5 Spring Tips for Getting Out on the Water

The ocean is still chilly, but even along its edges air temps are finally warming up—perhaps the best season of all for wingfoiling! Paul and I started our local foiling season in early March, egged on by seeing others out enjoying the brisk winds. Our first 20 minute session wasn’t long enough to justify the ten minutes of dressing and ten minutes of undressing we call “Wetsuit Yoga,” but it did help us dial in clothing to make longer sessions possible. Since then, we’ve been gradually building back up to an hour on the water.

While we’re rigging and unrigging, passersby ask many different questions. But their basic assumption is remarkably consistent: Aren’t we a little cray-cray to be adventuring out into and onto water that’s still forty degrees below normal body temperature? Like I’ve said before about standup paddling, off-season may not be the best time to begin wingfoiling… but it’s a GREAT time to progress. So here are some general tips to help inspire your own safe pre-season boating adventures, followed by two more wingfoiling-specific points for those who are curious.

1. Dress for the water temperature, even if you’re not planning a swim

I find this increasingly difficult as the gap between sun-warmed air and still chilly ocean increases.

2. Don’t get cold before you start

I’ve found overdressing while rigging up really helps.

3. Don’t scrimp on clothing

I finally broke down and purchased some wingfoil-specific booties and gloves, after a few years of trying to make do with what was already in my well-stocked dinghy closet.

4. Stay within self-rescuing distance of a shoreline

This time of year, there are very few boats out and about that might be able to provide assistance. 

5. File a float plan

Always a good idea, but especially important when the water is still chilly. 

For sailors and aspiring wing-dingers, I’ll add a few more reasons

Why spring is particularly nice

  • Harbors are not yet chock-full of boat-obstacles.
  • Air that is warmer than the water it’s blowing across attaches very well to the surface, so puffs are more visible and predictable.
  • Cool air is denser, so we can get up and foiling on smaller (easier to handle) wings.
  • Every week is a little warmer than the previous one!

Of course I’m looking forward to summer, but I’m also reveling in these refreshing spring days of foiling when there are no other boating distractions; kinda feels like I’m getting away with something.

Got a favorite spring water adventure? Share it in the comments below, or send me an email. I read every single one, with gratitude.

P.S. After writing this post, I found an amazingly similar one from April 2023: The Best Wingfoiling is Right Now

What I’m wearing, top to bottom

Zhik helmet
Fleece hood
4/3 wetsuit
50N buoyancy / impact vest
Fleece gloves 
5mm booties

2 Replies to “5 Spring Tips for Getting Out on the Water”

  1. It’s great to hear of your wing foiling exploits. I am new to the sport but followed your recommendations on an Armstrong board and foils. Hoping to learn much more this summer and extend my season once I I gain competence to be our there in the spring and fall.

    1. Paul, great to hear from you and glad you went with Armstrong. I hope you enjoy the learning process as much as I did and still do! Feel free to email me questions if there’s anything I can do to help, though there are plenty of great instructional videos out there (I recommend Damien LeRoy).

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