Wingfoiling Barbados. By invitation, Barbados resident waterman Paolo Perucci writes on his latest flame: a fascination for wingfoiling. Paolo can help you sort out accommodation and surfing lessons, so make sure to check out his website.
My Fascination with wingfoiling and why there’s a pretty good chance that you will fall in love with it too.
written by Paolo Perucci
Far from being a blog to convince anybody to wingfoil, or wing thingy, or wing ding, or wingaling etc etc , I ‘d like to highlight a few (very good) points to explain why I, and it’s very personal, got into it and quickly addicted to this new sport.
A bit of background info: I am a surfer , windsurfer, paddle boarder, kitesurfer. I have always been a fan of doing everything depending on what conditions require on the day. about 25 years ago it was a toss between rigging my windsurfing wave gear or just go surfing. so I continued to do both. This concept was new at the time (90’s) because, at least in Italy, very few people were skilled in more than one boardsport. But everyone knows that the best windsurfers coming out of Hawaii all have a strong surfing background. The concept of multi sport waterman became a lot more popular with Laird and recently, Lenny. So all of a sudden everyone does everything, or tries to.
Truth is, the more you do the more you learn. I was always very much intrigued by the tight relationship between all the board sports, and how much more I could learn from applying skills I had learned in surfing to other wind sports like kiting or windsurfing.
How he got started
I took up kiting a couple of years ago, while for 20 years my kiting friends had been trying to convince me to learn. I have for the last 2 decades been fortunate enough to live in Barbados, Caribbean, where almost any given day you can get in the water, especially if you are skilled at more than one board sport. It’s really about fun, and time in the water. Just like booking a tennis court or a T time, I can plan to hit the water at 4 pm on thursday, and be guaranteed I’ll be doing something , depending on conditions.
The reasons why
So , that’s the first big reason I love the wing, and the foil:
1-One more option in the water, a damn good one, which is a lot of fun!!
Which brings me to my second reason:
2-It’s so much fun, hard to describe, the kind of excitement I can only remember feeling when I first learned to windsurf at age 12.
It is so much fun it becomes addictive, so much so that for a good 6 months (windy for the most part in Barbados ) that’s all I did.
3-it’s a workout, like no gym will ever offer you:
Yes good luck with that, learning if you’re unfit, you surely can but it involves a bit of pain. you WILL get fit, no doubt learning to wingfoil.
4-marginal conditions become fun!
15 knots and some onshore chop? Epic wingfoiling. Blasting offshores and flat? Epic wingfoiling. Epic cross/off 25 kts and swell? well maybe I’d like to windsurf this day and then wingfoil later when the wind drops a bit!! But basically you can wing, and have fun, on a 15 knot day up to 30 kts and everything in between, swell or flat. so again, water time increases.
Freedom from kite lines for example. Long kite lines affect your ability to launch from certain spots too dangerous to launch a kite. And you’re constantly attached to these lines which, for me, is not a very happy feeling.
Freedom from equipment, because the wing is small and light, and depowers incredibly well even on strong days. It weighs nothing, compared to windsurfing gear.
Wingfoiling Barbados is also freedom from CROWDS!! this is such a good thing, you can go anywhere really, away from known crowded surf spots and windsurf/kitesurf spots. In fact, you wouldn’t want to foil next to too many people because, I admit, you would not want to hit anybody or yourself with a foil at decent speed. I hate crowds, so this is definitely my thing. Outside reefs and remote locations, this is what I prefer, unless I just want to have a good time with my friends, occasionally. Barbados has huge potential, I have only just started to scratch the surface of where I can ride on a wing. So all of a sudden I am really looking forward to winter, once again I am excited at what I’ll discover! And this is true no matter where you live.
More reasons why
There has been nothing more exciting for me lately than to learn this wonderful sport, which is really two sports in one (you have to learn the wing and then the foil, I had never foiled before apart from a few windsurf foil runs).
Learning has been so exciting, it really made me feel young again. Progression can be pretty quick too, so don’t buy a board to learn on, because you will want to get rid of that in a week or two and move on to something smaller. Same thing for the foil.
Foiling adds an incredible new dimension to surfing. You’re still connected to the energy of the wave , but now you have to re-think what a wave is and start looking at the wave energy below the face of the wave. It is fascinating to learn how to control the lift of a foil. The feeling you get on a foil is hard to describe: you’re usually very fast and completely silent, there’s no water sounds, apart from maybe your foiling humming at high speeds.
7-why the hell not?
There has to be a reason so many accomplished riders across all sports are falling in love with it, or do you think it’s a marketing Fad?
Wingfoiling Barbados: there is, in the end, only one way to find out, and that is by trying it, and decide for yourself. Good luck and please write some replies to this blog to let me know any questions you may have or if you would like me to talk about any other aspects regarding wingfoiling, i.e. how to learn, what gear to use, best conditions to start etc.