The Starboard x Airush FreeWing Air wins the 2021 Best Getting Started Wing award from SUPBoarder magazine’s Head to Head test on SUPboarder PRO.
This is the most in-depth test done by the experienced testers from the paddle boarding industry.
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The FreeWing Air is the best wing to get you on the water for the first time with a score of 61 points out of 70.
“Why is it the best getting started wing? The FreeWing Air feels really compact for its size, it’s easy to turn over, it’s the best wing to see though and look around, it’s very comfortable when it gets windy. It’s great for beginner to intermediate and it’s a very good all-around wing.”
– SUPBoarder Magazine
Below is the detailed analysis of why the FreeWing Air is the best getting started wing. We will begin with the shape analysis and then move on to the ability of the FreeWing Air.
Shape and key design feature analysis
In a resting state how tight is the fabric of the wing? Canopy Tension affects power, depower and resting state.
- “Loose” would mean it is not in tension.
- “Tight” means it is in tension.
- “Medium” refers to wings where the front half is tight and the back half is loose.
The ratio between chord and tip to tip length / general explanations of plan shape. The aspect ratio of the wing affects how compact the wing feels, is it easy to turn over when you are getting started, tip catching, pumping speed and upwind performance.
What shape is the wing when looking from the front? It affects how the wing flies in the air, power and stability.
Now that you know about the shape and design of the FreeWing Air. Let’s check out what SUPBoarder says about its ability and why it is the best getting started wing for beginners to intermediate riders.
FreeWing Air Ability / FreeWing Air Rating
Visibility 10 /10
How easy is it to see around your sailing area when using the wing?
You may be in a busy area, lots of boats, lots of swimmers, so you really gotta be able to see around your wing. Especially if you are just getting started, this feature is really important.
The FreeWing Air is the easiest wing to see around. It’s got the windows, it’s got narrow tips. The Window is also really long. They are long enough, so you can see around both sides. Good wing, well placed windows and definitely good for beginners.
Getting ready to ride 9 /10
Ease of handling for a beginner. How easy is the wing to handle from going from standing to moving (Including turning over wing and using the handles and general visibility)? A key rating to consider if you are new to winging.
The FreeWing is definitely the most comfortable wing to use when it comes to visibility. The Window is really great and the handles are in the great position. It also has a really nice compact shape, so it’s easy to turn around. The FreeWing is very comfortable to get up and ride for the first time.
Depower 9 /10
How easy the wing can be depowered when the rider is overpowered or wanting to lose power? i.e. entering a maneuver
Because of the loose canopy style and the light weight of the FreeWing, it is soft and easy to handle when it’s up in the air. And also because they are not super stiff, they can let the wind go / spill out easily.
Stability in flight 8 /10
How comfortable the wing feels when flying the wing in normal conditions? How twitchy / planted does the wing feel? All of the wings should do well in this category because they are all designed for this, so is the Starboard Airush FreeWing.
Stability ‘parking’ 8 /10
How well will the wing ‘park’ for wave riding, pump foiling or downwinding? Considers wing stability, weight and ease of transitioning to the front handle.
The wing is light and easy to handle. The FreeWing stays well balanced and doesn’t rotate too much on the waves.
Compact feel / Agility 9 / 10
How compact and agile does it feel for its size?
The outline profile of the FreeWing allows it to feel quite small and it feels light in the hands. It generally feels pretty compact when you’re using it.
Manoeuver / Agility 8 /10
Tacks & gybes – how predictable and stable is the wing when doing tacks / gybes or basic freestyle moves?
The FreeWing is really easy and smooth. It rotates and spins around really easily, especially during gybes. It’s very comfortable if you are looking to progress and learn freestyle moves.
Handles / Boom 8 /10
How well placed and thought out are the handles / boom for all users (of different sizes/body shapes) & does the handle / boom allow a direct feel when flying the wing?
The FreeWing Air has a lot of handles and they are easy to use. They sit directly on the strut, so you have a quick pumping feel. They are not too baggy and they are all well placed for different kinds of riders.
Thank you SUPBoarder magazine for doing this comprehensive review. Hope you enjoyed this review and if you have any questions about Starboard x Airush FreeWing, please do not hesitate to contact us any time. Enjoy winging out there. See you on the water.