Water sports manufacturers launch the Global Wingsports Association

August 14, 2020 | Surfing
Global Wingsports Association: the governing body for the sport of wing foiling

Water sports manufacturers have announced the launch of the Global Wingsports Association (GWA).

In the past years, the water sports world has witnessed the birth of a new sport: wing foiling, also known as wing surfing or wing boarding.

Wing foiling has attracted a huge number of fans, participants, and enthusiasts in a short time because of its accessibility, ease of use, and steep learning curve.

It is now one of the fastest-growing water sports segments in the world.

The Global Wingsports Association, the world's first international organization exclusively focused on wing sports, aims to provide one hub for all wing-related matters.

The consortium will represent brands and companies, competitive and recreational athletes, but also plans to increase the sport's visibility throughout the planet.

The newly-established GWA wants to ensure the sustainable growth of the sport - both in terms of industry development and access to beaches and waterways - and to enable water sports enthusiasts to practice this new sport in the safest possible way.

GWA will develop guidelines, information, and infrastructure in cooperation with national federations, schools, and equipment manufacturers.

Another major goal of the GWA is the development of an international competition format for the multiple wing foiling disciplines, including freestyle, surfing, open ocean surfing, and racing/speed.

Freestyle foiling: the wing foiling revolution is open to tricks and maneuvers | Photo: GWA

Founded by Global Players

The founding members of the GWA are Airush, Cabrinha, Duotone, Fanatic, F-One, Manera, North, Ocean Rodeo, and Slingshot.

GWA will take advantage of the years of experience and knowledge in product development and manufacturing provided by these internationally renowned water sports manufacturers' to deliver a strong and solid platform for the future of wing sports.

"The new sport of wing foiling/wing surfing sports have witnessed a sudden increase in popularity and a steep rise in numbers of people practicing it," explains Jörgen Vogt, secretary-general of the newly-created Global Wingsports Association.

"The increased request for an official body pushed us to create a platform for athletes and brands to build a prosperous and sustainable future for recreational as well as professional wing sports worldwide."

The Global Wingsports Association chose the prestigious 2020 Engadinwind held at Lake Silvaplana, in Switzerland, to celebrate the official launch of the organization.

Engadinwind is one of the water sports events with the richest history in Europe and the perfect opportunity for the GWA to present itself to the world for the first time.

And the 2020 edition has a few surprises in store for the wing community.

On August 16 and 17, the GWA will co-host several wing sports competitions with races and freestyle contests planned for both days.

Wing sports: one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world right now | Photo: Cabrinha

What are Wing Sports

Wing sports (wing surfing, wing foiling, or wing boarding) are a new and exciting group of sports that can be practiced on land, snow, and water using a handheld wing to harness the power of the wind.

They're a hybrid of many existing water sports, and due to this fact appeal to a wide range of people.

It might look quite unusual at first, but the fluidity and grace of an experienced wing foiler are breathtaking to see.

A wing, resembling a windsurf sail, is handheld and used to generate power to propel a sailor standing on a board with a hydrofoil underneath.

When the wing is positioned to generate power, the hydrofoil "lifts" the sailor and board above the water, giving the effect of floating or flying with "wings" across the water.

The Evolution of Foiling

Hydrofoil boards became popular back in 2013 after water sports enthusiasts saw the extreme speeds reached by sailing catamarans.

The same principles were used in new board designs, and hydrofoils started appearing on stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and kitesurfing boards, bringing new dynamics and faster speeds to each sport individually.

When the first wings were developed, which could be used together with a hydrofoil board, a new sport was born.

Wing foiling has exploded in popularity in the last years, in part because its uniqueness and versatility makes it appealing to all board sports fanatics.

Skateboarders, snowboarders, surfers, windsurfers, and kitesurfers already have the skills and knowledge of wind and/or board control to make the learning process quick, making wing foiling one of the fastest-growing water sports ever.

Wing foiling: the hydrofoil revolution boosted the adoption of wings | Photo: GWA

Endless Possibilities and a Steep Learning Curve

Wing sizes vary, enabling the sport to be done in both strong or light wind, and it can be done in the oceans, with or without waves, or flat water like lakes and rivers, making the sport extremely versatile as to where it can be practiced.

But a body of water is not even needed at all.

With a skateboard or on snow with skis or a snowboard, the wing opens up new horizons of fun and enjoyment for any conditions available.

Wing surfing can be practiced with or with the hydrofoil adaption on a board and is increasingly popular amongst SUP owners, with downwind adventures being one of the choice activities done with a stand-up paddleboard and a wing.

Paddleboards are extremely useful for beginners to use while learning how to fly wings, with a progression on to a hydrofoil board coming later when technique allows.

The popularity of the new all in one water sport has reached such heights that almost every wind or kitesurfing spot around the world now has a dedicated group of wing foilers and wing surfers respectively on the water when conditions are favorable.

Safety and Riding Spots

Wing foiling is an element dependent sport, wind, and either land or water are needed to practice, meaning some care and consideration needs to be taken when practicing.

A thorough understanding of the wind and ocean (lake, river, or waterway) is highly recommended before attempting to learn on your own.

Seek advice or instruction from a qualified and knowledgeable individual if you are a complete beginner to the sport. This will enable you to learn fast and in a safe environment.

Due to its versatility, wing foiling can be done in many locations around the world. It can be practiced on land, snow, or water.

Wind is needed to generate power in the wing, locations with a consistent breeze, or trade winds, are popular destinations of choice.

For those wishing to practice wing foiling on waves, the birthplace of the sport, Hawaii, is an obvious choice, as are destinations already popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

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