Pump Foiling 101

First published in Foiling Magazine Issue 3
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Words: Zane Schweitzer
Photos: Samuel Cardenas
Rider: Alvaro Onieva

Pumping, whether in flat water off a jetty or after a wave ride, is specific to prone foiling without a paddle. It is easiest to practice pumping as you kick out of a wave whilst you have got some momentum going. If you don’t have waves in your area, you can apply the same basic movement, but will require a much quicker start to your pump. Either way, these are the basic principles of learning how to pump foil...

Once you have kicked out the back of the wave, you need to carry the momentum you have picked up, keeping the foil high to the surface of the water, without it ventilating as you speed away from the wave and around to the line-up again.


Start to initiate a smooth full body swing, throwing momentum up. I like to use both hands swinging from the back to the front, bringing your hands up just above shoulder height, and as I do that, I stand up tall and bounce up high. Use the momentum from throwing your hands up high to lift you up, extending your back knee fully, bringing the foil to a high altitude.

From there you want to bring your front knee up to your chest and drive down. Using the downward motion and your hands to help as you drive down, you’re going to throw your chest forward over the front of the board, for a forward motion and to retain balance. You then continue swinging your hands carrying the momentum, this time back behind you.

When your hands get down to your hips, the foil should be down at a low altitude. And then as you swing your hands back behind you, you’re now using that momentum to throw that momentum up. From there, as you drive down, you’re going to bring your hands from up behind you, back down, swinging to your hips. By the time your hands get to your hips you should be low altitude on the foil, and you’re springing with your back leg extending, throwing your hands forward again.

Essentially you are doing this full body motion, swinging your hands from front to back, and with each front swing you’re throwing your hands from low to high, pumping from low altitude to high altitude. The same thing when you swing back – you’re driving down low altitude, as your hands go low by your hips, and then throwing your hands up behind you, you’re extending off your back foot and bringing your front knee up to your chest, bringing in that weightlessness. Depending on the foil you have, the momentum, the motion, and the cadence of your pump may change. I have noticed on the AK 1300 or 1600 surf wing (or any other foil with that traditional wing with that single scoop in them) that you want to have more of a long and really powerful ‘drivey’ pump. Whereas on a more high-aspect foil wing that is more flat, you need to do more of a quick, high cadence bounce off the back foot, with maybe not as much power and not as much full body swing.


It’s important that you keep your body position, and your center of gravity over the center of your board. Your stance should be a comfortable position, slightly wider than your shoulder length apart, in the middle between nose and tail, minimizing your center of gravity and weight from going off from side to side over the water. This is essential with foil pumping, as there is a lot of swinging and full-body dynamic motion along with the pumping of your legs, so we want to make sure that your dynamic motion is through throwing momentum back and forth over the center of gravity and the foil, and not side to side, throwing the foil off balance. Your hands are either helping you or hurting you in this situation – allow your hands and your full body motion to work for you. When you throw your hands forward and up, it is a strong and smooth momentum building swing motion. Throw your hands up in front of your face over the nose of the board.


To continue the strong swing motion and really build momentum with the hands, we will throw the hands from up in front of our face over the nose of the board, to down towards the hips bringing the board to low altitude and then throwing the hands back and up behind you as you extend your back leg once more and bring your weightless front knee up to your chest, getting that high altitude.

Learn more about the foil range here:
AK Foil Collection

Join Zane on a Surf Foil Safari in South Africa here:
Surf Foil Safari