Equipment, Safety, Technique, Erwan Jauffroy, editor-in-chief of the Wingsurf and Wind magazines (among others) and accomplished waterman, gives you the secrets to properly approach freeflying on a wingfoil. Freeflying consists of surfing on a chop or a swell, why not on a bearing course, using as little wing-wing propulsion as possible in favor of the slope of the sea.
What is Freefly?
It’s about surfing foil using the tilt and power of the sea, a feathered wing.
– leashes for boards and kites
– inform qq1 of his places and times of departure and arrival
– we strongly recommend a helmet and vest. If you stray from the edge, plan a traffic light and let someone know the time of departure and arrival. Also take a charged laptop.
Nothing specific, except for a light and stable wing. It’s not too strong, it can destabilize.
– small enough to maneuver and read the water
– it is not too small because there is a risk of hassle
– compromise = more or less its weight, not bad!
– bands or not? it is discussed
Almost as small as possible for easy water reading and maneuvering. Be careful not to go too small either for at least three reasons:
– when it moves, it’s a hassle to get back on it.
– When you’re afraid of falling, you don’t roll freely and you do shit.
– If the wind drops, it takes a minimum of lift to come back.
– Let’s say, unless you’re already a tenor, a board with volume close to your weight will be a good compromise.
It’s up for debate. Straps help carve with confidence and make pumping easy. And prevent the board from loosening in the cartons. Strapless = ultimate freedom.
– Favor more efficient and faster High Aspect foils
– Front wing size between 1500 and 1000 depending on conditions and level
– Small wing = maximum speed and maneuverability, but a technical requirement
– Large wing = lightness, buoyancy, but less speed and maneuverability
– Mast size is about 85cm
This is where the game is played. High aspect for range in terms of speed, lift and pumping efficiency. Depending on your level and the conditions, find the right kite size ratio to have enough lift to start and not lose flight, while having enough range to track and even overtake over the waves.
The trend is to reduce the size of the front wing more and more, so that the wing for free flight in strong wind conditions can be reduced to 1000 cm2 or even less. The further down you go, the more maneuverability you have to make a short turn. But it requires more a good reading of the surface of the water, a constant speed and almost all the time in the turns.
When the wave is fast or the wind is very strong, so the cut is steep and fast, you still have to surface otherwise you can’t go fast enough to follow the waves.
So, to sum up the wing surfaces for free flight: in small conditions, the ideal surface area is around 1500 cm2. In top conditions around 1250, see lower around 1000 or less depending on the technical level also because the small wings are more demanding in all aspects.
One of the keys is the size of the mast. Apart from the depth limitation, for downwind I recommend an 85/90 mast which gives a real gain in tolerance to avoid stalling at the slightest turn or imprecise steering. The 85/90cm mast also leaves room to pump, but without losing too much response/maneuverability.
In Freefly, the goal is to stay on the slope as long as there is, and if necessary to overtake less steep cuts, be careful to pass behind, that can happen too.
– read the body of water well, identify the waves and their formation/evolution
– approach the wave parallel, preferably leaning on your toes
– bend the legs, lower the center of gravity
– grab his wing by the front handle and put it in feathers
– the wing flange must be oriented towards the visible wind
– apparent wind = real wind (the one blowing) + wind speed (linked to your movement)
– avoid clear tailwind in free flight, make turns
– forward support +++ when descending waves
– avoid going straight down, make an S to take advantage of the slope
– looking at the back of the steak from the front is very informative
– also look around to avoid collisions
– drive with the rear foot, but control the longitudinal attitude with the front foot
– pumping/lowering to restore speed.
– pumping = a means not an end
– when leaving the surf, re-loft to regain power in the kite.
– Carefully read the body of water and notice the appearance of cuts or swelling. In the event of a potential wave break, it is necessary to identify the direction of the break and not be mistaken in direction.
– Approach the wave parallel to the wing in hand and if possible from the side. Heeling is always easier for the first downhill turn.
– Bend your legs to lower your center of gravity.
– When you’re up the slope and ready to surf, it’s time to grab your kite by the front handle and swing it if possible without hiding your plan. the water in front of / under your board because that’s where you have to look to manage the height and the trajectory. The wing is always positioned like a sausage depending on the direction of the apparent wind.
– To prevent the kite from unrolling and standing vertically in front of you, try not to do too much clean downwind and hold the kite slightly to the side.
– Bend the legs well, support the front foot ++ and ensure that the board must be parallel to the water, even if there is a slope. As a result, it is common for the nose to drop!
– Don’t go straight down! Take an angle with the wave and make the most of the slope while it’s there. If possible, take S-shaped trips, depending on your speed. Always observe the body of water carefully. In rough water, the one in front is very instructive. In sum, you should only look forward, left and right of the nose, remembering to look a little further from time to time for general direction and to avoid collisions.
– When turning, steer with the back foot, but control the height with the front foot. Consider the steepness of the wave when controlling the height.
– If there is a moment of release and the possibility of reaching a steeper part or going over a notch in front: pump the wing uphill and downhill.
– Attention, pumping is not an end in itself, in freeflying the goal is to pump as little as possible.
– If this is the end of the sequence, reassemble and bring the kite back again. If you don’t come back, you’ll miss your flight.
What surf foil volume?
A beginner’s board should never be less than 40 l. The boards with the biggest volume are the longboards (9 feet and more). The boards with the least volume are the shortboards (boards 6 feet or less).
What size surf foil ? The 70 cm mast is ideal for learning to foil. Its relatively small size will forgive you any positioning errors, and the falls will be much less impressive. The 80cm mast is extremely versatile. It will allow you to expand, pump, surf, maneuver more efficiently.
What literage for surfing?
How to start surf foiling?
A perfect wave to start surfing, it is not very streamlined and goes away from the edge. If it breaks and then re-forms, it will be your rider for the day. And precisely because the wave will deliver constant energy, you can take your time during takeoff.
What surfboard ? THE foil surfboards are generally much shorter and wider than regular surfboards. If you are a beginner, choose a foil relatively long and one liter to facilitate placement and stabilization.