What Do You Need To Start Winging? | Poole Harbour Watersports

How to start wing foiling?

As the sport of wingfoiling continues to develop with each season, for those of us that are just entering this world, it can be pretty confusing to understand what a ‘newcomer to wingfoiling’ actually needs! We hope to break this down for you and make it clear so you can search more confidently in the right kit for you. As the saying goes, ‘buy nice or buy twice’ right?!

First things first, most of us, even if we wanted to, can’t just jump straight to the foiling stage! Prior to getting the foil board and foil, it is a sensible idea to either get a lesson or practice first with the wing on a non-foil board, such as a beginner windsurfer or inflatable windsup.

A lesson can highlight the key movements and handling of the wing that are important throughout the wingsurfing and wingfoiling journey. The worst thing is to learn bad handling habits before getting onto the foil. We recommend, from experience in the shop and teaching at our school, that one then practice for a few hours on a beginner windsurf board or inflatable windsup (anything with a centre fin so you can go upwind) with just a wing so you are confident standing up with the wing, steering, and static turning.

Learning to Wing Foil - Poole Harbour Watersports

As such, the wing itself is the piece of equipment purchased first, as you can use that same wing with or without the foil and foilboard, and then all that’s needed is (if you own one) an inflatable windsup or windsurf board, which can also be rented from schools or borrowed from friends (if you know any!). Purchasing the wing first and then gaining confidence on a non-foil board saves you money and helps you skip buying a kit too big.


What do you need for wing foiling?

  • Wing with leash

When starting out, be sure to get a wing size suitable for learning winds; this is anywhere from 15-25 knots. Depending on your size and weight, this can vary from 4.0-6.0 (4.0 for riders under 65kg and 6.0 for 90+kg); most people can start with a 5.0 in this case. A leash is needed to keep the wing securely attached to you at all times; the last thing you want is for that wing to fly away! A wrist leash is most popular, but some people do prefer a waist leash (this is generally for more advanced riders). It’s best to start off with a wrist one and see how you go with it out on the water.

Wing with leash - Poole Harbour Watersports


  • Wing Pump

As they are inflatable, you will need to remember to purchase (and always pack with you) your wing pump. Nothing is more frustrating than forgetting your pump at the beach or not having the right adaptor to pump up your wing. Most wing brands have different inflation valves (handy, we know😊) and as such, it is important to either buy your pump with your wing or to double-check that it fits before you go. Wing valves can be the same as a kite, a sup, or something completely new!

Wing Foil Pump - Poole Harbour Watersports


  • Board with a leash

Your first wing foil board should be between 30-40L above your rider weight so that you have enough volume to kneel and stand comfortably on the board when learning to get the foil flying. A larger volume board to learn on is also better, as you will have more length for smoother takeoffs, landings, and manoeuvring around the board. A leash is crucial, as otherwise you spend a lot of time swimming after your board after inevitably falling off at the start! You can get a simple ankle leash, or to avoid the leash coil getting caught around your legs, foil, or under your feet, a waist belt is a great option as it keeps it out of the way.

Wing Board with Leash - Poole Harbour Watersports


  • Foil –

Your hydrofoil needs a front wing large enough to provide some good, early lift when starting out, as it enhances your learning progression. The size depends on your weight and previous skill, but generally, for someone around 65-80kg we would recommend around 16500cm2 and 85+kg we would say a 2000 cm2 front wing. Paired with your 75-85 cm mast (shorter if your wing is subject to changing tides a lot, and 85 if it is generally wavy and choppy), your foil is suitable for learning and progression.

Wing Foiling Kit - Poole Harbour Watersports


  • Helmet –

Poole Harbour Watersports definitely recommends a helmet. Learning can be dangerous; you can fall off at high speeds and be hit by the foil and other wingers, or you never know what is under the surface of the water. Another additional reason for a helmet is that sometimes, when the tide is low and you are walking out with your kit, you may put the board and foil down foil-side up, in which case the foil tips can hit you occasionally, and it is best to have a helmet to stop any scratches or cuts before you even start!

Take a look at foiling-appropriate helmets here.


Wing Foiling Helmet - Poole Harbour Watersports


  • Impact vest/ buoyancy aid -

A personal flotation device is always recommended when out on the water for your own safety. When it comes to going out wingfoiling, if possible, it is best to wear one that is also classified as an impact vest, adding just a bit more padding around your torso to protect your organs and ribs when hitting the water at high speeds and if the foil ever hits you too. Wing foiling impact vests (such as the Wing Neo Vest) also feature pockets, which are handy to store keys and phones for added safety when on the water to contact people. Gearing up to be as safe as possible provides more reassurance that you can focus on having a great session and not causing any long-lasting damage to you or others!

Shop other impact vests suitable for foiling here.

Wing Foiling Impact Vest - Poole Harbour Watersports



This is the full kit list we would expect to see coming out of the boot of the car of someone about to go wing foiling! The foil and wing should already come with their own bags or cases, but boards generally do not have these included with a standard purchase.

A board bag is a great idea if it fits in your wing foiling budget, as it helps transport and protect the board wherever you go, and before you go on the water, it acts as a nice mat to protect the board from any rough terrain! Shop board bags here.

There are other items you may take with you, of course. Dependent on the weather, you may need a wetsuit and neoprene accessories, but that goes without saying with watersport activities!

Browse: Wing Foil Packages

Wing Foiling Kit - Poole Harbour Watersports


Now that you’ve got your list of kits to get, if you have any other questions concerning the specific products or sizes, we are happy to help every day on 01202 700503, live chat on the website, or over email at info@pooleharbour.co.uk !


Take a read of our other helpful foiling blogs too:

Beginner Wing Foiling Guide

What size wing foil kit do I need?

How much wind for wing foiling?

Find the Perfect Wing Foil Board for You

Best Wings for Wing Foiling 2024

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