots flat water, big board (wt kg + 30-40L), biggest slowest foil, borrow the gear.|
|Big, floaty board and more wind (15 plus)|
|Tow behind a boat or efoil to get the feeling of being on foil.|
|easier to learn on slightly stronger winds. around 15kts rather than 10|
|Make sure to be powered up|
|Equipment matter. Wings with hard handles, are bettert. It is much easier to Grab handles blindly.|
|Wait for more wind|
|Driving farther to a location with more wind but still flat water for the initial learning.|
|Buy the gear a year earlier|
|Get more fit, train on balance board, more time and more often on water|
|start with the wing on a stable drift board, gradually reduced board volume and then attack the foil|
|Spend more on more suitable kit|
|Keep board flat to increase board speed plus go out when enough wind but not too much wind. good is 15 – 20 knots|
|Borrow a bigger foil or buy used and save your money for second advanced setup.|
|Start sooner 😁|
|big board, big foil and big wing|
|Have the right matériels to begin.|
|start with at least 18 knots|
|Don’t take a big and heavy board, take a small light one with volume just over your weigth. Reduce taxi phase to the minimum.|
|Getting the right gear.. i started when no one was doing it and no teachers existing. So was try by error but so much fun|
|Get more gear.. don’t listen to the wife.. 🤣|
|Start flat water|
|Get lessons earlier and spend time in ideal conditions.|
|stop before muscles hurt/fingers freeze – recovery time is very long|
|120l board 6m wing 18+knots|
|Windsurfers need to prioritise keeping their feet in the centreline even if powered up, no windsurfing stance. The foil also comes up as you gain speed, unlike windsurfing you do not pressure your backfoot or your foil will just stall. Pumping wise make sure your feet are centreline. When the wing drags you you can just lean back, footwork is really important. Gybing wise it can seem daunting but the best thing to do when learning is to depower the foil and carve across downwind.|
|Don’t lean back|
|Use a larger wing than you need, larger board make you progress quicker|
|Live in a place with good steady wind|
|take 1-2 hours of efoil|
|find flat waterdpots with strong consistent wind. i used 90 lit board and 1480 size foil and 6 m wing worked fine ss i had a fouling backgrund from windsurfing and kite. i did flying jibes 2nd session and did 100 km downwinder in 2 m waves in brazil after 3 months. thanks to all the struggöe eith kitefoiling. wingfoiling is easier to learn for everybody, easier thsn sloine skiing easier thsn smsll board windsurfing and easier than kiting|
|Take a few initial lessons, start foiling behind boat|
|Ask older wingers for advice.|
|Pressure and winghandling not the same as windsurfing|
|learn in a bay with no waves, take your time, do not get intimidated by the young pro guys (they are often too disrespectful and not respecting distances, windsurfers are the worst).|
|Big foil and flat water makes it easy to start learning!|
|Strengthen your arns|
|Go for it no matter what|
|Learn behind a boat to feel what foiling feels like. Find flat water.|
|learn how to correct if wing dives in front of you|
|start behind boat and use a skateboard|
|going out with more wind|
|Learn when younget|
|Find a spot with flat water.|
|When it blows. You go. Don’t miss a practice.|
|Learn on flat water|
|Travel a good place for a learning week|
|Start with a good, fairly high-volume rigid board. I saved some $ with a SS I-Fly inflatable, and found it terrible for learning. Find strong wind.|
|Start learning on land with a skateboard|
|Change location to avoid off shore wind shadow|
|right equipment, smaller boards, good wind|
|bigger wing of a known brand|
|Just enjoy the journey|
|Go straight to Axis. Don’t start on lesser brands thinking you’re saving money.|
|Spend more time watching videos on pumping the wing and board and wing position.|
|Go big with kit!|
|Get a lesson, first learn to fly the foil behind the boat.|
|Get a lesson, get good gear advice|
|Use bigger gear and learn in bigger wind|
|Do what I did – lessons, especially if you’re a windsurfer, as those instincts needed to be overcome, for example how to hold the boom and wing.|
|good big wing – eg CWC. Hard board, not inflatable|
|Go somewhere that has long downwind runs available (like La Ventana, BCS). Wait for hood wind conditions (18knts +). Spend a couple days on a large board and foil.|
|Bigger frontwing isn’t on foil earlier|
|Try a hardboard and inflatable in the same time session. Stage down board size and don’t buy until you’re at a solid level, rent until then.|
|Make sure gear is big enough initially to produce enough board speed to generate lift on foil…. Try to learn foil part separately if possible… behind boat, at cable park, windsurf foil|
|Get the biggest foil, a wing w a boom, a big floaty board|
|Foil behind the boat on good and regular|
|Buy a bigger board/work/foil, learn good beginner’s spots and how to read weather conditions|
|Do a downwind to learn foiling without the upwind struggle.|
|perfect material, middle wind, no waves, Neopren over knees! and 2-3 lessons with mororboat by downwind|
|Find flatter water|
|Wait for good wind speeds|
|Connect with the foil, by feeling it at low speed, pumping with your feet.|
|Go out in harder wind|
|Mantra : Be patience, unlearn any windsurfing you’ve done|
|140 liter board with good size front wing for lift|
|Wait for enough wind.|
|Find an intensive 5 day lessons maybe overseas 🙂|
|Only sail when enough wind (above 10-12 knots)|
|Start earlier in the summer!|
|Bigger board, do not move to high aspect foils too quickly.|
|Go more often, don’t go less then 13 knots|
|Use easy beginner’s gear (board and foil); do not jump the gun by buying more advanced gear telling yourself “like that I will not have to buy new gear once I’ll have learn”! Big mistake, your progression is going to be slow. Ask me how I know that!!|
|Take a foiling lesson behindajet ski or boat.|
|Travel to find a place with better weather earlier on|
|What ever gear or conditions gets you time on foil stick with that until gybing|
|Nothing really, I’d do it the same way|
|Don’t bother in less than 15 to 20 knots. Stick with big board|
|Only go out in stronger winds. 15 knots plus.|
|At all costs convince my instructors to let me ride strapless and experiment with the stance.|
|Seek out good advice about buying beginner gear|
|Start with the right equipment|
|Go out, watch yt to see how to improve & talk to others and repeat|
|Go find more wind|
|Should have done it sooner and don’t be in a rush to buy the gear.|
|Spend more time on higher volume boards in the beginning.|
|Make sure you adjust your feet and mast placement on the board|
About Wingfoil Gear Finder
Wingfoil Gear Finder is primarily aimed at beginners looking to get into our amazing sport of wingfoiling by helping them make appropriate gear choices. We make it happen through our state of the art Gear Finder calculator which calculates board, wing and foil sizes based on user provided parameters and industry standards. It also lists all the products which fit users’ calculator results, and allows them to compare and filter those results down to find the ones which fit their needs and budget. Each product has a link to the manufacturer’s website as well as a direct google search link.
Advanced riders will benefit from the world’s largest wingfoil product database. Which will allow them to easily find and compare multiple products they might be looking for. You can access Boards, Wings, and Foils from the menu. Stabs, Masts, Fuses, and material options will be part of our V2 which will be fine tuned based on riders inputs.