Friday, December 31, 2021

Introducing Sledding

My first experience with sledding was on Christmas day, hence the name.

I am at the stage of wingfoiling where I need to get as much air time as possible to learn how to get on, and stay on, the foil. I also need to conserve my energy. Falling in often is not an option.

So, I line up two points on my local coast where can travel between them mostly on a broad reach. A 6kms straight line run can turn into a 10 or 12kms run if you zig-zag enough.
Southerly winds around here make the swell rise and northerlies tend to knock it flat. 

You will get wind waves but you do not want so much that you are in a wind shadow at the bottom of the wave/swell.

Have a bit of a go at standing up but mostly stay in the kneeling position. Gain speed first and then shuffle back on the board.


Open ocean is a fun place to be and while choppy weather looks intimidating when you are moving mostly down wind (broad reaching) it will smooth out for you. 
A couple of things to watch out for:
  • If you own a Duotone Foil wing then put a pool noodle on all the exposed extension part of the boom. At some point you will need it to stop the end of the boom from sinking.
  • Find launch and landing sites where the waves and the wind will be kind to you.
  • Keep in mind places along the way where you can land if needed.
  • Areas where weed, ripped from the seabed, is accumulating in the shore break is to be avoided.
  • If your leashes are old or damaged get new ones.
  • Work out how long you can kneel for and set your distance accordingly. Your legs will go numb after a time then you will need to stop and dangle them in the water to recover.
  • While you are sailing watch out for the front tip of the wing touching down. Pull the wing upwind as soon as this happens.
Also, I am working on an item that I call "elbow patches".
These are stick-on rubber patches to go on the wing about a meter from the wing tips.
My deck is completely covered in traction grip and these two patches on my wing allow the wing to rest on the front deck of the board.
Another trick when running (going straight down wind) is to rest the Duotone boom into the traction grip at the front of the board. You are unlikely to be foiling when doing this but it is a useful self-rescue position. Steering in this position is a matter of moving the wing around from side to side. 

Sometimes you can teach yourself, or you can get someone to teach you properly like


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