Wilfried turned this dream into reality by opening the first Wing Foil Centre in South Africa. He has already trained over 300 Wing Foil students. Read the article If you want to learn what it takes to open a Wing Foil Centre.
The fresh south-east trade wind blows constantly. One wave set after another rolls in and pushes its way up the beach. Time passes, but the pioneering spirit of the people is unbroken. This is the story of retired Wilfried, who opened the first Wing Foil Centre in Africa.
From Windsurfing -
Wilfried came from windsurfing. It is January 1987. The Austrian Wilfried Christl is standing at Big Bay, the gigantic silhouette of Table Mountain in front of him. His gaze is on the sea. Ready for a windsurfing session with his 86 literwindsurf board and 4.7 sail. Wilfried is fond of the waves and comes to Cape Town every year. The Cape of Good Hope has taken hold of Wilfried.
To Kite & Wing Foil -
Wilfried is standing at the same place in January 2000. But for the first time with a kiteboard and a 9m kite instead of windsurfing equipment. Wilfried, now retired, has adjusted to the fact that he will not learn a new board sport in his life -until he sees some strange butterflies on the water in August 2019. He saw Africa’s first wing foilers on the Rietvlei: Ivan van Vuuren and his son Nathan, both absolute water sports pros and so-called springbok surfers. Wilfried was fascinated by these wings and foils, and he knew: this is it.
In four months from the idea to the first Wing Foil pupil at his school Flamingo Wing Foil Center, Rietvlei, Cape Town, Wilfried went to Austria, stocked up on material, and came back to South Africa with Wings and Foils. Before he celebrated Christmas in 2019, he opened his Wing Foil Centre at Milnerton Aquatic Club on Lake Rietvlei, where he stored his equipment and was allowed to use the infrastructure and the club boat. No sooner had the logo been created and the flyers distributed than he welcomed his first Wing Foil students.
The unique selling point? The pioneering spirit, the special technique. His concept is to teach the skills on the board isolatedlye via motorboat training. For newcomers, the first step on a board with foil is already challenging enough. Wilfried then teaches the handling of the wing, also isolatedlye, on the windsurfing board simulator. Only then the step onto foil and board, always with helmet and radio instructions.
His balance so far: over 300 students. Not a single accident. Many boys. Many women. Lots of fun. And lots of celebrities, including Aaron Hadlow and Nik Jacobsen.
“I’m actually already retired. I do the Wing Foil School for pleasure. The most important thing to me is safety, and that you can rely 100% on the equipment.”
In his search for high-quality material, Wilfried inevitably came across the high performance wing foil gear from ENSIS. Wilfried bought some ENSIS wings in different sizes for the school. This, he says, has worked out very well.