Words: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: Oli Lane-Peirce
During the last few months I’ve been playing with a bunch of wings to determine the performance differences of each. With so many wings now on the market, all supposedly doing this, that and t’other it’s key to understand the subtle nuances between each. Out of all the models tested the following have been chosen because of their specific characteristics, and time spent on the water with them.
Fly McConks Go Fly 6m
I know the Fly McConks Go Fly 6m extremely well having been involved in early version prototyping and seeing the wing evolve to what it now is. I’ve also tested the brand’s 5m. The 6m, tested here, is one of the lightest available – it really is feather weight and super easy to use. Bottom end power delivery isn’t like some but its top end is exemplary meaning should the wind pick up riders won’t get bent out of shape. Multiple, rigid handles give a dependable grip and it’s a lovely wing to drift and ride waves with.
Unifoil Wind Wing 6m
Unifoil’s Wind Wing 6m (nick-named Dennis the Menace, for obvious reasons) is extremely efficient, setting rigid and taught with correct PSI. Whilst not having the low end power of some the rigidity equates to direct and drivey pumping seeing a few short bursts of energy propelling riders forwards. The Wind Wing’s optimised handles are stiff and comfy to use with the Unifoil being another good drifter, going neutral quickly and hanging forgettably whilst wave riding. In fact, it’s one of the best drift, surf sliding wings I’ve tested, although it accommodates freeride no probs.
Hyde Sails Blast 5m
Although the Blast is a 5m, its bottom end grunt is immense, delivering drive and speed in the bare minimum of breeze strengths. This ‘engine’ performs much more like a 6m+ whilst retaining the handling of a smaller wing of its quoted cm2. For freeride it’s a cracking ‘machine’ that will carry riders through lulls with ease and power up on demand. The Blast’s handles are OK and it drifts great for those that require. It’s also a particularly hard wearing and robust wing.
You may still be wondering where wings fit in the wider world of SUP. Think of them as a paddle replacement for windier sessions aboard your all round SUP board or a power source for foiling, if that’s your bag. Alternatively you can use a wing with a skateboard, skimboard or even snowboard/skis. There’s lots of versatility…