The development of the Freewing has been the result of a long process, of designing, prototyping, and testing. The Freewing had a long way to come before the latest version came into being.
It took the vision of passionate sportsmen in collaboration with skilled and experienced designers to create the first concepts and working prototypes that started the development process. Although many people have experimented with different types of wings for decades, the wing-on-a-surfboard concept didn’t really gain much traction or attention. The first pioneers of wing-sailing/boarding started to use hard-framed wings. They were made using tubular aluminum frameworks to hold their wings together. This made the first models looked like mini hang-gliders.
The real potential wasn’t realized until inflatable wings became possible. It was because of the rapid development of kiteboarding kites that the inflatable technology was pushed far enough to where it could be used to make an unbridled self-supporting wing. And so the modern Wingsurfing Wing was born. A few people began to tinker and test inflatable wings and their knowledge and experience started to grow.
The development started slowly but eventually started to gain the attention of SUP surfers, and Foil-sup-boarders. They were looking for a way to beat the wind, and still keep the feeling of surfing and riding. The wings had the advantages of simplicity and intuitive handling. All this without the complexity of kiting gear (lines and bars), or the weight (heavy masts and booms) of traditional windsurfing gear.
Our own foray into the world of wingsurfing was a natural progression for us, as watersports lovers of surfing, SUP, and foiling. And being already dedicated to the wind sports of kite and windsurf. The idea of a hand-held wing was very appealing, and we started to pursue this new idea. At the time there were no wings yet available. So with our eager team of collaborators, we set about creating our first primitive wings. Because we already had lots of experience making kites and sails, the technical challenges were fairly straightforward, but the design requirements for a wing were as yet unknown. Using some traditional materials and some qualified guesswork we began to improvise our very first wings.
Even with some very basic gear we still had fun and learned a lot. From our modest successes and spectacular failures. We eventually started logging more hours on the gear, and each time we went out we were able to adapt and make small improvements to our wings. Each time we reached the limits of the gear (or destroyed it) we built newer and better versions. Taking together our experiences and lessons learned, we were able to make gradual improvements over time. After repeated rounds of building new prototypes, testing, and re-building, we started to gain more experience and confidence. Eventually, we made the bold decision to go to work full-time developing our wings. Then as our vision came into focus, the Freewing concept was born.
The Freewing Concept was like our mission statement. We knew what we wanted to do with our wings, so now we just needed to make them good enough to do what we wanted them to do. At the same time, our skills were gradually building and we started trying to do more, and most importantly, we started asking all the right questions. Our team’s insights and intuitions about the gear was invaluable in shaping the designs. We learned that wings are not just Lumps of plastic and nylon, they are animated by that intangible X-factor that sports lovers have for their equipment. Like Tiger Woods knows his golf clubs, these wings became extensions of ourselves. The wings became an expression of our understanding of the dance of wind, wing, and surf.
The day came eventually when we were ready to go to the next level, and with interest of a growing family of supporters and friends, we brought about the idea of making the first production wings for the general public. The new wings were carefully prepared and tested by our team, to make sure they were really ready for public release.
When the Freewing officially debuted it was extremely well received. Our initial order was quickly sold out and we started taking presold orders and went in to follow up production. Soon after we received our first dealer inquiries, opened a wingsurfing school on Maui, and a Demo Center in Mui Ne, and a dealer in the US mainland.
We have had a great journey so far learning about this great sport while growing our wings, and we have been having countless incredible wingsurfing experiences. Now that we have this wonderful gear to ride, we are getting out there as often as we can, and growing with every session. Our team riders are some of the happiest people you will ever meet. And they are learning and discovering more about wingsurfing each day.
Since our Wings started to gain more recognition, they began to attract the attention of a few progressive surf companies. In a few cases, our proprietary designs have been licensed to selected businesses, who are enthusiastically helping to take our wings to the next level. As a result, the Freewing dealer network is slowly expanding in Japan, Northern Europe, US, and Australia. So stay tuned.