Winging is the new, exciting discipline to arrive in the world of watersports and uses a lightweight, inflatable wing with handles. Wing tuition on the vast waters of Queen Mary Sailing Club (QMSC) is run exclusively all year round by Simon Winkley Marine (SWM) using the very latest wings, boards and foils from Starboard.

WingSURFing refers to the use of the wing on either a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with a centre fin or a high-volume windsurf board with a daggerboard.

WingFOILing refers to the use of the wing on a specific wingfoil board with a hydrofoil attached to the underside. This allows the board to rise up out of the water as it moves forwards and foiling occurs. Foiling above the water feels exciting yet relaxing at the same time, delivering a very smooth ride. As the foil slices through the water, the usual noise and bumping of the board against the surface all but disappears and the sensation of gliding is second-to-none.


Wingfoiling is relatively easy to master, typically with a much faster learning curve than other watersports. It is safer than kitesurfing (as the wing can be de-powered easily or let go of at any time) and more accessible as winging is welcomed at a wide range of inland waters. The benefits of winging over windsurfing include having a greater wind range for each wing (so less kit is needed) and easier storage and transportation of the equipment as it packs away smaller (no long masts and much shorter boards). Despite the steep learning curve in the early stages, mastering foiling turns, tacks and gybes requires commitment and time - enabling participants to enjoy an active foiling lifestyle with longer-term goals.


No previous watersports experience is required to learn to wingsurf or wingfoil. The pathway is to learn to wingsurf first and then to wingfoil. No one can sensibly expect to learn to handle the wing whilst learning foiling at speed all at the same time. Some people may choose to stick with wingsurfing and to enjoy the feeling of being powered along by the wing whilst remaining on the water rather than above it. Most people, however, are keen to progress to wingfoiling asap.

Depending on their previous watersports experience and their balance, wind awareness and fitness level, beginners are likely to need 1-3 lessons in wingsurfing before moving onto a large foil board. Then with another 1-3 lessons on the foil most people have enough knowledge to carry on themselves. Some will continue the rest of their journey independently whilst others may choose to return for occasional coaching sessions to help with, for example, gybing or progressing onto smaller kit.

Previous experience that can contribute towards a quicker progression includes:

  • Sailing, windsurfing or kiting: for wind awareness
  • SUP, skateboarding or snowboarding: for balance
  • Windfoiling (foiling on a windsurf board), tow-foiling (foiling whilst being pulled behind a powerboat) or dinghy foiling: for transferrable foiling technique
On the flat, accessible water at QMSC:
  • WingSURFing is best learned in approximately 7-27 knots (Beaufort low-force 3 to upper-force 6)
  • WingFOILing for beginners (who are not yet able to pump the wing and foil) is best learned in approximately 14-30 knots (Beaufort mid-force 4 to mid-force 7).
To achieve this SWM currently has Starboard Freewing GO wings of the following sizes: 3.5m, 4.5m, 5.5m, 6.5m. The boards used for wingSURF are 246 litre Starboard Starts and the boards used for beginner wingFOIL are 145 & 160 litre Starboard Wingboards. Development sessions have access to 70, 90 & 115 litre Starboard Wingboards. Foils are Starboard, using 82cm masts with carbon front wings: S-Type 2400, 2000 or 1500 (low aspect) and E-Type 1300 or 1700 (medium aspect).


Lessons are 3 hours duration on a very small 1:2 ratio for maximum instructor input with powerboat support to help to save time getting back upwind during the early stages. Each session starts with a short introduction to kit and technique before heading out onto the water. Please note that tow-foiling and e-foiling are not done at QM as light-wind options. Sessions booked are subject to terms and conditions and will only be confirmed to run when enough wind is forecast.

Participants should provide their own wetsuit and suitable watersports shoes. 4/3mm wetsuits may be able to be supplied on request yet these are suitable for Spring, Summer and Autumn. 6/5mm winter wetsuits are recommended in colder weather. Helmets and impact jackets with 50N of buoyancy are compulsory for all winging lessons and are provided.

Lessons will be delivered by RYA Wingfoil Instructors Simon, Julia, Paul or Jerome. Lessons are available all year round with better availability on weekdays. Timings in the main season are: 1000-1300 and 1400-1700, with adjustments made when daylight hours are less in the winter. Wednesday evening sessions are offered from April to early-September.


For winging lessons (including wing, board, foil, leash, helmet and impact jacket) are:

  • 2 person lesson for 3 hours = £175 per person (inc. VAT)

Wing lessons are bookable by contacting SWM directly (please do not call QMSC to book or to make an enquiry). Bookings are currently taken manually (with invoices issued). Online bookings and payments will be available in due course. (Prices correct at 1st January 2024)


SWM is a retailer of new Starboard wings, boards, bags and foils as well as pumps and leashes from PPC Foiling. Simon can advise on - and supply - the perfect package to suit your needs and help you to avoid the pitfalls that some newcomers to the sport are experiencing (such as going for a board which is too small to learn on). Every purchase will come with a free session to set the kit up perfectly, including treating foil connections with TefGel to avoid future corrosion.

SWM is a retailer of Forward WIP impact jackets and helmets. This premium brand is available to try before you buy. Impact Vest, Wing Flow Neo and Kompact impact jackets and Wipper helmets are stocked. Other models of Forward WIP can be ordered.


As the kit is refreshed regularly, used kit is often available for those that wish to progress towards owning their own kit. For the latest availability please click here.


Please send a message to Simon Winkley Marine now: info@simonwinkley.com

Join QMSC as a member with your own kit and Wingfoil all year round. Click here to find out more about membership