The oldest yacht club in the country is also foiling into the future - and it's brought about a significant number of new members.
The Nelson Yacht Club hosted last year's kitefoil national championships and already have a small but committed fleet of Waszps, including top A Class sailor Dave Shaw. This season they have embraced wingfoiling, with 30 new members coming on board.
Rear commodore John Macduff and chair of Sailability Nelson was attending to some maintenance of the trust’s Hansa dinghies with a group of volunteers over Labour Weekend and commented: “Every person who came to the club that day, was asking about wingfoiling.”
Ben Wall (pictured) has been leading the development of wingfoiling within the club, putting in a huge amount of passion, time and effort.
He has utilised the club’s windsurf boards and SUPs, and they're often used when people tackle their first lessons with the wing.
Once they're more competent, they move on to one-on-one tuition on dedicated beginner foiling set-ups, with two-way communication via BBTalkin’ bluetooth headsets and support from one of the club RIBs.
The club stocks and sells the latest gear from some of the top New Zealand and international brands, with members receiving a discount. All proceeds go back into the club and support the club’s mission to be a “family-friendly club focused on providing educational, recreational and competitive sailing and water-sports opportunities for all in the Nelson and Tasman districts”.
“Space is a huge limitation at our privileged location on the Nelson waterfront," Club manager Tim Fraser-Harris said. "Wingfoiling members don’t require boat storage and are typically going out on the water at different times to the rest of our sailing activity.
"The consistent water depth in the harbour and the ability to sail at any state of tide make it a go-to spot for a quick session any time (many other locations in Nelson are tide dependent). With initiatives like Foiling Fridays, we want to give this exciting new evolution of sailing a ‘home’ in Nelson and continue to build the community.
"After a fantastic season, I can’t wait to see where it goes next. We’re now looking for someone to pick up where Ben has left off, and keep up the momentum. So, if you’re a sailing/windsurfing coach and wingfoiler looking for a job next summer, get in touch.”
You can find out more about wingfoiling at the Nelson Yacht Club here.