How does one wing deliver much more power than another of the same size, and why do some wings drift with more neutral balance? Slingshot wingsurf and windsurf brand manager, Wyatt Miller, runs us through the handling characteristics that different wing profile designs can produce

How does one wing deliver much more power than another of the same size, and why do some wings drift with more neutral balance? Slingshot wingsurf and windsurf brand manager, Wyatt Miller, runs us through the handling characteristics that different wing profile designs can produce

ADDING POWER

Essentially, the deep shape in a wing – usually referred to as draft or camber – gives a wing low end power at the expense of speed and upwind ability. A deep draft can increase drag and limit a wing's ability to feel like it 'disappears' in your hands when luffing behind you on downwind runs.

For what most people want in their early stages and then for catching swells, the challenge for a designer is to create a deep draft for quick on/off power that then collapses and reduces drag when the wing is luffing behind you.

Adding more power is not just about creating a deep draft, though. The location of the draft also determines your ability to get up on the foil. It is very important that the wing pulls you forward through your front hand towards the leading edge as this helps create board speed and increases the flow of water over your hydrofoil. Moving the draft forward helps with this forward pull.

BIG LEADING EDGES = BIG POWER... BUT CAN MEAN CONSIDERABLE SACRIFICE

As well as creating a firm structure that helps with pumping efficiency, a big leading edge (LE) creates a deeper draft in the profile and more aerodynamic lift. The downside is there are sacrifices in upwind ability, top end speed and feeling like you're dragging a bulky wing behind you when luffing downwind from swell to swell. 'Back winding' can also be an issue if a wing's draft is too big, which causes the wing to collapse at the rider's front hand when the wing gets overpowered, making winging an extremely uncomfortable experience. Big LEs can also put a lot of stress on the seams, so you cannot inflate the wing to a very high pressure without risk of tearing the seams. Smaller LEs can be inflated to higher pressures, which increases their structural stiffness and increases pumping efficiency. In general however, a larger LE will lead to a more rigid structure than a few extra pounds of inflation in a thinner LE wing. We have found there is a place for both thick and thin leading edges...

SLINGWING V2

In short, the V2 is a very well-behaved wing, perfect for learning, riding waves or connecting swells on downwind runs.

SLINGWING V2 (TINY LE) VS. THE SLINGSHOT DART (MASSIVE LE)

Above: Anyone keen to get their kink on? Sleek Slingwing V2 ahead of the Dart; rich in dihedral

The V2 was designed to be a drifting wing. It has a very small LE that helps it go upwind very well and then slips through the wind very cleanly when you luff it downwind from swell to swell.

The V2 also has minimal dihedral angle which makes it extremely stable in luffing flight with very little tendency to feel like it's oscillating in your hands. (Dihedral refers to how much angle there is on the top of the wing, lifting the wingtips up. A wing that is flat on top with wing tips that are level with the top of the LE has very little dihedral. If the wing tips raise significantly above the top of the centre of the LE, then there is lots of dihedral.)

In short, the V2 is a very well-behaved wing, perfect for learning, riding waves or connecting swells on downwind runs. The leach is very tight, so it has good on / off power as the draft quickly flattens when luffing. The negatives of this small LE is that it is prone to folding and dumping power in higher winds when not pumped up to a high PSI. This sort of shape sacrifices a bit of low-end grunt and overpowered control to excel in upwind performance and downwind drifting.

The Dart is designed to be the exact opposite with a huge LE, a deep draft and tons of dihedral. It delivers raw power for speed, jumping and backflips and should not be the first wing you buy.

This is not a 'well-behaved' beginner wing and doesn't drift very well due to both oscillation (flipping over easily – which does however make it good for freestyle moves!) and the massive LE creating drag.

For an inexperienced rider the Dart is simply more difficult to handle than the V2. The trailing edge billows like an old-school hang-glider and provides a significant power source. The air flowing over the large LE and into the trailing edge billow does deliver incredible lift for jumps, though.

Normally such a huge LE would make a wing slow and not very good at going upwind, however the pointy nose and raked back wing tips of the Dart shed the vast majority of the headwind and the increased aerodynamic performance allows for a much higher top speed, better acceleration and good penetration into the wind.

The swept back wingtips allow you to waterstart sinker boards by laying the incredibly swept back LE on the water and using the power of the upper half of the wing to pull you over the board and onto your feet.

The Dart's quick acceleration, speed difference, loft for jumping and general strong wind performance are immediately noticeable and are the main advantages that riders who want to do tricks will really appreciate.

JUMPING:

The Dart's quick acceleration, speed difference, loft for jumping and general strong wind performance are immediately noticeable and are the main advantages that riders who want to do tricks will really appreciate.

WILL WING DESIGNS IN THE FUTURE ALLOW US TO BE ABLE TO TUNE THEM FOR PERFORMANCE, LIKE ADJUSTING THE TENSION IN A WINDSURF SAIL?

This is a tough one to answer without giving away too many trade secrets! Boom wings already allow for some tuning, but I suspect we will see an advancement in the near future that will allow for more tunable wings. Personally, I don’t find the need for tuning to be all that necessary because generally on a wing you don’t get overpowered easily and, when a big gust comes along, holding the wing higher over your head dumps a ton of power. I find my reason for rigging down is due to the annoyance of having more cloth out there than I really need, rather than my need to change wings to reduce power.

WYATT'S WANTS

I came into winging from freestyle windsurfing, so I'm naturally drawn to jumping, flips and tricks. I want a wing that has a ton of power and quick acceleration. I also want a wing that is compact in shape and can handle backwinding well. That’s the Dart’s job description!

WYATT:

Whenever I am doing a downwinder with friends, or have good waves to do real down-the-line turns, I always pump up a Slingwing V2. It's so much more fun to have a well-behaved wing that disappears behind you for playing in waves and going downwind.

WYATT:

Whenever I am doing a downwinder with friends, or have good waves to do real down-the-line turns, I always pump up a Slingwing V2. It's so much more fun to have a well-behaved wing that disappears behind you for playing in waves and going downwind.

The Slingshot Dart is released 26th January 2021.

Click the logos to visit our websites:

image

© 2020

Receive all our latest updates first!

Share this page