Training for Downwinding – A Beginners Guide to Downwind Foiling

Recently in our newsletter we put out an open call for questions about foiling an efoiling. There was a ton of interest around downwinding – one of the newest aspects of surf foiling that people around the globe are pushing to new limits every week. In particular, we had a lot of questions around training for, and beginning to progress at down winding. Nick, our founder, lays out some of his key tips and tricks for this new aspect of foiling in the breakdown below.

Downwinding is definitely tricky, but does not require superhuman abilities. Here are the steps that I would take to get ready for downwinding sessions. 

– First become proficient at riding a variety of waves on your foil. Downwinding is an advanced task and you need to be comfortable on your foil.
– You must be able to pump. You don’t have to be able to pump for minutes at a time in flat water, but you should comfortably be able to kick off of one wave and grab the second wave with ease. It’s best if you know how to accelerate in flat water from a slow speed to a faster pump speed. This takes pumping skill, but will save you from falling over.
– Next, you need to learn how to ride the small bumps. This doesn’t take a lot of strength, but is by far the most important part of downwinding, and it takes the most practice until you get it. You have to learn to keep the foil high and lock into the surface energy. The ocean is broken into millions of facets and you want to learn to stay on the facets that are facing the direction in which you want to travel. Never get stuck in a facet that is facing against you because it will be like pumping uphill and you just won’t win. For this training, you need a partner on an eFoil or a ski that can get you back up every time you fall. Just keep trying until you start to feel yourself lock into the flow with your foil high and you start to connect the bumps.
– Lastly, for a true downwinder–you need to practice how to transition from a breaking wave on the beach to the open ocean. This definitely takes some cardio strength. It’s hard to catch a wave and move straight into a sprint out into the flow. As you get tired, you bare off with the flow and recover. Then you work your way out little by little. You have to work on your calm and know how to catch your breath and center your focus.

Master these steps and you will be riding for miles and miles of endless ocean swells.

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