Last weekend, in Pinamar the fourth edition of the DWS KITE was held, the most prominent kitesurfing event in the country. The event brought together a hundred participants who provided a colorful show through a 12-kilometer regatta along the coastal belt of Pinamar to the starting line of the resorts. Among them, there were a couple of riders that attracted attention beyond his talent to move on the water. It is that they did not do kitesurfing: his thing was another sailing sport, one incipient in the country and gaining more and more followers: wingfoil.
It is an activity of Hawaiian origin, which derived from windsurfing and is popular on the beaches of California and Europe. He arrived in the country a little over two years ago and “today it is practiced in all the water mirrors suitable for these disciplines”, told Infobae Ramiro Martínez Peña, trainer of instructors of the Argentine Kite Association.
Martinez Pena, alias Rama, explained that the wingfoil shares basic concepts with windsurfing and kitesurfing but they are different: “The difference with windsurfing is that the sail is not attached to the board, so you can move it everywhere. Even on your head. With surfing the difference is that you can surf without waves. And with kitesurfing you don’t occupy 23 meters of lines. Neither in the water nor on land.
“It demands more energy than kitesurfing. You have to have a little more physical condition because here you don’t have a harness, you’re holding the wing with your arms. Over there there are people who walk two hours and there are people who walk 20 minutes. It depends on the body of each one”, said one of the fans who practices on the beaches of Pinamar. His name is also Ramiro, he is 40 years old and lives in the Federal Capital. On vacation at the spa, he took advantage of the recent kiterfing competition to try out the board, the foil and the sail in the sea, since he usually does it in the river.
“I started in the Río de La Plata, in San Isidro, two years ago. At first it took time to master it. It is a sport that is still in development and now it is starting to be more accessible to learn”, he tells Infobae.
Martínez Peña points out that the wingfoil is safer if it is practiced respecting the basic safety standards of these sports, such as “Wear a vest and a helmet, get involved with winds that go from the water to the coast and do not do it without previous experience.”
For some time now, some windsurfing and kitesurfing schools have been incorporating wingfoil teaching, as the three are closely related. Learning starts without the use of the foil. “That’s easier, you just learn to come and go. First you practice the basic sailing maneuvers on land and then you replicate them on the water on a large SUP, surf or wingfoil board with good volumes. The second step is to start navigating trying to go back and forth to the same place. Once you achieve speed and good riding posture, the foil is added to the board”, explained Martínez Peña, who directs the Second Wind school.
At the main headquarters (in El Molino, Acassuso) of said school, the assembly of the wingfoil and the safety systems, the control and flight of the wing, the rescue and self-rescue procedure, the position to navigate and the courses, the conditions and the basic notions of navigation. The course includes all the equipment and certified instructors and advice for the purchase of the equipment.
“A complete new team is worth $500,000 pesos. And the used $ 350,000, approximately “the instructor pointed out.
Wingfoil practice also has many similarities with the windfoil, which is all the rage in the lakes of Córdoba. In both cases, the boards rise between 50 centimeters and one meter above the water level, reaching high speeds and generating a truly attractive visual spectacle. The key for this to happen is the rigs, very similar to those of windsurfing and that simulate the wing of an airplane. The wings of both sports develop speed and allow the foil, that is, the plane that goes under the water, to reach a level necessary to rise.