Wing foiling: What is it and how to do it in Northern Ireland?

RYA Northern Ireland run Northern Ireland’s first ‘winging’ helping to support this growing phenomenon
21 May 24
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Wing foiling or ‘winging’ is a sport which has grown in popularity in recent years, offering people new and exciting ways to get out on the water.

Participants hold an inflatable wing which generates power, allowing them to fly above the water on a hydro foiling board.

While this is relatively new technology, many believe it will form a huge part of water sports in the future. Modern Sail GP or America’s Cup boats make use of foiling technology and half of the classes at the Paris 2024 Olympics will foil.

The equipment is also affordable for centres to acquire and can be used with some minor adjustment to kit such as stand-up paddle boards or windsurfing boards. For this reason, RYA Northern Ireland are keen to support its growth across the country.

Mary Martin, RYANI Workforce Development Officer said: “We want to support the development of this scheme in Northern Ireland as it is so accessible- anyone can give it a go. It's quick to learn and super fun!

Northern Ireland’s first ‘winging’ course

Between the 17th and 19th of May, Northern Ireland's very first RYA Wingsurfing Instructor Course was held at Newtownards Sailing Club.

Dion Roberts and Chris Pryor, who are wing foil trainers, were brought over from North Wales and Cornwall by RYANI to run the course. Both were blown away by the venue.

Dion said: “Newtownards Sailing Club is the perfect venue for learning to wingsurf and foil. The shallow water allows you to make a mistake, fall in, and be able to stand so you don’t get blown downwind. It’s also stunning- you don’t know how lucky you are! I’ll be back and next time I’m bringing the family.”

The course was a massive success and helped to hone the skills of five newly qualified instructors. 

Paddy Lyner, an experienced Windsurfing Instructor at NSC said; “We learned so much over the three days, Dion and Chris have been great! The way we worked through teaching tacking skill development, was brilliant. We can’t wait to start running courses here.”

Andrew Gallagher, a course participant said: “I sold all of my windsurfing kit and replaced with winging kit- it’s just great fun and I love foiling.”

How to get involved

If you are interested in ‘winging’ there will be two new RYA winging centres set up very soon at Newtownards Sailing Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club. These RYA recognised centres will be able to provide kit and advice so you can try it out and get started.

You can also learn more about wing foiling on the RYA website. 

On top of this, we are already looking at dates for another Wing Instructor course and WingFoil Instructor course. You can find out about learn to wing and instructor courses when they come up by signing up to our newsletter or following our socials.

If you’re a RYA Training Centre Principal or Instructor and want to know more about setting up as a Wingsurfing Centre, please contact RYANI Workforce Development Officer, Mary Martin- 079 1992 3018