Probably the most important variable with a wing foil board is its volume. Once you are riding along the hydro foil the board is out of the water so shape is not so effective. At the early stages of learning you will need a board with around twenty litres more volume than your weight (in Kilograms and litres). So if you weigh eighty kilograms you will need a board with a volume of 100 litres. This volume allows the board to have enough buoyancy for you to stand on it when stationary and give it some extra stability.
Once you are familiar with the sail you can now combine it with the board.
First of all set the board up with just the hydro foil mast, this will act like a dagger board on a sailing boat.
Entering the water
Before entering the water attach the board to you ankle using the board leash and the sail to your wrist using the sail leash.
When carrying the board and sail you do not want the two to get tangled as the foil will easily damage and cut the sail.
Pick up the sail via the handle on the leading edge with your downwind hand keeping your arm extended. Now pick up the board using the handle on the bottom with your upwind arm and the mast pointing into the wind. This is how you walk into the water. Once knee deep you can rest the board upside down on the water always keeping the sail downwind of the board. Walk deeper into the water until at least waist deep.
Now turn the board to the mast is facing down and pointing out and across the wind. Go to the upwind side of the board making sure the leashes do not get tangled.
Getting on the board
Once you are in water that is deeper than the length of the mast you can climb onto the board and get into a kneeling position. You will need to kneel in the centre of the board to maintain balance. Make sure you are not on any of the leashes and that they are free to move. Ideally you will still be facing away from the shore with the wind on your back. Try to be kneeling facing the nose of the board.
Using the sail on the board
Take the sail first via the front handle on the main strut then take hold of the further back handle with your other hand.
Hold the sail so it is facing into the wind and not pulling. Have it positioned above your head with all parts of it out of the water. The sail tips will tend to drag into the water, if this happens extend your arms higher above your head so they are clear.
At this point you should be kneeling in the centre of the board with the wind behind you and the sail held in both hands above your head and out the water.
You will notice that the sail not only effects the movement of the board but also its orientation to the wind. The board will rotate around the mast. Moving the sail forward will make the wind blow the board to face more down wind. Moving the sail back will rotate the board into wind.
Standing up on the board
Next stage is to stand on the board. First put your front foot on the board, pull on the sail a little to help you stand then come into a standing position with both feet central on the board. Try to stand straight up. Use the sail to maintain your balance, if you are falling back pull on more power in the sail, if falling forward have less power in the sail.
Steering the board
Once you can maintain your balance pull on power in the sail and start to move forward. You can steer the board with the same technique as described before. Turn downwind by putting the sail towards the front of the board. Turn up wind by putting the sail towards the back of the board. As you pick up speed you can also turn by angling the board like a skateboard or surf board.
Navigating the board back to shore
After going a hundred meters or so its time to turn around and come back to shore. Slow the board down and turn down wind. Once facing down wind change hands on the sail like you practiced on land previously. You will now need to change your feet on the board so they are the opposite way around and you are facing the sail again. Move each foot small amounts maintaining balance until you are facing the sail again. Continue turning the board in the direction you came from. Now pull on power with the sail and head back to shore. If you fall in just get on the board again but with the opposite orientation to how you began so you are heading in the direction of the shore.
If all goes wrong you can just lay on the board and paddle it, like a surfboard, back to shore.
Keep practicing sailing the board, steering and turning around. Try and sail back to the point you began or even going up wind. Get a feel for using the sail to maintain your balance and going faster.