Had my first go with the Naish yesterday.
Background: I'm 54, competent ex windsurfer, competent kiteboarder.
Super gusty and I was on an old intermediate windsurf board that barely floats me. Have to say, I do NOT have the skills to waterstart from that sized board yet! Took me about 40 tries to get going the first time and from there it just got easier. For those windsurfers on here, I was doing the equivilent of the jump start where you position sail and jump on the board. With windsurfing I'm very used to rocking the boom fore and aft to control off-plane steering but I had to have my hands a lot higher with the wing to get tip clearance and there didn't feel like the same freedom to move the wing although that was likely partly due to my inexperience.
The other thing that is quite different from wind surfing is that you have a connection to the board through your hands and the boom and mast. There are really only two boom actions, Sheet in/out and rock the boom fore/aft around the pivot point. With the wing you have freedom to move it anywhere but you can't transfer weight to a mast pivot point through your hands like with wind surfing.
I really recommend boots, I was in bare feet and slipped a few times on the slicker parts of the board.
I was only crossing a small 20 m channel that is shallow both sides, no foil. I have plans for the foil. I designed and 3D printed these https://pinshape.com/items/93677-3d-pri ... -hydrofoil
and laying them up with fibres ready for some resin.
The debate about hard boom vs soft, you can still power up with a front hand on one of the windward side front hand grip straps, itpowers differently but this will clear the off-wind wingtip from the water. Once up you have to train yourself to flick the front of the wing up and towards you fast it it looks like you are in danger of touching a tip. This will reorient the far tip higher up to clear the water. For those pushing the duotone hard boom good luck to them but I think they are missing developing a key technique that will allow them to access more manufacturer's wings. I'm not yet decided on best hand placements. I found the second and third handles from rear end were good for powering up. Front hand further back from front was good for getting height from the sea but the side front handle automatically biases wing to sit a bit flatter.
My thoughts as a wing newb: Start with a smaller wing rather than larger. It will be easier to manouver and the tips further from the water. I'm impatient now to get on a light hydrofoil board!