Wings, or more precisely wing foiling, is currently the big hype in water-sports and you can see why. Perceived ease of use (anyone can pick a wing up, regardless of prior experience, and get afloat with it), the ability to switch your ‘engine’ on and off at will (de-powering when wave riding as an example), making use of light to moderate winds as well as ‘winging’ being new and therefore intriguing.
Windsurfers, who’ve not rigged a sail in years, are being tempted back to ‘breezy sports’ because of wings, while riders from other areas; such as surfing only disciplines, are seeing the appeal. All in, winging is THE hot topic that everyone wants a piece of.
This last point, from a brand point of view, makes things a little tricky. Back in 2019, as wingin’ started to explode (at least in terms of marketing push) there weren’t masses of companies peddling the necessary gear. Fast forward to now, and while the discipline’s matured a tad from the day of saying, ‘A 4m’s all you need’ there are now, many more badged up pieces of equipment available; not so many as the market as saturated, but it’s a far busier waterscape than only a few months back.
This is great for the customer in a lot of ways, providing he or she is informed about wing foiling equipment and if you’re a water-sports company, the smart way to enter the market, is with stealth and diligence to avoid becoming lost in the rush to market.
Mistral aren’t a brand to dive in headfirst at the first sign of new trends. We prefer to observe, learn and look on to see how things develop. A calculated approach is far more efficient. It means the equipment we deliver to you, the rider, is going to be much more evolved, fit for purpose and therefore fun. Which is the bottom line. Wing foiling is definitely fun but not all wing foiling gear will serve this up. Being such a young discipline means that many end-users are merely test-dummies for brands trying to find their way and stylistically speaking, wing foiling equipment is showing early variance.
If you’re about to invest in kit, then you’ll be looking to do so from a reputable brand and make sure what you purchase is as ‘best fit’ as possible. Mistral have been in the game from the start and as the original water-sports and beach lifestyle company, we continue to pursue quality, innovation and usability for the everyday rider. That’s why Mistral invests considerable time and effort with testing, developing and making sure our equipment ticks all the right boxes before launching.
November 26, 2020, was a bright, sunny and mild day (for time of year) at one of Mistral’s base locations – Hayling Island England. The breeze was a flukey 15-18 knots with a bit of flotsam in the onshore mix. At the sun’s highest point, neap tides were ebbing and a raft of windsurfers, kite-surfers and wing foilers were on the water. For a wing foil equipment testing session it couldn’t have been better – less than perfect conditions do, after all, tell you much more about equipment performance.
We didn’t spend hours on the brine but the few runs managed, before Mother Nature saw fit to switch off the wind machine, but permitted an initial opinion of the prototype Mistral wing to be formed. It was also fun seeing other rider heads turn as iconic red, white and blue colour ways flew silently against the horizon’s bright glare. Standing out vividly against other brand equipment, the new Mistral wing definitely caught attentions.
More testing will now ensue. But coupled with a very first run out in Holland (on a lake for freshwater performance findings) we have a few pointers with which way to go. Wing foiling will no doubt continue to evolve and we will be doing the necessary work to stay ahead of the curve and bring rider usability and accessibility to this new, exciting discipline. Stay tuned for more Mistral wing foiling developments as they unfold.