Please select your home edition
Allen Brothers
Product Feature
Typhoon Towyn Glove
Typhoon Towyn Glove

Foiling around - Behind the shot with Paul Gibbins Photography

by Paul Gibbins 8 Dec 2023 11:41 GMT
RYA Youth National Championships 2021 - Canon 5d Mk 3 / 300mm at f2.8 / ISO 100 / 1/6400 © Paul Gibbins Photography

Foiling Windsurfers - wow they're quick and soooo quiet! I'd been photographing hundreds of young sailors all week, on the water shooting all day and into an edit each evening to keep up with the event social media feeds. I was tired and not on contract, volunteering for an RYA Youth Nationals as a portfolio builder. But I was curious about the foiling windurfers, especially racing in a competition.

The racing didn't disappoint, it was a joy to photograph, unusual for Plymouth to see these kind of craft racing in the Sound. And unlike a boat making some noise, the foil has less contact with anything making it appear to glide almost soundlessly.

Being so quick, pre positioning my RIB on the course was crucial, like anything on a foil, it's not good to be in the way! But this was also not a day for changing cameras and lens, so working with a prime I sacrificed composition for quality and worked with the 300mm.

This meant working slightly further away, it was after all a 'nationals', where I assumed competitors would be vying for places to the next level of their professional careers. The starts were impressive, a masterclass in timing and hitting the line at maximum speed. We're getting used to seeing this on SailGP and Waszp Foiling events, where the boats power up quickly, but not something many amateur racers are familiar with, more often used to hitting a start line at maybe 6kts.

So photographing a foiling start is tricky, they come together very quickly already powered up, but the symmetry is sublime.

The youth competitors made it look very easy of course, they were having a great time with plenty of smiles and thumbs up for the camera. I was fortunate to be the only photographer on the water, blessed with some champagne conditions and plenty of opportunity for some good shots; a great way to end a busy week of event photography.