Kids and Wing Surfing

@Koafabbio, 9 years old and RIPPING

We received a comment/question on the @realwatersports Instagram from a wing surfing post that we decided to expand on with some more info.

@Bellasfloral asked,”Do you recommend kids (an 8 year old to be specific) to learn to kite or wing first?”

Great question and thank you for reaching out! Both sports require comfort in the water and stoke to learn something new.  When teaching kids, we like to separate out the different sports into the board sport and then the wind sport.  Once they are proficient at each, we merge the two sports into kitesurfing or wingsurfing.


We feel that learning to wing is easier for young riders as it is less technical than kiting.  With kiteboarding, you are working with a three dimensional field to generate power. With the wing it is more two-dimensional where you are just sheeting in and out.  The wing is kind of like the Optimist sailboat of watersports that any kid can easily sail. The Optimist is the worldwide junior sailboat boat of choice for learning and junior racing, so it makes sense the winging is easier for kids. Unlike the Optimist though, wing surfing is limitless including freestyle, airs and waveriding. 

When you are learning to wing there is more instant gratification as well.  For young kids this means more stoke and less stress. When learning to wing you can start out with higher volume boards (like boards that totally float at low to no speed) paired with a very small wing. We start out with the SUPwinder board and the wing, pictured below, and the kids have instant success gliding across the water. With this set up, you’re gliding through the water not foiling. First rides and the independence of returning to the same spot comes quickly. Kiting takes more training to get those first rides.

Slingshot SUPWinder in action

Once your grom can ride both directions and stay upwind on the SUP, then we can branch off and start training on the foil behind the ski.  We start with big boards and short masts at low speed and then slowly work the rider up until they can consistently ride on foil behind the ski.

The final step is a super grom-a-thon session winging on the foil board.  Once they get up on foil with the wing, watch out because they will be winging circles around you in a short time. They can also ride in super light air because they are so light. 

One important consideration with kids after they learn with us is their access to sessions at home to solidly their skills. Winging opens up far more riding locations at home compared to kiting because you can wing surf literally anywhere there’s water. You don’t need 100 feet of space on the beach or the higher winds required for kiting. You also don’t need wind filled in right to the beach because you can paddle out to the wind line and then start from there. Finally, the same wing can be used on land with a skateboard, skis, skates or a snowboard for some off the water ripping in light air.

With summer on the horizon, planning an adventure to learn to wing surf with your kids at REAL is a great way to spend family time and create lifelong memories. Give us a call or shoot us an email to start planning your trip. We Make New Riders Every Day!

To start planning your trip, give us a call at 252-987-6000 or shoot us an email  at 

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