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Pump in Surf Foil

To progress and fully enjoy your Surf Foil session, pumping in a Surf Foil will be THE technique ! This key step will allow you to enjoy the foil to its full potential, and to evolve in practice by imitating the professionals. Remember the video of Kai Lenny in Fiji in 2016, connecting 2 waves and surfing an endless (and almost non-existent) lagoon wave to the beach. So we wanted to share with you some tips on how to learn pumping and develop your technique. Thanks to our tutorial, the pumping technique will no longer be a secret for you!

If you want to learn how to do a dockstart in foil, i.e. how to go foiling from a pontoon, we have written an article dedicated to this subject.

You’re new to surf foil and you want to learn more about the practice. Foil has rapidly developed, democratized, and the technique of pumping is becoming more and more common. This is mainly due to the evolution of the offer of foil equipment on the market, which makes pumping easier and more accessible.

How do foils work?

Foils are hydrodynamic wings that allow boards to glide over the water with less resistance. They are used in different disciplines such as wingfoil, wakefoil, paddle foil, dockstart, etc. Their operation is based on the principle of lift and balance.
A foil usually consists of a front wing, a mast, and a stabilizer. The front wing, also known as the “front shovel” or “fin”, is the main part that generates lift and lifts the board above the water. It is attached to the mast, which connects the front wing to the board. The stabilizer, located at the back of the mast, helps maintain the balance and stability of the foil.

During a wingfoil session, for example, the rider uses a wing wing to propel themselves. By pumping with the kite and generating speed, the foil creates lift and allows the board to take off from the water. The rider can then glide over the water by controlling balance and direction through the inclination and movements of their body.

Pumping in surf foil: detailed technique, improvement and training. SROKA
SROKA Watersports: How to Pump in Surf Foil.

Pumping Operating Principles

First of all, a few reminders: the operation of the Foil is similar to that of an airplane, and requires speed to create a lift energy that allows movement. . For more information, we invite you to read our explanatory article on how foils work. The pumping technique will then allow you to produce this energy mechanically, using your own movements. An adapted pumping technique as well as maintaining a good speed, will allow you to expend as little energy as possible when you are cruising while pumping in Surf Foil.

How to Surf Foil Pumping: The Step-by-Step Technique

1. Timing

The first step is to get out of the wave at the right time. When you’re just starting out, it’s best to go out when the wave is as flat as possible. As you progress, you’ll be able to get out when the wave breaks or even jump over the foam of the wave you’re on. The further you go out in a critical area of the wave, the greater the turbulence and water movement will be. These movements can be complicated to tackle while foiling and cause many imbalances.

2. Trajectory and muzzle velocity

This initial phase is one of the most important, if not THE most important, when you learn how to pump. The challenge here is to maintain maximum speed and start pumping at the right time. A turn that is too tight will cause you to lose speed and you will have to redouble your effort to restore inertia to your foil. You will therefore lose your energy and risk falling because the balance is more precarious at low speeds. Pumping is also more technical at lower speeds because it requires a wider and more precise movement to relaunch it.

The ideal is therefore to lengthen its curve. To do this, you can get out of the wave by “going along” to it, heading towards the channel. It will also allow you to enjoy the energy of the wave a little longer. You can then start pumping and gradually turn towards the peak. This lengthening of the curve will allow you to maintain a good initial velocity and start your pumping in the best possible conditions. Another tip that can help you start your restart: try to be as high as possible on your mast before starting the pumping phase. In other words, try to position the wing of your foil as close to the surface as possible. It is in this position that your foil will have the least drag.

3. Technique

Now let’s talk about the pumping technique itself. It is important to know that the more speed you have, the easier the movement will be and the less you will get tired. Pumping is not limited to a series of flexions and extensions of the leg muscles. Indeed, you need to give a forward inertia in order to “create” speed with your foil. Pumping is actually a combination of two movements: a succession of lightening and pressure of the body combined with a sequence of delayed flexion and extension of the front and back leg.

The diagram below shows the movement of the foil and its orientation underwater. When they first start pumping, many people tend to lack coordination and therefore fail to generate the speed needed for effective pumping. A simple simultaneous pressure and lightening of your front and back leg will strongly slow you down without moving you forward.

A slight intentional forward imbalance will allow you to accelerate more easily and give your foil that particular movement. This notion of imbalance is important, it is what will give you speed and inertia forward.

4. Coordination

The key to pumping lies in the coordination between the movement of your lower extremities and the transfer of mass. Your front and back legs will alternately perform a flexion and extension movement. When the back leg stretches (steps 1 and 2 in the image below) your front leg will bend slightly to let your foil rise. This is the push phase. You will then press down on the front leg while trying to weigh yourself down and use your weight to create more speed and orient your foil downwards (steps 3 and 4).

We can see on these two steps that the foiler uses his whole body to create this inertia downwards and forwards. The thrust on your legs should be gradual during the descent phase and should be at its maximum when your foil is at its lowest in order to give you bounce for the ascent phase (step 5). It is thanks to this last support that you will be able to lighten up and let your foil go up. During stage number 5, the legs are almost fully extended and the rider tries to expand to create the lightening of stage number 6 and make the foil go up again. By the way, steps 1 and 6 correspond to the same phase of pumping.

You can also use your arms to help you during the lightening phase.

Pump in surf foil and the detailed steps of the technique.
The different movements in the pumping technique in surf foil.

5. Amplitude or Frequency?

When is the rhythm to adopt when pumping? Frequency or amplitude? It’s not an exact science yet, but it seems that performing a wide pumping movement is less energy-consuming than a very rhythmic movement. Giving amplitude to your movement will allow you to take advantage of the rest phases brought by the increased lift of your foil when it is close to the surface.

However, you can give frequency to your foil at the end of the wave in order to make it accelerate because let’s remember, speed is one of the key factors of effective pumping!

6. Looking into the distance

When you start pumping, try to look into the distance or at least to the wave or goal you’re aiming for. This will force you to give your foil the forward inertia we were talking about earlier. In foil surfing, looking up is even more important because it will allow you to spot water movements and wave formation and thus choose the right area to reach.

Tutorial: Learn how to pump in surf foil
Learn how to pump in surf foil. Connection between two waves.

7. Connection

It is important to choose the right area where you will stop pumping when you are looking to connect a second wave or you will fall or lose it. The energy of the wave is on its upper third. This is the area you need to aim for. In addition to being in a powerful zone, you will benefit from the acceleration provided by the slope of the wave. Your turn will also be important. Just like when you get out of the wave, your turn should be lengthened so as not to make your foil lose speed. The thrust you give into your legs during this turn should actually be gradual and increase throughout your turn.

As with a long carve in surfing, the downforce must be more and more pronounced as you move forward in your curve in order to maintain speed and therefore lift. In other words, a turn that is too tight may cause your foil to land prematurely because it will have lost its speed.

8. Saturation

With the speed acquired, it is sometimes possible to stop pumping because the foil has enough lift to keep you in flight: it is said to “saturate”. Then it’s the perfect time to rest a bit. As soon as you feel the foil losing speed and start landing again, you can start pumping again. When you feel like you’re entering this phase, place your foil close to the surface to allow it to plan longer and easier.

Which foil for pumping?

  • For dockstart pumping, High Aspect S-Foils like the 2000 and 1350 Lift offer an efficient and effortless glide, allowing you to glide for a long time and pump efficiently. These foils are perfectly suited for wingfoil, surf foil, SUP foil and wakefoil. They offer a real feeling of pleasure on the water.
  • When it comes to surf foil pumping, the S-Foil 1190 Lift is ideal. This high-lift kite is specially designed for surf foil, SUP foil and wakefoil enthusiasts. With 15-20% more lift than the HA 1190 S, it offers more power to optimize your pumping and pick up the waves without interruption. For small waves without power, the S-Foil 1350 HA Lift is recommended. This foil will allow you to easily reconnect the smallest waves and pump effortlessly. It was designed specifically for surfing summer waves with little power.
Whether you practice wing foil, surf foil, SUP foil or wakefoil, choosing the right foil for pumping is essential to optimize your performance and enjoy your sessions to the fullest. Do not hesitate to contact us via our chat to get additional information on the foil to choose according to your level, your practice and your desires.

What is SUP foil?

SUP foil, also known as paddle foil, is a discipline that combines stand up paddle (SUP) and foil. It involves sailing on a SUP board equipped with a foil, thus allowing you to fly over the water with less resistance. The SUP foil offers a unique gliding experience and an incredible flying sensation.
During a SUP foil session, the rider uses a paddle to propel themselves and gain speed. Once the foil generates enough lift, the SUP board takes off from the water and slides over the surface. The rider can then enjoy smooth and effortless sailing, using their balance and steering control to move around the water.
SUP foil offers many benefits, including a feeling of lightness and freedom, reduced muscle fatigue due to less resistance, and the ability to sail in lower swell conditions. It is a versatile discipline that can be practiced on different bodies of water, whether at sea, in lakes or rivers.

Some ideas for training surf foil

The effort required to pump in surf foil differs depending on the kite you are going to use. Foils for surfing are designed for agility and to allow you to make more radical maneuvers. However, they require a little more effort to pump than foils developed for downwinding for example. Pumping with this type of foil will be similar to the effort made during a 400m in athletics (effort predominantly anaerobic lactic) and this is why connecting a multitude of waves is very physical. So try running 3 x 400m with only a few seconds resting between each rep! The example is a bit extreme but it gives a good idea of the type of effort that pumping can sometimes represent depending on the type of wing you are going to use.

For the most motivated among you, here are some ideas to progress on land, both physically and technically!

Technical Training

To work on your technique, skateboarding can be a good way to progress dry. However, you will need access to a nearby skatepark. Ramps such as half pipes and bowls are a good way to work on your leg muscle memory and proprioception. Gaining speed in a ramp is similar to the movement of pumping in surf foil (extension of the leg muscles in the curves during the ascent, bending at the top of the ramp, then extending again in the curve during the descent).

The ideal is still the pumptrack , which is a concrete or asphalt track that resembles BMX terrain. Coordination between your front leg and back leg is essential for picking up speed without pushing with your feet. The pump tracks are quite demanding on the muscle and breathing side and will also be perfect for getting you to work out physically. The effort is indeed very similar to that of a connection between two waves in surf foil. If you have a cruiser or surf skate type board, it’s even better because they will provide more instability and make you work on your placement in addition to your pumping technique.

The doc start and beach start, once mastered, will also be a good way to perfect your technique when the waves are not there! Find a pontoon near you and practice. The departures from the pontoons and beaches are made with lower speeds than at the end of a wave. The technique is therefore a little more complex, but with “difficult pumping training, easy connection”! If you’d like to learn how to start from the beach, check out our article on the beach start technique.

Physical training

Physical training is an extremely broad and complex subject. This part would deserve an entire book to be truly specific and complete. Even if pumping is more of a short and intense effort of the anaerobic lactic acid type, endurance ( aerobic pathway) is not to be neglected to progress. Especially since it will be used more generally to endure long sessions. The training must therefore be global and even if an activity always has a dominant energy system, the objective is simply to give you here some keys and ideas to progress physically and specifically in your foiling practice.

Are you a fan of physical preparation or cross-training? Exercises such as box jumps, burpees will be ideal for working on explosiveness and cardio at home.

If you are on the move, and you want to work more specifically on your breathing capacity, interval training (more commonly known as interval training) in running is a very good way to progress quickly. It is best to use the stairs near you because this will also allow you to work on your range of motion.

To sum up
  1. Choose the right timing
  2. Remember to lengthen your curve at the end of the wave to maintain speed
  3. Engage your body forward with a slight imbalance to create speed
  4. Coordinate the movement of the legs with the lightening and pressure phases of the body
  5. Remember to give amplitude.
  6. Look into the distance
  7. Aim for the top third of the wave you want to connect
  8. That’s it! You’ve just caught a second wave!

If you still have questions about this, or for any other request, please do not hesitate to contact us !

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