On Friday the 4th of February 2022 Stefan Naude from South Africa attempted a new Wing Foil Record at Langebaan Lagoon. Long distance foiling, 250 km, without a break, all in one day. Stefan reports about his new long day on the water. Find out on WINGFOILDAILY if he set this record.
After my last wing foil record of 181km distance which was just short of my goal of 100nM (185km) and I also set a goal to reach 200km, but that day the conditions failed me, so I had to come back and set the record straight.
Wednesday 2 Feb a friend noted that Friday 4 Feb Langebaan’s wind conditions are looking good for the whole day. I had a quick look and saw the wind forecast will be good for the entire day. Perfect for a record attempt.
I decided to put in a day leave at work and go for the 250km goal which will break all my previous records and the ones I failed to achieve (100nm and 200km), and I will be setting some new ones. (250km)
The plan was to start as early as possible and see how far I can get. The wind was south and turning southeast which, I know always deliver so it was ON for sure.
I made sure I had all the right gear from a 5.2m, 4m and 3.1m ENSIS wings, a 77L ENSIS Rock’N’Roll board and a SABFOIL 940. (Thanks to Josh and Shaun www.foilsurfing.co.za)
I arrived just after 05h00 AM at the lagoon to set up and get ready. Anton made me a quick coffee which was super and at 9 minutes past six I started with very light wind around 15 knots gusting. The first hour was slow and I only did around 16 or so km. The wind then slowly picked up and around eight I changed the 5.2m for a 4m Score and used it for around 3 hours or so while the wind was blowing 20-25 knots.
The tide was low around midday which means the tide was going out for most of the morning. Its amazing how much a tide flow can influence one when foiling across the flow of the tide.
At times the flow was so strong, and the board would just slide out underneath me which felt almost like I was sliding on soap. This happened random without warning and made me lose some confidence. I decided to change my stabilizer from a slight bowed 399 stabilizer to a straight one to see what the impact will be, and it really helped keeping the foil tracking and I could focus again.
Another decision I made, which was different from my previous records, was to find a place where I can sail across a long section that is easier and will require less concentration as well as preserve my energy. On previous records I would tack far back upwind and sail the full lagoon up and down, but the tacking upwind takes more energy than sailing across the wind and with a lower tide there were many spots where I could potentially fall and where it would be too shallow to start again.
There is flattish section in the lagoon which the windsurfers always use, and I decided to go there and soon found a good rhythm and the kilometers ticked off. Some friends joined for some parts and foiled with me which helped tremendously with morale as it can become lonely over such a long time. I even got a Coke – thanks Russel.
Just after noon the wind strength picked up to over 25 knots and probably gusting to 35 knots at times and the little Ensis Spin 3.1 became my buddy for the next 6 plus hours. I really enjoyed this wing so much as it was the perfect size for the wind, and I could manage it without fatigue as apposed to a bigger wing.
My body managed to maintain the rhythm and the only issue I had was cramps in my forearms over time, but only when I pumped the wing and then they would disappear. I do some stretches while foiling and to any outsider I probably look like complete idiot as I push my butt out and to the side, and I can just imagine what it looks like from afar.
A day later and today the only pain I am feeling is some muscle fatigue, but nothing crazy and my fingers are a little overbend and painful from hanging onto wings for 12 hours. All things that fade over a couple of days. I used no harness and preferred the direct feel and use of my arms when foiling.
I am claiming this as the unofficial world record until I know of some one that has done a longer distance of 12 hours.
Overall, it was such a great experience and personal achievement. Some might think I am crazy, but I would not have done it if it was not enjoyable and fun. Tough yes, but I enjoyed every single moment of it.
After the Wing Foil Record – what is next?
Next 300km distance………………….and possibly doing a formal Guinness World Record of distance over 12 hours.
Big congratulations and the biggest respect for this successful story Stefan! Thanks for sharing your story on WINGFOILDAILY.
Words and Pictures by Stefan Naude
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