I am very interested in progressing to downwinding, but I am not sure my location is really suited for it. Logistics matter to me, but I will take that out of the equation and assume I have the ride back.
My island is only about 3 miles long. To the north Hilton head is about another few miles away, but to get there would be about 2 hours of driving from Tybee island. So doing a downwinder there is not very realistic. To the south there is just nothing uninhabited islands. This is all Georgia coast USA.
So curious how long it would take you guys to cover about 3 miles?
It seems prone, I can cover 2 miles in about 10 to 15 min. So doing a downwinder on my island may last about 20 min only. Not really worth it, when the conditions of wind would mean I would just wing for way more time and not worry about the ride or walk back.
Maybe I should focus more on shore runners and just walk back. Or maybe just even stay in our basically 1 of two spots.
What do you all think and what are your experiences on distance and time.
Good distance for learning, you’ll be surprised how long it will take to paddle that distance when you’re not on foil
3:30 km pace seems to be about as slow as I can go, so once you are staying on foil you’ll want to extend the run somehow. I’ve got similar constraints, so have been looking at the wing deflate to wing upwind and then downwind back. Manera have a connector to connect wing valves to small ballon pumps which would be useful in case you need to inflate the wing.
As an alternative on your shore runners do some hitchhiking! I’ll do a big runner and pop out on the road for my walk and 3/4 times I’ll get a ride. You’ll get more than double the runs in.
This is a great topic. I’m interested in DW but am wondering how folks do this sport solo? I look out at the conditions on onshore windy days and I wonder if it’s worth just paddling straight upwind prone as far as I can to try to DW back down, and then repeat.
I am thinking it’s just not really worthwhile and my time is better spent proning in the shore break, but I am not sure. Is it worth it to try to paddle upwind just to ride down a little bit?
I used to do this kiting on Long Island and was always surprised who would pick you up. Best was getting picked up in a mini cooper. Two guys with wet suits and full kite gear fit in that thing. Take what you get.
I could see down here that working with all the pick ups and curious people.
The deflate and inflate option would work well. It wouldn’t take I bet more than 10 minutes to get back to where I started from.
I get doing a wing deflate for a long downwind run, but if it’s just a 10 minute run you’ll be able to get a lot more time foiling in a 2hr session if you just flag the wing out.
That’s the debate right. Do I go on learning this sport, spending time, money, ect when in reality due to the conditions and length of the island I can wing foil and flag for long rides. I do this already and love it for its efficiency, just don’t love dealing with the wing when flagging. But it’s the trade off for landing back at tge starting point.
More downsides to SUP downwind. I was noticing my left knee hurt after sessions on my big long SUP foil board and 105cm span foil. It just takes a lot more effort to carve turns despite the fact the thing only weighs 12# for 115L. When I use my 60L 10.5# board and 97cm span foil my knee doesn’t hurt afterwards. At 90Kg I can see that I will never attain a level that will allow me to even paddle up a 100L board and even that will be 7’+ (don’t bother mentioning the box placement, I own one and it’s still a lot of swing weight).
I was soooo close to pulling the trigger on a custom DW board, so glad I didn’t. For the price of the whole setup there are a number of other places to put those funds in pursuit of “pure” downwind.
Honestly it is really tough without a group, and even worse if you don’t have good conditions to make it worth the hassle. Paddling into the wind is not really sustainable. Even winging is hard work unless you are pretty good and get good upwind angles. We are a group of 2 very committed, and then a few frothers who don’t have the time and even that is tricky. And the conditions are not great, so we do lots of driving and lots of paddling.
If your conditions are epic for intermediate onwards, then it is probably worth pushing through solo. If however you are likely not to have great conditions beyond learning phase, then it is tricky to make the case. Once you get competent you’ll just be frustrated.
Agree. I have done this a fair bit, and totally agree, flagging wing is just not fun unless the wind is either 30kn+ so the wing sits in front of you (or some other combination that means your apparent windspeed isn’t zero). I don’t really enjoy it, something about the wing getting in the way and the safety net take the joy out of it, and weirdly the foils feel less efficient with a wing in hand… I think because you spend much more time at the top end of the speed range, so you are not sensitive to the low end when you flag the wing.
But better than nothing, I still keep doing it…
I think what you said Matt is what resonates for me.
I don’t have a have a committed partner, conditions and location may really limit me past the learning phase, and logistics still play a big part.
Something perhaps to put on the shelf for the time being and focus more n in the future when a few more elements come together. Time, location, crew, and logistics.
Keep doing shore runners. Work your way out past the waves into the clean water, go a little further out each time. This gets you a pseudo downwind experience. the bumps are similar and you can learn the patterns of the open ocean. 3 miles of straight riding sounds fun to me.
You have a cool spot down there south of the pier with those waves rolling into that inlet.
I stopped and caught a couple down there last spring on a family road trip.
Yeah agreed, if I could do 3 mile shore runs with logistics relatively easy I’d be very happy, mixing it between bumps at the back and then into the waves is super fun, and means you can ride fun fast foils instead of the slow beginner downwind foils. Does suck when you can’t get a chip in or can’t get a break in the waves to get out back.
Thanks Seth, cool you came by. Yeah it’s a fun spot. Never really too big or challenging, but difficult at times to get further out from my go to spot on the north side. Working on it.
I figure with more southerly direction swells south to north shore runners are more feasible.
Appreciate all the comments for a bit more reflection.
downwind deflate packdown guide