If you’ve asked the question , then you already know a bit about windsurfing and wing surfing, but let’s help you to better understand what each one entails.
Both wing sup or wing surfing as it’s also known uses the wind, as does windsurfing, but there’s one major difference: the use of a mast.
You can see in this picture of Paul, that he is holding onto the boom, which is that handle that connects him to the sail and allows him to control everything. If you look at the front of the boom, you’ll see it clamps onto a long vertical pole, which is the mast and that runs down and connects to the board.
The sail sits on the mast and the mast gives the front of the sail it’s shape. The connection of mast to board is by a UJ, which is a rubber joint which allows complete 360 movement.
Now compare this to the wing and you’ll see that the person holds the wing, but it has no connection to the board or mechanical parts.
The only thing connecting the power from the wing to the board is the person holding it.
How does the wing compare to a sail in light winds?
If we disregard the complexities of wind power, there are some easy things to realise and this is all born from our experience of teaching in all conditions and to all levels of person.
In light winds, the person is having to stand up and not hang off the sail or wing, as would be the case when out in stronger winds.
What this means for the sailor is it is physical e.g requires some effort to hold and balance the kit.
You can see from the picture of the wing surfer that he is holding the wing above his head, which is a workout on the shoulders. If the wind becomes much lighter, then the effort required to the hold the wing is even greater.
Compare that to windsurfing and the weight of the sail and rig is driven down and supported by the mast and into the board, so even in super light winds, the sail is perfectly balanced.
Control in light winds
If we consider light winds only, then another things becomes very apparent. Having a mast as in a windsurfing rig, takes the power out of the sail and drives it straight into the board, much more effectively. You can use the tilting of the rig and push through the mast to create extra power and directional forces, that act in your favour.
Compare that to the wing and you have to work harder as you’re using your core, legs and arms to really drive the power from the wing into the board, but this is only the case when the winds are much lighter. As the wind picks up a bit more, then those issues become less important.
So if I were to choose between wing and windsurfing in light winds, I would say I personally prefer windsurfing as there is more that can be achieved, much like sailing a boat and you have more control.
BUT .. if your goal is to try winging in waves or wing foiling, then wing sup or wing surfing has a shorter learning curve.
Pros and Cons
So far we’ve only discussed the 2 sports in light winds, as they both become different animals as the winds increase.
Wing surfing is easier to learn than windsurfing in some ways as there’s less kit and you’re sort of just standing there, but both options require reasonable balance.
Windsurfing does require a bit more kit to get on the water, but it is pretty tough stuff, whereas a wing is quite delicate and need looking after.
In light winds, both sports are safe. It is easy to let go of a wing or windsurf sail and come to a halt.
I’m a lifelong windsurfer, so my love has always been windsurfing in waves, but winging for me has a place that windsurfing couldn’t fill. There is something quite surreal about wing foiling above waves and being super quiet.
If you’re working out which sport to try, all I can say is you won’t be disappointed with either. Surfs SUP Watersports offers both windsurfing and wing surfing lessons in Chichester, Bracklesham and Hayling Island. I look forward to helping you get on the water and giving you the chance to enjoy these amazing sports.