Learn to fly on the water with the foil at Lake Garda

It’s not the current trend but the future of sailing

  • Malcesine
  • 07.01.2019
  • Interview

It seems they’re hovering above the water and they run fast, as if they were flying. They are the new foiling boats.

What are they? And why can they go so fast?
They are boats with the foil, an appendix located underneath the boat that keeps it raised above the water. By erasing the water resistance you go quicker, even faster than the wind. And it’s also good fun.

moth al lago di garda
The Foiling Week 2018, @ Fraglia Vela Malcesine

We’re talking about it to Heinz Stickl, that runs the “Stickl Sportcamp” school of Malcesine, in the bay of Val di Sogno.

Before start, I introduce him quickly to you.
At the age of 5 he was already sailing on Lake Tegernsee, next to Munich, where his father had a school. At thirteen he was already assistant instructor, at eighteen he wins the european Championship for Korsar class and little later he ranks for the olympic games of Montreal with the Flying Dutchman. On the windsurf he gains three national and two world titles.

ritratto di heinz stickl

In year 1976 he opens the italian’s first windsurfing school in Malcesine, on Lake Garda. He started with four windsurf boards only and today, after more than fourty years, he’s still in the bay of Val di Sogno to manage the sailing school, windsurf and kitesurf “Stickl Sportcamp” that starting from 2014 is also specialized in foil.

Hello Heinz, can you explain us what a foil is and why is it that quick?

The foils are appendix of different sizes and shapes located underneath the boat that keeps it raised; with less water resistance the boat increases its speed and even with just a few knots of wind it flies on the water.

Flying on the water is very fun. Already with ten knots of wind, you can navigate twice the wind speed. I weight 95 kilograms and even with a light wind I can fly: it’s fantastic!

Since when the foil exists?

The foil exists has been around for many years but it started to spread in 2013 with America’s Cup catamarans and with the arrival on the market of the Moth class.
Then the Olympic class Nacra 17, the Flying Phantom, the GC32, etc. have made their appearance.

These are years of great technological development. This is not just a trend: the foil is the future, especially for those resorts with low wind.


Arco mountain guide 360gardalife 3
Stickl lake garda 360gardalife

To try the foil should I have any sailing knowledge?

Yes, absolutely. And even if you know how to sail it is like to start from zero.
It requires balance, agility and a lot of sensibility. At the beginning is quite tiresome but once you start to fly and relax yourself, it is amazing, It’s pure adrenaline. Freedom.

Is Lake Garda suitable to learn how to foil?

Yes, in the afternoon in Malcesine with the Ora, the south wind, there are the right conditions to learn. In a day with regular weather conditions, the Ora starts blowing from 12pm and lasts until the evening.

Which is the best boat to start with?

At the school we have the Quant23, the boat of the year in the 2016.
The Quant23 is a keelboat for three people that hardly capsize, it is suitable for everyone and it is the easiest boat to start with. But we also have the Waszp and the Skeeta, that are single boats, or the catamarans iFLY15 and Whisper.

corso di foil sul quant23
Quant 23

How is a foil lesson structured?

Every student wears a helmet and is always in touch by radio with the instructor. Every course is composed by four students and they alternates every twenty minutes. Spending all day on the boat it might be tiring at the beginning. Those who are on rubber boats with the instructor will also learn by watching classmates while resting. So, each group can stay in the water all afternoon learning as much as possible.


Arco mountain guide 360gardalife 3
Stickl lake garda 360gardalife

Is foil only sail related or kitesurf and windsurf too?

Certainly also kitesurf and windsurf.
As for sailing, also for kitesurf and windsurf you must already know how to go and have a good level of knowledge before switching to foil. With the kite is easier and less tiring because you are attached to the harness. With the windsurf, as well, is easy to foil: as long as you have a wide and long board, a sail not too big and once you get the balance you are ready to fly.

I’ll be waiting for you.

Thank you Heinz

Danke Angela

We already tested

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