OK, I'll bite.
I figure I am on session 50 or so winging, fairly solid intermediate. I mostly gave up on kiting this summer to focus on winging, with the goal of gaining competency and muscle memory to be ready for surf season. Last couple years, my passion has moved from kiting to sup foil and now surf foil as first priority. Wing is a natural extension of that.
Kiting was already dying before winging came along. I started in 2012, the community was vibrant and growing fast, it was friendly, welcoming, and fun. There was a cool factor. Seems to me it has gone back to being fringe, growth and interest have slowed or stopped. Are there pro twintippers any more? Are there still foil racers? Does anyone actually care about flippety flippety strapless surf tricks other than the competitors? Other than a brief wakeup for King of the Air, kiting in the media is increasingly one big <yawn>. Maybe my kitesurf foil-hater buddies are right, foiling killed it. Now kiting is like windsurfing, mostly old guys complaining that it's never windy any more, not like the old days.
Similar to tka, I see most of the new wingers locally are kite foilers on big surf foils, natural progression there for the surf minded. Others are sup/surf foilers, already have the foil, just add wing. I see winging is attractive to wind sports newbs….no lessons needed, learning curve not remotely dangerous or scary. Bring it to the lake on breezy days and the spouse and kids can even play around. A lot more family friendly.
As jkrug observes, winging isn’t that much fun in light wind. IMHO too much work for what you get, kind of like kitesurfing waves with a 17m in 8kts, you can kinda just barely do it, but it doesn’t have the magic. At low wind speeds, kite foiling is way more fun for me than winging. Though this may change when there is surf – as despite what many KF'ers claim, kite foiling in waves is NOT surfing, not even close. But surf foiling in light wind is also excellent, as surface conditions don’t matter and the crowds disappear. So I am not sure if winging will be a goal in light wind surf either.
Huge board: I have progressed from 7.6 sup foil to 6.8 sup foil and now a 5’ wing specific board, 70L or so. No problem getting it in the daughter’s Honda fit. My kitefoil board is 4’. I rode a 3’ kitewakeboard for quite a while, but tired of light wind swims and see little advantage to the pocket boards other than supposed cool factor. I could paddle my 5’ for a km without issue….swimming a km in the ocean in a wetsuit dragging a pocket foil and kite? Dunno.
I cultivate the kook look like ozbungy. I am pretty much the last person at the beach to still wear a helmet, as personal safety is way uncool. I have recently upped my kook quotient greatly by now wearing a shorts harness over my wetsuit. I do so proudly as a nod to the kiter heritage, carrying on as a rollerblader of the sea.
Injuries: winging has no shoulder issues I can see yet. Once trimmed it’s about the same pull as holding a kite bar. In light wind it is harder work though. In learning stage the tennis elbow got sore again, while attempting to muscle it before learning how to economize strength. In high winds, can sometimes be tough on lats on the back arm (sheeting in). Pain points seems similar to kiting: in light winds whipping the kite around one to keep line tension, or in high winds overpowered working hard to hold it down, and in the middle when trimmed, easy peasy.