Why You Should Try Kitefoiling This Summer – by Karolina Winkowska

Why You Should Try Kitefoiling This Summer – by Karolina Winkowska

Karolina Winkowska’s recent encounter with the hydrofoil was one of the most fun experiencing which is why she wrote this kitefoil beginners guide to give you inspiration and tips to learn Kitefoiling.

How often you seat at the beach and feel the wind in your hair but know it’s not enough for the kite session ?

Now imagine riding on these 10 knots days… how many more kiteboarding sessions you could score ? Being able to maximise your time on the water it’s what all kiteboarders always want to do.

Hydrofoil goes upwind very easily so you will be able to visit beaches and islands you never been as you would have always struggle to go big distance upwind. When you hydrofoil, all of the sudden it feels so easy to ride upwind which makes it more exciting to do long distance excursions.

Photos: Alexander James Lewis-Hughes 

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

It is always rewarding to learn something new, and hydrofoiling will give you so much pleasure once you master it.

I started foiling last summer and I couldn’t believe how much fun it was.  Of course I went through crashing and swimming stage but then every time I was above the water I was just loving it.

My recent encounter with the hydrofoil was one of the most fun experiencing which is why I wrote this short kitefoil beginners guide to give you inspiration and handy tips to learn Kitefoiling faster.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

1. How to start?

Before you start I recommend learning riding strapless on the waveboard. It helped me a lot with moving along the board as well as turning. If you don’t feel comfortable on such a board, it’s a good idea to sacrifice a bit more time as it will help you a lot when learning foil.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

2. Find the perfect gear

It is a good idea to start with the same kite or one size smaller as you would normally take when riding twintip. Everybody says you can take smallest kite and foil in almost no wind. When you begin to put your feet on foil you don’t want to struggle with your kite falling off the sky in the same time. Once you learn how to take off you will be able to ride with the smallest kite you have in the smallest wind ever. However learning is learning and it will definitely make it easier for you at the beginning.

  • Shorter mast, bigger wing

Shorter mast allows you to learn faster and safer. When you first start rising and foiling above the water, you are really going to be surprised. Which is why taking a shorter mast will help you to learn the feeling of foiling. Additionally the Slingshot kite hover glide kit gives you a bigger wing designed for the beginners. The bigger wing doesn’t ride as fast which is perfect for the learning. Once you get comfortably on your foil, you will want to learn jibes and tacks, which is also easier on the shorter mast with bigger wing.

Many people say it’s easier to ride longer masts. Which very often is true, but not when you are trying to learn. You also have to remember that there are multiple hydrofoil brands and it’s possible that some of their short mast don’t perform as good as the other ones. Hydrofoil construction is a very difficult one, and there are many brands that are much harder to foil on.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista
  • Footstraps?

I don’t use footstraps as I struggled with finding a good position on my board and I heard many stories about twisted ankles at the beginning of learning. However it is definitely easier to put board on your feet when you have at least front footstrap.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista
  • Board size?

Board size and shape actually matter when you first start foiling. The bigger and more floaty board, the easier to water start. If your board is small, and you are not comfortable riding strapless you will find it really hard to take off.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

3. Spot

It is a necessity to foil where water is deep as you will have the wing below you. I would also recommend the spot with side shore or offshore wind. When the wind is onshore, it can be challenging to walk upwind with the foil to get to the deep water. However if it’s all you have, you walk as far as possible and the body drag to where it is deep enough.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

4. Get ready to crash a lot

Beginnings are always hard, and learning foiling could be a very challenging sport to begin. Being used to riding your twintip doesn’t help as you are used to certain body position and kite movements. Foiling is much different, and you will quickly realise how many details you have to adjust to ride smoothly. At first you will encounter ‘dolphin jumps’ which are inevitable wipeouts that will happen unexpectedly. Once you learn how to put your weight above the board and over front leg you will stop crashing. However it takes time as it’s something you have to feel just like you have to feel your kite.

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

5. Position

The position is the key ! When you keep your body upwards, don’t edge like you normally do on your twin tip. I find  the body position similar to surfing, when your body is above the board and you are pressing your forward leg to get more speed. For the hydrofoil to go smooth, you need to balance your body above the board, and pressing front foot in order to keep the wing underwater. Just like you were gliding on a magic carpet :P

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

6. Ride

Unlike twintip riding, where your kite is generating your main speed. When hydrofoiling it is your board that gives you the speed. Once you can foil, you will understand that it’s the board that makes you go, rather than kite. Quickly after the take off you can put your kite above you (on 12) and the board will be going itself. Of course the kite is generating the speed as well and if you combine  both of them you can go really fast !

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

7. Enjoy kitefoiling

It’s a really nice feeling being able to foil and being able to enjoy kiteboarding when it was never suitable for your twintip/wave board !

Karolina Winskowska - Kitefoiling - KiteSista

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