Wing Foiling Equipment Guide

In-depth guide into all the equipment you need to wing foil

There are four main categories of equipment

1 – The sail, kite or wing
2 – The board
3 – The Hydro foil
4 – Safety equipment

All the pieces of equipment work together to allow you to wing foil

Below are  in depth descriptions of all the Wing Foil equipment. As you progress in the sport you will learn even more on each piece of equipment.

1 - The Sail, Wing or Kite

This is how the power of the wind is captured and used to propel you forward. The sails are hand held. The shape and rigidity is kept using two inflatable tubes. One curved one creating the leading edge and a shorter straight tube called the main strut. The main strut has the handles.

The sails come in different sizes for different strength winds. Most people have wings from three square meters to five square meters. Most beginners start wth a five square meter sail.

With the sail you will need a pump. The pump is attached to an inlet and inflated to around 8 to 10 psi.

On the leading edge of the sail is another handle. This is used when surfing the wave. When holding this handle the sail has no power and will easily follow you.

In the centre of the leading edge is the leash attachment point. Whenever using the sail you must always first attach the leash to your wrist. If the wind becomes too strong you fall or get into other trouble you can let go of the handles and the leash will stop the sail from blowing away.

New prices for sails are around 1,000 euros. Second hand prices can be half this price or less depending on condition.

Sail care

The sails are made from a thin light material that spans between the inflatable tubes. Its best to store the sails dry and mould can form is they are stored damp for too long.

The sail material is uv light resistant but still suffers in the corrosive conditions or sun and salt water. Try to keep the sails out of the sun once not being used.

If the sail comes in contact with the hydro foil cuts can occur. This can damage the sail and the inflatable tubes. Small cuts can normally be repaired.

Types of sail

There are many different brands of sail offering different types of performance, cost, durability, weight and manoeuverability.

There are lots of reviews available for you to seek more information on any sail you are considering buying.

To begin with buy a second hand wing around four or five square meters. Once you get a feel for the sail you can start to gain your own informed opinions on what best suits you.

2 - The Wing Foil Board

This is the platform you stand on. The hydrofoil is attached to the bottom. Normally the attachment point is via two grooved channels. You slide four captive nuts into the channels then attach the base plate of the hydrofoil mast into these. The channels allow for some adjustment in the mast position both forward and back. To start position the mast in the centre. Tighten each screw bit by bit, do not tighten the first one up fully as can damage the base the plate.

When you are still learning the wing foil board is mainly just a platform for you to get moving and out of the water. As you progress in the sport other factors become important like weight, foot straps and shape.

When starting out in the sport find a board with a volume around 20 litres larger than your weight in kilograms. So if you weigh seventy kilograms you need a board of ninety litres.

Most board have a carry handle on the bottom just in front of the mast fitment slots. This handle is very useful when carrying the board and the sail to and from the water.

At the back of the board will be a leash fitment plug. You attach one end of the leash here and the other to your ankle before entering the water.

The wing foil boards are mainly made in fibre glass or carbon fibre using an epoxy resin. Carbon fibre boards are normally considered better as they are lighter and stiffer. If you are a beginner this will not be too important.

Many new comers to the sport buy their first board second hand as you will soon grow out of it. Prices second hand vary from around 400 euros to 1000 euros.

3 - The Hydro Foil

This is the part that allows you to lift our the water and fly over the surface.

Hydro foils work in a very similar way to an aeroplane.

There is a front wing, fuselage and rear wing. The rear wing is known as the stabiliser. Hydrofoil work due to the same aero dynamic laws as aeroplane wings. The from wing creates lift, the fuselage and rear wing create stability.

There are many different types and shapes of hydrofoil for wing foiling.

Starter Hydro Foil kit

To start you will need a big thick stable hydro foil. The front wing area should be between 1600 cm2 and 2100 cm2. As with the board you will quickly progress above the performance these offer so its good if you can find a second hand one. Look for mast size of around 70 cm made with aluminium. Advance set ups are all carbon fibre offering important stiffness and weight advantages but when beginning this is not as important as stability and ease of lift.

The hydro foils normally come in three or four pieces all held together with bolts. If you have an all aluminium set up take great care with the steel screws rusting into the aluminium. Release them often and apply a grease or other non oxidising cream. Trying to remove rusted in bolts is tricky.

Hydro foils parts are not interchangeable from one brand to another. So a front wing from one brand will not fit the fuselage from another brand. Even be careful to check within brand interchangeability.


The mast is the vertical section that attaches the front wing, fuselage and stabiliser to the board. The key element in this piece is stiffness. At first it will probably be aluminium and a little flexible. As you progress the stiffer the better so that all your inputs are translated straight into the foils. Stiffness also reduces any cavitation or vibration at higher speeds and offers a more stable base when changing foot position.


These connect the front wing and stabiliser with an attachment point for the mast. Made from Carbon or Aluminium. Not too impactful on overall performance.

Front wing

This is the part that has the biggest impact on how the hydro foil performs. There are many different options.

They perform in the same way as aeroplanes. If you think of the type of aeroplanes people take lessons in they have short fat wings that offer good low speed lift and stability with also low speed stalling.

The same is true for a beginner hydro foil. Beginners will need a thick short wing with greater distance from the leading edge to trailing edge, known as the Chord. Area around 1800 cm2. These foils offer low take off speed, low flying speeds and greater stability.

As you advance you will look for more efficient faster foils. These will be less stable and require a faster speed to get you up and out the water. Once up and flying they will be easier to keep going and glide further.

Depending on what sort of conditions you want to wing foil in is a big factor on deciding the foil you should chose.

The most efficient foils are the high aspect foils. These have an aspect ratio (chord to width ratio) of around 9 to 1. Think of glider wings. The have great glide characteristics but are harder to turn, less stable and harder to get out of the water. Once up and riding they are very efficient and can even surf open ocean swells. Great for what is known as down winding. This is following the swell downwind on windy days with high seas.

If you want to surf steeper waves you will need a less high aspect foil. Thinner and wider than the beginner wing but not high aspect.

To find out more you can consult other wing foilers, manufacturers websites or on line user reviews. This is a big subject that is still progressing.

Stabiliser or Rear Wing

The main function of the rear wing is to keep things stable. It is a wing shape but upside down. It actually pushes downwards to stop the front wing lifting you out of the water too much as speed increases. The size and shape do have a big influence on the overall performance. Smaller thinners stabilisers are much faster but give less stability. As you progress less stability allows for easier turning and faster speeds with less drag resistance.

Other foil parts

For most aluminium masts there is a base that screws onto the mast that lets you attach it to the board. There is also an upper part that allows attachment of the fuselage. These are normally left attached. Remember to periodically loosen the screws and grease to avoid rusting.

4 - Safety equipment

The hydro foil whilst be amazing at lifting you out the water also has some pointy bits. If and when things go a little wrong its best to be protected from sharp bits coming into contact with any of your soft bits.

Most beginners use a crash helmet and padded jacket to protect from impacts.