Winter offers an excellent opportunity for practicing wingfoiling, serving as one of the most accessible wind sports on Finland’s frozen water bodies. When the ice surface is slippery or packed with snow, winging can reach high speeds, creating a truly enjoyable experience! In softer snow, the wing requires a reasonable amount of wind, making it a bit more demanding, but still entirely possible.

Should you have your sights set on continuing the sport into summer, winter presents incredible opportunities for honing foundational skills. Handling the wing, pumping, power management, and turns are practically the same in winter as in summer from the perspective of wing handling. A significant difference is that speed doesn’t matter in winter. For instance, when practicing your first turns, you can transition direction while skiing, taking your time to consider how to move your hands with the wing. Particularly when practicing upwind turns (‘tacks’), breaking down and training these maneuvers is much simpler during winter.

Wingfoil equipment in winter: Will they withstand the cold?

Especially high-quality wingfoil wings, such as Duotone Slick, Unit, or Eleveight WFS, are manufactured using the same materials as kitesurfing kites. We have almost 20 years of experience with kitesurfing kites and know that freezing temperatures don’t significantly impact their durability. However, there’s one aspect of the wings that requires special attention: the window. When packing the wing in cold weather, it’s important to be careful and avoid crumpling the wing into the backpack as the window may crack. It’s recommended that when practicing in winter, the wing should be rolled lightly, particularly around the window area, to avoid creating sharp folds. This should be taken into account even in warm summer weather.

What equipment is best suited for winter wingfoiling: Skis, snowboard, snowskate, or ice skates?

Choosing equipment for winter wingfoiling depends greatly on the surface being used. Moving on ice requires different requirements for gear than softer snow or packed snow.

Skis are a versatile choice as they fit most conditions. They offer good grip and control even on nearly mirror-like ice, where a snowboard or snowskate might not perform as well. This makes skis an excellent choice, for example, on the lakes of Southern Finland where ice conditions can vary. Skis are also the easiest of all equipment options.

Snowboard, on the other hand, offers a riding position and feel closer to the summer wingfoil experience. It’s a popular choice among those looking to prepare for the summer season as realistically as possible. The main weakness of a snowboard is its edge grip on icy surfaces. There are snowboards designed for kite skiing with much better edge hold to counter this.

Snowskate has gained popularity due to its unique feel and sensation. Its advantage lies in not having bindings, mimicking the summer wingfoil experience. Snowskate offers an excellent opportunity to practice wing handling and turns in a way that resembles summer board riding. If skiing or snowboarding starts to feel mundane, snowskate provides an enjoyable and challenging alternative.

Skates or blades-equipped boards are ideal when dealing with pure and smooth mirror-like ice. They allow for fast and smooth movement on the ice while offering a different challenge in wing control. On mirror-like ice, you don’t need as much wind, and in stronger winds, you can go faster. Protective gear is always important while practicing, but on mirror-like ice, items like elbow guards or impact pants-style protection might not be excessive.

Snowsurf is an excellent choice in especially soft snow. It provides a unique experience and allows for a different way of moving with the wing. It’s slightly heavier than the above options, but if the opportunity arises, we highly recommend giving it a try!

However, if wingfoiling feels challenging during winter, using harnesses is possible. We’ve also written an article on this topic that you can read here.

Wingfoiling in winter is very safe, but there are certain things to consider

Moving on ice requires special caution and proper gear. The following guidelines will help you enjoy the hobby safely.

Safety Gear and Protection:

  • Ice Picks: These are a must-have for anyone moving on ice. Ice picks can save your life if you unexpectedly encounter weak ice.
  • Helmet: In wingfoiling, a helmet is an essential piece of gear. It protects your head from falls and collisions.
  • Additional Protection: Consider other protective gear like elbow and knee pads. Protective gear commonly used in downhill skiing can be useful. You can also wear pants with protection for the hip and buttocks areas, providing extra safety in case of falls.

Conditions and Precautions

  • Ice Thickness Assessment: If there are doubts about the ice thickness, it’s better not to venture onto the ice. Even if you see other people on the ice, such as ice fishers, it doesn’t automatically mean the ice is safe everywhere. An ice screw is a good way to measure ice thickness, but remember that while the ice might be thick enough in one spot, it may not be uniformly thick everywhere. According to the Finnish Border Guard’s general guidelines, ice thickness should be a minimum of 5 centimeters of steel ice, but it’s highly recommended to avoid being on the ice until it reaches 10 centimeters.
  • Consider Weather Conditions: Always check the weather forecast and wind conditions before heading onto the ice.
  • Preparation for Emergencies: Ensure you have first aid supplies and know how to handle emergency situations.
  • Group activity: Wingfoiling is safer and more enjoyable when done in a group. Additionally, being in a group means there’s always help available if something unexpected happens.

YES, this is what I want to start doing! How do I get started? 

Fill out the form at the bottom of the page or directly send a WhatsApp message.

What wing would be good for winter?

Just like in summer, but particularly in winter, we recommend wings with a boom. This allows a good grip even with thick mittens, making wing control natural. So, check out the Duotone Slick SLS wing, which is an excellent choice! Wings with rigid handles (e.g., Duotone Unit) are also suitable for winter activities.

What about Wing Size?

Choosing the right wing size is a crucial part of starting wingfoiling, whether it’s on summer water or winter ice. A common challenge for enthusiasts is finding enough power from the wing, especially in soft snow or when getting onto the foil. In this section, we’ll discuss how to choose the right wing size and what factors to consider.

Wing Size and Power

We recommend selecting a wing as large as your height and handling capability allow. A larger wing provides more pull, which is especially beneficial in soft snow and when getting onto the foil. For example, our team drivers Tanna and Päivi, who are about 160 cm tall, use a 5.5-meter Duotone Slick SLS wing in the summer. On the other hand, Harri, who is 187 cm tall, prefers a 7-meter wing.

Wing Size and Future Plans

When choosing a wing size, it’s also worth considering future plans. You can start well in the sport with one wing, and there’s no rush to acquire additional sizes. But if you can already plan ahead a bit, it can help in selecting the first wing size.

Shorter Enthusiasts (around 160 cm)

  • Starting Wing: Begin with a larger wing, for instance, a 5-5.5-meter model. This size provides sufficient pull in most conditions.
  • Expansion: Add a smaller wing to your collection, like a 3.5-4-meter model, suitable for stronger winds and offering more control.

Taller Enthusiasts (around 187 cm)

  • Starting Wing: Begin with a larger wing, for example, a 6-6.5-meter model. This size is ideal as an all-round wing suitable for various wind conditions.
  • Expansion: Add a smaller wing to your collection, such as a 4-4.5-meter model, offering better control in stronger winds

When planning to build a comprehensive wing collection, it typically doesn’t exceed three different-sized wings. Start with a medium-sized one, leaving room for a larger one optimized for light winds and a smaller one designed for stronger winds.

Shorter Enthusiasts (around 160 cm):

    • Starting Wing: Begin with a medium-sized wing, like a 4-4.5-meter model. This size provides a good balance between power and control.
    • Expansion: Later on, add a larger wing to your collection, such as a 5.5-6-meter model, offering more pull in weaker wind conditions. Lastly, acquire a smaller wing, around 2.5-3.5 meters, for stronger winds.

Taller Enthusiasts (around 187 cm):

    • Starting Wing: Begin with a medium-sized wing, for example, a 5.5-6-meter model. This size is a good all-round wing suitable for various conditions.
    • Expansion: Add the largest possible wing to your collection, such as a 7-8-meter model, offering maximum pull in light winds. Afterward, complement your collection with a smaller wing, around 4-4.5 meters, suitable for stronger winds.

Feeling excited? Need help choosing equipment?

We’re more than happy to assist you in selecting equipment, and we almost always have new, last season, or used wings available! Fill out the form below, and we’ll get back to you soon :) Or you can also send a direct message via WhatsApp :)