“One day on a chilly winter southerly wind after being out for 3 hours and clocking over 60kms, I gazed out at the horizon and thought “imagine if I could just keep going, imagine if I could get to Tasmania!” It was such a crazy thought, because I had only been foiling for a few months, but I jumped in the car, raced home, burst in the door and announced to my family,
“Guys, I’m going to be the world’s first person the wing foil across Bass Strait from Tasmania to
Victoria”. They looked at me and said ‘Whatever’… They thought I was being ridiculous”.
Born and raised on the Mornington Peninsula, Andrew Englisch came from an extremely adventurous family regularly pushing the boundaries. Summer holidays involved parasailing behind dad’s vintage Mercedes along a crowded beach and learning many water sports as well as becoming familiar with the ocean.
However, Andrew’s journey with wing foiling didn’t begin until the Covid-19 Pandemic hit and left Andrew looking for something to remedy the depression caused by having to live through 262 days of lock down in ‘the worlds most locked down city’, Melbourne.
Unable to work in his film-making business and feeling without purpose, Andrew stumbled across ‘The Americas Cup’ racing in Auckland on TV and became enchanted watching the foiling boats fly above the water at 100km per hour. After some quick research, purchasing the set up and viewing a few instructional videos, Andrew headed down the coast to try Wing Foiling.
On his third go, he picked up a gust of wind and started flying a meter above the water. “The feeling was like nothing I’ve ever experienced and instantly I was hooked”.
The sensation of flying effortlessly above the waves was addictive and after that Andrew found himself heading out every day to practice and improve. He had found a new passion- one that would lift him out of his own mental health abyss. Whether there was strong wind, no wind, big swells, good and bad conditions Andrew was out on the wing foil, and quickly began to go further and further staying out for hours at a time, “My mental state of mind improved and my life took on a new focus”.
“Then one day on a chilly winter southerly after being out for 3 hours and clocking over 60kms, I gazed out at the horizon and thought “imagine if I could just keep going, imagine if I could get to Tasmania!” It was such a crazy thought, because I had only been foiling for a few months, but I jumped in the car, raced home, burst in the door and announced to my family “Guys, I’m going to be the world’s first person to wing foil across Bass Strait from Tasmania to Victoria”. They looked at me blankly for a few seconds, cracked up and said ‘Whatever’… They thought I was being ridiculous”.
Some may have found Andrew’s sudden ambition ridiculous but he was committed and determined to prove that a 55 year old is not too old to reach new heights, try new things and achieve goals. After observing his own father lose his mojo at age 50, Andrew was adamant on not going through the same thing, therefore deciding to celebrate his 55th birthday by Wing Foiling from Tassie to Victoria and raising money for the mental health charity, Waves of Wellness.
The plan was to cross Bass Strait from Tasmania to Victoria, island hopping past Flinders Island, Deal Island and hopefully touching town in Wilsons Promontory 4 days and 240km later.
‘Gone With The Wing’ is a beautifully inspiring story of tenacity and perseverance in achieving goals. Andrew Englisch proves that age should never be a barrier to staying curious and pushing yourself physically and creatively.
Filmed by Andrew himself across the stunning scenery of Bass Strait, Flinders and Torquay, the father of two remarks that the hardest part of filming was dealing with his own insecurities and overcoming ‘imposter’ syndrome.
Breathtaking stills from ‘Gone With The Wing’ image credit: Safari Global Productions
This film is a must see, get your tickets today at https://oceanfilmfestivalaustralia.com.au/tickets/