Something I think James and Erik haven’t touch too much on their poscast is the dw culture.
This is the explanation why it is polular at some places such as Maui or Gorge or France. And not so popular somewhere else such as California, Florida, etc…
Downwinding oc, prone, ski, sup is addictive, the playground is huge, the space, the vibe, the challenge. Being alone (even with friends you are on your own out there) in such an open space is amazing.
It is good to see people not coming from this dw spirit/culture getting into dw foiling as it is imo the best feeling. But it can be hard for new people so understand how it works ; the logistic, the planning (the run, the forecast, the emmergency plan, etc…), the safety, the technique, how to read the ocean, etc…
I come from sup racing dw background and when I first saw Kai’s video I got obsessed since then to do the same (and I know I’m not the only one).
So what is your dw background, why have you chosen to do the dw foiling ???
I started winging as a lightwind option when we had bad conditions for wavesailing (most of the time in Perth metro). Then, I discovered wing downwinding (freewinging), waves were endless and no crowded lineup. I then learnt to SUP DW (still am progressing), the pure freedom of no wing bombing DW and carving. When you do come near to someone it is just stoke and joy the whole ocean is your playground. Great fitness, good challenge, finding flow state and great community.
I’ve only downwind winged, which I find super fun and easily accessible. In my area (Squamish) our summer wind is very focused with short swell window. Winter winds could be downwindable, but logistics are tough with inaccessible shores and good winds are often below freezing. Now that dw gear and techniques are getting more dialed maybe it’s time to start downwinding here with a drysuit. I’m sure we’ll see a huge expansion of downwinding now that the pioneers have laid the groundwork. The remote reaches of Oregon/norcal could be ideal as long as you get through the shore pound!
Yes, I watched this one today, definetly a good one !
I like the direction that DW foiling is taking, more adventure style than races (even if races are fun but different).
Going for 80km is no joke !
I did a 18km dw lately, a run I haven’t done before. It was a open ocean run with ground swell coming sside ways, this has nothing to do with Bay run or “easy run” (ground swell perfectly lined up). I almost broke my paddle right at the start (pumping/paddling side ways…), I hjad no choice than making the run without touching again or putting to much effort in the blade. That was a mental, physical and technical challenge, but I made it.
It’ll be very interesting to see what happens after M2O this year. What the turn out will be like and what the speeds will be. Then people will determine if they like the vlog/lifestyle aspect of downwind, or if the downwind races are worth training for.
I’m inclined to think that the races are what people will want to do. I just don’t see any of the younger guys near me showing any interest in them though. It seems like they are more about the car shuttle than the actual DW.
@gregclosier What do you think is the best way to compare runs from all over the world? Conditions vary greatly, so should there be an agreed upon standard of measurement so that there can be some comparison? Like time per KM splits?
There’s a big emphasis on speed but I liked Casey’s multi ranked system, like slowest time on foil, fastest KM, slowest KM on foil, etc.
I know when we do downwingers it’s definitely not a race, but a way to get a 2 - 4 hour session and maximize mileage and time on foil. The last thing I want to do after a 1/2 hour shuttle is blast down the run and have to get back in a car.
As I said, it is all about sport background, Sup racers (like james, myself, etc…) are used to do dw, shuttle, logistic, etc is no big deal, competition, going faster than your mate, etc… is also part of what we are used to do. But I totally get it, sometimes, we agree on not race the run and more enjoy the run by carving, waiting for people, etc…
this bit of Zane hitting a double up looked so fast.
Regarding racing, I raced skateboards for years and it was such a cool low key scene, 20 up to 150 people of varying skill all just stoked to have an excuse to camp out for 3-5 days with equally frothing people in a “safe” environment to push their limits. The race results only really mattered to the few people in the runnings to win, usually 10% of the total entrants really cared, the rest just happy to participate and push themselves. Alongside the races there would be free rides, and all the before and after even sessions. Eventually freeride only events became a thing with a small fun race. What mattered was lots of runs at a high speed technical closed road.
I think DW is interesting because it does seem to have a freeride element to it. I can imagine a multi day event with safety boats, trailer shuttles and a shorter 15-20km, allowing people to do laps, try gear through varying conditions and then on the final day some heats and then a final race when conditions are best? Then you can have a few races across EU or US and suddenly you have a tour that gives a nice summer plan. This is what a healthy scene looks like, but could take years to work out a worthwhile format.
The Gorge and Hawaii races seem to have this atmosphere?
An issue is the dependency on weather. Need to have a predictable breeze. This is why an event window and foil specific organisation is probably worthwhile instead of tacking onto sup or surf ski events which are more set schedule and run regardless of conditions.
I think racing is a simple concept that is easy to run, and with an emphasis on fun it can be a really positive way to spend more time foiling. Equally pushing performance of the foils through racing improves the quality of the “freeride” foils.
Downwinding culture requires many factors around to even become one.
Here I’m the only one doing it, hoping people jumps in soon so this won’t be as solitaire, but as it is right now I’m enjoying so much this freaking hard learning process were every time I progress two steps go back one the next session by trying to test something new and screwing up things.
Recently just got a new foil AFS PURE 900 and it’s not that I want to do races and get competitive, but now I understand how good it feels to simply go faster and want to master that speed the whole trajectory .
Here a little video of my home spot run in Colombia I want to share. Chocolate water but good windy conditions!
I’m grateful for this community that has helped me a lot too! That’s a great culture!