Learning to Pump-Foil

Fanatic Aero 2500 Foil with Gong Foil-Surfboard

Posted by Christian on Oct. 18, 2020 Category: Action

Learning to pump-foil for a few meters was the most fun but also the most challenging activity this year. It took me about 15 sessions at the lake to get to the level that I have in the videos below. At the moment I am learning to do turns which is also hard but shouldn't take as long as learning to get going.

I am planning to make a video tutorial at some point but the key takeaways based on my own experience are:

  • FULL DETERMINATION. You need to be fully determined about it. Run - Jump - Pump!
  • Start pumping as soon as possible. Ideally, in your head you already start pumping before you have landed on the board.
  • High cadence. The efficient pumping frequency is probably higher than you expect - pump fast.
  • Land centered on the board otherwise you'll do a curve.
  • Land with your back foot first otherwise you'll sink too much during the start without generating forward momentum (like me in the videos below).
  • Have enough forward momentum to get away from the dock, you don't want to fall onto it.
  • You neither want to land on the foil - it hurts! If you realize that you start falling push your board away from you or jump away from the board.
  • The rest is just practice and stamina, don't ever give up! Good luck!

Apart from my inability, one of the reasons why the learning process took so long was the stabilizer setting on my Fanatic Aero 2500 foil (2500 cm2 front wing, 80 cm (long) fuselage, 365 cm2 back wing, 75 cm mast). In my first sessions I would consistently get slower and stall the foil after a few pumps. This was because of the elevator control angle being too high. As a result the foil's upward momentum was too high causing a lot of drag that would slow me down during pumping. After adding a -0.75° spacer this problem was gone and I could suddenly pump for 30 meters and more.

To reach the -0.75° one can stack the -0.5° and the -0.25° that come with the foil but doing that the screws are a little too short. Instead of getting longer screws I machined 4 spacers with -0.75°, -1°, -1.5° and +2° the latter for tests with windsurfing equipment.

Spacers for Fanatic Aero Foil

At my current level I would say the -0.75° spacer gives me the best feeling but that might change once I get better.

In addition to the spacers I recently tried a smaller back wing that I made myself (Custom Back Wing). In my opinion it made the pumping much easier but the forward momentum during the pumps got smaller. In the first video of the above listed ones I am pumping the small back wing. In the second one the standard (large) Fanatic back wing.

This is my minimal setup that I am planing to use once I am able to return to the dock (swimming that thing back is a pain since it has almost no lift). On this picture you can also see the small back wing I was talking about before.

Spacers for Fanatic Aero Foil

If you plan to get started with pump-foiling do some research on which foil you want to use. In comparison to other brands such as Armstrong, Moses and probably others the Fanatic Aero is extremely heavy (I will weigh it at some point) which can give you backache when doing the dock starts over and over again.

Stay tuned for an update..

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