When it comes to the new wingfoiling super-trend, you can’t miss Balz Müller. Although this talented Swiss has been riding the waves on all kinds of boards for more than 18 years, it’s foilsurfing that really gets his watersports heart racing. When you look at the pictures of his tricks on Instagram you can't help but be amazed. Balz Müller turns wingfoiling and foilsurfing into an art. In the past two years he has become the world champion in windfoil freestyle and is currently competing for the title of world's best wingfoiler. We talked to Balz Müller about his passion for foiling.
Hello Balz, it’s great to have you give the boot community an insight into your exciting sport. What fascinates you about wingfoiling and what makes it so special for you?
Balz Müller: "Wingfoiling is simply absolute freedom. I always say that the surface of the water is the biggest and most beautiful playground you could wish for. You can actually do whatever you want any way you like. When you're winging you're not connected to a boat, you're flying over the surface of the water and are completely at one with nature. It's an indescribable feeling. It feels like skiing in powder snow. A freeride over the surface of the water is just insane for me." Tell us about the first time you tried windfoiling. Is it hard to learn – even as a professional surfer?
Balz Müller: "For ambitious windsurfers or watersports enthusiasts, getting into foiling is quite easy. In my case, I succeeded incredibly quickly. I've been riding hydrofoils for more than six years now, but the first time was still a rollercoaster ride. You move a bit like a dolphin. You go up, spike out, come back down, spike up again. But with the right mindset and enough motivation, it's quite easy. And sure, even surfing pros fall on their faces 999 times, but as long as you get back up 1000 times, you’ll make it."
On your Instagram channel you show fascinating videos of your incredible manoeuvres. How much respect do you have as a freestyler for such flights? Or do you just go for it without too much thought?
Balz Müller: "Of course there’s a certain amount of respect, but on the water I lose myself. I'm in my own world, my mind almost switches off and I'm pumped up by adrenaline. Crazy manoeuvres just happen in the moment. Then in the evening you think, oops maybe that wasn’t so good for my health. But that's the appeal of freestyling. You push yourself to the limit and try new things. It's so cool to be involved in the development of this sport and inventing new tricks. It’s real pioneering work and creating new things is awesome."
What is your favourite place to foil and why?
Balz Müller: "My absolute favourite spot for wingfoiling is right here in the Alps, in Silvaplana. At 1800 metres you’re surrounded by an incredible Alpine panorama of enormous mountains. The water is so clear and clean that you can jump in and even drink it. Although the temperatures in Silvaplana are quite brisk and the summer season is relatively short, the experience is all the more intense with that incredible Alpine backdrop."
What tips would you like to give beginners? What should they definitely consider and is any previous experience required or can absolutely anyone start with wingfoiling?
Balz Müller: "The most important tip for beginners is certainly to be brave and motivated. It’s also important to protect yourself and wear a helmet. In the beginning you should be a little careful when handling the wing, but if you take the rules to heart you’ll be safe. What beginners should definitely know: Although wingfoiling is a low wind sport, it’s better to make sure you have sufficient wind conditions at the beginning. Then you can start flying sooner and don't have to pump up the foil. Because this pumping in low wind conditions is the hardest part of wingfoiling. So all in all, my tips for beginners are: Make sure you have suitable equipment for getting started, protect yourself with a helmet, start your foiling practice with a bit more wind and approach the situation with a relaxed and open mind. Anyone can learn to wingfoil – even without any previous experience. Here at the lake, I see watersports fans ranging in age from seven to seventy, and they’re all fascinated by the sport and having fun."
One last question: What are your sports goals and ambitions for 2021?
Balz Müller: "I always say my biggest goal is to get out on the water as much as possible, have a great time and of course stay healthy. If everything is in synch, it would make me incredibly happy to place well again at the competitions. I'm ready, I’m practicing new tricks every day and giving it my best. I'm going full throttle."
Thank you Balz for this great and informative interview!
Try Wingfoiling at boot Düsseldorf 2022
If you’d like to try out wingfoiling or even if you’ve already been bitten by the wing bug, we have a tip for you: Come to Hall 8a during the boot Düsseldorf 2022. Here you can take off with a foil and wing in the big pool with simulated wind!