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Thursday June 22, 2023

Kitesurfing articles

Wing foil vs kite foil: which is better?

Wing foiling has gained popularity similar to kite foiling a decade ago, leading to the question of which to choose. While kite foiling still outperforms wing foiling in speed, light wind, and jumps, the latter offers accessibility to new riders and opens up new locations and conditions. With expanding rider skills and equipment capabilities, wing foiling is becoming increasingly attractive, despite looking awkward or uninteresting to some.

Key differences between wingfoil & kitefoil 

  • Kites offer more power, speed, and can use smaller foils and boards, but are more complex and dangerous to use.
  • Wing hydrofoils are typically larger and require more effort to start, needing larger boards and pumping the wing to take flight.
  • Wingfoiling is more suitable for gusty, offshore winds and narrow beaches, while kites are more versatile.
  • Wingfoiling offers the ability to ride waves with 100% depower, while kites always retain some power.

Wing foil vs kite foil: which is easier to learn and ride?

  • Kites can generate more power than wings, allowing kite foilers to go faster, jump higher, and use smaller boards and foils.
  • Wing hydrofoils are generally larger than kite foils, making wing foiling more accessible to beginners.
  • Kites are more complicated and harder to learn than wings, but can be more hazardous to use and have more limited usage locations.
  • Kite foilers can waterstart in the same way as regular kiters, while wing foilers must start on their knees and pump the wing to get flying on the foil.
  • Starting on a wing foil takes more effort than a kite foiling waterstart, so wing foilers need larger boards, typically 20 liters more volume than their body weight.
  • Wing foiling can fill niches that kite foiling cannot, such as gusty wind, offshore wind, and narrow or crowded beach locations.
  • Wings have an advantage over kites when riding waves, as they can be depowered completely while riding the swell.


Which one out of wing foiling and kite foiling is faster and better for jumps?

Kite foilers can achieve higher speeds than wing foilers. The larger foils used by wing foilers limit their speed, and the great power surges that a kite can produce, e.g. through kiteloops, are not available to the wing foiler.

Jumps are generally higher with kite foiling for the same reasons. But keep in mind that the progression to jumping with a kite foil is limited to a relatively small number of people with very high skills. Crashing onto a foil when landing a jump can cause severe injuries.

Is wing foiling or kite foiling safer?

Wing foiling is undoubtedly safer than kite foiling.  Flying a kite presents many risks that are generally not a concern in wing foiling.

In case of trouble, it’s much easier to paddle back upwind or back to the beach with a wing foil than it is to self-rescue with a kite foil.  Wing foiling boards usually have more volume,  allowing the rider to lie on them and drag the wing behind, and without worrying about a set of tangled kite lines.

Wing foil vs kite foil: which is easier to set up?

Wing foils are much easier to set up, with no kite lines to worry about. You can also set up and go out in a much smaller place, with less worry about crowded beaches.

That said, wing foil boards and foils are bigger than kite foils, so carrying your wing foiling equipment to the beach over some distance can be more challenging and awkward.

Wing foil vs kite foil: which costs more?

  • Cost of gear is similar for wing foiling and kite foiling
  • Wings tend to cost less than kites and don’t require a bar and lines
  • Boards and foils needed for wing foiling are more expensive than those for kite foiling
  • Kite foilers can use their regular kite and just need to buy a kite foil board to start
  • For wing foiling, both a wing and a wing-specific foil board are required

You can also rent high quality Duotone equipment from KSL. All our equipment is new and well maintained. We perform daily checks to ensure optimum safety. You don’t have to worry about lugging around your own gear when you can rent them at your convenience.

In conclusion

Wing foiling is only in its early stages of development; it’s only in the last two to three years that wing foiling has started to become more popular. Think of it like the first years of kitesurfing, when people used two-line kites, and when twintip boards were not available yet.

There’s no doubt that riding skill levels will increase, and the equipment designs will progress. The efficiency of the wings themselves is getting better. Look for higher speeds, easier jumps, and better upwind..

In addition, if you’re interested in learning either kite foiling or wing foiling, there are many great places to do so. One such place is Kitesurfing Lanka, where you can learn and do both activities in a beautiful and safe environment. With the right instruction and practice, anyone can enjoy the thrill of riding on a foil. So why not give it a try and see which one you prefer?

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