THE ORIGINS OF HAND HELD WINGS
The origins go back from the 80’s. Jim Drake, one of the inventors of windsurfing, arrived in Kailua during the Pan Am Cup 1982 with a kind of hand held wing. The windsurfing champion Peter Cabrinha tried it out, but at that time the wing was mounted on rigid tubes and was very heavy and bulky to handle.
At the same time, Roland Le Bail from Brittany created the «Bird Sail», a slender wing with a rigid structure that worked on water and on land. But in the mid-80’s, the funboard was booming and it didn’t help his invention.
Around 1987, more footage appeared from the Hood River spots in the Gorge, showing another type of wing: the «Wind Weapon». Invented by Tom Magruder, it was nothing more than a «Bird Sail» type wing mounted and connected to a windsurf board by a mast end. The device allowed to make some great high jumps while flying on a long distance. But it never hooked up.
And then in the 2000’s, the «KiteWing» developed. This wing with a rigid structure made of aluminium tubes takes the shape of the «Bird Sail» but is then rather used on frozen lakes with skis and ice skates. On the water, the wing remains too difficult to lift back in case you fall and the board generates too much friction and offers little upwind ability.
Thanks to the support and evolution of inflatable kitesurf wings and especially thanks to the recent emergence of the foil, this wing concept is back on the market today.