What is subwinging?
Subwinging combines the gloriousness of snorkeling and deep diving with speed to create the effect of “flying” underwater. All you need is a motorized boat, a subwing and a snorkel mask/goggles. A subwing is a board used underwater consisting of two connecting wings. A boat will tow the subwing along the water using a long rope. You can either dive down into the water or stay on the surface as the boat pulls you along. As you glide through the water, you can effortlessly admire the marine life and possibly even swim with sea turtles or dolphins, depending on where you are. If you’re lucky enough to encounter some marine animals, you can let go of the subwing to swim with your new friends!
How does subwinging work?
You aren’t connected to the subwing or boat, so you must hold onto the subwing, which takes a bit of strength. To dive down, push forward on the board and you’ll find that the subwing is very responsive. To turn, you just push forward on one side of the board. Try out some rolls by tilting one side forward and the other side towards you. This may take a bit of practice, as you get a little bit disoriented while under water. Fear not, as the worst that can happen is you let go and swim to the surface on your own.
If you want to try a bit of deep diving, you can push forward to dive down, then move one hand to the middle of the wings and use your other hand to equalize. It’s actually quite easy to dive pretty deep, so be sure you’re conscious of how far you go down to ensure you have enough air to resurface.
Mad Monkey Insider Tips for Subwinging:
Breathing while subwinging
You can choose to use a snorkel while you’re on the surface, but I personally found it more of a nuisance. Breathing normally on the surface is probably easier without a snorkel in your way. You obviously can’t use it underwater and when you resurface, you’ll likely want to take a deep breath of air which is more difficult to do with a snorkel full of water in your mouth. Try subwinging with and without a snorkel to see what you prefer. If you have experience deep diving, it definitely won’t be necessary.
Using a GoPro while subwinging
One of the best parts about subwinging is the epic footage you’ll be able to capture. Most subwing experiences will include a GoPro mount so you can film your underwater adventures. As with equalizing, to control your GoPro, place one hand in the center of the subwing and use the other hand to start and stop recording. You can do this while being towed on the surface or while you’re already underwater. Make sure to wear a secure swimsuit so you can post your photos and videos without getting flagged on Instagram.
Is subwinging difficult?
If you’re comfortable in the water, it won’t take long to get the hang of subwinging. When you first try it out, try some shallow diving to get a feel for it and be sure to communicate with the boat driver. You might find that you’re more comfortable with the boat going at a slower speed. However, the faster the boat goes, the easier it actually is to maneuver the subwing. A simple thumbs up and thumbs down to the driver to adjust the speed will make communication easy! Holding onto the board does get a bit tiresome after a while, so take turns amongst your friends to give your arms a break!
Subwing Gili Trawangan
One place you can try subwinging is at Fly Gili Water Sports on the east side of the island, just north of where the turtle conservation center used to be. Fly Gili Water Sports offers numerous other water activities, including wakeboarding, parasailing, tubing, water skiing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding. Subwinging costs IDR 500,000 per person, which is around $35 USD*.
*Price and conversion updated June 2019.
How to get to the Gili Islands
The Gili islands are three islands west of mainland Lombok and east of Bali. If you’re coming from Bali, it takes about 5 hours to get to Gili Trawangan from Canggu or Ubud. This includes the drive to Padang Bai (about 1.5-2 hours), waiting for the boat, and the 1.5-2 hour boat ride. For more information on how to get to Gili T, read our Bali to the Gili Islands Transportation Guide.
Where to Stay on Gili Trawangan
There are an array of options on Gili T ranging from luxury resorts to backpacker homestays. For those wanting to splurge, you might want to find a resort on the west side of the island where you’re sure to have the most epic sunset views. For the couples out there, Le Pirate is a solid favorite, along with Villa Sunset Beach. If you’re looking for a social scene to meet new friends, check out our list of the Top Backpacker Hotels on Gili Trawangan. Be sure to check out Mad Monkey Gili Trawangan, opening in August 2019! Even if you don’t stay here (but you obviously should), join us for our epic pool parties and weekly events! Get more info HERE and follow us on Facebook!
More information about subwinging
Did this article inspire you to try subwinging? Are you wanting to learn a bit more about this incredible water sport? Then check out these other articles about subwinging!
- Subwinging, New Way to Explore the Underwater Beauty of Gili Islands by Heri Sisworo from Traveling Yuk
- What is Subwing from subwingpalawan.com