A racer’s journey in winging

5 June 2024

Scott Harrison asks Wing-racer Rod Dickinson a few questions about his journey into Wing Foiling at UKWA events.

Wide view from Scott's windsurfing mast and showing Rod winging upwind of Scott.

Scott: So, Rod tell us a little about yourself?

Rod: “I’m originally from Weymouth and now am a senior lecturer in conceptual art at tr the University of the West of England in Bristol,  I’ve been windsurfing literally for ever, ending up a committed wave sailor, a few years ago I started windsurf foiling in lighter winds and more recently crossed over into wing foiling, which, as a complement to wave windsurfing I absolutely love.”

So, you’ve been doing some slalom and course racing events over the last year or so, what’s your take on it all, what do you prefer, how good do you need to be and what gear do you need?

“Slalom and course racing are as similar as they are different, slalom in some ways is simpler to get in to as the format is easy to understand and you literally need to start on time, go fast and not fall off. However, the start is super important and intense, also, speed differences between riders and equipment feel magnified on the course. With course racing I am finding the start and outright top speed is less important than slalom, but you do need to be able to sail at more extreme angles (the higher and lower the better) whilst still maintaining good speed, also decision making is crucial. As far as skill level goes you need to be using a harness, there can be long days on the water, and consistently foil gybing. Even in course racing tacking can expose you to too much risk so a tight gybe is often preferred.”

Any advice for someone thinking of coming along to their first event?

“The events are friendly and fun, the best advice I can give is to treat your first few events like an organised run, come along to finish and enjoy the event, don’t pressure yourself unduly, enjoy the experience, come as you are with whatever gear you have, your level will only improve”